Much to my surprise, I managed to start my Camp NaNoWriMo novel on the 1st of July as planned, having reached some sort of a conclusion to my Edwardian novella on the 30th of June. In some ways I quite like interleaving my writing projects in this way – if all goes well from here, I can then put the second one aside for a while with a clear conscience while I edit the first one.
I wasn’t at all sure about this, but it has turned out that having a dog to stay over the weekend hasn’t held up my writing at all, although it has seriously displeased the cats and they have both retreated upstairs to sulk, almost as if the weather had turned nasty and they couldn’t go out. Well, in fact it has turned a bit nasty on and off. The fact that we haven’t even had a proper heatwave here doesn’t seem to have prevented us from having to put up with the torrential rain and thunder that often comes at the end of a really close, sticky spell of weather.
The main problems with the dog haven’t been entirely of his making. One is that he has positioned himself between me and the rest of the world so that it’s currently a major operation getting up from my computer, clambering over him and going into the kitchen. The other is that he seems compelled to be over-affectionate when he wakes up, whether that happens in the morning after a night’s sleep or at the end of a nap – of which there are many – during the day. Or when there are biscuits. Or toast. There is obviously some Labrador in him, but fortunately not enough to make him really persistent in going after other people’s food. He just takes a friendly interest in it.
What has held up my writing a bit is that one of my relatives has chosen now to start up some family history hares, and I haven’t been able to resist chasing them a bit, although this has turned out to be quite a large-scale problem and because of inconsistencies in the available sources online, I may end up having to go to the National Records of Scotland and look up Kirk Session records. Although it may sound as if I think this is a chore, I actually like reading the Kirk Session records. You can find out all sort of things in there, and it can be quite entertaining, as for example when one of my ancestors confessed to the church authorities that he was indeed the father of an illegitimate child but declared that he had never had any intention of marrying the mother. The child later turned up living with him at his farm, so don’t worry, he did take some responsibility.
I have spells of being obsessed with family history and longer spells of not bothering too much until someone else in the family nudges me about it. As a history graduate I hate to see mistakes in people’s family trees, although sometimes finding a mistake can just be a case of something not looking quite right. So for instance, I was never convinced by my late brother’s assertion that one of our great-grandparents was a pauper single parent washer-woman living in a tenement in Glasgow – not because I thought all our ancestors were aristocrats and none of them had ever been poor, but because this didn’t fit with anything else I knew about the family. When I later found the correct family, I felt as if I knew them already.