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Today I’ve spent about three hours in our garden picking soft fruits. Well, ok, it used to be our garden, now it is our son’s garden because he’s bought the house from us and we have moved into a beautiful bungalow just down the road. Thing is, Tim now owns a garden that produces fruit like the dickens (as my dad would have said), carefully nurtured by my other half  but there is so much produce there is no way Tim and his partner can use it all. And I very plaintively said to Tim that I missed being able to have the fruit but more than that I missed the picking of it. So he graciously gave me permission to help myself, as long as I picked some for them too. Deal!

So this afternoon, clad in protective gear – thick socks and shoes, trousers, fleece and a sun hat and went to face the jungle that used to be our garden. The protective clothing necessary because of the nettles and weeds that have been allowed to grow and against the prickly raspberry branches that are not now kept under control – not to mention hidden dips in the ground covered over by the very long grass. I grant you I was very hot under all that, and I still managed to get stung. But as I picked, the magic started, for it is in this peaceful place away from everything where my thought processes can roam free because my brain isn’t busy with anything else. Here, my stories get born, yes, our raspberry and redcurrant bushes perform as gooseberry bushes for my literary babies. In this garden, doing this, most of my books have been hatched and today was no exception, for the story I’m writing now took a sudden and unexpected turn, which I now just have to go with.

It occurred to me that picking fruit is just like being a writer – you have to use the fruit once you have it, or it will quickly go mouldy and has to be thrown away. Or you have to preserve it somehow until you can use it. I can pick enough fruit in this garden to last us for a year – or more. I’ve had enough ideas for stories in this garden to last me several years! They have to be kept and preserved until I have the time or the inclination to write them

Someone who posted something on Facebook the other day made me realise that I’m not the only writer who has more ideas than I actually write. Some of them even have first chapters written and then they get passed by in favour of another and they sit patiently waiting to see if I’ll go back to them.

Having shared my little analogy, please excuse me, for I have some fruit to deal with…

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