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The winter begins...

It’s been an absolutely beautiful autumn here in Cornwall. In some ways the ending of the year is a wistful and rather melancholy, time but there’s also so much to love about this memento mori season: the frothing orange leaves, sun dappled woodlands – the floor a soft mosaic of fallen leaves sprinkled with sweet chestnuts - glossy blackbird wing sloes, rusts and reds and golds stippling leaves, lighting the first fire of the winter, pulling on a dear old friend of a jumper, thick soups warming on the Rayburn, walking home across the fields in the gathering dusk to glimpse the lighted windows of home glowing from the top of the hill, hills wreathed in gossamer mists which muffle the world, pale eyed sunrises, cascades of berries…

Autumn has always been a season that inspires me when I write and I have been filling notebooks with ideas. I love Halloween too but not the plastic commercialised version that seems to arrive earlier every year, but the Halloween of myths and stories and shivers. I’m drawn to the version of Halloween that has one foot in parties and apple bobbing and the other in the quicksand of the forgotten. The Halloween of eerie grinning of Jack o’ lanterns. The mysterious hinterland between the everyday and the unexplained, and the unease which seeps in with the shortening of the days and billowing in of the dusk, call to me and I have been enjoying listening to ghostly podcasts, writing my own stories and rereading the ghost stories of M R James and Susan Hill. I love a shiver down my spine and I’ve used a few of my own strange experiences in my writing.

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you seen one? I’d love to know and hear your stories. I shared mine about the ghost cat of Woodspring Priory in last year’s newsletter - for those of you who hadn’t signed up then it jumped on my bed and kept treading the covers and circling. I turned the lamp on several times and… nothing. It was only when I was reading about the hauntings at this ancient site that I learned there was a grey lady, an old man in the kitchen and A CAT! I was so glad I had woken my other half up at the time to tell him!

And now it’s onwards towards November. I love Guy Fawkes Night and all the excitement of Christmas. Apart from my writing and the mucking out of the horses (comes with the wintry territory) I haven’t a lot planned for this month. I’ll mostly be writing. I love curling up with my laptop, lamps on and a big pot of chilli cooking away. When the horses are tucked up with their rugs and hay nets, the animals are all taken care of and we can cosy up it’s actually the perfect time to write an atmospheric Rosecraddick novel as well as a seasonal Polwenna.

Watch this space!


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