Coincidentally, now that I have to go away again for work, it turns out I will be heading for Swindon, a famous railway town of the 19th century. One of my work colleagues tells me it’s even worse than Basingstoke, but I am willing to be swayed either way by what I find there.
I am still basking (mentally at least) in the memory of my travels through Europe. Oddly enough, although I used to get seasick at the sight of a boat bobbing on the waves, it’s the ferry journeys I remember with most pleasure. Apparently that part of the Baltic is calmer than a mill-pond in June.
Anyway, back to reality. Last weekend I managed to do about half the things I had on my to-do list, which was half more than I thought I would do. One thing from the list I am finding amazingly enjoyable is the taking to pieces and re-assembling of my current novel. There are two reasons it is more fun than I expected. One is that my new version of the plot is a lot more convincing than the old one, in which nobody knew what was happening, including me, and the other is that re-reading the parts of the novel I don’t have to rewrite isn’t such a huge shock to the system as it might have been. I even quite like whole paragraphs. But maybe these are exactly the paragraphs I should be surgically removing and destroying. Some kinds of writing advice would suggest that, anyway. Fortunately I seem to be programmed not to listen to advice.
One thing I also enjoyed from last weekend’s task list – no, it wasn’t doing the shopping at Tesco’s – was writing the articles about historical research. Today I was so inspired by having finished them that I went to a session about historical research in the National Library. I am not sure how much I learned about historical research, but I was reminded of one useful fact, which is that it’s easier to get round to doing things – in this case the vacuuming – if you have other things planned. If the whole day stretches in front of me with the luxury of having nothing to do, then nothing is exactly what I tend to do. Using the word ‘nothing’ in the sense of ‘nothing except browsing aimlessly online, letting the cats in and out, and reading novels on my Kindle’, that is.