It’s a disaster and all my own fault. My first book was about 230 pages long, and the second one was expected to be about that same size, but guess who had not factored in the obvious? putting 200 pictures in it would nearly double the number of pages needed and make the book stupidly thick and vastly more expensive. And I like to think I am clever. Stupidly thick could easily apply to that lack of foresight.
The result is that, barring a miracle re-edit in record time, a compliant printer and a book formatter prepared to work the whole weekend, there will be no Valbonne Monologues this side of Christmas. I have not completely given up, but I am pretty certain that the launch date, provisionally scheduled for 14th December will not be met. The sponsors, French Mortgage Xpress, Currencies Direct and Blue Water Yachting will naturally be devastated if that is what transpires. It may be that I can get some copies for those who were banking on getting signed first editions for friends and enemies as presents for the festering season, but this is by no means certain.
With all this chaos going on, and the sun out, I took to my bike cycling from Clymping to Middleton in pleasant sunshine from where I took this picture. I wanted to think through what needed to happen, whether to change to an A4 format, but with the lovely Lin from the English Book Centre describing that possibility as “nasty”, and I don’t want anyone describing it in those terms, certainly not before it is released, that idea was quickly abandoned. There will be enough of that sort of insult once it is out in the open.
The authorities are rebuilding the sea defences where I tend to walk or cycle, and, as you can see have banked the shingle up and flattened in such a way that it can be cycled over, albeit that a bit tricky in places, and when you see a spring tide as today, the corrosive effect off a high tide is amply illustrated. Add high winds to that tide and you will get denudation of the defences, hence the annual rebuild.
We were determined not to have a drink, but the lovely Catherine Panto (oh yes she is) who was walking with that Nice Lady Decorator whilst I was on my bike, wanted to get a coffee, and the only place we could find open was Fullers pub the Elmer at Elmer Sands, which serves coffee and London Pride. Now I like coffee after a meal, but it would stick in my craw to go into a pub serving the best beer in the world and order just a coffee. So we didn’t. Just the one you understand and then back on the bike to work it off in spring-like sunshine. We even managed to sit outside on their sunny terrace, a special treat that I take so much for granted in Valbonne at any time of year.
With a whole month of likely partying ahead starting on Monday, when we fly to Manchester to meet up with John “Chuckle Brothers” Surtees and the lovely Rachael, to fly to Bangkok for a few days on the way to Australia, it would be fair to expect a moderate amount of celebration in respect of the first holiday we have had since err… October, and I like to live up to that expectation. Having never before been to Thailand but always having loved Thai food, I am so looking forward to it. I am also looking forward to the hotel in Bangkok as apparently we will have our own butler, and it is free cocktails between 6pm and 8pm, so I am reasonably certain we can drink back the extra cost in two hours of each of the three days we are there.