Two Big Pushes and Some Crabs

Well, it’s not every woman who can say she got crabs from the man across the road for her anniversary. And straight out the sea at that! Mr Across-the-Road turned up at the weekend with a basket of freshly-caught crabs as a thank you for a couple of small favours we’d been happy to do. There was a worrying moment when Tom and I looked at the crabs in our sink and they looked up at us and waved little crabby claws and I thought we might have to keep them as pets before we overcame our unease and dispatched them with great respect. And, I have to say they were absolutely sublime with Tom’s homemade aïoli and some chilled white wine. On our anniversary, St David’s Day, Tom brought me a cup of tea in bed and a bunch of daffs for every year of our marriage – how lovely was that?

Only four days to go now before the Llanelli half-marathon so I’m getting nervous. My training’s gone well but not without event. Honestly, you’d think that here on the west Wales coast I’d be able to run in peace but, no. Over the last week alone I have: (a) been a soft target for every boy racer that passes to jeer at; (b) been stopped by a van driver who actually pulled over in a lay by to ask me how I was getting on and what was I training for; (c) made new best friends with an old boy who I see on my runs – and I know I’m his best friend because he says, ‘Sut ti?’, ‘How’s you?’ – informal, and I am most certainly not a child or his sweetheart!

But the award for the worst close encounter this week though, goes to a farm dog. I’m not scared of dogs but I do treat the farm dogs with caution so when this one bolted out an open gate I stopped, let it sniff me, talked to it nicely and tried to carry on, but, no, it wasn’t having it. By the time I eventually got passed I was covered in mud where it had jumped all over me and slightly chewed from a couple of playful nips it had tried out on me. Hopefully Sunday’s run will be slightly less eventful!

The effect of FTT’s two near misses was to leave me with a lingering feeling that, for all the glowing comments, maybe I had, in fact, written a pile of junk. I was also feeling a bit confused about the apparently conflicting advice I’d been given and was almost ready to abandon the whole thing. There’s a moment after the white heat of finishing a novel when you can’t read it with any degree of objectivity, which is why the advice is always to put the typescript away for a few weeks, but, hey, when you know someone’s going to sit on it for months you just want to get it out there. Then the doubts start to creep in...

One of the many benefits of the OU course I’m studying is that it’s taught me to be a better reader, a more critical reader, so I sat down to read FTT and decide what to do next. Well, I’m actually really pleased with what I’ve written! FTT Dark is more interesting than FTT Lite, although, at 110,000 it is, as the publisher pointed out, a tad too long and, curses, the bit you send out, the first three chapters, are the book’s weakest chapters (probably because I rewrote them so many times). Anyway, the upshot is that I’ve nearly finished rewriting, FTT Dark ‘n Sleek, with all of the plot and none of the flabby bits, so now I can take it forwards with confidence.

And finally...
My race number has just arrived for the Llanelli half; I am a scarily low number, 46, but don’t worry if you can’t remember that because, looking at the hardcore field, I’ll be easy to spot because I’ll be the one at the back. Now, I’m even more nervous! Eek!

Today’s image is 'Welsh Landscape’ by Tom Tomos. Tom’s been trying out a new technique of drawing in 'back to front' colours on small cards, scanning the image and then making a negative version. They will either be for limited edition digital prints [at very reasonable prices] or for projection in a gallery display.

Tom and Chris scanning the horizon to see if their ship is coming in.


Lane said…
I like the sound of FTT Dark 'n Sleek! Glad the rewrite is almost done so it can be on its way again.

Good luck with the race Chris. I'll be thinking of you on Sunday.

ps are you sure you didn't keep just one crab as a pet?:-)
Pipany said…
Happy anniversary Chris. How lovely to be given crabs!!!! Delicious and well done to hubs for the daffs too. Also huge well done to you for the positivity about your novel and rewriting it so quickly. Go girl xx
Suffolkmum said…
Good for you for refusing to be cowed - you think it's good, it will be good. Happy anniversary. I've just signed up to my first half-marathon - gulp ...
JJ Beattie said…
Oh Chris, I absolutely LOVE the image.

It's great news about the novel. You must not have doubts about it!

All the very best with the race.
nimblejacks said…
Chris, thanks for the comment on my blog. Yes thankfully (or not) it was CROCs I tripped over not something more dubious:D They are size 11 though and so very east to fall over as I often do and mutter about it.Llanelli half marathon, from the kids Karate course in Swansea I shall be mentally cheering you on I'd much rather be out in the fresh air but hey ho. That recipe is delish and healthy so you have a good excuse to eat the lot if you so choose after your run. From sunny Gower with a dead washing machine and the Eu laundry mountain xx
Milla said…
yes, I love dark and sleek, too. one of these bloody versions has got to be the one, CH, and why not third time lucky. you really are a star with your energy and stuff. (sorry, am tired and have lost all my words today!)
muddyboots said…
l feel exhausted thinking about 1/2 marathons but feel very hungry at the thought of fresh crab!
Pat Posner said…
Belated Happy Anniversary to you both.

Good luck for Sunday, Chris.
Flowerpot said…
The rewrite sounds great Chris and I know just how you feel - Im going through the same process with my last novel. I'll be thinking of you with the race on Sunday and as for the crabs - last time we were given a huge Jack crab, it took Himself a bottle of wine to kill the poor thing! He vowed never again...
Frances said…
Hello Chris, and belated happy anniversary to you and Tom.

I also like the notion of FTT dark and sleek. What you write about becoming a better reader absolutely makes sense. Hoping your newest version of the early chapters will be the one to snag a publisher.

Best wishes on the marathon!

May I once again tell you how beautiful Tom's pictures are? Today's particularly appeals to me.

