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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

And at last, a post for 2011!

March 29, 2011

As I have said before: when I fall silent here, it's because I'm working. I have completed a book (Curious Minds) to third draft stage in the past four months, and I have also been in New Zealand's North Island (we have grandchildren there).
Sunset, Paihia on the Bay of Islands. Charles Darwin came here, so did James Cook, and so did my Cornish Boy. most probably. Nice place, but I had to see it to see what would work.

And we needed to look at thermal areas. This one (Orakei Kotako) was visited by Ferdinand von Hochstetter, an Austrian geologist who was in Australia and New Zealand in 1858-9.

These Austrians get around. Frederick Hundertwasser had a holiday home near Kawakawa, and offered to design their new toilet block, probably the most-photographed in the world.
In the past four months, I have written additional material for Australian Backyard Naturalist, and most importantly, I have finally dragged my old journal into a modern blog format.  It's not very adventurous as yet, though you will find links further down to several audio clips and also to three clips on Youtube.
The stuff below this is a bit of a mess, because I just hacked the old journal up, pasted it into Word,  cleaned up the links a bit and dropped it in here. I think this resulted in some rogue legacy formatting.  Sorry about that, but it wasn't a core activity.

Some of the links may be dodgy, so I will leave the  original version online for now.  You can get to it here.  If you want to see what else I have written without ploughing through all of this, the portal to my writing site is here. That also has a number of pointers to other areas of interest.

I hope to find the time to go back and retrofit a few more pics, but I'm in the calm before travelling: we will leave our younger son to sit the house and the plants while we head off to the USA, Morocco and Spain for about seven weeks.

As well as completing a major book for adults, with the working title Curious Minds, I have been working on some spin-offs from The Monster Maintenance Manual. Some of those are the subject of negotiations, the other is a rather wild account of the later life of Count Henry Blenkinsop, seen here, bearing a remarkable resemblance to me.

Many people believe that Blenkinsop died after being pursued over the Reichenbach Falls, by some of the monsters he created, on the night of May 4, 1891, it has since been shown that he was rescued by an Englishman wearing a deerstalker cap who happened to be in the vicinity.  This man, who called himself Doyle, accompanied Blenkinsop to Australia, where he devoted himself to developing a high explosive derived from eucalyptus oil.

Blenkinsop was unaware that the great powers of Europe were well aware of him and a large number of well-known people visited him at different times.  I have acquired the papers he left behind, and the story is absolutely astounding.

I have three books I want to write for the adult market (as previously noted, Gold, Ingenuity (mad inventions) and one other, still under wraps, and the Cornish Boy project is still in my mental list of things to do, now to be a set of four solid books for the teen/YA market, historical fiction much closer to the truth than the Blenkinsop yarn, and set in the mid-19th century.  I plan to give some thought to these ideas while bouncing around the Sahara and along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. (Note to burglars: the children are minding the house.  Sorry about that!)

(FREE PLUG: We use Explore Worldwide quite a lot, because they are low enough in budget to make spoilt and pretentious whingers shy away, they have an itinerary and they manage logistics, the guides know what they are doing and we have somebody to rely on if things go pear-shaped, plus lots of walking. Mostly Brits, Australians, Kiwis, a few north Americans, but delightful company.)

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