What I Did on My Holidays

24 Aug

Two and a half weeks out at the writing den in Brittany… and where did they go? In truth, more time was spent playing board games and swimming in the Western Channel with my children than writing my latest masterpiece, but hey…

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Not enough time was spent at this desk…

We got out and explored the local countryside a bit. Unlike the Dutch (see my previous post here), the French aren’t light years ahead of the UK in terms of public transport. When it comes to wind power on the other hand… Clusters of gigantic turbines stand astride the hilltops as though Jötunheimr had been transported to the Atlantic coast. My children and I discovered a new pastime – lying on the grass beneath the giant structures, watching the sails turn and listening to the wonderful swishing sound they make. You have to imagine that you’re above the clouds, looking down from some enormous dirigible. It makes you feel giddy. Try it!

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Wind turbines are rather tall…

As I floated on the warm water in an almost deserted cove beneath spectacular cliffs, I experienced one of those moments of pure joy that feel like epiphanies but probably aren’t. It seemed to me that all days should be spent like this. Ah, if only…

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The pure waters of the Breton coast

And then there was the local reservoir, temporarily drained one hundred years after the fields and villages were drowned beneath it. Visiting it was an eerie experience. A dessicated orchard caught my imagination in particular. It had something of the nuclear winter about it.

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Drowned house…

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…drowned orchard

In the evenings we went bat and owl spotting. We heard our resident tawny every time but never saw her. No photos, then, for this activity…

Amid all of these distractions, what did I manage to write? Well, here’s a tiny fragment – see if you can spot the influence of my holiday…

Moorten Klokk and his fellow players are seated around a table at Kaffe Bjelkros in Coach 40K.  And though they prefer the Kaffe Muzeesmis, they know that the games table will be occupied by Hrr Kiirilavnas and Krutt at this hour.  It’s Klokk’s turn once more.  He picks up a card.  The telephone company has threatened to disconnect him and he must pay 50 krn.  He believes that he knows the identity of the missing person and has narrowed down the cause to suicide.  As yet, though, he remains unsure of the method or motive.  As far as the room is concerned, he doesn’t have a clue.  For the last six months he has been locked inside a cupboard in the basement.  This wasn’t helpful.  Hypnosis (his secret power) proved useless there too.  Looking at his notes, Klokk suggests that Hr Krevnkopp poisoned himself with a cyanide pill due to monetary problems while residing in attic room 98.  Mattuus Vestrgaat cannot help him.  Stefaan Smetz holds up the motivation card and shows it to him.  Klokk nods in acknowledgement.  The sheer number of permutations means that it’s incredibly hard to arrive at the solution and it takes a great deal of time to complete a single game.  The game that Moorten Klokk and his friends have been playing is already well into its fifth year. 

All text and images © PSR 2015

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4 Responses to “What I Did on My Holidays”

  1. masgautsen August 25, 2015 at 10:24 am #

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Lying under the windmills seem like such a nice relaxing thing to do, I really should try that some time!

  2. Paul Sutton Reeves August 25, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    Hi Maja – yes, you have to try it!

  3. Mari Biella August 25, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    I experienced something similar myself this summer, Paul. I went to the Cote d’Azur and then to my mother’s house in Wales, and both times I took my laptop with me, meaning to get a lot of writing done. In fact, I spent rather a lot of time just lazing around and doing nothing in particular. I have to say, I think it’s done me some good. I find I sometimes get so caught up in my writing that I lose all sense of perspective. It’s good to get outside that box and experience other things.

    Your writing den is certainly situated in a beautiful place! I feel rather envious…

  4. Paul Sutton Reeves August 25, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    Hi Mari and thanks for commenting.

    I suspect that you’re right – it is a good idea to re-enter the real world from time to time… I don’t feel so bad now, knowing other writers haven’t achieved much either! Brittany is indeed beautiful and I count myself lucky. It rains a lot, though…

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