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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Breweries, bounty hunters and bosoms

It's been a long silence. I plead the extenuating circumstances of adjusting to life back in the north-east of England after three months in New Mexico. Actually, I seemed to settle back in as easily as if I'd just been away for a weekend - and I don't know whether I'm pleased about that or slightly perturbed. But then constant change has always been a part of my life. Ten addresses in the past fifteen or twenty years; fifty jobs before I turned fifty. Maybe my psyche decided long ago just to shrug and get on with it.

I have sent the re-vamped novel, which I worked on in Taos, to my agent. I have started work on the history of the York brewery, and it promises to be an entertaining project. And just when I thought I might have time, next year, to tackle another personal project that's been on my mind, I have been approached by two people for help with their own life stories. One is a dear friend aged 86 (I think) who was for many years a stalwart of one of the village writing classes I ran in East Yorkshire. A native of Liverpool and a child of the Blitz, later a psychiatric nurse at the Quaker-founded Retreat in York, she has written  innumerable short, funny, poignant pieces which reflect her humane, irreverent and sagacious take on life. I well remember the day we had a man show up to what had hitherto been an all-female group. After sitting and listening to her story 'Thanks for the Mammary: a History of My Boobs Aged 14 to Present Day' he muttered something about 'not coming here to listen to pornography' and was never seen again. Anyway, she has now asked me to take five fat ring-binders from her - full of such pieces - and see what I can do with them. It's a privilege and will be a pleasure, but I'm not sure how I will fit it in.

The second prospective piece of work comes from a man who was for twenty years a bounty hunter in the USA. I am meeting him early next month to talk over possibilities. I can hardly wait.

Meanwhile Robert Stone and I await the launch of the memoir I wrote with him, Chasing Black Gold. It's due to be published by The History Press on 9th June, and they're very excited about it. It will, we understand, be on sale at stations and airports, which is quite a coup.

Exciting times. Busy times. Better than being bored, definitely.

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