Almost done …

[Full Henry update below …]

So, we’re coming to the end of our marathon stay in Korea. Hats off to Bex and Steven for putting up with us – I hope we’ve helped over what has been a tumultuous time. Both C and I are looking forward to going home, even if home means covid-19 restrictions and, of course, dreaded Brexit, the impact of which is going to hit us all hard.

I’m going to miss Henry. I love him and find him funny even when he’s grizzly. I didn’t think I’d ever feel this way about someone after C and our two girls, but it is a deep-seated love which has taken me by surprise. I’m going to spoil him rotten. And, of course, even in my late 60s, take him on plenty of runs.

I’m going to miss this chap …

It will be sad to leave, but Bex is in a really good place now and with a 3-week holiday on its way, the excitement of Christmas and a teacher pal of hers in Seoul due to drop early next year, she’d have company. I think her plan is to return to work next September. They’re planning on being in Seoul until mid-22 … and then, who knows what?

Away from the delights of Henry, I’ve prepared our tax returns, sent off of Black Bulls and White Horses to my proofreader and prepared a wrap-round cover. I’ll get all of that done when we get home. And next year? Well, that’s covid dependent. But I keep saying out loud … it’s going to be a year for craziness. I hope so.

Stay safe everyone.

I love this!

D + 45 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· we walked to the big shopping mall (with all the lights and colours) via the big airplane and the tanks. Grandad then bored us all with what it’s like being a soldier and how, when I grow up, it would be something I might like to do. No way. With my mummy and daddy I’m going to have a brain the size of the 5th tallest building in the world. If you think I’m going to waste that on shooting things, rather than saving them …

We took the bus home, by which time I’d had enough and told everyone, including the driver. The local ladies were all very nice, but secretly I knew they were all thinking that I was being badly brought up and should be home eating and pooing. On the brighter side, I’m getting the hang of how to get attention … Stay safe.

D + something πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· we didn’t do a great deal today. I’d had a grizzly night so, to preserve everyone’s humour, grandad popped out to the very local coffee shop and got some takeaways and then, with everyone wide awake, I fell asleep. Perfect.

We walked in the park. I was in my pram, which was a novelty. And then daddy came home and told me that the school is closing down because they’ve had a Covid case. In a population of 55 million people there were 550 cases yesterday … and we’re all closing down here. People take it very seriously.

I now weigh 5 bags of sugar, which means I am putting on weight. Soon I’ll be on pizza and coke. Can’t wait.

(Granny C tells me that everything I’m wearing she made. There are some very cold sheep in Wales …) