I've been up the mountain in Wales since Tuesday. The weather's been great but I have to say I've spent most of the time indoors - with the window wide open, I hasten to say - as I'm working really, really hard on the novel. I was very frustrated with it when I got here: I had been stuck for about four days on a particular section, which I must say I had thought pretty perfect in the last version of the book! I had decided that I needed to dramatize the scenes in it much more, but as soon as I began doing so, a different slant to the story began emerging, and I began to see possibilities and connections I hadn't seen before - I guess this is what people mean when they say that their characters take over from them. It wasn't gelling, though, and I was getting pretty fed up with it.
Usually when we get here, as soon as we've dumped our bags I want to rush straight down the mountain to sea - I was born by the sea, and setting foot on the beach is always like a coming home - but for once, this time, I didn't want to: I was just too involved with my novel (and quite frankly I even appear to have lost much desire to go out at all!) As soon as we got here I laid my papers out just as I'd had them laid out in Manchester (it was quite traumatic having to pick them up from there for travel) and all I wanted to do then was go for a wander near the house and come back and have a quick supper and get to bed and get on with the novel again early next day. So that's what we did, and saw the badger in the pic above.
At first I thought it was a rabbit - I saw a movement which disappeared, and thought no more about it. Then as I got closer to the place where it was, it emerged, and I saw it might be a badger but I wasn't sure. We crept closer, and it went on grazing, moving towards us, turning away so that we still couldn't see it properly, until finally, as we crept up towards it it turned towards us and we saw its striped face and I snapped.
And next day I cracked that section of the novel and afterwards I thought how like stalking that badger writing it had been: new aspects suddenly showing themselves, then seeming not to fit after all, then emerging again, and finally, as I circled around them, coming into focus.