A return to typically British summer weather, dripping and misty, has encouraged me to stay at my desk writing. The novel with the eighteenth century setting has gone on to the back burner, though I’ve done more research for it, accumulating another twenty pages of notes. However, the crazy “National Cake Day in Ruritania” progresses apace. At the beginning of June I’d drafted seventeen thousand words of this piece of surreal fiction. The word count in the draft manuscript is now forty-seven thousand. Swift use of arithmetic reveals an average production rate of one thousand words per day over the past month.


The muse has indeed returned! But her prolonged vacation has left her in a mad, exuberant mood. She’s taught me remarkable things about Ruritania. For example, only recently did I learn that Ruritania has the greenest energy industry on the planet. In her electricity generating stations, giant hamsters the size of horses run on huge treadmills, which drive the generators. About one fifth of the country’s agricultural land is devoted to producing hamster food. Giant hamster dung, a powerful fertilizer, is a significant export. The muse also told me that the nation’s established religion (the Asclepian Church of Ruritania) has a medical creed. Every day, before the medipriests conduct their ecclesiastical ward rounds in the church surgeries, the Hippocratic Oath is chanted in Old High Ruritanian to a medieval polyphonic setting. And then there’s the new Ruritanian calendar…


There’s about to be a hiatus in production because I’m going on vacation for a week, starting on Saturday July 6th. With any luck the weather will stop dripping, the mist will clear, and I’ll be able to enjoy a few days of warm sunlit walking and exploring in a part of England I don’t know. A short break away from the insane Ruritanian novel will be good for me (and for the novel). I intend to resume writing when I return.


Later in the month (19th) I’m considering a visit to our annual national storytelling jamboree in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. Apart from that, I’ve no storytelling plans until August. But significant changes are coming, notably a new-look website. Watch this space, or its successor!

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