It's sadly been way too windy for us to get out on our bikes during our week here at St Andrews but we've managed to fill our days less athletically with writing, playing on the Nintendo DS and, of course, visiting the family.
To get the most out of their static caravans owners are encouraged to fit decking alongside. This provides some outdoor space for perhaps a small dining table or a sun lounger. Being unable (or too soft) to cycle, we've spent some time walking around Craigtoun Meadows and photographing some of the existing decks in order to decide on the style we want for ours.
There's a massive variation in quality and style and some look like they've been knocked together by somebody with as much joinery skill as me (not this one I must add)
Do we want steps at the right or steps at the left? What style of gate do we want?
Do we want the base boxed in or open? We found a couple of fitters on the internet and then went to the local timber merchant and asked his advice. We told him one of the names from the web. This elicited a sharp intake of breath with a shake of the head and we got the impression that our web selection was one of the few people in the world who knew less about screwdrivers than me. The friendly timber merchant did give us the names of some "real joiners" so now we're awaiting a couple of quotes and when we get back up here in March we hope to see the results.
The purpose behind buying the caravan was, of course, to be able to see more of Sarah, Duncan and Rose and we were delighted yesterday when we were able to bring Rose here for an hour or two on her own - a priceless element of grandparenthood that we would have missed completely without the caravan. It has to be one of our best ever buys.
I mentioned that I've spent time writing while we've been here. I have rewritten my novel completely now and have read the completed version three times. Every time I found a few mistakes and Marion is now very kindly reading it again. She has found three or four errors too so it's been very worthwhile. I spent all yesterday writing a synopsis for the book to send in with a competition. If the competition brings no luck I will try and get it published and, if still no luck, I may go down the Kindle route. I've read several self published novels on Kindle recently and the standard is fairly high although many are let down by the sort of mistakes that we are trying to eliminate.
We've also been reading a lot and I read In Search Of Adam by Caroline Smailes yesterday. I loved her third novel Like Bees To Honey when I read it last year and have now downloaded all of Caroline's books. So much has already been written about this, her first novel, that it would be difficult to add anything of any worth. It's as hard hitting a book as I can ever remember reading - poetical, lyrical and at times devastatingly graphic. It's beautifully written, a million miles from my escapist whimsy, and left me quite shattered when I finally put it down. Caroline is speaking at Birkdale library next Thursday at 2.15pm and Marion and I are looking forward to hearing her.