It’s been a busy week and I’ve been making good progress on a number of fronts.
As ever, a majority of my time was spent working on my novel and I am delighted to report at week’s end that I think I have finally put the bloody thing to bed! The revisions and re-working of the text is now finished and the completed work now stands at a slim 210,000 words, as compared to its previous 215,000.
But it hasn’t merely been a case of removing 5,000 superfluous words as the novel has undergone a major restructure in terms of the chronology of the events, (much fewer flash backs and ‘time-jumps’) , and there is hardly a sentence that hasn’t been re-worked, one way or another.
Gone are the previous 4 separate parts of the novel and it is now one continuous story comprising 39 chapters.
I believe the work I have put in over the past few months has made the novel a much better read, and certainly the text flows much smoother and all the cumbersome, convoluted text has now been removed.
Next week I will re-submit the manuscript to the agent who suggested the changes and I will also been sending it to some more agents/ publishers who are on my list. The revised version will be posted on my blog during the next week or so, and once that is done I will finally call time on what has been a very long and time consuming effort. It will be time to move on…. At last!! Phew!
Activity has continued on the house sale front and a couple of interested agents have been there to take photographs and have confirmed to me that they think the house will be of interest to their clients. Let’s see.
My pick-up has been rented out for over week now – so that’s bringing in a bit of income and dear Noo has even done a bit of taxi work in her little Nissan, including a couple of lucrative airport runs for friends and acquaintances, which has helped to pay a few bills.
My moods these days are much better as I come to terms with my current situation and stop dwelling on ‘what might have been’. In spite of everything that has happened, I am still in one piece and am now I am fit enough to take a brisk walk of up to an hour a day around the beautiful lake, near my home. I even started jogging a little yesterday – the first time in many months.
I live in a sunny paradise where I can take a dip in my private pool every day, I have a wonderful lady who takes care of me like a baby, four crazy dogs to play with and have plenty of activities to keep me satisfied, occupy my mind and hopefully ward off ‘mad cows disease’.
How long this situation will last is anyone’s guess. If the money runs out and I fail to sell the house and my other money making ideas come to nothing, then one day I may have to return to the UK. In the meanwhile I will continue to live the life of Riley – permanently on holiday in paradise – and I intend to enjoy it while it lasts. Maybe I am becoming imbued with Buddhist philosophy – live for today and not worry about tomorrow. Not a bad idea ….
‘There and back’ – a trip to ye olde country… Part 2
After a couple of days with my brother in Kent, we made our first of two trips to London, on what turned out to be a very, very hot day.
Sid, my brother, drove us to Tonbridge station, where Noo and I took a train to London Bridge.
Walking out of the station, the first sight that hits you is the startling Shard , the tallest building in western Europe. There have been many complaints about the Shard spoiling the landscape of London, but to me every building simply adds new and exciting layers to what is already a heady and eclectic skyline.
After taking in our fill of The Shard, Lek insisted in posing next to the obligatory red phone box and then we walked through the glorious Hays’ galleria to the riverbank. In a former life, some 20 odd years ago, I used to have a luxury apartment in Hays, but Noo thought I was kidding when I tried to tell her….
We headed off east and the views of the City’s ‘square mile’, the WW2 frigate, HMS Belfast, the Tower of London and of course Tower Bridge, ate up mega-bytes on our camera memory cards.
Noo has been an avid fan of ‘The Tudors’ on TV and was in awe when I pointed out the buildings where our ‘Enery had carried out so many of his dastardly deeds. I explained that even to this day, Englishmen are still permitted to lock up their recalcitrant wives in the Tower if they refused to toe the line, but I don’t think she believed me.
We did an about turn at the tower and retraced our steps back to London Bridge. On the return journey, the futuristic, new London town Hall, a giant marble black egg, (which egg-loving Noo insisting on hugging), the new ‘cheese cutter’ and another view of the square mile were amongst the many targets of our trusty cameras.
To me, there is no finer city sky line in the world , with its mix of the ancient and modern, with many buildings, such as parts of the Tower of London nearly 1000 years old, and others like Tower Bridge ,120 years old, and London Bridge a mere 40 years, (yes folks, I actually worked in the City when the previous London Bridge – now in Arizona – was still standing), and all the amazing 20th and 21st century buildings, (such as Lloyds, ‘The Gherkin’ and the ‘Cheese Cutter’), that abound in the city and its environs.
I reckon that Effing, tree-hugging Charlie boy doesn’t know what the SF he talking about!
