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Dear Reader, A Yule Tale Collection

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This year again time is pressed upon by other matters such as fieldwork, family time, and getting this blooming novel writ- I was upset at the thought of not making a 2021 Yule Tale but then I looked back and there are these previous stories for avid readers to revisit, old friends to reacquaint with if you will. Some are lovely, some are silly, all are from me to you, all have hope of bringing peace and/or cheer. Whether you gobble them all up in one go or eke out the fun, your choice.  Today is the second day of calendar winter: I am sat under a duvet writing this, the window ajar to dry out damp, my head is wrapped in recycled polythene as I'm dying the grey bits green, and our elderly (though mostly sprightly) Dog has embarrassed herself causing me to now cease writing and go wash a blanket. Happy holidays xx Here are the links: The Vain Little Tree Ice In The Evergreen How The Snowdrops Bloomed The Porcupines In Winter A Slightly Parallel Cinderella Titania's Curious Other

Talking To Myself In November

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Typing badly due to having (accidentally) given my thumb a lid. Have taken the plaster off now for air to assist healing. Earlier, with wound protected (under a plaster, inside a latex glove) I drove out to Paddock Garden (our land - the name has stuck) to plant strawberries and a fern, and scatter evening primrose seeds. The sky was like grey inks painted on wet paper; leaves spun fire colours from branch to ground.  This injury is inconvenient, annoying, and on my mind, so I p ondered wounds as I drove: I thought of: How I have used stoic principles to survive circumstances with grace and learning, which has served me well. (A stoic would say this, of course.) How also I had become so accustomed to nobly suffering from secret wounds, sometimes still it is hard to comprehend how to live without hurt. Hurt is comfortable. Hurt is a habit. Hurt is reflective and meaningful. Pain can be a blast of life. You (you being me, I’m talking to myself) need to stop, to assess. To recall that ha

Halloween Tale 2021

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Excerpt from the everlasting work in progress, a novel which is as yet untitled, or rather has been subject to many working title changes, none satisfactory. Having our Paddock Garden land project ongoing, having many extra shifts, and a further list of stuff that must be done, it's been a while since I wrote a serious short story. There are plenty to find on here, try searching 'Halloween Tales' if you need more :-) In this chapter, Vivia realises she has lived many lives and always gets killed by something other than old age, and she is close to finding out why. [Contains one death, nothing graphic.] Chapter 31: Vivia And The Piano At the point of death you must be thankful. Vivia is surprised by this thought. She had left the house to take a walk in the spring air which is circling through warm and cool as though it has not decided whether to give way to summer or winter. High above a pegasus has enough thermal to drift; she is watching this rare sight as the words

A Catch Up From Paddock Garden

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Halloween is coming - but meanwhile here's the recent kerfuffle from our land. Plenty of pictures but none of them loaded here yet, if you want to see more have a peek at my instagram account, lisa_southard_writer, or just be patient :-) Friday 1st October 2021 Adventures on the land are big this week - contractor Thomas is digging up earth looking for the water pipe connection, scraping out turf to lay stones and make parking spaces - the change is quick and unnerving in a good way. It makes a strong contrast with our hours of wrenching wire from hedges, and the achy work of making little trenches for planting spring bulbs. The soil is not clay which surprises us - it’s stoney but rich and fine. We take lots of pictures. Dog is smitten with Thomas and attempts to follow him everywhere, completely overlooking her fear of heavy machinery and large vehicles. Thursday 7th October 2021 Work done with hands, which also means backs and legs and arms, or so the aches tell me. Not muc

Breaking The Heat And Keeping Focus

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Sunday 5th September 2021 From August to September was a tumble in time, with many visits from friends and family and I wish I’d taken more notes. There are photographic records. The fields are cut, baled, the bales loaded, gone. We have fed everyone a sour bullace and sometimes a sloe and guffawed at their face pulling. We camped out and saw the barn owl’s pale swoop again. Today in the tree tunnel out from Lawhitton to Launceston I noted how the succession of warm dry days has left the leaves like dusty green leather, like the covers of old spellbooks in a forgotten library. At work we are staying in as the Tour of Britain bikes through Cornwall and roads are closed and many campers and caravans are pouring down the A30 but indoors we can have a YouTube sea and the back door open and admire the blooming pots. Writing going little by little and good, pretty much like the land progress. Wednesday 8th September 2021 The turn of phrase used here is ‘the storm broke the heat.’ Low

Hedges And Edges

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Wednesday 11th August 2021: The polytunnel is a green tangle. Cucumbers are emerging like little green balloons like we could model them into sausage dogs. Tomatoes begin to blush. The basil leaves this year are huge, like sails, an armada of flavour. Lime flowers and lemon balm and earth make a signature perfume. The garden goes feral every time we lift our attention to the land or the house- the house is currently a mess, like we’ve dumped it here, the land is getting there slowly. We are digging out the wire fencing, some of which is so grown in it might as have well have had roots. We are scything back brambles with reassurances that there will always be space for blackberry plants, just not everywhere. We are spooling up the barbed wire, carefully. Most blood is drawn by thorns. The fields will be cut in mid-August, by the Dart family who have fields nearby. They will even back the tractor in to clear nettle patches where the trees overhang. There is a chap coming for a site vi

The First Sleep

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May lasted for years, June is over in a week, somehow. I forget the actual date and am too lazy to check it no matter how easy this is, but June is the month in which we finally have a night on the land. We are spontaneous, which here means poorly prepared. We finish teaching at Okehampton, grab food and extra wine from the Co-op, drive under a sky of orange flame and dark grey crenellations, arrive at the land as the light is dipping, then remember that we should have packed a lamp - but we find a bicycle helmet with a light, and our phones have torch apps. A tarpaulin is spread upon the dirt in the stable, topped by blankets, an airbed, some duvets. A feast of quiche and chocolate laid out on the little table. Dog has her food to scoff from a tub. I twist open the cava (thank you, Ian, gift much appreciated) the cork pings off a wall fast enough to escape layers of rope-thick cobwebbing. We drink from plastic wine cups- a toast to the land, a toast to adventures! Wobble out in