I Know I am English When The Sun Stops Me From Writing.

I know I’m English when the sunshine stops me from writing.

Actually, I will go further than that, I am originally from Manchester and grew up suffering from good weather poverty.  It didn’t seem that bad to me at the time until I started travelling with my job. When I told people where I was from, they replied with either – Ah Manchester United or Oh, it always rains there.  It did occur to me when I spent a lot of time in the South of England that they had a much better weather deal.  I won’t even mention travelling into France, Italy and Spain – their weather starts a tick off in my face.  When I read of fellow bloggers from California mentioning their weather, a strange noise emerges from my throat not unlike that of a strangled cockerel.

Okay, so you are now in the position to understand that when the sunshine comes out I do a little skip and want to rush outside in a rather undignified manner.  Toddlers queuing up for a turn on a slide show more decorum that I do but I don’t really want to go into that at the moment.  What I do want to address is why I don’t take my laptop outside and work there.  I know that anyone reading this must be thinking – I really don’t see your problem – just work outside.


The problem is that I live in a rural English village which is full of menaces.  Think Miss Marple mixed with Midsomer Murders and you are nearly there.  The first menaces are the bell ringers.  There is nothing more glorious than the sound of church bells, particularly if the church is both historic and beautiful.  The church at the side of me is both.  However, I am positive that there is a gaggle of bell ringers (I don’t know the term for bell ringers on mass – but this sounds apt) spying on me.  I think they hide up the trees and make strange bird noises to each other.  The message being  – “Ha ha, she thinks she can write in the garden.”   It is amazing how having church bells ringing next to me stops me from writing and make my eyes bulge.  In fact, it prevents me from doing anything. If any bell ringers read this, I adore you except when I’m trying to write in the garden!

If the bell ringers are not out to get me, then the wild life is.  My garden backs onto the garden of Geronimo the cockerel and his harem.  Geronimo is huge and has vocal chords to prove it.  I think that the worst part of him  is that he is sly, unbelievably sly for a bird.  (It has just occurred to me that maybe he isn’t a bird and is an alien from another planet.  I wouldn’t be surprised.)  He is sly because he lulls me into a false sense of being able to write.  I will sit and listen, nothing – all is calm – all is perfect.  I am feeling serene as I lift my cup of coffee and stare at the screen.  Like the bird assassin that he is – his strangulated shriek makes me shudder and spill the coffee.  All is silent – it’s as if he knows he has hit his target.

Last spring was glorious.  We had warm weather and the pink blossoms on the trees were truly beautiful.  It was all so perfect, that like a fool I thought I would work in the garden.  I had the laptop on the table and as it was early morning a bowl of Weetabix and prunes in my hand.  My cup of coffee was sitting next to the laptop and I believed that all was a haven of calm.  I do not know why I ever think that because it is almost as if some meddling Puck from Midsummer’s Dream is messing with my thoughts.  The churchyard has lots of squirrels which the local cats are fascinated by.  The squirrels are always in and out of my garden.  My spoon was just reaching my mouth when I heard a kerfuffle and a loud rustling noise.  I looked above my head to see a squirrel being hotly pursued by Mildred, The Laboratory cat.  As I looked up, I thought it had started snowing. My bowl of Weetabix became covered in pink petals off the blossom tree.  I sighed and reached for my coffee, only to see it in the same state of disarray.  The rumpus between puss and squirrel had obviously caused the shower.

So there you have it, I have given up trying to write in the sunshine.  It is too risky.  The only problem is that when the sun comes out,  I don’t know how long it will last and so I sometimes drop everything and join the menaces outside.



Filed under Creative Writing

13 responses to “I Know I am English When The Sun Stops Me From Writing.

  1. I know what you mean…growing up at the cold Baltic Sea coast has had its affect on me, too…whenever the sun shines and it gets warmer I want to be outdoors…villages are lethal, though. Neighbours who normally snub you cause you’re that “weird looking writer chick” suddenly want to chat to you over the garden fence, just cause you’re sitting there with your laptop. UK city life is great for being an outdoors writer as everybody ignores everybody else…this is not the case in Germany though, where men are the menace that lurks everywhere.

    Since they cannot conceive that a woman’s world doesn’t revolve around them every second of the day, they cannot see the point of a woman busy writing at her laptop. Many times have I wished I had vampire-super strength and could hurl such disruptive idiots into the nearest bin. They’ve disturbed my writing when I sat in an outdoor cafe or in a park, at the beach or some lovely castle ruin, clearly absorbed in what I was doing with a “do not disturb” sign glued to my forehead. Do those irritating German guys take any notice? Nope. Grrr.

    (NB Before any “political correctness gone mad” people complain about my comments – I’m German, so I can be as uncharitable as I like about my fellow country creatures!)

    • I have visions now of lending my monsters to you if you go back to Germany for a visit. I don’t think even the most cocky of chaps would approach you with them on either side of you.Actually, I thought of you whilst writing this piece. I assumed that you would be like me about the sun because of where you grew up. So are you managing to write whilst the sun is out?

      • You did press the right button the first time round. for once I was out in the sunshine in Cardiff Bay, where the BBC held a huge roadshow for Dr. Who at the Millennium Centre…with a tardis in the Welsh Assembly Building, too! Quite surreal, but fun. Had to do some writing for my regular clients today, so no creative writing for my Willow series, unfortunately.

      • My son is a massive Dr Who fan. He talks about Cardiff a lot. Funny that Dr Who is about time travel and as writers we are up against time. All things connect as Dirk Gently, The Holistic Detective says. Glad you had a surreal time at the Dr Who Convention, Will is envious in a nice way, of course.

      • They’ve built this massive new home for the permanent Dr Who exhibition – TARDIS blue, of course. It’s not quite finished yet, but the Bay is looking amazing now with all the new BBC studio buildings. You and your son should visit when the blds. is finished and the Dr Who permanent exhibition is back – I think it’s touring in London at the moment before coming back here.

    • I have replied and it has disappeared. I am forever pressing buttons without looking at them. If you have to go back to Germany you must take my tow monsters with you. They will turn off any cocky chaps.

  2. You and me both Michelle. In fact, I’ve been known to have damp knickers from sitting in wet grass scribbling and some of my pages even have bird poo on them. Rather there than on me, however lucky! 🙂 xx

  3. I loved this piece. So entertaining….you made me laugh.

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