Friday, 5th January, 2018
Shocked to see that my most recent post was in mid-October. Where has the time gone ? Well, it’s been mostly used up sitting in front of my desktop waiting for words of genius and brilliance to materialise on the screen in front of me. And waiting, and waiting. This writing books thing is unspectacular and very un-visual but, as they say, someone’s got to do it.
The good news is that I passed the halfway point on my Erebus book in early December and my editor has seen it and is still talking to me, which has spurred me on to return to the keyboard and finish the thing. I’m enjoying it. Especially the glass of wine with which I reward myself at the end of each day’s scribbling. Unlike a novel, which is all in your head, the story of the adventures of Erebus in the Polar wastes is in library archives and learned books, and digging out the facts is time-consuming, and seemingly endless. But very rewarding and often exciting.
The exhibition Death In The Ice, just finishing at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, has remarkable video footage of marine archaeologists exploring the sunken wreck of the Erebus, discovered in 2014, 30 feet below the surface of the Arctic waters, and I was lucky enough to meet and share a lunch with Ryan Harris, the leading diver and the first man to see Erebus for 170 years. Every now and then I do have to gasp with wonder, which I hope will transfer to the page ! All being well, it’s still on course for publication in September 2018.
I took a few days off in early December to accept an invitation to a literary festival at Viseu in Portugal. It’s a small but attractive old town about two hours drive from Porto (now there’s a place worth visiting. Rising steeply from the river and delightful to explore). Viseu endeared itself to me for two reasons. One is that the full title of their event was the Festival of Literature and Wine, and perhaps more importantly, because its football team are called the Academicals. Hamilton Academicals – you have a Portuguese rival! If only they could be drawn together in some European competition!
I’ve one of those “Life On Screen” things coming up – on Sunday night Jan 7th, BBC2 – which reminds me of how old I am and how much I’ve done and how I would like to do it all over again. Hope you’ll enjoy it.
Now, back to the book. Happy New Year to you all.