Back from holidays

By , 15 August 2007 8:37 pm

Just arrived back from two weeks in Ireland to find a small cheque for book royalties and about half a dozen encouraging e-mails and blog entries. Thanks for both! Our time in Ireland was largely centred around a big family reunion, which went well.

Two things relevant to writing emerged. One was that two young men had a chance to read the manuscript of The Infinite Day and were embarrassing in their praise. It seems to work. The other thing was that I began to put down a lot of notes for a new series, which is a sort of spin-off from the Lamb among the Stars. It is tentatively called the Seventh Ship series and as I envisage it, it will run to three volumes. What was happening when I was writing notes was that characters and situations seem to be popping into my mind saying ‘Could you use me?’ or ‘Would I be able to play a part?’ This was very encouraging because I felt I had covered so much ground in the Lamb among the Stars that I was worried I had exhausted interesting scenarios and people. Anyway, it doesn’t look like it: there’s any number of fun plots, heroes and villains. However, I have too much on at the moment to do very much with it other than make odd sketches and outlines. But I am open to offers.

Now back to Ireland. I’m afraid we got badly hit by the weather. The trouble is, we live in a cool, wet, Celtic coastal region and found that we had traded it for something very similar. Having lived in a Mediterranean country, and got used to the warmth of France on previous holidays, we felt the cold dampness didn’t help. I was moved, therefore to come up with a few tongue-in-cheek rules on how to know that you are in the wrong place for a holiday if you like the sun. So with apologies to the Irish tourist board (and I’m told last year was lovely), here we go.

You know you are in the wrong place for a holiday when:

  • Shops sell more insect repellent than suntan lotion.
  • Picture postcards major on waves breaking violently against cliffs.
  • Sports outlets are full of wetsuits.
  • The area you are in is covered by more lakes and bogs than dry land.
  • The guidebooks talk about ‘the luminous light’ and the ‘clean air’.
  • Shops sell scarves and waterproofs in August.
  • The traditional architecture is low buildings huddled behind hills and stone walls.
  • The area has been a centre of emigration throughout history (ever asked what drove them to leave?).
  • There seems to be no indigenous word for air conditioner.
  • You arrive at a bed and breakfast to find that the heating is on in mid summer.
  • Reptiles have given up the unequal struggle and become extinct.
  • There are no ‘help us to conserve water’ signs.
  • The sheep, plants (or people) are described as hardy.
  • Trees lie at an angle to the vertical.
  • The tourist brochures describe the landscape ‘cut by the waves, lashed by the wind and washed by the rain.’ Hmmm.
  • Notices on beaches talk about the danger of exposure, rather than sunburn.

5 Responses to “Back from holidays”

  1. KB says:

    I am ever so happy to hear that there are thoughts in the works for your next series! I’m looking forward to reading The Infinite Day.

    Also, loved the list of ‘warning signs’ about your vacation spot. :)

  2. Terry says:

    Welcome back, Chris. I can relate to the feeling of the warm holiday denied. We live in Northern Alberta, and while the summers can be very warm at times, much of the year is cold. Warm holidays are a thing to cherish.

    I am excited about your plans, sketchy though they may be, for another series. Any idea when the first volume will be out? Just kidding! We’ll look forward to updates on that.

    God bless as you settle back into routine, and enjoy the rest of your summer.

    Terry

  3. Anonymous says:

    Your blogs are honestly more humorous than most things labeled comedy.

  4. Just me says:

    Luminous Light? What is that? Surely light is by very definition luminous? Touris boards…

  5. Chris says:

    Really Helen Bach, that’s what they said. Actually it’s code. You see most of the time its so dark and cloudy that your eye adjusts to it. Then wham! the clouds open and its photon overload time. Luminous light! ! Actually the air is very clean; any dust particles get washed away. All the time.

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