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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Labor Day? You bet. I spent most of it glued to the desk, writing, drafting this proposal for UN Press. They make you jump through quite a few hoops, but I have to say it’s a useful exercise. Hard work, but useful. With luck I’ll get there today.
So I hardly got out yesterday, apart from a stroll up to the top to get a phone signal - which was a pity, because it was a cracking day. Warm, sunny, with a cooling breeze. I have a hunch that the weather’s settling into a groove. I certainly hope so. If I could get a few weeks like this before I go home it’d suit me fine. Late in the afternoon, however, I downed tools, lit a fire and barbecued a steak, then sat outside enjoying the last hour or so of sunlight.

I’ve heard from home that the Old Jules Trail website is up and running. I don’t think it’s quite complete yet, and there may well be a few amendments to come, but it’s open for business, you might say.   From what I’ve managed to see, it has to be a big improvement on what’s been available until now. It should now be impossible to get lost out there.

While I’m on the subject, I’m going to plug another venture which might be of interest to my American readers. My buddy Greg – the photographer and old car freak – has started a website. He’s been working on this particular project ever since I’ve known him, which is getting on for twelve years. It’s the life story of the man who wrote Lassie. We all grew up watching the canine heroine on the TV and, if you’d asked any of us, would have assumed that she was an American creation. Well, yes and no.  The author of the book, Eric Knight, although he became an American citizen, was a Yorkshireman through and through. He had a remarkable life, being a labourer in a knacker’s yard and glue factory at the age of twelve, a soldier in the Canadian Army in the Great War, a film critic on the east coast, a Hollywood writer in the 1930s, and a novelist who was regarded by Ernest Hemingway (amongst others) as one of the very best of his generation, and, finally, a serving member of the US armed forces in World War II, during which he was shot down off the coast of Surinam.

I won’t spoil it by going on and on, other than to say that there’s a fantastic story there, that the story of how Greg uncovered all this stuff is almost as interesting as the life itself, and that he is now, at last, putting the finishing touches to the biography. Meanwhile, though, at the prompting of several of his colleagues and friends, he’s finally establishing an online presence. It’s worth a look.

Well, it’s another gorgeous looking day, and I have to complete this here proposal. Tomorrow, with luck and a following wind, I’ll be picking up my rental car in Rapid City, so the routine will go out of the window for a day or two.  

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