Taken in Winter '08, looking over the garden of our house in Somerset and the hills behind.

Here I sit on a cold winter day in Somerset. The sun, which in winter never gets very high above the hills, has lowered behind them again. The clouds in the southwest are a wonderful pale soufflé-orange tinged with wintry blue at the top and – oh – the sky is now dropping crumbs of snow onto the cold flagstones of our patio, and the frozen pond.

Many other parts of Britain have already seen snow, which makes me more hopeful for a White Christmas. It would be nice, wouldn’t it?

It’s been a while since I updated this blog, so here’s a run down of what’s new.

My dad recently retired, and my immediate family (that is, my mum, my dad, my sister and I) has now relocated to a hamlet called Blackmoor which sits at the feet of the Blackdown Hills. The countryside round here is stunning, and since I’ve always found landscapes inspiring, I find that it nurtures my motivation to write on an almost daily basis.

I also accepted a job offer this week, and I’ll be starting a part time job at Waitrose, a supermarket chain owned by the John Lewis Partnership, in January. Being unemployed has not been boring, because over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time both writing and working on a dressmaking project, at the same time as jobhunting. But I feel relief at knowing I’m out of the woods. It’ll be nice to earn money again. Also, my hours are fantastic, and will allow me time to write in the late afternoon. Success!

I’m working on the first draft of a novel. The novel. The one I’ve been charting on and off in this blog for a few months now. Something for the writer’s confessional: about two weeks ago I was ready to pack it in, convinced that there was no point in finishing a first draft which has become so wildly different to what it started as. For instance, whole characters might have to be excised or relocated in the second draft. Whole settings, scenes and conversations. We’re talking about renovations on the grand scale. I feel especially guilty about one of my former main protagonists, who in plot terms has become slightly redundant.

The long and short is that I might have to cut her completely! But isn’t that a more definitive, honest way of writing than orphaning my first draft and its protagonists and starting afresh? If I did that now I’d be back at square one. I’d be kidding myself if I thought that it would be any easier to chuck out all of the very real progress I’ve made and start from the beginning.