They say a change is as good as a rest. It’s hard work packing up to leave the country for six months. And to drive one thousand miles from West Sussex to Tuscany. But we enjoy it, despite the laden car packed to the gunnels, as if we are leaving forever.
Taking coals to Newcastle???
We took an extra day this year and stayed near Colmar in Alsace. Our chambre, overlooking the snow-capped range of the Vosges Ballons, was in the home of Luc and Marie-Helene. We managed a friendly hour or two with them, conversing in our school French. What a lovely couple. They gave us a couple more tomato plants to add to those Maurice had packed. (He grows his from seeds he collects from his Italian tomatoes and starts them off on our kitchen window ledge in England). I don’t like to get political on social media, but I do believe that if there were more inter-cultural exchanges like our mini-break, there would be fewer wars and certain attitudes over the B word (notice I don’t actually spell it out), would be modified. (I fully realise I am simplifying matters, but maybe we need to sometimes. Our country is in a dreadful tangle at present.) Entente cordiale springs to mind, as a solution.
That apart, we wandered around the quaint town of Colmar, admiring the colours of the wooden buildings that look like gingerbread houses and trying local wine and cheeses. Having a day off in the middle of our journey helps breaks up the driving.
However, this year I have final edits to do by May 8th for “The Tuscan Secret”, which comes out mid-June. So, I couldn’t relax completely. I feel as if I know the book off by heart now, having gone through structural, line, copy and finally, proof edits so many times. It’s amazing where you can work, when needs must.
On the channel ferry and on the Swiss roads
I can’t wait to get back into writing the sequel, but if it all goes pear-shaped and the books don’t sell, I shall continue to write my short stories. As if to console me, after hearing the news from my editor at Bookouture that they need to tweak my book description, because the pre-orders are not amazing, I received an e mail as we drove through Switzerland from my other editor at the People’s Friend. The magazine has bought two more of my stories and also want to feature me on Author of the Week in the May 18th issue. If I could have leapt about with joy, I would have, but I was firmly strapped into my car seat as we drove through the Swiss valleys. Perhaps I should have tried yodelling instead. (Perhaps not).
We have a lot to do before our first guests arrive at the end of the month to stay in our converted watermill. The place needs spring cleaning plus a lick of fresh paint and the garden needs pruning and taming. Just as with my edits, I have more cutting back to do, and plants need moving to different beds. All very reminiscent of the structural edits I have had to do, moving chapters around and deleting passages superfluous to the plot. Wish me luck, please.