ewein2412: (maddie as WAAF)
Our children have been embroiled in a school production of Fiddler On the Roof, meaning they were out of the house at 8 a.m. and not home till 10.30 p.m. all week long, so we’ve been taking advantage of a relatively empty nest. Also, IT IS SUMMER, all glorious three days of it, with cloudless skies and temps hovering around 20-25C – or as the Guardian called that in 1969, “The sizzling seventies.” Tim and I went flying yesterday afternoon. Tim flies a lot more than I do, mostly during the week when he’s in Kent – I still don’t have a current rating, so have to take an instructor and do some training. Anyway, yesterday we hired a plane together from Tayside Aviation in Fife.

“Where do you want to go?” Tim asked. “To the Bridges, to the Kelpies, along the Fife Coast?” All twenty-minute jaunts and very pretty.

I said, “How about Bamburgh?” Because I know it isn’t far, especially in the air, and the coastline is wonderful and it is my favorite holiday destination. We have now had a week-long winter holiday there three years running.

“Great idea!”

So that’s what we did, Tim doing the flight planning and the radio calls and all the hard work getting around Edinburgh’s airspace, me doing nothing. As we approached Berwick-on-Tweed, twenty miles north of Bamburgh, he handed me the controls and said, “You can fly us there.”

And as I took the controls I remembered this, from Code Name Verity.

Maddie on fabric wings flew low over the long sands of Holy Island and saw seals gathered there. She flew over the great castle crags of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh to the north and south, and over the ruins of the twelfth-century priory where the glowing gospels were painted, and over all the fields stretching yellow and green towards the low Cheviot Hills of Scotland.

Holy Island and Lindisfarne

the causeway to Holy Island... tide is out

That passage is, I think, the most oft-quoted of length from all of Code Name Verity – to my utter surprise and delight, as when I wrote it I worried it was going to be considered such hooptedoodle that I’d be asked to edit it out. And then I remembered that Maddie also dreams about flying over the sands at Holy Island, later in the book, with Julie. And then I got kind of choked up.

Fly the plane, Maddie.

So I did. I let Tim take all the pictures, because he takes better pictures than me anyway. This meant that I did all the flying the rest of the way down and all the way back. Afterward Tim said, “I’m sorry you were doing all the flying – you didn’t get the best view!” and I was like… “DUDE. I DID ALL THE FLYING. I flew over Holy Island and Lindisfarne Priory and Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands. I was HAPPY.”

Bamburgh, looking north toward Budle Bay

(I mean, a little bit of choking up is manageable in flight. I honestly didn’t think about the CNV connection until I was approaching Holy Island with my hands on the controls.)

Nothing to be afraid of, nothing to battle against, just the two of us flying together, flying the plane together, side by side in the gold sky.

the cottage we stay in is at the right of the little square near the center - Sandham, Armstrong Cottages

PS At least one reader on my twitter account connected flying to Bamburgh with Code Name Verity FASTER THAN I DID.

ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
[livejournal.com profile] lauradi7 has sent me this wonderful link to an animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry, also reminding me of one of my favorite weird British museum pieces, a lifesize replica of the Bayeux Tapestry on display in the Museum of Reading in England. It was made in 1885/1886 by a team of 40 British embroiderers (all women) led by Elizabeth Wardle.
ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
Matthew Bourne's production of Edward Scissorhands is on at the Brooklyn Academy of Music from 14-31 March 2007. It is a MUST SEE. We saw it last year in Edinburgh and my inadequate review of it is here. It really was the highlight of my theatrical year and anyone within a 100 mile radius should go see it as many times as you can.
ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
My aunt gave me a pair of Hee!ies for my birthday. (Best birthday present ever! I wanted them very much.) It is amazing how NOT like skating it is to skate on your heels--I am also amazed that I ever managed to work out how to use them, which involved a lot of being pulled up and down the Promenade on the Deal seafront by my husband and children. Today I seriously brained myself with them for the first time. Skinned knees again at 42!

This is what I did this summer:

1) Flew small planes in NJ/PA/VT and got a US pilot's license. I can now fly planes registered in the US as well as those of 23 European member states. Or something like that.

2) Attended the 20th and final Children's Literature New England (CLNE) institute.

As a direct result of schmoozing at CLNE, I have been asked to speak at Children's Literature Midwest, the infant offspring of Children's Literature New England. If it goes ahead as planned, it will be held sometime next August, possibly in Ohio. The theme is "Conflict and Resolution." I have to come up with a reading list of relevant children's books to talk about. Suggestions are VERY, VERY WELCOME.

On the home front:

1) My grandmother (who is 90, remember?) visited us for 3 weeks in October. We took her to Bamburgh and Lindisfarne and Hadrian's Wall and Dover and the Lake District… everywhere, really. I did not manage to take her flying.

2) The bunny died while we were in the States in July--of old age, apparently, but it was very traumatic for Sara especially. She did such a stellar job of taking care of Bru while he was around that we let her choose a new pet. So now we have Laura [Ingalls Wilder] (….), a black and white female kitten, 11 weeks old.

3) A friend's child (the little brother of Sara's best friend) had a malignant brain tumor "the size of a tennis ball" removed ten days ago. He appears to be making a remarkable recovery, much to everyone's relief, but it has thrown the neighborhood into a state of high-strung emotion.

4) There are BABY DOLPHINS in the Tay. We went to see them on a boat.

Work-related bad news:

Both The Winter Prince and A Coalition of Lions are now officially out of print. The headache I am getting over trying to purchase remaindered copies of Coalition in paperback would make your eyes cross. None of MY children have brain tumors that I know of, so I am mellower about the fantastic administrative snarls that dog my books than I perhaps ought to be.

Work-related good news:

The Lion Hunter is scheduled for publication in summer 2007 (14 June 2007, if the crystal globe that is Amazon.com is to be believed--they also appear to know that it is going to be 208 pages, although we have not finished editing it yet!). The Empty Kingdom is set to follow in spring 2008. Together the books are parts 1 and 2 of a thing called The Mark of Solomon, which in my brain I always refer to as "The Adolescence of Telemakos." "The Mark of Solomon" is probably a better title.

I have seen lovely cover sketches for Lion Hunter, by the fabulous Cliff Nielsen.


A very funny link (ok, my sense of humor is a maybe a little warped). This is what happens when you get Google to translate the entry for "Mordred" on the German Wikipedia site:

In which Plumb Bob is married to Mrs. Morgause, and Guinevere takes Lance Plumb Bob as a lover!


and apologies to all for being such an inconsistent correspondent.

I knew it!

Jun. 17th, 2006 11:11 am
ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
Coffee is a CURE-ALL

Check out the list at the end of this article. It's fabulous. 4 cups a day are better than 1!
ewein2412: (Default)
I just have to share this. Click on this link and then go to the “what is aerogel” link in the 6th paragraph.


ewein2412: (Default)

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