Preseli Mags said…
Happy anniversary! How lovely to have fresh crab for it too.

Huge good luck for Sunday. I have my fingers crossed that it will be a lovely still day. As for dogs on runs, I once had a collie jump off a bank on to my back and land piggyback style. I nearly had a heart attack!

And I love the sound of FTT dark and sleek! Best of wishes for that too. xx
Faith said…
Do like that painting on the top! I notice paintings so much more now I am dabbling.

Yum I love crab.... but no couldnt have killed them. You were brave.
LittleBrownDog said…
Oooh, isn't Tom tall, Chris? Happy anniversary for St David's day - sounds lovely and romantic (H has conveniently forgotten all but two of ours, but I'm dropping loads of hints this year as it's our 10th, too). Dark & sleek sounds good. Was reading only today that Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple and one of the richest men in the world) was shown the door umpteen times and told his ideas would never catch on when he started out... I have good feelings about dark and sleek.

Best of luck with the race (and don't forget those jelly babies...)

ChrisH said…
Oops, just dropping by to say that it's not so much that Tom is a man mountain but that I am a short-arse!
bradan said…
Love crabs, but couldn't kill them, you were brave...
FTT dark snd sleek sounds good, I really do hope it's third time lucky.
All the very best for the race, without dogs!
Pondside said…
Chris, from what I've read about you and your life, I'd say that you and Tom have had your ship come in - full steam ahead! Everything else is gravy (talk about mixed metaphors) - and you're making good gravy!
Fiona said…
Has your TMA got through now. I do hope so. We have our tutorial this weekend.

FTT Dark'n Sleek sounds like a great read. Don't worry, the first three chapters are always a nightmare. Or is it just me?

May the wind back at your back on Sunday.
ChrisH said…
Lane, Kermit the crab is doing nicely and sends you a wave.

Pip, thank you - yes, crabs and daffs were lovely. Got the bit between my teeth now.

Suffolkmum - where and when?? Good luck with it, you'll enjoy it (in a masochistic sort of way!)

JJ, thank you - have told Tom. No we must stick together and believe in our novels!

Nimblejacks - sorry, I did have to rub my eyes for a minute! On Sunday, I'll wish I was doing karate! I hope the EU laundry mountain has diminished into a manageable pile. Poor you!

Milla, not surprised after your scare. Hope all is well now. Thank you - let's hope it is third time lucky, grrr!

Muddyboots, it seems to me that you are always rushed off your feet anyway!

Pat, thank you for both. Any decision on your book yet?

Fp, I'm so glad it wasn't just us - keep laughing at the thought of Himself downing a bottle before he could face doing the deed! Keep b*ggering on with the book!
ChrisH said…
Frances, thank you for your kind comments - I've passed them to Tom.

Mags, I NEVER want that to happen to me! They are a berludy menace when they jump out of nowhere - but off a bank? That's just cheating! Thank you - I hope it's a still day too!

Faith, well done on the 'dabbling' - I wouldn't know where to start (well, apart from with a brush!. Not so much brave as faced with no choice!

LBD, surely H won't let this one pass? You will have to tell him there is something unpleasant in his stars unless he remembers. I DO hope good feelings about 'Dark 'n Sleek' are a peep into the future too! Thank you - I shall be armed with jelly babies, but don't count on them crossing the finishing line!

Bradan, thanks on all counts... actually some idiot did let dogs on us during the Worthing Chrismas Cracker a couple of years ago. Was not a happy bunny!

Pondside, wise words indeed. I'm grateful for my lot.

Fiona, I think it did although I nearly blew up the TMA system in the process! It told me off for resending it 'though. If I get disqualified after all that work I shall cry!
Edward said…
Crabs - yum yum. What a treat. Best of luck in the half from another runner - my number at Stroud Half was 666 which was scary for a host of other reasons. Loved the picture, too. Good luck with the novel - I'm in awe of anyone who can start one, never mind finish one.
Debs said…
What a lovely way to celebrate your anniversary.

Best of luck with the marathon, you have my utmost admiration. I ran up a flight of stairs today and was so proud of myself (usually take the lift)!

Love the pic, as usual :)

I'm sure FTT is fab and you'll make it. You sound like you know what your doing.x
Fennie said…
Do you know I wrote an entire story once about a crab that I found in some shrimps I was cooking and how in the middle of cooking dinner I went down to the sea (we were staying in a coastal town in France) to return the crab to the water and how the next day walking along the beach I found a very long way from where I had been before a comb that I had lost just washing in on the tide and how I always thought that this must have been connected with the saving the life of this little green crab. A belated anniversary and good luck with the race!
elizabethm said…
FTT mark three sounds good - love dark and sleek, sounds like an otter!
best of luck with the run and a very happy anniversary.
Jude said…
Good luck with the race..
Happy, happy anniversary and crabs, I love 'em.
Calico Kate said…
I have just spent some very nice time reading through your blog. It is lovely and one I will return to. Well done on the writing comp and I do hope that FTT gets a publisher soon.
Lovely pictures too.
See you again soon.
Calico Kate said…
Woops meant to say that I hope all goes well with the marathon this pm.
The weather is foul up here all seasons, & some, in one day. Do hope it isn't like that for you.
Woozle1967 said…
From one short arse to another - hope the race went well; the crabs sounded wonderful and many congratulations on your anniversary! Definitely LOTS of brownie points for the daffs...........xx
ChrisH said…
Edward,that's quite a number!
Debs, nearly there... but we'll see if I actually know what I'm doing!
Fennie, I can expect to lose several combs then, after eating so many crabs instead of saving them!
Elizabethm, thank you.
Jude, welcome and thank you.
Kate, welcome, thank you - and it was!!
Woozle. lovely to hear from you again :)

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