The End. The twelve days of Christmas are over. The tree has gone: stripped of its baubles, shoved out unceremoniously through the living-room window so that we don’t get needles all down the stairs and along the hallway. Now I look forward to enjoying the presents. I’ve had one brief orgy of self-indulgence, watching three episodes of The Larry Sanders Show back to back. Next I shall open up my Pilates work-out DVD. I suspect that if I were ten years younger I would be embarrassed to admit to owning that, but the fact is I’m spending so long at the desk these days that my chronically tight ham-strings and the lack of suppleness in my joints are starting to trouble me. Need to bend and stretch, and possibly eat more mackerel…. As to the 16-year-old malt, that won't last the rest of the week, I fear.
Just as the sun started to go down yesterday I took a walk along the disused railway lines, about four miles. We needed to collect a prescription from the pharmacy and I didn’t fancy getting the bike out. The light, I thought, was rather wonderful. The skies were clear and after several very windy days the air was calm at last.
On the way out I was more or less facing the dying sun, so coming home I had the light behind me and was able to observe the almost metallic sheen on the bark of this cherry-tree…
…and this rather lurid green colour, although in this case the young cherry was crowded in by a whole thicket of other trees and coated with lichen (or algae).
The moon was up. It’ll be full by early next week. Monday, according to my diary. I still haven’t found a way of capturing a decent image of it. I’m having to use extreme zoom, which shows up every little shake. I guess I should use the tripod that A planted on my desk some months ago - which would mean more stuff in my pockets when I go out, but probably worth it. This is the best I have so far.
Work is going well. In four days I have re-written four chapters of Up Beat and Down Dale and made a start on Chapter 5. For some reason the process of revision seems easier than it has been in the past. The bargain, 99p version of Now Then, Lad is still way up the amazon.co.uk charts (59 at the moment, and no. 9 in biographies). Mike the copper thinks we may have sold 10,000 - which could mean an extra £1,000 each next July when the audits are done and the payments finally filter through. (Whoopee! famous AND rich!) Constable & Robinson, who published it three and a half years ago must be tickled to death. They never put an ounce of marketing energy into it, and here they are selling bucket-loads of it in kindle form. Never occurred to them to send the author a Christmas card…. Nope, I do not like publishers. I like them less and less every year that goes by.
Tomorrow sees the start of the big football weekend of the year: F.A. Cup third-round day. The Davids taking on the Goliaths. You need to be British and a football fan to fully understand that. I’m off to London with my son on Sunday to watch Chelsea play cash-strapped Portsmouth, who have announced that they may have found yet another owner. Pompey, as my mate Jules Smith (the poet) tells me frequently, haven’t beaten Chelsea in fifty years - and that has me feeling nervous. Records, as we know, are made to be broken, and this bears every hallmark of a potential giant-killing. I may be sulking by the time I get home Sunday night - unless I risk a fiver on Portsmouth at odds of 14/1. Now there’s a thought.