Big changes afoot in Bridger Hollow

Photo by Bryan MinearWe’re home from our week in the lovely English Riviera. I enjoyed every internet-free minute of it and will cherish the memory of our peaceful time. I spent every morning planning three sequels for my half-written space opera Sky Train, slept every afternoon in the sweet seaside air through an open window, made it out for dinner with my family every evening, and slept well every night too. The quaint Dartmouth steam train chuffed past our berth five or six times a day, and everyone we met was pleasant. It was a good holiday. I’ve come home happy and refreshed, and ready to rock Sky Train.

Yesterday was a day of significant change in my home life. Three significant changes, in fact.

The day started with our final Full English holiday breakfast in Torbay, followed by a pleasant journey home, with worrying reports on the radio of a traffic stopping accident on the southbound A38 but that proved to be north of where we joined it. So we sailed through, me in D2’s big red estate with her kids in their childseats behind us and her dashboard talking quietly like something off the starship Enterprise, and my wife and our hound dog Elvis in D3’s sporty white zoom machine, D1 having driven her (definitely not snoozing) kids home the previous evening.

I loved walking into our plane tree-shadowed living room, touching the solidity of it, stretching into the space within it, saying hello quietly because its silence said it had been waiting for us to come home.

D2 bathed her two and delivered them to her ex-husband, their dad, for a fortnight. And that’s the last time they will be here living with us, because next Friday, while they’re still away, their mum will be taking possession of their new home. That’s the first big change.

It’s a nice flat just a five minute walk up the valley from our place, where they’ve lived with us since D2’s youngest was born, so we will still see them all the time. In fact my wife will still be childminding the youngest here for the two-and-a-half days every week when she isn’t at play school.

But I’ll miss them so much. Already am. I stood in their bedroom this morning and had a quiet cry. They’re delightful kids and our home will be a very different place in the evenings without them here. I love D1’s kids too, and they’ll still be coming round to see us just like D2’s will, but it’s going to be a very quiet household with only us three adults here in the evenings.

So last night my wife, D2, D3, and I had a takeaway: various Chinese dishes for them, and for me my Indian favourite, a hotter than medium lamb madras with garlic fried rice. Then we watched the third Hobbit film, and fell into our beds just before midnight for long deep zonks all round.

No writing for me. I put a real productive week of it in on holiday, and last night I needed to take a break. Today as well. This evening or tomorrow I’ll dive right back into it because there’s a notebook filled with space opera series plans waiting to be transferred to the Sky Train folder on my mac, and a big proposal package to put together because I’m going to sub this one to Carina Press.

That’s the second big change. Having believed all through that horribly long deep ME relapse that I would never again be healthy enough to work to deadline dates with a publisher, I now find myself in a position where I can. Which is wonderful and very exciting!

The third big change is that we’re now discussing which of our soon-to-be vacant-again ground floor rooms I will take for my study, and which one D3 will take for her craft room. After three years of writing in our big noisy family living room with a big noisy tv right behind me, it’s going to be a good culture shock to do it in my own quiet room again with all my books on shelves around me instead of boxed up in the attic.


Photo by Benjamin LambertI’m going on holiday tomorrow to a beautiful, peaceful  green place that I know in advance is a deadzone for my mobile provider. So I will be not only offline, but off the entire grid. Scary shit, eh? I’m taking lots of novels to read, and my notebook and pen to jot down any ideas that occur for my WIP and its sequels.

See you when I get back. Be good. 🙂


I’m loving this weather at the moment. Can only sit outside to enjoy it for half an hour at a time, and not strong enough to do it every day, and contrary to expectations I find that climatic conditions don’t alter my health condition in any way, but the sunshine and lovely birdsong does make me smile.

That’s it, folks. I’m still in the same way I was last time I posted. It’s a long old relapse, this. I’m mostly bedbound, mostly sleeping, mostly hurting too much to bear and so mostly drugged quite heavily.

My wife is reading a splendidly illustrated hardback copy of Mrs Beeton’s Every-Day Cookery, annotated throughout with pencilled menu notes.

On the first blank page inside the front cover, in a different hand of confident cursive blue ink, is this message:

To Bunny, in self defence, John. 1948

Making us smile. 🙂

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