Hazel McHaffie


Four outings and a wedding

Plenty happening this week although not a lot of serious writing sadly. After the dismal gloom and cold of April and early May, we’re revelling in this hike in the temperature, and it’s happily coincided with my being out and about.

Friday.  In Glasgow for a neonatal nurses conference where I was doing an ‘in-conversation-with’ slot. Just to prove I wasn’t actually taking a jolly to the beach, here I am (far right) with the chairman, Dr Ian Laing, and Monica Thompson who interviewed me – both long-term friends of mine and special people. Monica, Ian and meSaturday. In the Lake District for my nephew’s wedding. Getting snarled up in the holiday traffic and travel sick on those amazing winding roads, but then forgetting it all in a fabulous day amid spectacular views (the reception was in a marquee on the banks of Lake Windermere), and interesting people, and pervasive newly-married happiness. And a proliferation of absolutely beautiful flower arrangements.stunning floral arrangements

Sunday. FallingRecovering, and travelling back through some of my favourite places in the Borders, and catching up with family and emails and letters. Oh, and finishing Falling by Colin Thubron – a book about assisted dying which rates bottom of the list of novels on this subject for me. I’d swear things in the garden had grown visibly in those three days – flowers as well as weeds.

Monday. Reading Driving Sideways. Probably the funniest novel about organ transplant I’ve read so far. Leigh Fielding has spent five years on dialysis; life post-transplant is exhilarating and precious. But when she sets off for an excursion to find her long-lost mother, and the family of her donor, she hasn’t bargained for the effect of a teenage hitchhiker, a loaded gun, and some eccentric travellers. This is the penultimate organ-donation-novel in my pile and it’s certainly a refreshing change (although medically-speaking dubious in places, it must be admitted). It’s making me re-analyse what impact I want my own tale to have.

Tuesday. Visiting the Forestry Commission’s David Marshall Lodge, famous for its stunning views of the Campsie Hills, Ben Lomond and across Loch Ard Forest, with residents from a care home I support. Bluebells and gorse adding bright splashes of colour to the fresh greens.

Wednesday. Reading more of Driving Sideways, writing (not the novel), catching up on other relevant blogs, thinking, and cooking for guests. No sunshine today though.

Thursday. Just off to a Riding for the Disabled stables with a special friend. And tomorrow it’s the Gardening Scotland 2012 show (tickets were a gift). Hmmm, some kind of precipitation seems to be on the menu both days.

Reality will hit me next week when I have to knuckle down to some concentrated work. But right now I’m just glad the good weather worked hand-in-glove with my diary for most of the week. When you’re a self-employed novelist the notion of holiday is hard to pin down, but it feels as if I’ve just had a mini-one.



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