Sunday, August 30, 2009

As summer ebbs


I thought I was set to leave Plymouth, but it seems Plymouth is leaving me. Fog has rolled in today to wipe the whole place from view while foghorns are lowing out in the Sound.
We took a wet-weather spin around the National Marine Aquarium this morning, especially pleasing today after finishing Jim Lynch's novel The Highest Tide. The prawns and shrimps were among those creatures that struck me most with wonder, having been woken to the variety and profundity of seashore life by this tale of a thirteen year old boy whose hero is Rachel Carson and who shakes his whole West Coast town with his findings on the shore, starting with a giant squid. It's wry, beautifully written, and taught me a lot without ever being didactic.
Our own attempts at wildlife watching have been pretty fruitless ... hours at sea around the Cornish peninsula showing us a few gannets only, twenty-three of us on another trip bobbing about on the Sound wielding our mackerel rods, the single catch coming from an eight-year old lad. Still, it's been good to have all this time on the water. Thursday I set aside for some serious writing but was persuaded to take a wee stroll along the front. Down in the Barbican the little red ferry that plies the route from here to Cawsand was tied to its pontoon ready to go. Well why not? The subsequent coastal stroll down to Mount Edgcumbe and a second ferry was one of the finest days of putting off writing that I've ever had.
The new novel is progressing. With switching home and job I realized I was unlikely to finish a draft so I've contented myself with moving it forward, establishing some momentum.
I shift from here towards the new job in Hull next week, via London and New York, where I'm taking a trip out to the Catskill Mountains to start the research process for my new biography. More of that in time. I'm not being coy; introducing the subject requires more energy than I feel like summoning right now.
I hope your own summer's been cheerful.

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