Autumn Review

Sheesh! There is nothing like announcing in the national press that you intend to complete the first draft of your current novel by the middle of October to guarantee coming a cropper. Ok, so the plans were scuppered by the arrival of the Big Project and whilst I’m still staying in touch with ‘Make, Do and Mend’, I’ve got to admit that its future is a bit dependent on whether the Big Project gets a thumbs up or a thumbs down (nooooo!). Following the completion of the BP, I’ve also taken some time out to catch up with family, which is no bad thing, and on Saturday A363 Advanced Creative Writing, my next OU course, officially begins. A215 was great for encouraging me to send more work out and try different genres (still flushed with success here after my runner-up place in the ‘Ode to a Llama’ competition - eat your heart out, Ted Hughes. And I even got ‘banana’ in, as a rhyme) so I’m looking forwards to seeing what A363 brings.

Various Plots Available
Oh great! The berludy farmer opposite has torn up yet another stretch of agricultural land and put a construction fence around it. Well, that’ll bring the punters in as we try to sell our house, won’t it? It absolutely beats me that although there are empty plots within the village and houses of all denominations up for sale, the planning authorities seem happy to stand by as this beautiful, precious land on the coastal fringe is torn up and paved over. The trouble is it’s happening all over west Wales so the likelihood of Tom and I finding ‘somewhere remote’ round here is also becoming less likely. Look closely at that cottage standing by itself and you’ll find that some clown is planning to build all round it. Houses we need, but not just anywhere or at any price. There’s no shop, pub, school or decent transport links in our village, for example, its attraction lies in its location and sometimes feels as if one or two people are determined to ruin even that. Not far from us, further up the coast, is a business park with no business, a spanking new road to nowhere and a new improved airport strip – all eerily empty.

Cardiff Half Marathon Preparation
With only ten days to go to the Cardiff Half Marathon, I’m keeping everything crossed that nothing will go wrong. Apart from the odd dog bite, one nasty outbreak of runner’s trots and a touch of back trouble, training – 269 miles of it so far - has gone more or less according to plan. I’ve just completed my longest week of the schedule, so now I’m gradually winding down to race day. My number’s 6668 (at least it’s not 666!) and you can see the route here.

From Saturday 17 October, Tom will be exhibiting a selection of his work along with other artists in Tonnau, Sea Gallery’s, Autumn Exhibition. Tonnau, at Pwlheli, approached Tom, after seeing his work online which is great, but I’m also really proud of Tom for conducting all of the correspondence in Welsh. Do take a look if you’re passing.

Painting is 'Aberporth' by Tom Tomos


Tattie Weasle said…
Just had a glorious catch up - why does it alays strike me to do that when I have a deadline coming up? Good Luck with Cardiff and crossing fingers for the writing!
pinkfairygran said…
When we first moved here, at the back was nothing but fields, with all manner of wild life, and tucked inside a copse of fir trees, an old farmhouse. We knew that planning permission had been granted for this piece of land, and although it tarnished our glee at finding this little house, we went ahead. Visions of run down estates, yobs, all night parties, druggies all came to mind, but in fact, it is a lovely estate - well, as estates go - beautifully landscaped, a variety of housing sizes, and inhabitants also from young singles to elderly couples. There is a neighbourhood watch scheme, and very little noise, even in the height of summer. Shame the views gone though!
Good luck with the marathon and the writing course, rather you than me on both those!
Elizabethd said…
So sad to see beautiful countryside eaten up by developers.
LittleBrownDog said…
Oh, Chris - I'm so cross on your behalf about that farmer! It's absolutely unbelievable that he's doing what he's doing. Would it be worth a call to the planners asking to see his plans (if they exist) and pointing out that you don't remember being consulted? Hard to believe anyone's building speculatively in this market, but I guess there's always one (although shame it has to be right across the road from you).

Still have everything crossed and double crossed re the PB. I'm sure it's only a matter of time. And you probably didn't say which October in your press piece, so that lets you off the hook in my book.

Good luck for the Cardiff half. Will be rooting for you.

Would absolutely love to see your Ode to a Llama. Please put it up. Pleeeeeeeeeease! (And I don't believe we've heard your Ma's appraisal of the horizontal jogging passages yet...)
Pipany said…
I hate the way the beautiful places are being torn up too Chris. So short sighted and typical of the think now, regret nature of today's world (gawd I sound about a hundred!!!). Lovely to catch up on your 'doings'. Hope the writing flows for you xx
DOT said…
You are making me feel very inadequate. (Not a first, I have to say.)

Congratulations to you for sticking to your punishing running schedule - I too used to run long distance. And congrats to Tom for the exhibition invite.
Preseli Mags said…
Ooh! I haven't had my number yet. It's all getting a bit close.

Shame about the building plots. My Dad knows who you feel. He lives directly above Milford Marina and used to be able to see the boats...

There are still remote places though. Come over for a coffee and I'll show you one!
mountainear said…
Good to catch up - you have been busy.

I'd get very cross about the development too - once that land is built on it's gone forever. As you say there are plenty of places vacant and on the market already. Sigh. Growl.

Best of luck with the build up to the marathon - and the race itself of course. x
Milla said…
you and me both on farmers and fields and bloody houses. SO DEPRESSING. Good luck with the half marathon, you mad thing, you.
Debs said…
What a swine building opposite your house like that. The farmer opposite us has two massive sheds - try getting planning permission for a small lean-to if you're not a farmer over here... - and over one weekend extended one of them. We've now therefore lost our view of Corbiere lighthouse, so I'm not impressed. Grr.

