Good, clean Devon air. The babble of the river and the rustle of squirrels rooting about in the fallen leaves help me to clear my head. Our little lane leads to a nature reserve where the river meets the sea on a pebble beach. When we had a Doberman, I’d walk him down to the reserve and back up the other riverbank to the village. Our current dog has much shorter legs so I only go half that distance to where a bridge crosses the river. But, by the time I get back to the village and, most importantly, the mill, I usually have an idea of where to go next in my dissertation. I have only my notebook for entertainment and, as I don’t do boredom, I will have to write my ideas down while I’m in the mill drinking my latte.
My last walk was the day before New Year’s Eve. I went dog-less because there were so many other dog walkers passing our house and I knew the mill would be busy. Our dog is the nicest possible pet – inside the house. Take him out , though and he turns into the Hound of the Baskervilles so it was a choice between him and concentrating on my writing. The writing won. Don’t worry on his behalf, though, because my niece took him for a nice run up the hill instead.
Nature rewarded me for getting off my bum and burning some calories with the sight of a jay sitting in a tree near to where I was walking. Usually, I get a glimpse of white rump as jays flash away in the opposite direction but this one allowed me to admire it for a couple of minutes before it swooped off through the trees. After he’d gone his way, I went mine and as I strode along, inadvertently scaring squirrels, the problems of ‘new chapter, blank page’ began to dissolve. I had plenty to jot down when I got to the coffee drinking stage of my journey. It took an hour and two lattes to empty my head and when I finally closed my notebook and headed up the hill to home, I felt invigorated. I was going to kick off my wellies at the front door, fire up Hellspawn, my laptop, and get stuck in. I panted up the hill, heaved myself out of my boots, threw open the front door and my sister said,
‘Hey, look what they’re showing on the telly.’ I peered around the door. I looked at the television and lo! The Ladykillers was just starting. Not the remake, either, but the original with Alec Guinness and Herbert Lom. ‘I must not watch,’ I told myself whilst getting comfy on the sofa. ‘I’ll go and turn on Hellspawn in the first ad break,’ I said. But the problem is, this is one of my all time favourite films. Yes, I have it on DVD but… ‘I know, I’ll just watch up to where Mrs Lopsided collects the lolly from the station. Oh, and the bit where all her friends come to tea…’ You can guess the rest.
I would like to be able to say that I walked away from the TV and got down to business. I’d like to give myself all sorts of excuses but when it comes down to it, I am weak. I have no will power. Dear old Mrs Lopsided derailed me. Oh well, new year, new start…