Henry VII and Scary Birds

It’s pretty hard to explain to anyone that when I appear to be staring into thin space, I am actually working really hard. Before I actually got my head down and started typing away, I had spent several weeks just thinking it all through, making notes and adding bits into a little notebook as more ideas came to me. I created a pinboard where I kept adding chapters and scenes on tiny notes, moving them around occasionally, taking some off as others were added. I’m sort of in that space again.

I’m not gonna lie. As ecstatic and excited as I am – never mind over joyed – at the feedback, the work ahead is both terrifying and daunting. I remember saying at the beginning of the process that, OK, of my first draft once it’s done, I’ll be happy if I can keep 50%. Turns out I was right. It’s about that much I probably have to cut, and that thought is disheartening. Not because I don’t agree with the editor – I 110% do – but because it gave me a confidence boost to get to that half way mark and now it sort of feels I’ve taken lots of steps back. Oh yes, as unbearably happy and positive as I am most of the time, I occasionally sink into a pit of pessimism too. Luckily I know myself and I won’t allow it to happen.

The good things to focus on, is that the story is so much richer now. Hand on heart, I did feel that the first few chapters were flat. I still sent them off, because I was raring to go. That’s something I would advise strongly against – only EVER submit stuff when it’s in top notch condition, and you know that from the first word you are grabbing any literary agent or publisher by the collar. I don’t practice what I preach, but that’s just how I roll. Sort of like how even the girl who took back a cheating boyfriend would with great conviction advise her friend in the same situation to dump his unfaithful ass. Something like that.

Well. Alice will have to wait until Monday anyway, because my little sister arrives this evening from Sweden, for a long weekend here in London. During the 20 years I’ve lived here, I have accumulated a little treasure chest of gems, and have of course lined some of these up for the Little One. Because I’m a generous soul, I’m happy to share them here too!

Regents Canal from Little Venice to Camden

Still reasonably undiscovered by tourists, this is a gorgeous walk. Little Venice is gorgeous in itself (as the name indeed suggests), and on this – hm, what can it be – 2-3 miles of walking the footpath alongside the canal, you are completely away from the hustle and bustle of London. Despite being right in the middle of it. You end up strolling past endless barges along the way, many used as permanent homes, and along one stretch the barge inhabitants have even created little gardens opposite where they have moored. Then, gasp at the huge mansions to your right that are owned by billionaires, just on the edge of Regents Park on the other side.  The canal also cuts through London Zoo – they don’t keep any interesting animals in the enclosures edging on to the canal, but you’ll see some wilderbeest and some scary, large birds. And then of course you eventually get to Camden, where on Thursday to Sunday there is a huge market. Don’t go if you don’t like crowds.

South Bank

Definitely very touristy, but well worth it – always something going on. I usually start at Tower Bridge and make my way down to Houses of Parliament. There’s a host of cosy pubs on the way – and Borough Market is always worth a visit (near London Bridge – cut down south, it’s signposted) – as well as the Tate, a quirky book market under Waterloo Bridge and usually lots going on in general. Beware the tourists. Oh, I know I’m an immigrant, but I’m a hypocrite and I huff, puff and roll my eyes every single time someone stops right in my way to photograph something.

Kew Royal Botanical Gardens

This is actually right on my doorstep. Not really the season to go, but worth a mention. Originally belonged to Henry VII, who used Richmond Palace as his base during the summer months, and just like Henry it’s rather large, so you’d need a good couple of hours to properly explore it. Has every tree, plant and flower you can think of, several exhibitions and plenty for kids too. Go in the summer though.

Foyles Book Store Cafe

Hm, yes, it gets crowded, but it’s on Charing Cross Road right near Oxford Street so you can’t really get around that to be honest. I like it for two reasons – great coffee, and DAHR! It’s a book store.

Plenty more (Primrose Hill and Colombia Road Flower Market are NOT to be forgotten, so looke those up if I fail to come back to this) so perhaps I’ll add further London gems another time – the timer just beeped and these are my morning pages, here to get me free writing rather than putting something great together…..

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