Thursday. Day 4 of the half term week and it’s STILL raining. The poor peregrine chicks atop the NTU building in Nottingham look very bedraggled and totally fed up. My cat refuses to leave the house. Even the hamster seems depressed. It’s incredible how the weather, one of our favourite talking points, can influence our mood and it doesn’t seem to matter if we have skin, feathers or fur.
As a writer, this ‘moody’ weather can be useful for inspiration when creating a sense of place. Think of Wuthering Heights – would it have been so atmospheric if the weather was glorious? And I can’t think of many crime fiction novels where the murder takes place on a beautiful summer’s day. Fans of Sally Wainwright’s ‘Happy Valley’ will no doubt agree that part of the drama’s effectiveness is as a result of the dismal setting (and brilliant photography).
But as a mum, during half term, trying to stave off that dreaded purveyor of doom – boredom – the weather is, to be polite, unwelcome. As a mum who is a writer, it’s mixed blessings. I could make the most of it and write another murder scene. Or take my 11 year old to an exhibition (there are several in Nottingham) which would invite moans, unless it involved Xbox or (a new interest) Marvel comics. Or a movie, of which there is a never-ending supply, for a wad of cash, of which there is not said never ending supply.
Direct action is called for. Rally the troops – in my case my best friend and her children – and decide on a day in Matlock Bath. A kind of inland Skegness, without the beach. But it does day-trips very well; there are chip shops and slot machines galore, an aquarium (rather shabby now) with some interesting sea-creature-residents and a ‘petrifying well’ showing the effects of lime scale over time. I have no doubt that a bag of chips and a bag of 2p pieces will make for a happy day for our kids, which will, of course, mean a happy day for us parents. And I will, as usual, have my notebook on hand, for any interesting observations.
A K Foxwood 29.05.14