But we did have a lovely time, including me wheeling out my very rusty A-level French (tenses all over the place, can never remember the gender of non-immediately-obvious nouns – A-levels are beginning to be a frighteningly long time ago…) with all and sundry, but particularly our Belgian campsite neighbour who concealed the fact that he spoke perfect English until the last evening. ‘The English – they never learn French, but you’re very good [clearly a lie but flattering none the less] and I think it’s good for you to practice.’
He had clearly had less than wonderful experiences of Brits abroad and was prepared to find my willingness more than compensation for my linguistic all-over-the-placeness. When our conversations revealed that I am more Welsh than English, he decided that this was obviously the explanation for my readiness to speak other languages. The Other Half hastily foregrounded her Irish credentials (50% genetically, 90% temperamentally).
Fortunately, because we live in the bit of
Whilst we’ve been away, the work in progress has been on my mind hugely – in fact I can’t remember any of the books I’ve written (6 at the last count) ever preoccupying me so much. I’m hoping this is a good sign – and being able (after my resolution to turn over a new leaf and discuss my work instead of keeping it a deep dark secret until the end of the second draft) to discuss it with the Other Half helped. In fact, she came up with an idea which may go a long way to solving my approach to what was threatening to become the ‘sticky middle section’ of the book.
Now we’re home I’m back to research and while the teenagers – back from their various trek- and frisbee-based jaunts and not yet returned to work – languish in bed, I am reading about the Peasants’ Revolt and general life in the fourteenth century. Oh, and I’m also trying to find a demonstration of traditional charcoal burning so if you know anywhere that offers this, let me know!
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England really is a gem. In research for previous books (mostly Testament) I’ve read a couple of the more academic books that he quotes and have been referring to one of them (and getting bogged down in tables and endless details) as I read his lucid prose. How he manages it, I don’t know but Ian Mortimer manages to give you the most astonishing amounts of information (a digest of the more academic stuff, basically) almost without effort – reading his book feels like chatting with an immensely knowledgeable but highly agreeable person: an absolute treasure trove.
But more of that anon.
Meanwhile, the other thing which has been occupying my mind since we got back a day or two ago and I started the cyber-catch up is: should I be on Twitter?
Is it a good thing?
Is it something writers should do?