Posts Tagged With: Treacle

Trudging through treacle

There are times in my life when attempting to write fiction is akin to what I imagine it’d be like to trudge through a lake of cold treacle wearing a space suit lined with lead.

I know that there are various tricks that can be usefully employed when you feel stuck like this, such as setting yourself smaller goals or trying to see things from inside someone else’s head, but there’s no getting round the fact that it’s all very hard work.


image reproduced from

I’m quite a fan of the self-help book and have a number of such tomes in my bookcase. One of my favourite authors in the genre is the hypnotist, Paul McKenna.

One of the many useful things I’ve gleaned from Mr McKenna is the trick of creating another version of myself in my mind, the Lorna I’d ideally like to be.  It was that Lorna who wrote and published a book about tearooms last year, and it’s the same one who’ll be completing her first novel at some point.

When I lack self-belief, I can remind myself that I needn’t fear because the other Lorna’s on hand to help me out. She doesn’t suffer from the same hang-ups as I do, which I must say is jolly helpful.

Another book I’ve found very useful recently is “Bounce” by Matthew Syed. He now makes his living from writing and broadcasting, but in his younger years he was a table tennis champion.

His book has the subtitle “The myth of talent and the power of practice”  and if, like me, you don’t feel naturally talented but you would still like to be quite good at something, this book is a marvel for encouraging you to believe it’s possible.

One of his theories – and it’s shared by many other people who’ve studied and written about it – is that you can become an ‘expert’ in just about anything if you dedicate 10,000 hours of practice to it. I like this idea. I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent writing in my life so far but it helps me to know that even if what I write frustrates me with its feebleness, it’s all grist to the mill.

I wrote this post by way of taking a break from writing my novel, because of the whole treacle situation. I wanted to remind myself (and anyone else who might benefit from reading it) that it is, in fact, possible to write a novel or achieve some other goal if you keep slogging away at it.

Not that I wish to get ideas above my station, but to quote another chap on my bookshelf: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all” (Dale Carnegie).

Lastly, there’s nothing like a bit of luck to help you on your way. As Thomas Jefferson so perspicaciously put it: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

Categories: Books, Inspiration, Matthew Syed, Paul McKenna, Treacle, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Autumn Colours

The autumn colours in Perthshire are particularly good this year and, thinking that the Scottish Borders would be putting on a similarly spectacular show, I took the delightful assistants down there for a gawp at the weekend.

We were most surprised to find that, despite being further south, it felt like winter rather than autumn in the Borders. Many of the trees were completely bare and most of the leaves that were left on the trees were well past their flame-grilled best.

However, I’m happy to say that at our destination of Dawyck Botanic Gardens, nature’s loveliness was abounding:

A couple of beech trees had curious wrappings round their trunks:

There was a poem, entitled The Bandaged Trees, attached to one of the trunks, but I found it a tad depressing so I won’t burden you with it.

Looking up into the trees was beautiful with the sunlight on the leaves:

Dawyck (more or less pronounced Daw-ik) is a beautiful place to walk around, and even though there were a lot of cars in the car park, we met very few people as we strolled through the gardens.

Here are a couple of tiny assistants perched atop a lovely bridge:

The air smelled very fresh and I took lots of deep breaths. The amount of lichen on the trees was perhaps a good indicator of just how pollution-free the atmosphere was. Some of the birches looked as if they were dressed in furs and feather boas:

Bits of the garden were in the shade and quite frosty, an ideal hiding place for ice nymphs and frost elves. Apparently, if you run backwards making chirpy little whistling noises they sometimes pop out. I tried this, but I didn’t see any. Mind you, I find that trying to stay upright while running backwards takes up most of my concentration.

My camera battery died just past this bench,

which was a pity as I had been hoping to take photos of the lunch we had after our walk.

However, I wouldn’t like to sign off without a small morsel to share with you, so here’s a Christmas pudding scone* I made yesterday instead:

*so called because it was inspired by Christmas pudding, and contains sultanas, mixed peel, slivered almonds, cherries, dates, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and treacle, as well as the standard scone ingredients

Categories: Baking, Gardens, Photography, Scone, Scotland, Scottish Borders, Uncategorized, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

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