Managed to act like normal citizens of Surrey today and actually went to the Epiphany service at Shackleford. Which had rather more people than usual due to the terribly unfortunate incident of the sister church in Peper Harow experiencing a rather large fire on Christmas Eve. They're apparently looking for people who left quickly after the Carol Service on the Sunday. Um, that would be Lord H and myself then ... We're hoping that Shackleford Church isn't a shadow of its former self by this time tomorrow, or we may indeed have to flee the country. You heard it here first.
That said, I am actually quite sad about Peper Harow Church. It's a lovely old building, but it's going to take about two years to get it back to anything like it was before. Such a shame, whether or not one is religious - these buildings are part of our culture and history, more than anything. Still, there is a part of me that's keeping a distance from the whole thing; I really don't want to get involved in the way I was before.
Anyway, back to the Epiphany service at Shackleford - which was very enjoyable indeed. Once I'd found the right pitch, I was fine from the second hymn onwards. But I missed my note in the first hymn and after that, m'dears, there's really no hope of finding it again until the next attempt. In that respect, my hymn singing is much like my parking abilities; if I fail first time, I simply must move on. If only for the sake of those around me. The sermon wasn't bad either - the vicar took the story of the wise men returning home "by another route" and made it a plea for us all to be prepared to be changed by our experiences and be more open to what they might be trying to tell us. Wise words, I thought.
And taking them at face value, Lord H and I did indeed return home by another route, though more in the practical than the spiritual sense; we had a quick detour to Alton in search of the mythical hoopoe which is currently living there, hoping that at Epiphany it might manifest itself at last. Ho ho. It didn't. Though we did find a fair amount of weeping birdwatchers peering hopefully through bushes and groaning. And there were some nice chaffinches, blue tits, great tits, coal tits and some lapwings. But my attempts to point these lesser birds out to the general populace didn't go down too well with the hoopoe-obsessed brigade. I fear I may well wake tonight with a lapwing head on my pillow. Still, at least it'll save making breakfast.
For the rest of the day, I've been editing Luther's Ambassadors for Goldenford. Some great twists and links in there - I really love it. If you're a fan of the historical novel (with just a breath of fantasy), then don't miss out. It's a gem.
Tonight, I shall ring Mother and attempt to sound normal. After which, I'm planning to video "Sense & Sensibility Part Two" and watch "Foyle's War" on TV with Lord H. Ideal Sunday viewing really.
Oh, and I've actually been contacted again by my agent telling me that he's hoping to get the edits of The Gifting to me sometime tomorrow. Tomorrow! Ye gods! What the hell do I do now?? I've been waiting for it for so long (since August - though to be fair the poor chap has been sick) that I think somewhere within I've actually discounted the whole thing. I can't even remember what the ruddy book is about now. It's almost as if I never wrote it at all, sigh. I'm also suffering from the inevitable Writers' Panic at the fact that the agent has called it "enjoyable" and "interesting", but nothing more. Which, to me, equates roughly to "bland" and "oh God, what word can I dredge up to make my client feel better without causing her to jump off the nearest cliff?" I fear the worst, people. Perhaps I should rewrite my 125,000 words of gay fantasy into a nice snippy little romantic comedy? Or even a haiku? Further deep sighing, not unmixed with a few panicky tears ...
Talking of haikus, this week's effort(recycled from yesterday's blog but, hey, nobody's perfect ...):
Salt spices my tongue;
the cry of wild birds, keening;
The smell of the sea.
Today's nice things:
1. Church - unusually
2. Not seeing a hoopoe - hell it was fun even to get out
3. Haikus - even if they come from novels ...
Some website or other - hell, who knows ...