Sunday, February 04, 2007

Books and blogs and Wisbech

Because I am somewhat distrustful of web-based technology, every month I print off all the Warrior blog posts and put them in a ring binder. After January's I shall have to start a new file (or get a bigger one), so this morning I did a quick tot up of what I've written here so far - that is since last April (but effectively really only since June, as it got off to rather a slow start) - and it adds up to very nearly 50,000 words, many of them different. That's the best part of a book.

I've written a book (it's an occupational hazard), and it was about 70,000 words. It took a lot longer than eight months, and wasn't nearly so much fun. After a few years of researching a subject in minute detail, and writing and rewriting, one tends to get rather sick of it and to lack motivation. I got to the point where the publisher's deadline for the finished typescript was looming, and all I had to do was tidy up the conclusion, perhaps a couple of thousand extra words, and I put it off, and put it off, and put it off, all the while knowing that we were due to go up to Helyn at Floods Ferry (near March) two days before it was due. I was finally galvanised into action at about four o'clock on the morning we left, and finished and printed the last few pages. The rest was already done, and we took it all with us to post when we got there.

Just one little problem - I'd forgotten to number the pages, so we sat on Helyn - little 22 foot GRP cruiser - numbering by hand three copies of the typescript at some 300 pages each. Then we packed it up and took it into Wisbech to post. Once that was done, we were free to enjoy the delights of this Fenland town (which I have been told by a native has the highest crime rate relative to its population in Britain, but that may of course be a foul slur), one of which was a very good gents' outfitters who supplied Jim with some navy bib and brace overalls.

Before we left, we were accosted by a woman doing market research. She said that she had to interview twelve people, and only needed one more, then she could go home. So, rather out of character for us (but getting the typescript off, not to mention finding the overalls, had put us in an exceptionally good mood), we agreed to answer her questions. They were mostly about pet insurance, but there were also a few about rail travel: had we travelled anywhere by rail in the past month? This was when I was going up and down to Huddersfield every week, so I was able to tell her about that. Oh good, she said, because no one else she'd spoken to that afternoon had left Wisbech in the past month.

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