There is some serious work going on in the countryside around Martinstown in Dorset, apparently to remove the pylons you can see in the picture. This is a monumental job as 22 pylons are to be removed to be replaced by a new underground cable system!
Yesterday, we encountered a pedestrian crossing in the middle of our walk!
Last month, I posted a picture of a particular little corner of the West Dorset countryside above Abbotsbury (the location of my third novel and seemingly never-ending-work-in-progress The Right Place (which I hope to complete and publish before I get to the age of 100), thus starting a series of pictures I will be taking of the very same place over the next year.
The picture above was taken yesterday, 27/11/2020. Granted, it doesn't look that different from the October one, but I can confirm that we noticed a few subtle differences standing there looking over the green valley... It's very difficult to pinpoint, but it felt decidedly more wintery despite the sunshine, and the air bit ever so slightly.
We then moved on to West Bexington and walked along the beach for 30mn or so; I breathed in the sea air deeper than usual as I hadn't been out and about in nature for a while, having been stuck inside poorly ventilated buildings with several hundred kids...
I have tried to research which house in the nearby village of Puncknowle the sculpture below refers to but cannot find anything online...
We stumbled across on bit of driftwood which looked more like the weathered skull of some prehistoric horned animal...
And also the remains of a beach barbecue... I still struggle to understand how people can just leave their stuff like that... If you blink, it would be an iron-age archaeological find...
I'm going to try and get out in nature as much as possible in the next few weeks as I will be doing a full-time assignment over January/February and won't be able to indulge in walks - or anything else bar work for that matter... Hopefully I will emerge on the other side roaring to go, as I do have a lot of work to do on The Right Place and the plotting of the Arcane online bookshop.
My goal over the next two weeks is to stay virus-free before I stop for the December break...
I still hope that a little bit more progress can be made on The Right Place before January...
Probably wishful thinking...
I have finally managed to source a second-hand printer, and therefore have been able to read through all the new writing I have completed over the summer. What a delight! For some reason, I cannot edit properly if I do not have a printed copy of the manuscript with me.
I did struggle to get going during the first lockdown, and it took me about two months before I was able to sit down and add a few words to the first draft of my third novel, The Right Place.
I now have about 30,000 words, and we are almost at the end of the month of November, which means that there is absolutely no way I will finish off that first draft for 31 December; as a result, I've had to scrap my whole publishing schedule, and I have no idea when I will be able to publish the book as I need to try and earn a living at the same time, and even that hasn't been that easy over the past few months...
The COVID crisis has really put a spanner in the works and I've had to accept that things would take much, much longer to happen over the next few years.
Yesterday, I had a read through of those 60-odd pages of manuscript I've managed to squeeze out of myself so far for this book, and I was actually - and surprisingly - rather pleased; there is much, much editing and correcting work to do on it, but I have found quite a lot of aspects of the story to be exactly as I'd want them to be, and the characters have really started to come to life.
So today, I'll be doing a little bit of editing and I'm hoping to add a few hundred words to the manuscript before I start my full-time work assignment in January.
I have put a lot of lovely books for sale on the Facebook marketplace, and you can find them listed on the Arcane Publishing blog HERE.
I sincerely hope that the winter weather will allow me to spend some time in the beautiful Dorset countryside over the December holidays, and I will try and post a few pictures on here...
Finally, we at Arcane/ArtPix towers are preparing for the re-opening of The Customs House in West Bay where our little unit is located. Do pay us a visit if you're around when all non-essential shops reopen next week!
We are now in the middle of the second lockdown, and things are very busy here at the Arcane/ArtPix's quarters.
I have spent quite some time away from The Right Place as I try and raise funds for Arcane, but I will be going back to the first draft this week.
I try and find inspiration and solace in the beauty of the Dorset landscape.
Here is Long Bredy in the beautiful Bride Valley.
I'll admit it, in our house, every day is Halloween...
Here's the acoustic version of Ministry's "Every day is Halloween".
Ministry is one of my all-time favourite bands...
When I write my novels, I have a whole movie in my head. I can "see" the locations, the settings, the people. I have a extremely precise idea of what my characters should look like - I'd be a nightmare to deal with if someone wanted to turn one of my books into a film or TV series...
