It’s a strange time…coming to the end of the first draft of a novel; I don’t want to say ‘finishing’ because it’s very much an unfinished work.
For months I’ve been waking up and thinking about the next scene in the book, how to move the story forward, worrying about plot holes and whether or not the storyline as a whole hangs together.
Anyway, I reached an end point two weeks ago and the print out is sitting in a binder waiting for me to do another read through which is usually when I think – will anyone else really want to read this?
Taking advantage of this time when I’m not obsessing over characters and story developments, my wife suggested we take a trip to Liverpool. We decided to make it an overnight stay so we could have a relaxing evening. It’s about 55 miles from where we live and the driving time is about the same as taking the train, even with making a change at Manchester. So we took the train.
The sunny day came with us and we walked through the shopping area of the city, passing a large Waterstones bookstore on the way. We knew if we went in there we would come out with books, so decided to save that for the next morning on our way back to the train station. Around the corner from Waterstones we came across a delightfully created seating area with shelving for book swapping.
We found the Albert Dock easily. Our main aim for the afternoon was to wander around there and visit the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Lots of fascinating stuff in the museum depicting stories of the Titanic, the Lusitania, plus World War II memorabilia – and lots of models of ships. We arrived at the same time as a school outing, a large group of eight year olds. Shades of Joyce Grenfell with the teacher constantly saying things like…”George, DON’T do that!”
Our trips usually revolve around finding good eating places. And we succeeded for all three meals in Liverpool. Lunch was taken at the Salt House – a tapas restaurant that we had spotted on the way to the Dock.
My wife had done an extensive online search beforehand to seek out a restaurant for the evening meal. The one she settled on was called Puschka – an independent, family-owned restaurant. Finding our way there was a bit of an adventure as we hadn’t invested in a map of the city and only had a vague idea of where it was in relation to the hotel.
We were about to give up on our search for Puschka when we spotted a whisky bar. The restaurant was a few doors further down the street but it was too much to ask for me to resist going into the bar first. I sampled a Canadian rye called Whistle Pig…it would have been rude not to try one of the many whiskies available from all over the world. Unfortunately I could only manage one.
The food at the restaurant was lovely and we had a Yealands wine with it. When the waitress told us the story about the short-legged sheep, we thought she was having us on. But it turns out to be true. The vineyard uses Babydoll sheep to keep the weeds down. The news item on YouTube explains what a wonderful environmentally friendly innovation this is.
We found a less roundabout way back to the hotel and met a friendly cat called ‘Scruff’ on the way.
After a good night’s sleep, we had a relaxing morning…breakfast at Bill’s, a browse around Waterstones (yes, we did buy books) and a smooth train journey back home.
As often seems to be the case with short breaks like this, it feels like you’ve been away longer. And now I feel ready to take on the task of re-reading the first draft of the manuscript and see what needs more work.
Ebook links for The Starling Hill Trilogy (still available on Kindle Unlimited):