A day off from authoring and up to the mountains again

path  and haystacks
The gentle walk towards Haystacks

The weather has been wonderfully warm again ( for the Lake District anyway, even though London has been basking in the 30’s) and my heart gets drawn to the mountains once more.  Nothing quite like walking and clambering up a mountain with the sun on your back, the air clear and the visibility amazing. It’s not always easy to judge the right place to go to get the best of the sun in the Lake District because little areas seem to have their own weather system despite weather forecasters trying their best with predictions.

After analysing all the various forecasts, Buttermere seemed to be a good bet and having not been there for quite some time and my wife never having been there it seemed like a good plan. I grabbed my Wainwright book and map, plus lunch and water and we headed off. Found a place to park and set off towards Haystacks; Wainwrights favourite mountain  I believe. His ashes are scattered by Innominate Tarn, not far from the summit. Getting to Buttermere meant driving along the Honister Pass, which was very narrow and steep in places but passing through some wonderful scenery.

We were not the only ones taking advantage of the lovely weather, we encountered numerous people heading in both directions. We lingered over some bird spotting( my wife’s more recent passion) as we encountered some birds not spotted by my wife before. We did have binoculars but not a bird book, so I endeavoured to get some close-up photos to clarify the species when we got home. As we climbed higher we could see Buttermere and higher still Crummock water came into view, very beautiful scenery.

Several old mines are in the area and we came across a bothy, (it would have been nice to be like a  ‘hutte’ that we used several times in the Alps last year and had beer and strudel to refresh us.) It looked like just an old abandoned cottage but part of it had a roof and glass in the window. Inside there were things to assist backpackers like camp beds, stove, pots and pans, large bottles not sure what was inside, table and a little cuddly marmot on the window sill. It smelt heavily of smoke so maybe the chimney to the stove/fire wasn’t that brilliant. I wonder how many people know it’s there, it obviously gets used,  but it’s quite a good walk to get to it.

Buttermere Lake
Nearing the summit, looking back towards Buttermere and Crummock Water beyond.

We continued our climb and ended up around the back of Haystacks ( from our direction anyway) and then we came across some tarns. The second tarn turned out to be Blackbeck tarn and we had lunch beside it thinking it was innominate tarn. It was lovely anyway, glad to take a longer rest, eat and drink. Maybe kit-kats weren’t such a good idea on such a hot day. The water was by then warmish as well. The steady trickle of walkers in both directions continued as we tried to get comfortable on the grass leaning against rocks that could have been a bit smoother for our comfort. There was a good view of the amazing fells and mountains around us, most of which I tried to identify and turned to Wainwright’s book to help with the ones I didn’t know.

Tarn and sky reflections
The beautiful little Innominate Tarn near the summit. Very still and reflecting the lovely summer sky.

After a suitable break we headed off for the summit and then we came to the innominate tarn- strange name for a tarn, it means a tarn without a name! It was only minutes away from where we had been sitting. It was very calm and tranquil and the sky reflected in the water making a beautiful image.

As we clambered down the gravelly path and then back up to the summit we passed several people (and dogs) we had already greeted going past us, while we rested for lunch. The stone and gravel that the conservationists  put on the well-trodden paths to try and prevent erosion, can be lethal on occasions. ‘Bit like walking on marbles’, someone commented. It can be very slippery especially when going down. My wife managed to slip over 4 times in all, once was admittedly while she was focussing on a bird flying overhead.

The last little climb was more of a scramble to a very rocky/lumpy summit. In fact all of Haystacks looks very lumpy and rocky really. The view from the top was amazing. Views towards Ennerdale as well as Buttermere, Crummock and beyond, to the very far distant mountains of Scotland. Also views towards  Eel Crag near Derwent Water, Scafell Pike and other mountains. We could also make out tiny little, coloured specks of walkers on various summits or walking up and down various slopes.

The tricky bit was then finding the route back down, as we didn’t want to retrace our steps. We found a path but not the actual one I was hoping to use. It was very gravelly and rocky so coming down can be almost as tricky as climbing up…sometimes worse. The trek back down was certainly faster than the ascent and it was good to be walking on fairly level ground when we reached the path beside Buttermere. It is possible to walk all around the lake on a level path and it is very scenic walk…but not necessarily after walking up and down Haystacks, maybe another day.

 

 

British weather …always a good topic.

“A few drops of rain tapped against the window panes of the School Hall. It was a kind of polite tip-tapping as if the drops knew they ought not to be disturbing Mrs Thackray’s announcements. But before long, the polite drops had been replaced by a ruder sort and the gentle tapping became a hammering as rain lashed against the glass. Heads turned sideways to look. The rain turned to hail and the hammering gave way to a loud clacking noise like two thousand knitting needles were knitting a thousand jumpers. This got everyone’s attention, and for a short while, Mrs Thackray’s announcements were lost to the weather.”

ch: 7 Which Way Switch www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XXGWVQ8/

This was how the weather was described in ‘ Which Way Switch ‘ obviously after years of experience of it. Cumbria is a county which gets more than its fair share of rain I suppose but that too is the reason it is called the Lake District, lakes don’t appear from drought. It’s lovely when we do have a warm and dry period though. Last Saturday was an interesting day. Thunder, lightning, heavy rain, garden flooded in places and plants flattened… then it happened all over again later. How was a cricket fan supposed to keep up with the ODI with the TV not working too?

