Still struggling to get myself back into sync. I feel totally lackadaisical and uninspired with everything except literature. Call it the holiday blues without wishing I was actually back there by the pool. I’m still on a high with words and ideas—and that’s before the EBF even begins—but with the day job and everything else I’m having to slowly crank up the gears and build up some momentum. Slowly but surely, I’m getting back up to speed.
So with July over and mid-August approaching, I find myself looking very much forward to my Writing New Year. One week on Saturday the book festival will open and so will begin my annual soaking up of all things literati. It will also be the three week period during which I will close up my final GDR for the previous year (18 months in this case) and prepare my plan for the following year. I’m already giving it a lot of thought because my priorities and targets are going to change—again. Next year will be one of focussed, determined advancement.
Speaking of the book festival, when I last passed Charlotte Square on the 17th July it was still a barren patch of grass. Yesterday, I happened to pass by it on a bus and some of the tents are already up! The excitement builds.
I’ve still got loads to catch up on after my fortnight away. I’ve got a couple of hundred emails stacked up to read through; medium and low priority ones since I’ve scanned through everything for the all important ones, i.e., applications, submissions and personals. I also want to catch up on all my favourite blogs and I want to scan the newspapers I would normally read for any highlights or announcements. The only thing I’ve seen so far was related to flooding in Pakistan and Alex Higgins’ death.
As I mentioned yesterday, our hotel stood in a patch of nowhere in the Algarve. A few miles to the west was Vilamoura, a small town for rich people with big yachts and a lot of time on their hands. It reminded of a mini Cannes. And to the east we had Albuifera, a tourist hot spot that has grown from being one small town square and a hotel 30 years ago, to a mass of restaurants, bars, hotels and general focal point for the average European tourist.
I liked Vilamoura a lot. The first time we visited we did so as a family, walking the 45 minutes along a thronging beach to get to it. Our first stop was the Hagen Dazs shop where we got some expensively delicious ice-cream ($17 for 3 double-topped cones!) before trouping around the shops and stopping for refreshments. There wasn’t much else to do really, which is why when Gail and I returned a few days later on our own, we got a little more out of it. This time we stopped off for some lunch and wine in The Old Navy brasserie and had a more leisurely stroll. We shopped for jewellery (I also buy Gail something nice when we’re on holiday) and we discussed what kind of yacht we would buy once I’ve sold all the film rights to my best selling novels. That discussion led to having to convince Gail I wouldn’t ditch her for some young blonde once I got rich. Dear oh dear, sometimes it’s as though nobody gets me. Why would I through away a diamond for a pearl?
Travelling to Albuifera wasn’t quite so easy to get to so just as well the hotel provided a courtesy coach several times a day. The town was split into two parts: the “Strip”, a modernised main street laden with pubs, restaurants and shops, and the Old Town, the original site of the town before tourism took, also where we went. It was here I bought a new notebook; handmade from wood, string, beach items (sand and shells) and recycled paper, it’s a great wee inspirational pad that I will use for a specific purpose. I also purchased the few gifts I wanted to take home, and the rest of the time (for me) was spent waiting around for my wife and daughter. I resorted to taking some scenic photographs and people watching.
Had Gail and I been on the holiday alone we would have been to a bull fight. As it was, we couldn’t get into Albuifera the following night for two hours at 22:15 so had to miss what we thought might have been a fascinating experience. I’m not particularly into animal cruelty (I keep bunnies for Gawd’s sake!) but we wanted to get more Portuguese culture than we were getting and this seemed a good idea when the opportunity arose. Not to be though, not this time.
I never got a chance to upload my photographs to the website last night. Some stuff came up that took precedence but I’ll do so tonight hopefully. I’ll try and get a hold of my daughter’s pictures, too, as she has some crackers on her camera. My wife, the professional photographer, took only a small handful – mostly of a sunset from the cliff side – she really WAS on a break!