Debrah’s Blogalog

As if I’m not writing enough other topics I thought I would add some comments on life in general as it hits me in the face.

At the moment I’m in the process of moving, which is an illuminating activity – not just for finding all those things you thought you’d lost but also for deciding on what you want to keep. Taken to its logical extreme it is a life clear-out, and sometimes that is a necessary activity for all of us as we collect so much baggage – good and bad – over the course of our lives. It is often only when we are forced to take stock that we realise what it is we’ve collected.

Alongside my several dozen bags of rubbish – both actual and mental, I’m also watching the re-thatching of the cottage I am selling as I agreed to get it done for my buyer before moving out. Thatching is a dying art – how many people still live under a grass roof in the western world? I also have the dubious privilege of having cob walls, so I truly do live in a mud hut with a grass roof! However, joking aside, there is a similarity between re-thatching and reworking your life.

Stripped to the undies!

Stripped to the undies!



When a roof is re-thatched, not all of the reed is removed. The very bottom layer remains – so on any thatched  roof, there is a layer which is as old as the cottage itself – a direct link to its origins. Regardless of the amount of your life and preconceptions you discard, the person underneath will remain the same. They say that a leopard never changes their spots and this is true of people too – a useful concept to remember when getting to the heart of your characters when writing – who are they really, and have been all along?







As the roof is renewed, it is done in sections, gradually packing the reed tightly to create a waterproof barricade. We all build barricades as we progress through out lives – a waterproof barrier against the vulnerability emotion subjects us to. How deep that layer is depends on experience and the potential for damage the experiences expose the person to. How deep and of what type are the barricades your characters have built? Why did they build them?







Last of all, it is tidied and netted – and the roof is complete. No-one looking at the finished product would know that underneath was a layer of reed ages-old. It looks pristine, but despite being proofed against the elements, did you know that a tiny dormouse can still slip  through it and find shelter within? Proof perhaps that no barrier is ever impenetrable.




My pristine thatch won’t remain golden for long. The elements and dirty rain will turn it a murky brown within months – but do appearances matter, or is it the guts underneath that are more important? Fun turning my thatch into a lesson to learn – but then that’s life, Jim…

Bloglogging about another transformation to my life shortly!


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