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09/01/2011 Archived Entry: "Work in Progress"

SeptemberGarden (42k image)

Just been signing my last Constable book for the mother of a retired policeman – actually he pounded the same village beat as I did in the mid-60’s. So we had a nice chat about how it was in the good old days of village policing – just like Aidensfield really.

So now it’s back to my desk and my latest project – the life story of Nicholas Postgate, a catholic priest who was martyred for his faith at York in 1679. This is not the sort of thing I’ve tackled before and I’m somewhat out of my comfort zone. There’s so much research to be done, places to visit, people to contact. I’ve been on the internet for hours on end, pored over books in libraries, spent several sessions in the County Records Dept. and travelled hundreds of miles to verify facts and visit churches and other buildings. It’s the only way to get to the heart of my subject but I’m finding it quite fascinating, albeit at times frustrating and exhausting.

My long-suffering wife has been patient and helpful – she’s rather good at digging out obscure facts from the internet. She’s also very good at giving me space and protecting me from telephone and doorbell interruptions. If I had a bigger garden I’d take a leaf out of George Bernard Shaw’s book. He took over his wife’s summerhouse for a writing studio at the bottom of his garden and when anyone came to call on him, Charlotte could truthfully say, “Sorry, I’m afraid he’s out”

When I’ve finished my first draft then I’ll take a break for a few days – Rhoda has found a very nice family-run hotel on the coast. We’ll spend time walking, watching wildlife and indulging Rhoda’s passion for visiting gardens. Then in the evenings we can relax on the terrace with a glass of wine and take in the sunset while some clever chef conjures up a delicious meal for us. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it?

So that’s how I’ve been occupying myself over the summer months. Rhoda’s out in the garden now – that’s where she spends afternoons when I’ve got my head down. She’s passionate about gardening and is busy taking photographs. We had a conservatory built a few years ago and the garden was completely devastated by diggers and builders’ rubble. So she takes pictures on the first day of every month as a record of how the garden is developing. We’ll have the camera on holiday and she’ll take photos of any plant that takes her fancy in those gardens we visit.

Will let you know how we got on. Till then, best wishes to all my readers.

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