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Friday, 4 May 2012

I may be on a roll here. Five days into the new book and I've completed a 6000-word draft of the first sample chapter. However, one must be wary. When words come that easily - 1700 today - they're often devoid of meaning, style and... something else I can't think of right now.** However, the aim was to get two sample chapters and an outline to the agent as soon as possible, and, since we're zooming off to Norway at the end of the month, I needed to crack on. Feels good to have got this far in the first week.

The weather in the north-east remains unremittingly awful: about 46 degrees, grey, drizzly and breezy. And this evening - in about two hours, in fact - we drive to North Wales in a long wheelbase Transit van to shift some furniture. To add to my annoyance with this ghastly, cold spring, I’ve just had a chat with my friend Sara Maitland up in Galloway and guess what? They have been having unbroken sunshine and balmy temperatures. I somehow wish she hadn’t told me that. It makes me feel more cheated than before we spoke. Still, she insists that they deserve it. Last summer was the wettest on record up there, and some of the houses actually started to collapse, so drenched was the ground. 

Sara lives alone, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, without tv or radio. She only answers the phone on certain days. (Yes, I made a careful note.) A couple of years ago she published her Book Of Silence (http://www.saramaitland.com/Silence.html), a rather charming rumination on her escape from the clamour of modern life. If you follow the link you’ll see the house on the book’s cover. Among her many enterprises - like me, she lives by the pen - she leads retreats in the Sinai desert once a year, under the auspices of an outfit called Wind Sand Stars (http://www.windsandstars.co.uk/index.php). We are tempted to sign up for this autumn - although she suggested I check out some of the firm’s other options, which involve a few more rugged, mountainous hikes. I might also check out the bank balance. Come on, agent: get us a deal!

Well, I’m probably shutting shop now until Monday night. Somehow I need to take myself off on Saturday and find a way of watching the Cup Final (Chelsea v Liverpool); and I will hope that while we are driving back on Monday afternoon, York will finish the business with Mansfield, and prepare to meet Luton (them again!) in the play-off final at Wembley. I could be in a very down-hearted frame of mind by the time I put up my next post. But I dare say I’ll put on a cheerful face.


**coherence: that’s the word I was looking for.