Dragons In The Ferns (With Bonus Ducks)

Dragons In The Ferns (With Bonus Ducks)

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.

(c) Miriam Joy 2014
(c) Miriam Joy 2014

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.

(c) Miriam Joy 2014
(c) Miriam Joy 2014

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMother 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.

(c) Miriam Joy 2014
(c) Miriam Joy 2014

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAgain, 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…

(c) Miriam Joy 2014
(c) Miriam Joy 2014

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.

WIN_20140724_133358Finally, 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?

6 thoughts on “Dragons In The Ferns (With Bonus Ducks)

  1. Yay for photography! And yay for adorable ducks! It sucks that your joints bothered you, though. That part doesn’t sound like a very fun vacation.

    Also, yay to meeting up with beta readers! (And yay for adorable fluffy-haired pictures of you frolicking in the river. xD)

    I worked in the 4-H office at the county fair all this past week… and even before that. So I haven’t done anything super-interesting. But in a few weeks, I think my family is going to take a road trip which we haven’t done in AGES. (I think the last time was the summer after my kindergarten year? So I was probably almost 7.) Not sure about all the states we’re going to, but I know Iowa, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming are definitely on the list.

    1. I would say that sounds like fun, but I’m not a big fan of car journeys and our car doesn’t have air con (because it broke), so I’m not sure that’d be my cup of tea. But I hope you enjoy yourselves. :)

      I am very fluffy. At all times. Always fluffy.

      1. Yeah, I’m not thrilled about all the driving we’ll have to do. -_- I don’t particularly like flying either, but at least it’s over pretty quickly, provided we stay within the “lower 48” states! (Which we always have… I’ve traveled ALL OVER those states and the most foreign place I’ve ever been is Canada. xD)

        Fluffy like a soft baby duck?

  2. Sounds like it was a pretty awesome holiday. XD I’m always reminded of my incredible love of WiFi whenever we go bush camping or something…absence makes the heart grow fonder or something? Pfft. I already KKNOW I’m fond of the internet and it’s wonders.
    I’m glad you didn’t fall in. ;) And…um…*coughs* I don’t particularly like ducks. I JUST DON’T LIKE BIRDS IN GENERAL, OKAY?? I have very traumatic bird-experience stories, including me getting attacked when I was little (by kookaburras not ducks, but hey, same basic thing. They have feathers and malicious intentions) and since then I’ve never liked birds.
    I do like holidays, though. Non-stressful holidays. Haven’t had one in ages.
    That’s awesome you met up with Tori, too! YAY FOR REAL-LIFE BETAS. Next trip come to Australia, right? Right?! Such a fantastic plan….I promise we have ducks in Australia. *nods*

    1. You may have ducks in Australia but you also have massive spiders and I have, like, a ridiculously huge phobia of spiders. Why don’t you come here instead? It is quite small and rains a lot but there are fewer animals that want you dead.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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