But on the upside…no watering of the plants to do.

 

Which Way Switch, One week on from launch.

I have become fascinated by the comings and goings or ups and downs of my book’s  status on amazon.co.uk Which Way Switch. I find myself looking far too frequently at its various positions in the top 100 of any category it fits into. Then I look at its overall performance amongst all the books on Amazon and it feels quite disheartening.

I need to remember why I wrote the book…it was for my own pleasure first and foremost- the fact that I can write and enjoy doing it. Hopefully, other people will enjoy what I write too; that is the reason I decided to publish as an ebook first, then move on to a paperback version. The other factor though is that is was aimed at 9 to 12 -year-olds and will they be trawling through Kindle store looking for their next good book to read? Will be their parents doing the searching on their behalf? I have found that the adults I know who have bought the book, enjoyed it too when I’ve had feedback. Thinking of other success stories e.g Harry Potter books (which were originally aimed at the younger reader ) what was it that made the breakthrough to all ages clamouring for those books? Will people start queuing outside bookstores for the latest novel from my series?  Do I really want that sort of fame and fortune? My initial thoughts are: not that much…at this time. Maybe later I might change my mind. But for now…I must try to continue with the sequel to Which Way Switch and try not to peek at the ratings too often. ( ooh it’s just crept back up to number 22 in the time travel section)

Maybe another cup of coffee will help or some cakey stuff. 

 

Which Way Switch cover image changes, what do you think?

The Original cover image without the changes and what a difference it makes.

Boy beside green glowing switch
original image by Sharon Cash the illustrator

The cover as revised by my publisher Matador.

Boy beside old fashioned light switch
Which way should the switch be …up or down?

So interesting what can be done with online editing. Can you always believe what you see in images these days? The Loch Ness monster could be made very believable. I love the slightly nervous, inquisitive, awestruck face of Lucas. He was soon to find out why he should be nervous !

 

 

Oh dear I seem to have made an error.

Apologies to all who have read the totally unfinished gobbly-de -gook  on here.It seems I may have inadvertently published this site before it was ready. Some of you may have already discovered this. I apologise for that and intend to do better. So don’t be put off …do come back another day. I really can read and write English in a coherent manner.

I can’t believe I did that.

The joys of not being a computer geek

Never realised the difficulties of trying to do things computer based when I don’t really understand what I’m doing.  5 minutes to set this up…no I’m afraid not , started on this journey yesterday and now it’s today. But thank goodness for good support teams I’m finally up and running.

 

Book Launch Day for Which Way Switch

So the day finally arrived and my debut children’s novel Which Way Switch was launched on the world, not exactly the QE2 but starting off as a dinghy with aspirations.

Old fashioned light switch with green glow          Book cover for Which Way Switch.

Lucas comes across an old light switch in his garage that he has never noticed before. It glows green and kind of invites him to flick it down. So he does, but does anything happen? Apparently not…so he puts it out of his mind. But next day…  

Excitement has meant  I could not concentrate on writing more of the sequel or prepping anything to do with my tutoring job. I was too busy hovering over Amazon website looking for anything remotely connected with the book. It was added as a hot new release and it made number 98 in top 100 new children’s books. I’ve not purchased a new villa in France yet tho…just in case. How long will this excitement and intense interest in its activity last I wonder? Does Michael Morpurgo still feel this intensity of emotion with his new books?

Now to await the book reviews, hoping each reader will consider leaving comments or reviews which will spur on the arrival of the sequel.

Meet Lucas an ordinary boy in an extraordinary situation

yellow grapefruit
What’s grapefruit got to do with it?

All he wanted to do was be a brilliant goalkeeper and to play for England, then he had his debut match as goalkeeper for Milnside School and it all went horribly wrong.

If only his little sister wasn’t so very annoying if only Jessica would take a bit more notice of him and not hang around with the awful bully Butch. If only he didn’t have to do maths tests or tidy his room. At least he has a best friend Archie to turn to and that’s a funny thing…I’ve never seen that switch in the garage before!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date for your diary

It has been a long journey but finally, I have a date for publication of my debut book ‘Which Way Switch’.  Lucas is finally being launched into the world.

Beware of any unusual switches you might come across!

Lucas is launched on the world

After several years writing and perfecting the book, several changes of title and revisions Lucas and his Green magic light switch otherwise known as the Which Way Switch is nearing its launch.