I’m back from my holiday in Derbyshire, where I was reminded of my complete dependance on WiFi by the utter lack of it. Not sure if the North of England just doesn’t go in for publicly accessibly WiFi or if we were simply unlucky, but man, am I glad to be home. It didn’t help that Pepper, my newly acquired tablet, decided not to connect to the only internet access we did find — my experiences of the Surface 2 have so far been somewhat mixed, and no doubt I’ll be blogging about that soon.
For me, this holiday wasn’t a complete success. I enjoyed myself, my tan got darker, and I read a few books as well as getting a good chunk of my own novel written, mostly because I was exiled from the internet and all its myriad distractions. I also had a chance to see a couple of films: One Day and Shakespeare In Love. The parentals has impeccable timing and came home during the sex scenes in both films.
But as you’ll be aware, I’ve got problems with all my joints. My knees, ankles and hips aren’t exactly equipped for walking any sort of distance, and they hate hills … making the Peak District a fairly illogical place to go on holiday. So the one walk we went on that was actually substantial left me in severe pain and feeling thoroughly miserable as a result.
Let’s not dwell on the negatives, though. I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos, since I took a lot, as I habitually do.
This picture prompted me to realise that ferns actually look a lot like dragons, with a curved snout, horns, and wings stretching out on either side. Look at it: it’s a little ferny dragon. But I also love how the focus is on the fern in the foreground while the others are blurred, making the dragon even more obvious.
Dragon ferns. You heard it here first.
Also, if you click through to the full-size image, you can see spiderwebs criss-crossing the plant, which adds another level of detail and makes me look like a better photographer than I actually am.
This is a photo I’m really proud of, because I’ve never managed to capture a butterfly so clearly. I’ve actually got two of the same butterfly, one from the front, but I like this one more because of the detail you can see on the stones in the foreground, as well as the contrast of the butterfly with the metal. It’s an old, disused watermill that’s fallen into ruins, and yet it’s still got this spark of life.
Plus, I love how the butterfly is the only speck of colour, really.
This intense selfie shows me in a river with a waterfall in the background — something that occurred more than once on the holiday, mostly because my aching feet tended to hurt more when they were warm, and it was incredibly hot the whole week. As a result, I tended to put them in the icy cold water whenever possible, and wander around barefoot in the rivers until they cooled down sufficiently to stop hurting. It was like a very effective icepack.
I like this picture because it proves that I do actually leave the house, even if I’m still looking somewhat vampiric with my pale skin.
Mother Person took this picture of me frolicking in the river. I was actually attempting to balance on rather unsteady rocks, but at the moment she caught me, I look like I was frolicking. It’s a great picture, because you can see my Captain America tshirt more clearly. Elsewhere, the river was far deeper than pictured here — I had no spare clothes and no towel with me, and I was terribly afraid of falling in.
But fortunately, I didn’t.
These ducks appeared to be queuing for a baked potato. I love ducks — we saw a lot of them over the course of the week, and I photographed quite a few. I actually ended up sending a text to Tori, one of my internet friends / beta readers, to the effect of: “Proof I’m not a Herondale: I really like ducks.”
Because they’re adorable, and I don’t understand how people can not like them.
Again, this was a picture that Mother Person took of me in a different river near a different waterfall, but I like it: partly because of how I’m framed by the leaves, even though they’re blocking the waterfall, and partly because of my knee supports. Even though they look kind of silly, I didn’t want to take them off for the picture, because that would erase one of the things that shaped this holiday and my enjoyment of it.
It also meant I was afraid to wade too deep because wet knee supports would be very uncomfortable…
I took a lot of pictures of this pair of ducklings and their mother, but this is one of my favourites. They move astonishingly fast — I didn’t realise how quickly ducks can swim, and they had help from the wind to push them along in the water — and I love how the babies are zooming ahead of their mother like excitable children.
Ducklings, man. They’re so freaking cute.
Finally, this post wouldn’t be complete without a quick summary of what happened when I met up with Tori, the aforementioned friend and beta reader. It was the first time we’d met in real life and was planned only the day before it actually happened, upon realising that we were staying fairly near where she lived. We met up in a cafe and talked about writing and characters and redemption arcs, and then we moved to a park and talked about sexuality and identity and faith and all sorts of things.
(Well, I say we. Tori, left, and I, centre, talked about these things, while Natalie, right, mostly just listened, unable to contribute to the conversation because she neither writes novels nor knows a great deal about the things we write. But she said she had a good time.)
The time seemed to pass ever so quickly and it felt like we were hardly there any time, but actually it was several hours. It was definitely one of the highlights of the week for me, just lying on the grass in the park and talking about all sorts of things while the parentals went off somewhere on one of their walks, and I wished it could have lasted longer.
So that gives you a brief idea of how I spent the week. What about you? Have you been away recently?