Pancakes and Bird Feeders: 2013 365 Challenge #44

Making Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

Making Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

Pancake Day! (Well it is while I’m writing this anyway.) We love pancakes in this house although we tend to cook them thicker than is the norm for Shrove Tuesday here in the UK.

Husband went to my mother’s today to job search in peace and was summoned home on the promise of pancakes at 5pm. He is addicted! I often use them to get him out of bed on a Sunday so we can go swimming.

We also made bird feeders at the Farm today: the sticky sort made with lard, bird seed and a yoghurt pot. I’ve never done it before, although the kids have made them at nursery. It’s a neat little craft activity that I might store for another day. Messy though!

My head has been buzzing with Claire ideas although none are right for the next post so I’m still stumped for this evening. It’s nice to have some ideas getting through; I must be coming out the otherside of this cold finally. Shame the little one still has a sky-high temperature. Another trip to the docs is in order methinks.

© Copyright Gordon McKinlay and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

© Copyright Gordon McKinlay and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

A quick note on research, as I know today’s post won’t reflect the hours I’ve spent on it. I feel I have travelled further than Claire: first looking at cities she might drive to from Keswick. Then thinking she might stay in the Lakes another night because she doesn’t like to drive in the dark. Then needing her in a private en-suite room so searching all hostels in the Lakes with en-suite and availability on 12th March (the date she has reached in the novel).

Then I wanted her looking at the nighttime view and so wondered if it was full moon or not (turns out it’s a new moon on 12th March). Then doing a Google-map search to find out what might have triggered her decision to stay at Windemere (for example was it en-route somewhere else? Yes, it’s on the road to Liverpool.)

This is the way my mind works when I’m researching and writing at the same time. It’s why I try not to do research during a first draft – it eats hours. Never mind, I’ve just about got enough energy to tap out a few hundred words even if it has little to do with the 3-hour internet search this evening has entailed! On a positive note, the more I research hostels the more I want to take my family to them. If only the Lakes were a bit nearer. I can certainly feel a summer road trip coming on!


Claire let the heat of the shower wash away niggling doubt, concentrating on the sensation caused by warm water caressing her tired muscles.

I’d give my limited edition Radley bag for a bath. Or one of the smaller purses anyway. She lathered her hair, grateful for the knowledge that Josh couldn’t have left anything scary and hairy in the cubicle. It had been luxurious checking in without him, closing the bedroom door and knowing she was completely alone.

I wonder what he’s doing, whether he’s found a new chick to hit on, to sweet-talk into a lift. She flushed when she remembered the night they had first met. It was only a week ago but it felt like months. Thinking about it she realised he hadn’t repeated his attempt to kiss her after he had taken her by surprise at the Observatory. Maybe he didn’t fancy me once he got to know me better. It was a lowering thought.

Claire rinsed the shampoo from her hair and detangled it with copious amounts of conditioner, combing it through with her fingers. She resisted the urge to hum ‘I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair’ with the thought that she couldn’t say for certain which one.

Clean, refreshed, and wrapped in a towel, Claire stood gazing out her window at the panoramic view just visible by the meagre light of the petrol-blue sky. The storm clouds that had battered them with hail on Skiddaw had long since blown away.

What am I doing here? I could be looking out over city lights, contemplating a three-course meal in a decent restaurant and breakfast at Starbucks. Instead I’m still in the Lakes. Windermere of all places. How touristy can you get? Although we’re not exactly in Windermere. Gazing at the view Claire was surprised at how few lights she could see. Why are all the YHA hostels so damn remote?

Her mind replayed the meandering drive up from town and she was glad, not for the first time, that she wasn’t trying to backpack without a car. Stella might be a heap of junk but she gives untold freedom. No wonder Josh stuck with me whether he fancied me or not.

She felt a stab of guilt, thinking about Josh. When she had left him after the Skiddaw hike that afternoon it was on the understanding that she was heading for a more high-rise than hill-side location. Certainly that had been her intention.

A wave of lassitude had engulfed her only twenty minutes into her three-hour drive to Liverpool. She’d seen the signs for Windermere and began following them almost without volition. Lucky they had a free room, especially a private one. I think I need some space to think.

She pulled on her most comfortable clothes and curled up on the double-bed bottom bunk, resisting the temptation to lie spread-eagled across it just because she could. Her mind flashed an image of the hostel lounge; the welcoming sofas, the view. The licensed bar. Her tummy growled and she realised she would have to venture downstairs eventually. And still something held her back.

Claire rapped her knuckles against her temples and tutted, the sound loud in the silent room. What’s going on in there, brain? Since when was the lure of Starbucks not enough?

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