Back on the other side of London Bridge, we headed west to the Millennium Bridge, passing en route: a very strange looking drinking wagon full of boozers, a replica of the Cutty Sark, The ‘Clink Prison Museum’, (whatever that may be – I told Noo that’s where we put our wives before shipping them over to the Tower), Noo’s offering to a ‘season of plenty’, St Paul’s Cathedral in the far distance, the incredible reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and finally the famous, or should I say infamous Millennium Bridge.
I told Noo the story of how the Millennium Bridge used to wobble and had to be closed for ages while the smartest architects and engineers in the world had to figure out why it was wobbling and how to fix it. I bet you Isambard Kingdom Brunel wouldn’t have had this problem.
After much coaxing she eventually agreed to put foot on the ‘wobbler’ and over we went towards St Paul’s, taking a few nice pics of the Thames downstream en route.
Although to some extent St Paul’s seems to be overwhelmed by the taller buildings that surround it, to my mind, the 400 year old building more than holds its own as the ultimate Wren masterpiece. It is truly a magnificent structure and one of the finest places to view its approach it is by traversing the Millennium Bridge.
We decided to go inside whereupon Noo announced that she needed to go to the loo. 40 minutes later I was still awaiting her return, and purely out of frustration, I took an illegal snap of the interior.
I had visions of Noo roaming the London streets for days in search of sustenance, when just as all hope had faded, she magically appeared from nowhere and told me that she had to go down into the dungeons where she had encountered the longest queue to take a wee that she had ever seen in her entire life.
After leaving St Paul’s, I treated Noo to her first ever underground journey and we took the tube from St Paul’s to Westminster.
It was getting very hot, but we pressed on and wandered around Parliament Square, taking the obligatory snaps of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (17th century), at Margaret’s Church (13th Century), and the nine hundred year old Westminster Abbey.
Whew! Doesn’t it make you feel young and insignificant!
The sun was unremitting so we took the short walk into nearby St James’s Park where we collapsed in exhaustion and found some shade, luxuriating in the blissful floral environment.
Who would have believed the English climate could defeat us hardy folk from tropical Thailand?
But Noo loved the flora and fauna.
Our batteries somewhat re-charged, we took a slow wander past Horse Guards Parade and then through St James’s Park towards Buckingham palace.
One of the best things about Blighty is its public parks. Wherever you are in the UK you will never be far away from the glorious green of lush English grass, the beautifully kept, multi-coloured flower beds and – my favourite – the incredible variety of trees and bushes of every hue and of all shapes and sizes. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Royal parks of London and the above selection of pics, barely does it justice – isn’t it just lovely?
Finally, very hot and hungry, we arrived at Buck House. It was sods’ law that throughout our trek through London we had been assailed by food, but by the time our stomachs told us it was time to eat, the food had all but disappeared.
There was one very busy, very touristy, very expensive hot dog stall, at the edge of the park over-looking Buck House, so taking our lives in our hands we decided to eat the dubious looking ‘horse meat’ dogs, smothering them with mustard and ketchup to hide the taste.
I told Noo that she had to cross the road to take some close up pics of Lizzie’s pad , but she said she was too tired. ‘You go!’ she said.
Me go! She came all the way from Thailand to tell ME to go and see it!
A little bit of gentle persuasion mad her see the error of her ways, but as you can see from the pics, she wasn’t exactly smiling at this point of our long day out.
We had planned to walk from Buck House to Trafalgar Square. Our hearts were willing but my legs were about to give out, so we made the shorter journey through Green park to Green Park underground station and from there took the tube to our destination.
I noticed that the Scots were collecting money to pay for their forthcoming independence and that the good burgomasters of London have seen fit to put the logo of the finest football team that ever existed on the spare plinth. (The Blue cockerel of Spurs – no less…).
Remarkably, the sun disappeared briefly and we were treated to a sudden and refreshing shower of rain which had the effect of scattering more than 2,000 tourists into the National Gallery for shelter. The gallery hadn’t been in such demand since their exhibition of Ruben’s voluptuous nudes, some years ago.
The Scots piper continued his efforts to fill the Scottish exchequer and yours truly found himself a welcome seat just inside the entrance hall of the National gallery. I told Noo to go and have a look and the ‘pictures’ and I would await her return. Take as long as you like, I assured her, as all I wanted to do after an exhausting day of walking across central London was to sit, and sit and sit.
I’ll never know what rooms she visited or what paintings she looked at or what she made of them, but by the time she returned, I was just about able to make the short walk to Charring Cross station where we took the next train back to Sid’s place in Tonbridge.
It was a great day out and little Noo loved it.