Tag Archives: inspiration

A visit to Eden

I was lucky enough to get to go to the Eden Project this weekend with two amazing friends (and their cameras). Let’s just say straight off – I spent most of the weekend being a packmule and waiting for them while they took photos of EVERYTHING. This was usually my view…

But then I knew they were going to do that, so I just found a bench and got to appreciate everything 😀 and they did get some amazingly arty shots! (The ones here are all mine – they haven’t sorted through theirs yet).

We saw birds, and a lizard (who was SUCH a poser) and lots of trees, and plants, and rocks, and sculpture…we did all spend quite a bit of time going “what’s that? It looks like an X but not. Hmmm.” And then the photographers would take a picture of it with artistic raindrops and I’d just wander along with my rucksack, appreciating the sculpture and plants and landscaping and thinking how bloody weird it was to be in the middle of the Mediterranean while someplace in a quarry in Cornwall.

I didn’t get many pictures – weirdly, I didn’t really think of it – but my favourite thing was the Rainforest Biome, because they have a rope bridge! I loved it. And I liked the secret garden too, because it had a willow arch. We got to feed a robin, and eat ice cream, and sing in an echo chamber, and see a lot of aloe plants, and just wander. I went on the zipwire (“Hell NO I am NOT going on that thing! Feet firmly on the ground, thank you!” from the photographers) so that was cool, and the food was really good too. We stayed in the YHA which has shipping containers for bedrooms – apparently people make entire houses in them? I could actually cope with that, I think. It was a lot more spacious than I’d expected, and the bed was really comfy. We were intending to do the Lost Gardens of Heligan on the Sunday, but ended up stopping early on the Saturday and having an early night with Chinese takeaway, and then going back to Eden on Sunday. I’m really glad we did, as it made everything a lot more relaxed, and we got to visit favourite spots again. It was awesome, and really quiet – and we got a nice mix of weather, so it felt nice being outside in the sun and breeze and then retreating to the rainforest when we got the proper English summertime back again! (aka. it tipped it down).

I had Monday off (hence no post – I did intend to write this one and then fell asleep) and then went to see Emma Newman at the Bristol Fringe, which was fab. I haven’t yet read Planetfall and After Atlas, but having heard an extract from After Atlas, they’re both on the top of my list!

So that was my weekend. Back to normal life now…

Heartaches and London

I had to go through London recently, for the first time in about ten years. Sure, I’ve been back – but it was passing through, driving to my sister’s, getting the bus to Victoria. It wasn’t anywhere that I lived.

I was there for four years at University, living near London Bridge, Hackney, White City, Elephant & Castle. I usually walked everywhere – partly because I was a student and partly from a childhood of walking to school. And I did walk everywhere; up to Holborn and Euston, up to Camden; down to Elephant and Camberwell and Vauxhall; in from Hackney and White City and Kensington. I explored Covent Garden and Soho, Southwark, the South Bank and The Strand. I caught the bus out to the tiny villages merged into the huge bulk of the city, and back into the wharves and docks and palaces of London’s heart.

I loved that city.

I remembered the peculiar smell of the Jubilee Line, and the odd gust of wind that you get as the train’s coming in to the station. I can still ride the tubes, brace myself without looking like I am – effortlessly standing as the train ploughs to a halt and all the tourists lurch forwards. The walk down from London Bridge to Waterloo, along the edge of the water; the bitter, hot smell of the street just after the Golden Hind, where one of the buildings vents out into the narrow street; how to dodge the tourists and lingerers at the Tate, and fit in with the commuters striding across Waterloo Bridge; the graffitti in the underpass at Blackfriars and the ever-changing trees woven with lights at the Oxo Tower. I remember looking out over the water, seeing the boats go past, and sitting in the bar at Kings’ and looking out past the 1960’s concrete walls that did nothing for the atmosphere of the Strand, over towards the South Bank. I remember riding the bus up past Trafalgar and Hyde Park,  the tube to White City, looking at the station names in wonder. I remember riding the night bus, sitting in a moored ship on the Thames, drinking in a cellar bar, riding the Eye.

I loved London with a pain that made me smile every time I stepped off the train, with a touch to my heart that broke it every time I left. I loved the lights, the details, the colours, the life. I loved turning a corner and finding something new, or something old. I loved being one person amongst thousands, uncaring.

It hurt to go back.

I grieved after I left, but I knew I was right to leave. I wouldn’t have wanted to be a commuter; a student’s freedom was wonderful, but I’d hate to work there. It took a few years for the grief to fade, and I never really liked going back. I made my life elsewhere, and was grateful when my occasional trips back never took me near the places I’d loved.

But we came in to Waterloo. We travelled down the Thames. I traced the routes I’d walked, the places I’d seen; I knew what was coming next, the details, the hidden gems. I remembered the smell of the tube before it hit me, trod up the escalator and turned the right way at the top. I watched my city fly past around me, and I felt my heart break all over again.

It isn’t mine, not any more. I am no longer a part of it; it has not changed, and I know that I could go back…

It’s not my place. But it hurt so much to see something that I loved so deeply, and know that I have stepped away from it.

Old writing: Mugglethorpe

A piece written about a gnoll-type creature, and its adventures…I have no idea what I wanted to happen in the end, but I liked the character!

Singing echoed through the trees; a slightly cracked, not unpleasant voice that broke on the higher notes and resonated on the low ones. It bounced off gnarled trunks and climbed up through the mossy leaves, creating odd echoes and harmonies.

“Knowing the land, knowing the ways, living here ‘til the end of days…” the voice continued, obviously in time with a walking stride. Then the voice lapsed into prose and became more of a happy chatter. “Well, we seen Mumps, and Gnoel…we has got lunch and dinner, and probably supper as well…and we had a good walk. Ent that right, Triffid?”

Triffid doesn’t seem to answer. The voice continued, “And today we be going to plant the mosses, and weed ‘em out as well…and Mumps gives us some seeds to plant as wells. We do that today, okays, Triffid?”

The voice came round the corner, appearing from behind a willowy tree. A small, squat figure, covered with a rather tattered square of material tied with a twisted, gnarled root that traps the fabric very effectively. It carries a small grubby pack on its back, and is followed by something that looks like a large, hairy woodlouse – either that or a spiky pillow on legs. Wandering over to the huge, gnarled specimen that stood to the side of a small clearing, the singer rummaged in the depths beneath the tatty cloak and produced something. Carefully inserting it into a crack in the trunk, the little singing figure turned it and slipped through the crack that appeared, followed by the woodlouse. The trunk snapped shut again and the woodland becomes silent.