The faҫade and courtyard of our house face due south. On a sharp sunny day the trees etch complex outlines over the stone and render, lifting up all the imperfections that are so much part of the charm here. One day we might restore right back to the stones – or we might not. It’s a very different view from the courtyard in summer, when the catalpa tree next to the house is in full canopy, and the leaves of the fig, olive and walnut also provide dappled shade.
But I find this winter version energizing: there’s something about the cold and dazzling winter light that sharpens the brain cells too. I’ve been writing all week with the notes made during this sunny time, and they seem to have had a clearing effect on the work in progress as I strive for equal crispness of thought and prose.This is why I love to write in autumn and winter, barrelling into a first draft so that I get to the stage of playing around with the words just at the time when the warmer weather makes me want to be outside and anywhere but sitting at a desk.