Pink Heart Society regular, Kate Walker, is talking about her love of walking...
The PHS list of daily themes says that Time Out Thursday is the day when writers discuss what they do when they’re away from the keyboard. Fine – OK...
Hmmm . . . Right now I’m on a deadline for the latest book, so ‘away from the keyboard’ is rather an alien concept. Even finding the time to write this post has been difficult. I’m even delighted to see that the autumnal weather – or the tail end of Hurricane Joaquin we were threatened with has meant that to rain is pouring down outside, the cats are safe inside, staring grumpily at the water running down the windows, and I’m more than happy to stay inside. At the keyboard. All I want is for the word count to keep mounting. . .
But this morning the weather was very different. It wasn’t warm – but it was mild, and dry. And there was a heavy mist that hung over the place like cotton wool cushioning every sound and making the woods seem strange and eerie. I was out in those woods so I know. Because there is one activity that I don’t miss out on even when I have a deadline looming over me and that’s my daily ‘walk to work.
Most mornings I go for a walk - I call it walking to work' because without it I would probably settle at my desk and stay there and rarely, if ever cross over the threshold of my home. I go out of the back door and when I’ve finished my walk I come home and go in through the front door – that makes me feel as if I’ve arrived ‘at work’ and puts me in the mood to be work-focused rather than thinking about doing home-based things.
So I go out and walk and then I know I can sit for hours if I want/need to and it won't matter. I've already done those magic 10,000 paces that the doctors tell us will keep us fit and healthy.
One of my favourite aspects of my walk is the fact that, being early in the morning, and so quiet before many people are up, I can spot wildlife and I also meet the dogs out for their walks - and their owners along with them. So this morning I saw the robins, hordes of magpies, a woodpecker, three squirrels and a whole family of rabbits.
Dog wise, there was the German Shepherd, several springer spaniels, the gorgeous golden Labrador who was swimming in the park fountain, the gang of terriers who come with the lady in a mobility scooter (and they occasionally get a ride in the basket, specially the oldest one.) There were the two Dobermans and the big bearded collie with her owner who looks almost exactly like her. OK, she (the owner) doesn't have the beard but the curtain of streaked brown hair and the heavy fringe are so similar that I wonder if she thinks she'd looking in the mirror when she looks at her dog!
There was my favourite cocker spaniel Ellie, and the smooth collie Tilly (I originally thought her owner called her Silly and believe me it fits
perfectly!) and the Jack Russell who normally carries a stick about three times her size but today had picked up a conker and wasn't going to let it go.
Sometimes I have my own canine company - when I borrow my friend's lurcher Jack. He's big and imposing, but yet he's really a lovely gentle sort of dog. He's also a very calm and silent type who
just walks quietly at heel - so he's not likely to disturb the essential peace and quiet of my morning walk.
Some days the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the trees just beginning to start to turn into their glorious autumnal colours. Then it’s a great way to start the day. But I still love it when it’s grey and misty or even when it’s deep in winter, when the trees are skeletal and dark and the snow has fallen. (I only seem to have photos of my walking route on the snowy days - but I'll share those with you.)
But there's the other wonderful benefit of these early morning walks. I have peace and quiet and some solitary time when I can think through the plot of my latest story and get to grips with that eterna‘why?’ one of my characters does something. It clears my thoughts wonderfully and as I always take my phone with me, I’ve even been known to makes notes, record snatches of dialogue and important points in the story – then I can email them home and they’re there waiting for me when I get to my desk., Which makes me feels as if I’ve already begun to work, even before I sit down at the keyboard.
lly problematical question
The interesting thing is that this morning I saw all these creatures and people and many of them - human and canine - said hello as we walked past each other. But none of them spotted the tall dark, brooding Spaniard, with the shadowed past who went on every inch of that walk with me, talking to me as we went.
Perhaps it's just as well, considering some of the things he was telling me!
My latest romance is Olivero's Outrageous Proposal published in April in Harlequin Presents and Mills and Boon Modern Romance . Coming next is Destined For The Desert King which is published in December this year.
Then there's the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance, the newest edition of which is available on Kindle or a revised and updated paperback edition now available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com
However, if you're in Australia things are a little different - Destined for The Desert King is still out in December but Olivero's Outrageous Proposal is now scheduled for January 2016. But there's the complete Alcolar Family Trilogy published in September with the title The Notorious Alcolars.