Some images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.
Image of me taken at a Swanwick Open Prose Mic Night taken by Penny Blackburn.
Other images taken by me, Allison Symes.
I think the least said about the weather recently, the better. Suffice it to say May felt more like a combination of March and April combined what with the strong winds and sudden showers. (And yes I still have the central heating on as I write this).
On a more positive note, and with more of the restrictions being eased, at least it does look as if there is going to be some sort of summer in terms of being able to get out and about.
My favourite aspects to summer are the longer, lighter evenings (always assuming the weather plays ball, which right now is looking doubtful!). I am fond of the smell of freshly mown grass, which I always associate with summer and I adore seeing roses out in bloom too. (One of the joys of taking Lady out for her walks is being able to admire other people’s gardens as I do so – and summer is the highlight for this).
Swanwick Writers’ Summer School
I hope to be back at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in August and am so looking forward to that. I am relishing meeting up with writer friends in person for the first time in almost two years (though some of us have had some fabulous Zoom meetings meantime) and going to a great selection of workshops in a lovely environment.
It’ll be my first trip on a train for a while too. (So looking forward to putting two books of mine in the Swanwick Book Shop as well this time. Last time it was only From Light to Dark and Back Again so it will be a joy to have Tripping the Flash Fantastic in there too!).
Spending the Summer
Have you had any thoughts on how to spend your summer?
I’m hoping to have a series of day trips out, rather than head north this year. (This is partly because we did manage to squeeze in a delayed holiday last year before another lockdown. What we didn’t get to do were our normal day trips to places such as Bridport, West Bay and the like. The dog missed those too!).
If you’re planning on getting away, have a wonderful time and keep safe.
Now do you go in for holiday reading at all?
I confess I don’t. I catch up (a bit) on what is already on my huge To Be Read pile. (That applies to my Kindle too. I have a separate To Be Read pile on there!).
Equally, do you have favourite books you have to read at certain times of year? One of mine is Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett which I always read towards the end of the summer as we approach harvest time. Highly recommend this book and I love the feisty Miss Flitworth in this.
Do you associate summer reading with “lightweight” books (in terms of types of plot)? I know what people mean when they talk about something being a good beach read. I must admit those are not my kind of stories though I am glad they give a major boost to the publishing industry.
I don’t know if it is the biggest one for publishers outside of the Christmas market but it would never surprise me if it was. And it gets people reading of course. I would far rather people did read one or two books when away rather than not read at all. And if it is the thought of a beach read that gets people reading, then fine.
Locally, I am looking forward to seeing how the wildflower meadow in Hiltingbury Recreation Ground comes up. Plenty of signs of life in there. I’m hoping we’ll have a vibrant display of colours again. It never fails to cheer me up seeing the flowers out in bloom like that. And it is a credit to all who look after it.
The Chameleons – Back in the Summer
And great news – I have seen on Facebook that The Chameleons are hoping to be back with us in July. So looking forward to seeing their wonderful shows again. (And it is more than time for another Chandler’s Ford Today “works outing” for Janet and I in my view!).
Writing Festivals – How DO you organise anything in a pandemic?
The writing festivals usually held in the summer are currently a mix of live and online events and I guess that is the sensible option. I suspect we won’t be “fully back to normal” until summer 2022 to be honest. I wonder how long it will take for people to get their confidence back up enough to go out and about again to events like this.
I have felt, and continue to feel, very sorry for anyone trying to plan any kind of event since things are still up in the air right now. Though, at least, things are heading in the right way which is more than what could be said a year ago.
As well as ongoing story submissions, I am currently editing a long term project which I hope to have done by the end of the summer. I then plan to draw up a list of publishers to approach with it and then get on and do so and see what happens.
I’m also giving another Zoom talk to a writing group at the end of July on flash fiction. Zoom talks have been great fun to both give and to attend as a guest and have proved a lifeline for writers trying to hold launches. Two of the talks I’ve given this year have been to Scottish writing groups, something of course Zoom makes possible. (Likewise the international writing summit I was part of back in March).
I don’t tend to have a “fallow” season during the summer months. I can understand why writers often will write more during the colder winter months but I try to keep up a fairly regular pace throughout the year, excepting high days, holidays, illness etc.
It has been wonderful getting back to Fleming Park and swimming again. I hope to keep that going during this summer. I’ve never been that keen on swimming in the sea. The Fleming Park pool water seems warm by comparison (and trust me it isn’t. I suspect this is a ploy to make people swim and get on with it! Certainly that ploy works for me).
Hopes for Summer
I would like to see a lot less negativity (especially in the media) and I would hope that as people do start to get out and about again, that will help things along in that department too. I would like to see this summer as the beginning of the Great Comeback – from what has been a truly awful year or so.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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