rosiphelee: (Miffed horse)
Imagine, for a moment, that it is 1993. Our scene is the centre of Reading, a large town in the Thames Valley. The town centre has been partially pedestrianised, but redevelopment has not yet started in earnest. The shops along the central road, Broad Street, are all chain shops - shoes, clothes, two branches of Boots the Chemist, a WHSmith. Just off Broad Street, things are tattier, awaiting the start of work on the new shopping centre which finally opened in 1999. It is mid-afternoon, not yet three, and the first wave of school children are making their way back to the bus stops and the station. This first wave is all female, from the local grammar school which has a compressed timetable and so finishes early. They're trailing into town, some straight along the road to head up to the station, others peeling off to take a shortcut over the canal and up the sidestreets towards their bus stops. They stop at shops along the way to buy sweets and magazines. A few of the older girls are digging cigarettes out of their bags, planning to hang around and wait for the boys' school to finish.

In amongst this crowd are two very earnest twelve year girls. Their rucksacks are stuffed with books and homework, heavy enough that they have both shoulder straps on, rather than carrying them casually over one shoulder. One of these girls is very neat, the other scruffy, but both have skirts which fall down past their knees (a terrible fashion faux pas - normal girls asked their mums to take their hems up as many inches as they could get away with).

There is a point in here, I promise )
rosiphelee: (Mermaids)
It's amazing how fast it gets dark. I've been sitting out here on my patio for a while. Five minutes ago I decided to go back inside because I was getting cold. It was so warm inside that I came back out, this time with my poor, overheating laptop for company. In those five minutes, late dusk has become full night.

It's been another still, sweltering day. Tucked away up here, it's not too bad, but I ventured out in search of fresh fruit and vegetables this afternoon. Down in the town centre, the streets smelt of traffic and dirt as if the pavements were sweating. Only the discovery of nice, plump peppers and sweet plums made it worth while (and, of course, two big plastic jugs to make iced tea in).

Later, I decided to venture out into the cool of the evening with my after-dinner glass of wine. I was planning to use the last of the light to read more about the Persian Wars. It was a beautiful evening, with the sky half-filled with soft, watermark blue clouds and half golden with the sunset. It was the sort of sky you half-think you could reach out and smudge with your hand.

As I was reading, I realised that the flicker I could see in the corner of my eye wasn't the security lamp on the side of the Conservative Club. It was lightning, so far away that I couldn't hear thunder.

Even after it was too dark to read, I kept watching it. No one else seemed aware of it. I could hear laughter and the clatter of plates from one of the neighbouring flats. A woman in high heels walked across the empty car park below. The man two doors down came out onto his patio and started pruning his hanging baskets.

I was the only one watching patches of the sky silently turn gold and silver.

The lightning has faded now, and I really am going inside, because there are suddenly specks of rain on my screen.

Edit: Hurrah for dancing in torrential rain! In the dark! *goes to find a towel*
rosiphelee: (Default)
It's not very often fantasy writers get to walk the ground their stories are set in. Yesterday I did just that. My Hawthorn story begins in London. Unfortunately, all my research led me to the conclusion that it had to start in Westminster. I barely know that end of London. I'd had been confident writing anything set in the West End or Holborn or even the City. I haven't been to Westminster for years and I've spent the last few days with maps spread out around me as I write. Even Google Earth, wondrous as it is, couldn't tell me all I needed to know, so Mum and I thought we'd go up sometime next week.

Yesterday we were supposed to be going to Portsmouth for shopping and to climb the Spinnaker tower and see the views over the Solent. However, when I woke up it was -2° (about as cold as it gets over here) and was forecast to stay that way, even on the coast. So, at the last minute, we decided to go to London instead.

Yup, another of those entries which starts with a map )


rosiphelee: (Default)

February 2012



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