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I'm up to my ears in my favourite part of writing at the moment. The first draft of the next Windy Bay book is all done, so I know I've got a story with a beginning, a middle and an end and some new characters I'm enjoying spending time with as well as some old friends.

And yes, that is how I feel about them. The first draft is scary and exhilarating because I tend to start with an image. In 'Vintage Girl summer' that was a girl in an old-fashioned dress, riding an old-fashioned bike down a hill as she sang 'Oh what a beautiful morning' out of tune.

You won't find out what happens next till early next year, but what happens here is very definitely a lot of work, because details are important, and fun. I hadn't realised that vintage is anything over 40 years old, and I think I like that because it sounds so much nicer than 'old', doesn't it? And finding that Simplicity sewing patterns have reissued their vintage sewing patterns left me spending some money and making some plans for the winter because I've always worked on the theory that I master one pattern for something that suits me and then make it in lots of different colours.

Yes, I know that it's cheaper to buy something, but that's the up front cost, isn't it? Like Gracie, the Vintage Girl of the title, I believe in style not fashion and in wearing what suits ME, not what fashion says I should be wearing, which, all too often, doesn't suit me. I like sewing too, and cooking from scratch and gardening and looking after people.

It strikes me that if we're about equality and respecting people's choices then people ought to respect my choices too. When I was younger, that used to bother me. Now, it just gives me good ideas...

So here, till we meet again, is one of the pictures from my inspiration file. I'm definitely buying some polka dot fabric for next summer, and I think it'll be a full skirt. Or maybe a couple...


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