Best of luck to Tom, I'm still planning on buying one of his photos - and the whole family know about this - but seem to have so many things to fork out for at the moment.
her at home said…
When we livedin OZ we travelled up teh coast of Queensland and happenned across in the middle of nowhere a small paved tarmaced street lit estate all laid out by a beautiful beach but no houses. Bizzarre! Apparently the council had built the roads and installed lighting only to find no one was interested in living there. it was very strange but re-inforces what you fear about councils having no forward planning I suspect!
Calico Kate said…
Good luck with the A363 I am decidedly worried about the A125!
Would love to read Ode to a Llama, eating his banana?
Planners are my worstest nightmare (Close second is A125!)and I so agree with you - don't think it is just Wales though, Scotland has its share of disappearing land to silly dead end estates in suburban non venacular house styles ....... will get off soap box NOW!!
Anonymous said…
Good luck with the Cardiff half-marathon. I'll be doing the Aviemore half-marathon that weekend.
Lane said…
These planning laws (out laws) are crazy.

Good luck with BP and with your new course and your draft (phew - feel tired just typing that). Not to mention your training!
Edward said…
Good luck with everything, particularly the HM. Course looks good - I just hope the weather's kind to you. And as for the farmers and their crop of houses - a pox on them!
elizabethm said…
I'm with LBD - ring the planners, make a fuss! Mind you I say this but am always the last to do it myself. sometimes I can get Ian to do it!
Best of luck with the BP, marathon and the course. You don't sit around do you? There is plenty of empty land and isolated houses up here too!
ChrisH said…
Tattie, ah that is the procrastinating power of the deadline - then you really have to work like a mad eejit to reach it!

Pfg, thanks for the reassurance. I think what irks us is that we are in danger of living in a place that's becoming more suburban than the 'suburbs' we left. At least we were tucked away on the edge of the Downs there.

Elizabethd, well, especially when there's allocated space available - it's just so unnecessary.

LBD, ours, it seems round here, is not to wonder at the blunders the planners perform. There's no comparison between what the plans are supposed to be and what actually happens. What seems, as an outsider, to me to be wanton destruction of the countryside is apparently quite acceptable if you know the right people. And good point about which October - genius - I shall hang on to that thought - will do a quick ps next week with Ode to Llama and Ma's reaction.

Pip, I know - it's hard for me not to come across as a nimby or mimfy in this case, or a grumpy old woman, but really!!

DOT, welcome, phew, no need to feel inadequate on my account. You're right about the schedule 'though, I'm now at the stage where I'm tired and apprehensive so just hope it goes ok now. Thanks for your good wishes.

Mags, hope you've got your number now. Gosh, Milford's unrecognisable now, I feel for your dad. And when you're in there on a boat it feels as if you've just fetched up in the middle of a housing estate.

Mountainear, thanks for your good wishes and for sharing my frustration - it really does my head in when there is plenty of land within the permitted development.
ChrisH said…
Milla, sorry to rub salt in the wound. It is very depressing though. Thanks for your good wishes.

Debs, how utterly berludy annoying for you. I mean who wants to look at lighthouse when you can look at crappy shed instead? Sorry, have still not picked up award. As for paintings - with son off to Uni you have plenty to spend your money on already!

HAH, yep, that just about sums up what happens here - like the business park with no business. Grrr!

Captain Black - thanks but your sounds er hilly so I think I'm probably better off in Cardiff (famous last words). Good luck to you too!

Kate, I was thinking of you and hoping your introductory day had gone well and that you feel a bit less apprehensive now. Stay on the soapbox - perhaps we should all get on it!

Lane, thanks. I'm feeling weary today myself! I think I've run myself out and feel a bit rubbishy on the writing front too.

Edward, thanks - I think it should, hopefully, be better than the lashing rain and hailstones of the LLanelli half!

Elizabethm, no one has ever listened to us when we've done it before and our previous protest letter got published in the local paper without our say-so. I don't think they're on our side. Thanks. Only consideration on new area front is proximity to Aged Ps these days.
muddyboots said…
the building thing happens here too, our village is still pretty small, development happening in the 70's thanks to the nature of the soil, wet & boggy, but the next village has changed beyond recognition, housing estates popping up like mushrooms
Cottage Garden said…
Good luck Chris with your new course and congratulations to Tom with his forthcoming exhibition.

Its a sad sign of the times that our beautiful countryside is being eaten up by motorways, housing developments and out of town shopping centres. It really does make me mad! In our neck of the woods there are those dreaded planning signs posted everywhere about various plots of land surrounding our village, up for development. We are petitioning and hoping it won't happen but who knows, they usually get their way don't they.... sorry about the rant!

Jeanne x
Flowerpot said…
good luck with everything Chris!
gaelikaa said…
Well, Chris I'm sure everything will go great for you. Sometimes everything just seems to come at once. The house selling, the BP, Make and Make do, it will all go well, I'm sure. Good luck with the marathon training and Tom's exhibition. Perhaps one day, if I get to pass through Wales, I can drop in to one of his exhibitions - now that would be brilliant!
I know how cross I would be if those things happenings in my lovely countryside.

Best wishes with marathon and writing projects

ChrisH said…
Muddyboots, I now learn that we are to have three houses opposite us, despite the fact that only outline planning permission (from way back when) has been granted so far.

Jeanne, rant away - we've done our best to stop building outside the village boundary but the powers that be seem determined to ruin the coastal strip.

Fp, thanks m'dear - is it good to be back after your hols?

BSM, it does make me cross but, hey, as I keep telling myself I live in a lovely home in a lovely part of the world so really I shouldn't be complaining at all. Thanks.

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