Almost as soon as I’d written my July notebook entry the weather turned hot, dry and sunny. Britain has enjoyed the best July weather for seven years – a heat wave, which ended a week or so ago (I’m writing this piece on August 3rd) in a series of spectacular thunderstorms, quenching the thirst of our gardens, replenishing reservoirs and rivers, and providing us with a nightly and sometimes daily firework display.


During the heat wave I took my planned vacation and did no work whatsoever, apart from scribbling a few notes about projected developments of the Ruritanian novel. When I returned, somewhat tanned, I was obliged to catch up with the backlog of editing and other work, but there was still glorious weather to enjoy so I spent as much time out of doors as I could, walking the neighbour’s dog and even doing small tasks in the garden. The practical consequence was slower progress on the novel than happened in June; I wrote just over 10,000 words in the month. However, I’ve now reached the point in the story where I can indulge myself by writing dramatic scenes; even in a comic fantasy novel there needs to be drama otherwise the reader will lose interest! So during the next week – if people will stop pestering me with manuscripts to edit – I’m going to have fun writing more of the book.

In my previous notebook entry I said there wasn’t going to be much storytelling activity for a while. Er… Actually, that’s proved not to be quite true. I’ve just returned from this afternoon’s session of the Glossop “Inspire” Festival, during which I was cajoled into leading a story walk. For those who’re not familiar with the phrase, a ‘story walk’ is a walk during which you tell stories. (Duh.) This afternoon, in another warm dry spell of weather, ten or a dozen people elected to wander around the woodland paths with me while I regaled them with local folktales. I focused on the very local, i.e. stories set within a few miles of where we were walking, and my peripatetic audience seemed well entertained. I’m due to perform at the Buxton storytelling meeting on the 25th of August (2.00-3.30 p.m. in Scrivener’s Bookshop) but I’m assured my services won’t be required locally again until the end of September. We shall see…

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