It’s the 7th of August and yes, I’m late again. No excuses, apart from the fact this piece of writing has been one of those things I kept telling myself I’d get around to. Clearly that hasn’t happened, but, hey, I’m here now.
July began with a week’s holiday. Back to Dartmouth, but a very different town to the one we usually stay in. The lock down has left its mark. Some shops have closed permanently while pubs and restaurants have spilled out onto the pavements giving the place a café style feel. Staycation too, has seen the place swamped with people, meaning social distancing becomes difficult in the town’s narrow streets. To ensure we were able to eat out every evening, I made a list of places and booked meals a fortnight before we were due to leave. We’d had problems in May while staying in Norfolk. Pubs and restaurants were only just opening up, but despite ringing to book our evening meals, we could only get lunches. One pub told me they weren’t taking evening bookings for the next three weeks! I guess we had all missed having a meal out! Good news for their trade, but a bit of a disappointment for us as one of those evening meals was to celebrate my birthday! Instead we met a couple of friends for lunch in a pub (their choice). They moved to Norfolk fifteen years ago and really love it there. They were instrumental in getting us together, so although the celebration wasn’t quite what we planned, we enjoyed it.
As far as Dartmouth was concerned, we managed to reserve a table at all the places we booked. Only one pub texted us just before we left to say because there had been an increase in Covid cases in South Hams they had decided to close until the end of the month. Looking for somewhere else for our main Tuesday meal we decided on The Sloop at Bantham, where we’ve eaten many times in the past. It’s next to an area,with views towards Burgh Island, and managed by the National Trust. The Sloop is a lovely pub with great food but getting there isn’t for the faint-hearted. A long narrow, twisty country road with passing places – and yes, you always seem to meet another vehicle where there aren’t any in sight! The journey in was fine, and we had a wonderful lunch. The return trip, however, was fraught with stops and starts. Not only did we meet other vehicles – including two very wide box vans – we also had cars following, which made it difficult to reverse. However, soon the main road was in sight and we were on our way back to Dartmouth.
The rain fell mostly at night, leaving a cool edge to daytime temperatures. While we were there, we had a family meet up with one of my husband’s cousins at Slapton. It’s where the rehearsal for the D-Day landings took place in 1944. There was a strong, quite cold wind as we walked along the beach and it was great to reach the pub and sit down to enjoy a hot coffee. We had a relaxing week, but not the best we’ve ever experienced in Dartmouth. I’ve never known it so crowded and every other person seemed to own a dog, which goes to prove there has definitely been an increase in canine ownership during lockdown. Maybe next year when the staycationers are relaxing in the Med, we’ll get back to how things used to be.
I guess the rest of the month has been all about book. Yes, A Kingswater Summer is being published next Wednesday, 11th August.
It’s been one of the most difficult writing experiences I’ve had. I’ve really missed my editor, whose family commitments meant she couldn’t work on this latest book. She’s proved not only to be a great editor but a good friend as well. Having now received the e-book for final checking, I’m amazed how much the whole thing has changed since I completed that first draft. The baby I started with has become a fully fledged adult who is about to leave home- a strange analogy maybe, but one I find most apt! Once publication day has come and gone it will be time to sit down and work out the storyline for the final book of the trilogy. The never ending cycle of writing, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else!
Until next time