The picture today is of Halton Castle just up the lane from Aydon. The wing with chimneys is Queen Anne but the tower is thirteenth century. I stood in the churchyard to take the pic, so the church is behind me to my right, with the "mouse" hedge just poking its nose into the picture.
Some gardner with a sense of humour has cut the privet bush into the shape of a mouse, and it always makes me smile to see it. There's also a Roman altar in the churchyard, very old and blurry, but unmistakably Roman in shape and style. It is not in the picture as I didn't think to include it at the time. I wonder if they took it from the Roman station just behind the house, or if the site of the churchyard was once a Roman temple? I must try and find out.
I've just got back from Leicester, where the RNA conference was held this year. I enjoyed myself much more than last, but then I was an absolute newbie last year! This year I had enough sense to pace myself and go to bed early! I learned such a lot, and it will all be useful. I've already gone through one of my offerings (still out on spec) and decided exactly what the goals, motivations and conflicts are. What surprised me is how invisble they were on the page though I knew what they were without trying too hard. I expect I need to do it with everything I do from now on - at least until it is so ingrained that I can't possibly forget it! Certainly the exercise has started me on a re-editing of the entire work.
I've pulled out from 2 critique groups in the last week. It had got to the point where I didn't seem to do much beyond critique someone else's work or felt guilty because I had not done so. Also, I suspect the end result of too many critiques on your own work, as Cat Cobain of Little Black Dress said on Sunday, is that you lose your individual voice. It becomes perfect but bland.
Food for thought there too, I think.