Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Chapters Thirteen and Fourteen – More about Murphy, Kate has a run-in

Chapter 13

This is a chapter in which Murphy’s character comes to the fore – he is gentle, smart and resourceful and he is soon the centre of the girls’ world. Schools starts, and Kate has a vehicular run-in with Marcus Moriarty. Kate is left with a lot of mud on her face.

Chapter 14

Nick returns from another photo-assignment and he’s brought a gift for the family to coincide with Murphy’s arrival – their first video camera.

6½ pages : 1880 words

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Chapter Twelve – Murphy settles in

Chapter 12

Murphy settles into life with his new family and he appears to be extremely happy in his new home. Murphy is very inquisitive and intelligent but one thing the Joshuas notice is that Murphy is very wary of water – this endears him to Bella who empathises with his fear of water.

Even though Murphy has settled he will not eat regular dog food. Kate phones the RSPCA and she is told that they forgot to tell them that Spike/Murphy appears to be vegetarian. The Joshuas are surprised that there are 'vegetarian' dogs and they investigate their vegetarian options.

It is the last weekend before the girls start their new school and the whole weekend is based around their family member, Murphy.

4½ pages : 1260 words

Monday, 29 December 2008

Chapter Eleven – Bella chooses Spike, who becomes...Murphy

Chapter 11 begins with the Joshuas, and especially the children, waiting impatiently for a decision from the RSPCA. Finally Nick is exhorted by the girls to phone the RSPCA who in fact were about to phone Spike had gone missing. But suddenly he had turned up again and Joshuas were welcome to come and collect him.
They speed to York and collect Spike. Bella realises that the dog does not respond to the name Spike and so everyone chips in with a name. But Bella suddenly says that his name is Murphy and the dog reacts positively. They head home and Murphy is acquainted with his new home.

2½ pages : 575 words

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas: Chapter Eight, Nine and Ten – Break down, Julia’s revelation, Bella’s Birthday

Well, this has been 10 days to remember – Mrs R, IS and ES have all been suffering from flu for some days. Between the three of our girls they’ve missed 11 days of school.

In between, we had two heavy snowfalls – the second fall resulted in five days of sheet ice and the worst driving conditions that I can recall in this country.

Worst of all, we were due to make the long trek south to Hove before my mother’s 80th Birthday, but illness prevented us leaving the house. Ho-bloody-hum!

Happy Christmas to all my readers!

Back to the novel.......
Chapter 8 concludes with the family returning to Beckside House; on the way home there is an involved and animated conversation about getting a pet – which pet, how many pets, what colour - is punctured by the car breaking down.

Chapter 9 has the Joshua family getting more integrated in village life. Nick has to go on a photo-assignment in West Yorkshire, and Kate takes the girls to visit Julia. Julia goes into a diatribe about her life in the Church, but it’s all finding members of the village who will swell the meagre numbers who go to the Church - and Kate, who likes Julia a lot, has put to put their cards on the table.
It is also time for the Joshuas to prepare for their girls to go to school. Hughesy, a postman, who delivers oppose at any time of day and night, arrive is and joins in the burgeoning conversation about pets.

Chapter 10 is long and important one. It is Bella’s birthday and presents are being opened. But there is one final gift which Nick and Kate tell Bella about – they will go to the RSPCA in York and Bella will choose a pet.
Within the hour they are in the car and heading south to York. The Joshuas receive an informative welcome but their feelings turn to anguish as they see the large number of dogs who are caged and yelping and barking – these are all unwanted dogs who desperately need an owner. But they haven’t come for a dog – of course Bella is dog-phobic – and they are directed to the small reptiles and small mammals department where the choices are between....a tortoise, two rats and two African snails. The family go to a local cafĂ© to make a family decision.
After lunch they return to the RSPCA and have a family vote in the garden. But Bella has wandered off. She is attracted by a dog in a compound on its own. The next thing the family notices is that Bell is missing and they find her talking to this dog: they are astonished. They are even more astonished when they see Bella stroking the dog and she finally tells them that this is the pet that she wants!
The Joshuas are then house-checked by an RSPCA agent and they wait impatiently for the decision.

12 pages : 3680 words

Friday, 12 December 2008

Chapter Eight – First visit to the coast

Kate and Nick break the torpor by suggesting a visit to the coast/sea. With an early start they bundle excitedly into the car and head over the moors – it’s spring and the Moors are beginning to recover after the ravages of winter. The Moors look immutably grand and rugged, and everyone’s enthralled by the scenery en route to the coast.

