This week’s post will mainly be about two walks I took this week, the first with my dad, the second with John, but first a quick update on things I forgot last week when I was unable to use my computer. My health is moderately stable. Because of the likelihood of some kind of blockage of my bile duct, I have been eating a low fat diet. This has mostly worked, but any time I deviate from it, I develop pain. It’s nowhere near as bad as the pain before I had my gall bladder removed ten years ago. It’s only somewhat physically troublesome, but psychologically more so.
On the subject of submissions and publishers, there’s nothing much to report. Another couple of rejections, but with some positive feedback about my writing. Too commercial, seems to be the main objection at present, which presumably means it doesn’t fit the style they’re looking for, and not that they think it will sell too well. One editor gave more specific feedback that she “wasn’t sure [it] had quite the escapist, romantic tone [she was] looking for at present”. She did say it was well written though, so I hope that somewhere there is an editor who will fall in love with it. Commercial fiction within traditional publishing tends to fall into very specific genres at the moment and what I’ve written doesn’t fall neatly into any of them, so it was always going to be challenging.
I guess it would be odd to write this without also noting that John, Andrew and I have ended up in the UK at a time of mass upheaval in parliament. The astonishing events of the past week, with dozens of resignations within the Conservative Party, resulting in the resignation of Boris Johnson (though he hasn’t gone yet which, given his recent maverick activities, seems risky) have been something to behold. It has interested me, watching from Norway, that in the UK press at least, it has appeared that Johnson has been credited with handling the pandemic marvellously, based mostly on his roll-out of vaccinations. Watching from the relative calm of Norway, with its early lockdown and only marginally slower vaccination roll out, it seemed bizarre that he received quite so much credit, but of course I don’t know what it felt like on the ground. I can’t say I’m sad to see him go. He seems an unfit person to be in power, with his history of lies and profligacy, but he’s obviously one of those divisive figures that some people love and others don’t.
Anyway, onto the walks and photographs. I went for a walk on Sunday with my dad. After not seeing him for two and a half years, all the time wondering whether we would ever do such a thing again, it felt wonderful to be out in the Yorkshire countryside: a very precious moment together. We walked to Langcliffe, which is a village not far outside Settle. We walked past an old mill, then on up the hill to Langcliffe itself, which is even more charming than Settle, with its terraced stone houses, quiet country church, and village green. We called into the village institute, where volunteers were serving tea and cakes. It felt very much like being inside a James Herriot novel (though without the animals, obviously) which I found very pleasing!
The second walk was a 7km hike with John. We drove to Malham, then went up the almost 400 steps to the top of Malham Cove.
On the top of Malham Cove is a limestone pavement. It’s amazing to look out over the valley below from this incredible structure with its weathered stone, the cracks between the rocks filled with ferns and tiny flowers.
Having reached the top of Malham Cove, and finding my second wind, we decided we would go on a circuit from the top of the cove to meet a road that went back down into Malham village. As we reached the road, we spoke to a couple we met, who had come up via Janet’s Foss, so rather than walking down the road as planned, we took another detour down the shady river valley, past Janet’s Foss (my Norwegian friends will know what that is, as Foss in Norwegian for waterfall) and back through some gorgeous green pasture, where cattle stood knee deep in grass.
We finished with a well deserved drink in the Buck Inn. A lovely end to a wonderful sunny day.