Really looking forward to our two weeks in Brittany with the family – not the whole family, I might add, as we probably would have had to rent a whole village. We sail from Portsmouth on Saturday morning and should arrive in Caen late afternoon. We are staying in a three-bedroomed property on the edge of a national forest in Bretagne, and it is as close to the Bay of Biscay as it is to the English Channel: in other words it’s in the middle of the region.
Our aim is to have a good restful holiday, but one of my objectives is to also visit Normandy and the coastline where the D Day landings took place. I would also like to explore Caen which was the first French city to be liberated by the Allies four months after D Day. And, of course, to see the Bayeux Tapestry in the flesh, so to speak. Needless to say the research will be the final piece of the jigsaw known as novel No.7, a historical novel. It still has no title, but am hoping one will come to me when it is finished. I usually get inspiration for a title as I write the book, but this time the title has eluded me so far, but then I’m only 45,000 words in.
One could say I only write from a historical perspective, and you would probably be right. My last novel OPERATION MAINSPRING was set in 1988 at a time when DNA was emerging as a tool to apprehend serial killers and criminals: a time when no one had a mobile phone, only perhaps the very few who could afford one and they were as big as house bricks. Perhaps it’s my age that makes me write from the historical angle. I am just a little younger than Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones. He said he can remember the sound of bombs dropping on London: I cannot, as the war was just over when I came into the world. But those of our era lived in a drastically changing world, twice threatened by nuclear attacks, once in the early sixties, where I sat on a wall outside the office I had just started working at, smoking a cigarette, waiting to be blown to pieces, but, I soon gave that up – cigarettes, not sitting on walls. We did take it seriously though, and instead of biting our fingernails waiting for the big bang, we joked about it to hide our fear which was very real at the time.
The world started to change in the mid-to-late fifties and music was one of those big changes. The sounds of Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochrane were the first voices I heard that really got my feet tapping, and that Bo Diddley beat always made me want to get up and dance. They were so different to the orchestral sounds of the ballads imparted by the modern singers of the day. I was never a lover of Jazz and Keith Richards, during his television programme about his life and what kind of music inspired him, said he found some forms of Jazz pretentious: I tend to agree with him. Like him, I was always a rock-chic and still love a bit of rock and R & B.
So, to return to our sojourn in France: once we are back on English soil and well rested, I am immediately off to the hospital for a pre-op, whereupon it will be about six weeks to my D Day. I am having my right hip replaced, hopefully the end of September, early October, so might not get the chance to blog again as I am hoping to be too busy writing the latter half of my 7th book. But am looking forward to blogging about my op, though, as I am hoping for an epidural as I would rather be awake than totally put under with other forms of anaesthesia. At least I’ll be able to talk to the anaesthetist while the surgeon is getting on with his job down the other end of the table. The interesting bit will be the following day when I will be got out of bed, given two crutches and told to rise up and walk. Just hope I don’t do a prat-fall.
My brother told me the other day that he talked about motor bikes for forty minutes to his anaesthetist, who was also a biker, when he went in for a knee op. I wonder what I’ll talk to mine about? If it’s the same anaesthetist I don’t know a thing about motor bikes. Lambretta scooters, maybe? Perhaps, the music of the sixties.? I just hope he’s not a Jazz fan, then I will be out of my depth.