Friday, January 28, 2011


Making good progress on chapter 8. More writing to do today, but I wanted to share this picture of Titus in the cold frame that I took yesterday. The pot he's sitting on contains catmint and grass; the mint hasn't started growing again, but obviously he thinks the dried plant smells good! I had the lid up to rearrange some pots and he hopped in.

titus in the cold frame

Back to work!


Thursday, January 27, 2011


Just a snippet today because I was busy writing yesterday. I'm into chapter 8 now and have introduced most of the main characters, and have several potential conflicts heating up. Onward!

Today's picture: a landscape shot taken from the top of Knowth, looking westward:


Back to work!


Monday, January 24, 2011


Saturday was busy. I spent a couple of hours finishing chapter 7 - at least, I *think* it's finished - and then dove into preparations for the CWS St. Dwynwyn's celebration that night. Because St. Dwynwyn is the Welsh patron of lovers, I needed something less grim than my usual Celtic fare, and had settled on the story of Pwyll and Rhiannon from the first branch of the Mabinogi. The only drawback was that I'd never told that story before... First I read through that section in three different English tranlations - Ford, Davies, and Jones & Jones. Then I started walking around the house paraphrasing and revising. A straight reading of any of the English versions would have been too long, and also there's a certain amount of repeated material (the section where Rhiannon tells Pwyll how to defeat Gwawl) which slows things down and diminishes the impact. Cutting most of that helped with the time problem. I worked through the story three or four times, trying to get all the important bits in the right order, but not worrying about exact wording. In between, I ran through my poem "Blodeuwedd", which I also planned to perform. After we arrived at the site (early, to help set up) I found time to go into an empty room and practice the story twice more. In the event, aside from one minor bobble, it went very well, and the audience clearly enjoyed it. I'll have to keep that in my repertoire for the future.

Yesterday was gray and cold, and I pretty much took the day off. Today I've been back at work on the book. No actual writing so far today, but a good bit of map work and planning, making up my mind about the locations for some of the key incidents and making sure they're consistent with things Gwernin's told us in past books. Just about set now. I'm aiming right now at one chapter per week, but hopefully this will speed up as I get into the swing of things again. We'll see!

References so far this week: Temples of Stone: Exploring the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland and The Life of Colum Cille.

Now back to work!


Friday, January 21, 2011


Yesterday I was playing with books and my camera. LibraryThing is running a competition for shots of book piles in different languages, and I did a Welsh one:


Today I've been writing... a little more progress at last. And tomorrow is CWS St. Dwynwyn's celebration - more about that later.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


A little writing Monday, but none so far today. The weather's relatively mild, so I've been doing outdoor things: moving most of the plants out the cold frame into the sun for a while and doing some garden cleanup.

Saturday is the Colorado Welsh Society's Saint Dwynwyn's celebration, and I'll be doing some storytelling as part of the program. Since Dwynwyn is the patron of lovers, I'm planning to do "Pwyll and Rhiannon". This will require a little practice, as I haven't done it before! First step is to re-read the story a couple of times in translation...

Back to the Boyne for today's picture: another river shot showing some of the meadows along the north bank.


And that's it for today.


Sunday, January 16, 2011


I've done a little writing today, but it's coming slow. Weather's about like yesterday - 40s and partly to mostly cloudy. Looking out a little while ago, I caught this shot of Titus getting a drink...

titus at the birdbath

Back to work...


Friday, January 14, 2011


Still researching. The main references I've been looking at this week are these two. Both are excellent, if in rather different ways. The first is a lavishly illustrated history of the Boyne monuments, while the second is more a collection of scholarly articles exploring the development of the kingship of Tara in the Early Medieval period.

Weather's finally moderating a little, enough that I'm spending time thinking about what to grow in the garden this year... the frustration of being a gardener in January!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Bend in the Boyne

Still researching. I don't seem to have a good distance shot of Knowth, which is the location currently occupying my attention, but here's one of the Boyne, looking upstream from the footbridge at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Center.


Only +4 F. this morning, and it might even get above freezing today!

Back to work.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


-6 deg. F. this morning at sunrise, after a clear night, and the highest I saw yesterday was 18 F. Weather's supposed to warm up a bit today, though, and a lot more tomorrow.

There were fox tracks on my front porch yesterday, clear to see in the light dusting of snow that had drifted under the roof in the storm, and more tracks - one circuit's worth - in the back yard this morning. The fox population seems to have crashed sometime last summer, and I've been curious to see what the snow would show me. The occasional fox is one thing, but the possibility of coyotes worries me more, with their predilection for eating cats. So far, though, just a fox...

I got a bit of writing done yesterday, together with a lot more consulting of reference materials. Gwernin has reached Ireland, and I wanted to be sure I got the geography and history of the Newgrange area right. We were there on our October 2009 trip, but two days in cloudy / drizzly weather aren't really enough. Fortunately my map and reference collection covers the ground fairly well.

Another snow picture from yesterday:

snow on the rowan tree

And now, back to work...


Monday, January 10, 2011


Still rather off schedule, but this time because I was (actually) writing. Very cold here, and 6-7 inches of new snow as of this morning. At least it's easy to shovel when it's like this...

snow on the rowan tree

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Still here...

Yes, I've missed a couple of days; no, there's been no problem, just life. Quiet and snowing here today, so maybe I'll catch up. In the meantime, another photo from our last snow...

snow on marigolds


Monday, January 3, 2011


Sunny and cold today, although not as cold as the past few days. Even Titus doesn't like to stay out long under these conditions, and I don't blame him. At least the sunshine should warm the cold frame up somewhat.

Yesterday I actually got a bit of writing done - rewriting mostly, but still the addition and reorganization of words. This is in chapter 7, the place where I made my last attempt in August. It's exciting to actually get moving again on the story, and I'm looking forward to writing regularly every day (or at least every weekday) this month. Other planned activities this month include our annual merchanting at the local SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) group's Twelfth Night celebration, and storytelling at the Colorado Welsh Society's St. Dwynwyn's Day (January 22). Maybe I should add a list of my upcoming events to the sidebar...

Today's picture: another winter garden shot from a couple of days ago.

snow on current tomatoes

Now, back to work!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

new year's day, 2011

Missed posting Friday, party because I forgot it *was* Friday. Thursday was my last day at work. An arctic cold front came in that morning, and by the time I left at midday it was snowing furiously, so I was glad to leave, and glad to get home. I think we had between 3 and 4 inches of snow here - not that much, but our first in a while. Yesterday was bitter cold, and last night even colder - a few degrees below 0 F., I think. And now I'm starting my third career.

A cold picture today:

snow on rowan tree

Good weather for writing, though - there's no temptation to go out and work in the garden!

Happy New Year to all...