Once at Robin Hood’s Bay the beach is stunning and populated by dogs and their owners and a few walkers. It is here that we discover that Bella dislikes dogs – she was bitten by one when she was 3 years old – so this could be a precarious outing.

Nevertheless, Kate keeps a close eye on Bella who begins to relax on the beach whilst the other girls roam wildly and enjoy rock-pooling. However, it happens to be Bella’s misfortune that she is the one who is blindsided by a large dog and sent flying, landing in the wet sand. Bella is tearful in the sand...until a kindly old Irishman, Francis, comes to her rescue. Kate mistakenly thinks that the miscreant dog belongs to Francis and launches a tirade at him.

Once Bella recovers and the true dog-owner apologises, Nick turns to apologise to Francis...but he has gone!

5½ pages : 1570 words

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Chapter Seven – Plans revised

For the first time Kate is crestfallen at the prospects of living at Beckside House, in the village and Yorkshire. Nick and Kate have to re-evaluate their plans for their house. Perhaps they’ll look for alternative builders; in the meantime they’ll start some DIY themselves.

Kate is starting to feel hemmed in by village life – the same characters day after day, the house will remain in limbo for months and they have no old friends to commune with.

Something’s got to give!

3 pages : 920 words

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Chapter Seven – High hopes....dashed

The next day is a new day and a very hopeful day as a counterpoint to the previous day’s close encounter....

The 3 Hardstaff brothers – local builders extraordinaire – pay their first visit to Beckside House to discuss the proposed renovation work. Nick and Kate are very welcoming to the Hardstaffs and expansive and enthusiastic: the Hardstaffs in turn are taciturn, if not a touch suspicious, and quite uncommunicative. The meeting and tour of the house is progressively hard work for Nick and Kate, but they are buoyed when Raymond Hardstaff, the eldest brother, decides that they will be able to carry out just about everything the Joshuas want. Nick and Kate are delighted...until Raymond then tells them that they’ll be able to start on Beckside in about 8-9 months!

Kate particularly is deflated at the thought of waiting all that time and having to live in their ramshackle abode.

4 pages : 1050 words

Monday, 8 December 2008

Chapter Six – Nick trespasses

Nick presses on with his camera at hand to snap landscapes and wildlife. He gets carried away by the availability of wonderful photography and he barely notices as the sky whitens and then snow starts to fall. He feels that he is losing his geographical bearings....and he comes face-to-face with a gamekeeper (Herman and his dog Blackie) with attitude and a gun.

Nick is told in stark terms that he is trespassing and he is directed home along the barrel of a shotgun. Nick trudges home as the snow begins to settle and fall more heavily.

As he reaches home, snowcovered and bedraggled, Nick meets Hughesy the postman who reveals the identity of Herman – gamekeeper to Marcus Moriarty, the local bigwig!

4 pages : 1070 words

Friday, 5 December 2008

Chapter Six – The wonders of nature

After meeting their aged and deaf neighbour Mavis and some of her cats, Nick and Kate go for a local investigative walk with the girls out of the village and up towards the Moors. This is equally revelatory for Kate and Nick, and the girls – so much wildlife to spot in such stunning and varied surroundings.

Their walk has been wonderful but it’s nearing tea-time in the story and IN FACT so I had to leave the story in mid-chapter as....Kate takes the girls back home whilst Nick decides to flex his professional (photographic) muscles by pushing on northwards as the weather suddenly takes a turn....

2½ pages : 530 words

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Chapter Five – Simon and Simon to the rescue

After 3 days in Beckside House, the extent of the work needed on the house really hits Kate and Nick hard – and there are electrical and plumbing issues that are URGENT. However, this is not London; a plumber and electrician in an emergency are promptly and personally recommended and...they, Simon and Simon, turn up within the day, much to the Joshuas’ gratification.

The work is done efficiently and well and...the bills are certainly not London prices. Things start to look up.

3½ pages : 870 words

Monday, 1 December 2008

Chapter Four – The village hub

After reading the Rev Julia’s letter, the family spend the rest of the day getting to know (the state of) their house – it’s falling apart and not working, it smells, the shower and some electrics don’t work and there are no locks at all.

To distract the girls (and themselves) from the task ahead, Kate and Nick take the girls for a walk round the village and end up at the hub of the village – Much Bickering Stores. This is a veritable treasure trove of provisions run by a welcoming couple. On the way back they meet the nosiest of neighbours.

4 pages : 2000 words