All that stuff about Leith in yesterday’s blog post has been building for a while. I had to get it off my chest. I go through good periods and bad periods with Leith (and to a lesser extent Edinburgh) and although there’s a good period coming up with the Edinburgh Book Festival, Leith is going through a phase where I sometimes feel sickened merely from walking through the place. Thanks for letting me rant. I’ll try not to let things get to me in future.
The whole thing got me thinking, though: where would I live if I could go anywhere in the world? Amsterdam would be near the top of that list. I remember Gail and I agreeing so when we visited for my birthday a couple of years go. Cornwall might be nice; a big house down by the coast sounds fantastic. Northumberland’s ruggy coastline and wide open beaches appeals to me as does the south of France; good weather, wine and sunshine. If only.
One thing my wife and I both agree on and have said as much independently to other people, that if it weren’t for the commitment of raising a child we would probably already be living in another country right now. Guess that’s fate for you but it makes you think how much different your life would have been if decisions had been made differently in the past, or if incidents had or hadn’t happened. For example:
Where would I be now if:
- I hadn’t decided to take a creative writing class at the OCA
- I never listened to my father and ended up not going to college
- I hadn’t taken a job where I work now
- I hadn’t chased the girl who worked across from me in the office
- I had moved to Australia with my best mate like we were planning to do
The “what if” thing is a big question that can be applied to almost any moment in one’s life. And as a writer, the “what if” question is one of the biggest and most important I find myself asking on a constant basis. I’ve never really applied it to myself, though, because generally speaking I’ve no regrets and I’m in a good place in my life right now.
If you’re wondering why I’ve not wrapped up my July GDR yet, it’s because I decided to keep it going until the end of the week. This is my final week of “GDR work” as next week I will move into book fest mode and my Writing New Year, therefore, my annual review will form a large part of that. July will be wrapped up on Friday and over the weekend my annual review will be complete. Then it’s onto the good stuff: planning!
When I was in the book shop on Saturday morning I noticed Sue Townsend has a new book out. Adrian Mole has grown up and Sue has written a book to chart this latest period in his life: THE PROSTRATE YEARS (not a typo).
I remember reading THE SECRET DIARY OF ADRIAN MOLE AGE 13 ¾ when I was young. It was the first YA-type book I’d read because up until then I was reading THE FAMOUS FIVE, THE SECRET SEVEN, THE HOBBIT and THE HARDY BOYS, but this was the first book I’d read that dealt with the kind of issues I was facing as a young male teenager. Then when she followed it up with THE GROWING PAINS OF ADRIAN MOLE I was hooked. I think, if Sue hasn’t lost any of her talent it would be a good read and I regret not picking up a copy now. I’ll get it next week. Shame she’s not coming to the Edinburgh Book Festival this year.
I had planned on reading more and doing some extra writing last night but, rather frustratingly, I found myself trying to fix a problem with Gail’s laptop. Word of advice if you rely on a computer for business needs: don’t let children anywhere near it and don’t install software that you either don’t know what it is or is related to Microsoft (especially MSN Messenger).
Tonight, or maybe even over lunch, it looks like I’m going to have to take a trip out to PC World to see if they have any components, or failing that, it’ll be off to an expert PC repair shop because there is only so much magic these hands can work.
Finally, if you have a moment why not check out these images that have been adapted to mix old World War II images with the modern day. They’re pretty amazing.
You’re entitled to rant — besides, no one who doesn’t live in a place really knows its ins and outs, so its interesting for us to see the “real Leith” that’s glossed over by the tourist reports.
I love Alnwick in Northumbria, and have considered moving there. Alnmouth-by-the Sea is lovely, but Alnwick, I think, is more liveable. And it has a great bookshop. I also adore Ayrshire in Scotland. Have you spent a lot of time in Cornwall? I rented a house down near Fowey, and loved the area, although I hated the driving — all those hedgerows and single track roads, and the only way I could get to the house was what they called a ferry, but I called a raft with a motor attached, and it only ran in the day. It was ligher and the roads were better up around St. Ives, but I kind of liked the wildness around where I was better.
PS I, too, adore Amsterdam, and have considered relocating there.