Two weeks of summer!

I’m not sure if 2 weeks of summer is actually an official record, but it’s certainly the first time for at least a couple of years that we’ve had summer weather for more than an odd day here and there during the season formerly known as summer.  At work we’ve been grumbling about the heat and trying to find out if we can buy electric fans from the stationery budget, as opposed to smuggling in illicit heaters to keep under our desks. Having the windows open has exposed everyone to unusually high levels of pollen from the rolling lawns outside, as well as enabling us to grumble about the gardeners trimming the hedge just under the window while we’re trying to concentrate on whatever it was we were doing before it was interrupted by climate change. On the roads, pedestrians and cyclists are even more careless/relaxed than usual and my average speed on the way home from work has now reduced from my normal 20 mph to about 5 mph as I allow for people in skimpy clothing walking in the middle of the road or young cyclists swooping across in front of me in a flurry of holiday exuberance.

I’ve now set up a summer writing base out in the garden for these times of day when the conservatory is just too hot, even with the door open.

Writing outdoors

Writing outdoors

This has several advantages: my fingers no longer stick to the keyboard with sweat, and when I feel as if I’ve been sitting in the same place for too long I can jump up (not literally – it’s more of a heaving operation) and do a bit of shrub-hacking – the secateurs are just visible on the bench in the picture.

July has turned out not to be a bad month for writing. I think it’s partly because the longer days encourage me not to watch any television. The poor quality of the programming also has something to do with this, although I’ve noticed that 5 of my favourite movies are being shown today after long weeks of nothing much.

I’m moving towards March in my current novel. I’ve managed not to kill anyone else yet, although it was touch and go in the last chapter I wrote. Working at a slightly slower rate than usual seems to me to be more effective, although it may mean I miss out on the random, desperate flashes of what I like to think of as narrative brilliance that happen when I push myself to think of somewhere different to take my characters.


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