It appears I am low maintenance. At least according to my accountant.
I have, apparently, not claimed enough expenses in the last tax year.
Well, writing is pretty low-imput isn’t it? Even taking into account the internet which I use constantly for research, it’s not exactly a technology-intensive job. And you don’t need posh clothes to do it. Or a car. I keep trying to persuade myself that my laptop needs replacing but, as I generally can't bear to replace anything I own while it still actually works/fits/isn’t actually steam-powered, I plod on, bearing with it as it takes three minutes to log on to the internet and crashes if I even think about having iTunes and webmail on the go at the same time...
I may be about to gladden my accountant’s heart, however, as this weekend will see the Other Half and me and set off for the first of what will probably amount to half a dozen research excursions for The Black and The White. (It's what I heard Antonia Fraser refer to on the radio the other day - quaintly I thought - as 'optical research'. Aka actually eyeballing the places you're writing about as opposed to reading about them or looking at a map and inferring madly.)
To start with, we are off to the
This has all come to pass thanks to the wonders – of course – of the internet. I was surfing around looking for details of the medieval extent of the
Other things I have been using today as I plot – literally – my character’s journey through the novel are the online Domesday Book which will give you a list of every village in any given county mentioned in the said tax record (excellent for checking whether villages which are there now and look ancient were actually there then looking new) and Google’s map function which enables me to look at terrain as well as where things are in relation to each other. I basically have to get my main character across
I also spent a lot of time today toggling between about four different websites as I tried to work out whether the bridge in
Lest you think all my research is internet-based and therefore shallow and of dubious authenticity I would (if I wasn’t so lazy about taking and downloading photos) include a picture of my current work-area in our kitchen. The table is littered with books propped open, books sprouting yellow post-its like slim pointy fungus, books still waiting to be consulted and dozens and dozens of index cards with spider-diagrams and cryptic notes-to-self on them. For reasons of economy, when I bought the index cards (usually I’m a notebook person but my notes were beginning to resemble the disjointed ravings of a lunatic) I neglected to buy an index-box. However, this means that any minute now I’m going to have to go all Blue Peter and make one out of a cereal box before the cards start to migrate about the house and I lose track of some pearl-like thought or vital fourteenth-century fact.
Or maybe I should just bite the bullet, buy a plastic box and gladden my accountant’s heart….