I'm sitting in the new office of ClientEarth
, looking out across the expanse of London Fields with its ancient plane trees. This is me, polishing off emails. Tomorrow I head for the hills (well, Pezilla de Conflent, a village in the French Pyrenees) which I start yearning for this time of year.
An internet signal is in fact beamed around the village from the church's clock tower, though France Telecom denies the fact when I try to sign up. So I will be offline for a couple of weeks ... which begins to seem a blessing. The web's a wonder as a research tool, but I do look forward to staring into nature rather than at a screen. Years ago already, when teaching a highschool kid one winter morning, I pointed him to the window and a spectacular streak of sunrise. 'Wow,' he said. 'It's just like a screensaver.'
I thought I had finished my new novel the day before term started. In fact I had outlined its skeleton, in a rush for completion before the university gobbled me whole again. Now it's spit me out for a couple of weeks, the Easter break, so I'll be writing again.
I finished my last novel in the village, while looking out of the window. As I set down my pen, a heron (my bird of good omen) came and flew a tight loop around the bend of the river in front of me, the bird at my eye level, dancing a celebration.
So I'm going quiet a while ... may the freshness of Spring ghost your footsteps.