Summer has finally decided to make an appearance and in usual British style, there has been no gradual build-up to the event. No acclimatising ourselves. Just a straight move from sneaking the heating on for half an hour while nobody’s looking to oh-my-god-why-have-we-only-got-one-fan-in-the-house?
The garden, which my husband has been painstakingly redesigning over the past few months, is finally beginning to get the hang of things – flowers are appearing, the grass is lush, birds are singing …
Unfortunately, my writing – already hampered by inconveniences such as the day job, my penchant for procrastination and a remarkable skill for finding distraction activities – now has this new enemy to contend with.
You would think summer might be a good time for writing, wouldn’t you? In my more optimistic moments, I fantasise about sitting in the garden, penning reams of good stuff with the cat sprawled in the grass by my feet, a decent coffee or a chilled glass of pinot grigio by my side …
It’s not all summer’s fault, although it is hard to be motivated after a day broiling in an office, when all you want to do is flop in the shade and allow the warmth to melt away your troubles.
No, in my case, it’s mainly a problem with computers.
Our main PC is up in our attic room. Generally, this is a reasonable arrangement. If I blinker myself to look only at the screen and ignore being surrounded by the mountains of c**p dumped up there, then I can get something done because although there is no door to the room, it does have an element of distance away from everyday household noise.
But in the summer, by the time I get home from work that room is absolutely stifling, even with the windows open and a fan on. Unbearably so. If I spend more than half an hour up there, I come down resembling a beetroot and start rummaging in the freezer like a madwoman for ice lollies.
So last summer, I treated myself to a small laptop. It’s been a disaster in many, many ways and would make a blog post all by itself – seriously, do not get me started on the store I bought it from, the problems we had with it, the fact that we had to pay someone to sort it out despite it being under guarantee … but I digress.
Unfortunately that hasn’t worked out quite as planned – and not only because of the mental trauma it caused me over the months since I bought it, to the point where I hate the wretched thing on principle.
Firstly, the Wi-Fi doesn’t work too well in the garden so I can’t do much internet/social media stuff out there, just plain old Word. But the main problem is that even in the shade, I can’t see the screen very well, just a reflection of my face. And if I manage to overcome that so I can see well enough to work, everything takes twice as long because of the fiddly mouse button thingy and the smaller keyboard and my notes blowing off down the garden in the breeze and the next door neighbour’s football landing on the table and the still-flapping bird in the cat’s mouth and … you get the picture.
I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I need to do all my internet/social media stuff late at night when the attic has cooled down and if I want to be outside, I’ll have to go back to that time-honoured tradition of notebook and pen. One step forward, two steps back …
How about you? If you write, do you have a favourite outdoor spot that suits your needs? I’d love to hear about it!