The other day, I was researching some images for one of the main characters in The Right Place, Katharine "Kat" Moorhouse, and I stumbled across pictures of a young woman who looked exactly as Kat would look 6 years on from the action of the book. In the novel, Kat is 14, and I guess this young lady must be around 20...
So here she is: Kat at 20...
Please accept my apologies for the watermarks...
As we are slowly entering a particularly challenging and dark winter, I find myself turning even more than usual to books, music, writing and the Dorset landscape. You wouldn't believe the size of my "books to buy" list.
The week ahead is looking particularly wet and windy, and I intend on concentrating on my work-in-progress The Right Place; I am also finding myself more and more involved in the planning of my fourth novel, the vintage-tinged detective/supernatural story Hell Lane: a Barton Stacey mystery.
We managed to escape the rain yesterday for a couple of hours, and we found a new starting point for some forthcoming winter walks relatively close to our house; the well-established walking routes of the Jubilee Trail and the South Dorset Ridgeway cross paths at this point. There's plenty to explore on the edges of Weymouth, and I will of course post about those wintery excursions on here.
Yesterday, our walk took us along the Dorchester-Weymouth relief road which was built in 2012 for the Olympics.
It is already proving to be a problem as traffic is heavy most of the time, and as the population of both towns grows, the local authorities' woeful lack of planning comes to light.
The relief road cuts deep into the ancestral landscape which keeps on inspiring me and giving me some kind of perspective on the current national and international situation; the echoes of the county's ancient past are all around us as we walk its old ways. The Dorset countryside is sprinkled with Iron Age forts, tumuli, heritage buildings, ruins and patches of land scorched by the violent struggles of the previous centuries.
We found ourselves standing at the site of the Ridgeway Hill Burial, where the heads and bodies of 51 decapitated Vikings were found in 2009 during the construction of the relief road; it did send shivers down our spine...
A surprisingly bright wildflower meadow has sprung up here on the Ridgeway!
This summer, I discovered a wonderful little corner of the Dorset countryside just above my favourite place (and the location of my third novel and work-in-progress, The Right Place. Where is this? Find out HERE).
You can park easily for walks, there are green slopes and strip lynchets, coppices, and a wonderful view over the coast, Chesil Beach and Portland.
I love this little corner so much that I have chosen it for my experiment: to take a picture of the same place every month to report on the passing of the seasons on the Dorset countryside.
I am now exactly at the time my third novel starts: early October, going into November and moving beyond the New Year.
I don't have a precise or ultimate schedule for the action - I'll just let the story carry me wherever it wants to.
I have now passed the 29,000 words mark on my first draft, but the worries and uncertainty of Real Life still have too strong a grip on me to allow me to dedicate myself 100% to my book.
I still dream of hitting my deadline of 31st December for Draft 1, but it now seems very unlikely.
I will do my best in the circumstances...
Saturday was the perfect day for a quick walk on the South Dorset Ridgeway.
Walking there last week, the lyrics of High, the song by New Model Army, came to mind.
They are all the more relevant at present.
Walking on the Ridgeway on Saturday, with the sun shining over the sea and the cliffs of the Jurassic coast, I was reminded of the lyrics of High, the beautiful song by New Model Army.
They are all the more relevant at present.
The movers move, the shakers shake,
Another one of our favourite places in Dorset is Tyneham Village (which was evacuated during the Second World War and taken over by the army - it is quite a sad story...), with the beautiful Worbarrow Bay just a few minutes' walk away, and access to the wonderful range walks all around.
It was a little bit too busy for my taste yesterday (Dorset seems to still be unusually busy for this time of year in a pandemic) but we still managed to enjoy the breath-taking views from Flower's Barrow.
I need to get out in the countryside more than ever as the future looks increasingly uncertain.
I will not hit my deadline of 31st December for the completion of Draft 1 of The Right Place, unfortunately, as I've had to re-adjust to the "new reality", and once again have to consider getting a "long-term" job, which is not ideal - but this virus and the looming shadow of Brexit have massively undermined our plans.
I am still waiting to know what the state of play will be in January/February before I commit to the Arcane Online Bookshop.
So it's really a game of wait and see (and try not to despair!).
I think therefore I write.
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