Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Untethered - 5 - The View from the Other Side

I'm now three full weeks on from the big life-changing event of retirement. How do I feel?

Well, in a word, knackered.

We decided to travel around to make the transition easier, so we had a few days in Cambridge. The photo (left) is taken just around the corner from the Cavendish Laboratories, where they probably ran out of wall space for all the blue plaques they needed. James Clerk Maxwell, the developer of electromagnetic theory, founded the lab, but then a further 29 Nobel Laureates have passed through the doors since. In the next street is the pub where Crick and Watson went to announce their discovery of the structure of DNA. To walk along this street and think about all the great minds of science that have gone before is an amazing thing.

Another amazing thing is to watch all the bicycles dodging in and out of the buses and wagons, and to think how many great minds of the future could so easily be ground to mush beneath the wheels of a juggernaut, all for want of a few proper cycle lanes. Yeah, there's a rant coming on, so I'll stay positive and move to Scarborough.

 The Grand Hotel in Scarborough was home to Fantasycon by the Sea. We went early, because the hotel rates were good and we thought Scarborough might make a good destination for a holiday.
It turns out we fell in love with Scarborough. I've always been a sucker for Victorian seaside towns, and Scarborough is up there amongst the best.
It helped that our hotel was also one of the major landmarks in the town. It stands huge and intimidating on the cliffs above the South Bay. Our room had a sea view, and we could sit in bed each morning and watch the sun rise over the North Sea. A bit of a novelty, this. We've always lived on the west coast and for us the sun is meant to set over the sea.
From the hotel it is a three minute walk to the centre of town, or, in the other direction, across the iron footbridge, there are cliff walks and gardens and coastline for miles.
This was meant to be a relaxing weekend, going to panels, chatting with friends, sitting in the bar... According to my Fitbit we walked ten miles each day, apart from the Saturday, the main day of the con, when we only managed five miles.
The con itself? One of the best I've been to. All the panels were good. Had the chance to chat with lots of interesting people from the Fantasy writing world, and even extended this on the train when we met a lovely couple heading out to catch a flight to take them on holiday, with whom we chatted most of the way home.

Here we are on the open top bus (I had to go on a bus) that runs all the way along the promenade between the South and North Bays.

So what next? Do I start taking it easy? Is it time, now, to break out the slippers? Not a chance. We arrived home on Sunday night and drove to Sussex the next morning (via a stop-off Banbury) This was an art-related mission for Sarah. I owed her this after three days of fantasy panels.

We stayed in Worthing. Another hotel. Another sea view. Another Victorian seaside town. The pier was fun, and we even won a few tuppences in the penny arcades.

So now the transition is over and it's time to produce some words. My writing schedule has been all over the place during the retirement rollercoaster, so I've been easing into the process with some short stories. My work in progress has the working title Cold Robots and Other Dead Animals, and I'm enjoying the buzz of getting some new words down.

Deep Space Accountant is now out in the world. I'm keeping the price low during this initial launch phase, and I'm cracking my knuckles ready to begin the first edit on the second in the series, The Lollipop of Influence.

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