Tuesday 8 March 2016

Birthday Weather on International Women's Day

As my birthday is in mid-March the weather is usually sunnier, the flowers brighter and the days longer - all much better than in the previous months of January and February. And, despite having  come out of a relatively warm, wet season - in other words a mild winter - it suddenly feels like a cold, bleak run up to my birthday.
Yesterday a gang of us went to the Thermae Spa - in splendid sunshine - and we came out feeling invigorated and rested all at the same time. After that lovely experience we saw more friends for a drink in Bath - then went out to a local pub. A great day all round!

Today, however, has been grey, cold and uninspiring but, thankfully, the narcissi are still flowering - despite their early blooms in January - so their yellow petals have enlivened a dreary day.
Please, please can we have sunshine on my birthday? We will be in Devon then and I'd like to enjoy the sea air - not have three days feeling cooped up. It is spring now, isn't it?!

Despite the dull skies this morning I enjoyed opening my birthday cards and making plans for a garden party in July. This includes arranging two or three musical entertainments for the evening. By then it should be warm and light at night and we can sit out lapping up wine, food and live music.  Perhaps I am simply too impatient and want to celebrate my birthday in the sunshine - in warm, spring days - we need them after a wet, overcast winter. Everyone felt so happy in the sun yesterday - and now we are back to the gloom, it seems.

I am, however, pleased I have completed 70,000 words of my novel and that puts a spring in my step. I have two major scenes to write. It seems fitting that, on International Women's Day, I can talk about my novel, which opens in 1918 on the day some women in Britain got the vote. I am preparing chapters on The General Strike and details about Jennie Lee, a great inspiration to other women, who, initially couldn't afford to go to university, but was helped, left Edinburgh University with a degree and became an MP. Another scene I have yet to create is of another kind of woman altogether. She was wealthy and well connected until, in 1939, she had to flee Italy, where she had led a a very comfortable life. Her life becomes impoverished, whereas my central character, through steadfastness, prospers.  I am reminded of the weather that day in 1918 - when eight million married women got the vote - "it had been an uncommonly warm,wet winter."