Part of my daughter’s poorliness has meant a trip to hospital. When everything is done and dusted, Lily and I retreat to where the lovely WVS ladies are serving refreshments whilst we wait for Tom to collect us. The teas are 80p each and we ask for two. ‘£1.80!’ says the dear lady. We give her a surprised look and she has another bash, except I then throw everything into chaos by asking for a bag of Jelly Tots as well.
A young Asian man wanders in looking punch drunk, clutching a shiny, black and white image which is drying in his hand. The image is of what looks like a satellite picture of the weather forecast, all swirls and mists. It is, of course, an ultrasound image of his child and looking at the father-to-be's face as he gazes as it makes me feel both privileged and unintentionally intrusive. I tell Lily about the moment I heard her heartbeat for the first time, when I barely believed I was pregnant, now here she is, a grown woman.
For many months now a huge stack of paper has been sitting in a filing tray on the floor of my study. It’s the ‘final’ version of Turning the Tide, well, the one that was the final version before the editing process which was all done electronically anyway. It suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t need to keep it anymore, yet it was still quite a wrench to switch it to my recycling pile. Although I do most of my work straight on the computer, I still like to print out the WIP from time-to-time as reading a hard copy gives me a fresh perspective and I can sometimes hear the rhythm of the words better.
The other thing I like to do is set up a box file for each book filled with anything that makes me think about the plot; photographs, cuttings, maps, legal points. I felt a touch of sadness as I closed the box file for Turning the Tide, but at least the new one for the WIP is coming along nicely and that feels quite exciting.
Phew! I can relax at last. MiL, who gave up reading novels, has made an exception for Turning the Tide. Although it was very sweet of her I was a tad worried as MiL is less than keen on dogs, boats, bad language and vigorous horizontal romps all of which feature at least once in the book. Fortunately, we both seem to have survived with MiL declaring it ‘quite good for a first effort’. I wonder who was most relieved?
Painting is 'Offshore Surf' by Tom Tomos