Reading & Writing

Sally, my PA, says it’s now officially autumn in London. I’m not buying this, as I’ve yet to have my summer holiday (I go next week, off to try some refreshing wines in the delightful vineyards of the Spanish countryside). London is glorious at the moment, fecund and lush and warm, but soon will come the sinking of the sap, the creeping grey, the first colds and millions of spiders.

Still, I can rest in the knowledge that I spent the summer productively. When others dashed off to the beach I remained shackled to my MacBook (which has just died on me, possibly from overuse) and have now delivered not one but TWO Bryant & May books, the long novel ‘The Lonely Hour’, and a further collection of twelve missing cases called ‘Bryant & May: England’s Finest’ (another title taken from the old matchboxes). This takes care of the old gits for a year (although I need to start a further volume by March to stay on schedule), and I can concentrate on a new thriller.

At the moment I have two ways to approach this; 1. I can make it a straightforward suspense chiller with a twist and a punchy denouement. Or 2, I can make it a stranger beast, more open-ended, odd and eerie. My instinct says goes for 2, my mortgage says go for 1.

After that will come ‘The Foot On The Crown’, my early medieval epic, which takes as its jumping-off point the ‘Britannica Castle’ stories. This will be a mad, dark and very-nearly-but-not-quite historical pageant of weirdness. Keith Page did a great many delicious drawings for it when it was gestating a few years back, so it may be time to resurrect them. His take was moreĀ fantastical than what I’ve ended up with, but they have real charm.

So, lots more coming up and much work to do. Meanwhile, the wines beckon!


12 comments on “Incoming!”

  1. Peter Dixon says:


    this has absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter of this blog, but I’d like to say that you maintain an intelligent, idiosyncratic, erudite and entertaining set of articles and opinions.

    You show an insight into the world of commercial creativity that should be on the curriculum of everyone who aspires to be a writer or artist.

    Please don’t stop – you are an invaluable touchstone and an entertaining guide.

  2. admin says:

    That’s very kind of you, Peter. I feel very privileged in this day and age to be able to follow my dream. I’m very aware that many don’t get the chance, so it’s my job to make the best of my opportunity.

  3. Ian Luck says:

    I was told many, many years ago, by a friend who lived in the countryside, that Autumn began on the day after the last full moon in August. I have never had any reason to doubt him. I use the stars: when, on a clear night, I can see, in the North-Eastern sky, the constellation of Auriga, the Charioteer, then summer is on the way out. When it is possible to see in it the main star, Capella, and the two smaller stars, Hoedus I + II (also known as ‘The Kids’, as in baby goats), that form an isoscoles triangle clearly, then autumn is well on the way.

  4. Martin Tolley says:

    I don’t know about Autumn. Lidl has just started selling hot-cross buns!

  5. admin says:

    Bookings for Christmas parties are being posted outside pubs.

  6. Brooke says:

    What Peter D. said. Glad you’re going on holiday…your posts were becoming saturnine, just a tad. R&R (rioja & ribera, with godella, etc.) required.

    Re: options 1 and 2, as a reader who contributes (in a miniscule way) to your mortgage, go for 1. Keith Page’s drawing is not just charming–it’s a strong narrative on its own, well executed. He’s a damn good artist.

  7. SteveB says:

    The challenge is to make it both 1. and 2.

  8. Ian Luck says:

    My Boxing day tradition, if I’m working, is to saunter up to the local petrol station. And buy a Cabury’s Creme Egg.

  9. Helen Martin says:

    It’s Labour Day weekend here, a long weekend and school goes back the day after. All the “regular” activities start up and it always used to start raining, if it hadn’t started during the fall fair. It’s not properly fall until the autumn equinox Sept. 21st-ish by which time you should have your Christmas p on a 12 hr daylight, 12 hr darkness pattern but once families are tied to school patterns and sports practices/games it might as well be fall. I noticed the hospital’s tTm Horton’s is offering pumpkin spice lattes. Oh, the things for which Starbucks must take the blame/credit!
    Jan – my email is We’ll cut Chris out of any responsibility.

  10. Helen Martin says:

    that was a “Christmas p”oinsettia, of course. I lost the word and it didn’t come back until I was thinking about something totally different.

  11. Wayne Mook says:

    I like the sound of 2, but check the money first.

    I agree with Brooke, Mr. Page’s Castle is something special.

    Enjoy the wine trip and have a tipple for me. I’m currently drugged up as I have flu, I present from my little sister after I handed her some lovely birthday presents.


  12. Helen Martin says:

    Too bad, Wayne. Hope she appreciates the presents.
    We are agreed that the illustrations must be by Mr. Page, aren’t we? I want to meet the two little horrors up there at the top.

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