Squeezing the very last juices out of this long autumn before sitting down to properly begin the DAUGHTER OF THE HOUSE edit, with an afternoon walking another lap of the Capital Ring from Crystal Palace to Wimbledon. It’s not an area of London I know at all, or can even remember visiting before, having spent my forty-odd years here living at the diametrically opposite corner. Who would have thought that Upper Norwood is full of grand houses and startling views over the Kentish weald or the far-distant Shard and Gherkin? At this time of year the huge gardens are all scarlet berries and drooping butter-yellow foliage, and the quiet pavements thick with black-spotted sycamore leaves. As in a previous blog entry (the One about Sewage) we are still admiring the triumphs of the Victorian water engineers. This Moorish-looking brick temple complete with cupolas is another pumping station, built in 1888 for the Southwark and Vauxhall Waterworks Company. No self-effacing utility exteriors in those days. It’s all BLAM! Get an eyeful of THIS!
And one other long walk, following the Suffolk coast. A spell of damp weather after a sunny summer has intensified the colours to saturation point. The purple-russet of that bracken looks good enough to EAT, while the gorse is still bright with flowers. Oak and birch leaves are genteelly fading against the glossy background of pine and spruce. Any day now there’ll be a heavy frost, and everything will pitch straight into winter.
Back to work. Today I’ve re-read my text with my editor’s detailed notes in front of me, and am reminded yet again what a gulf there always is between what I think I’ve written, and what’s actually there on the page. After a month of not looking or even thinking about it, coming afresh I have to agree that I’ve undercooked the love story quite seriously – as a result of trying not to overdo it! It won’t be difficult to flesh it out (ahem), and I’m really looking forward to stitching in some new scenes, and at the same time cutting otiose pages, slashing the adverbs, smoothing out the time scale, and turning it all into seamless perfection. I hope.
Actually I’m itching to get started.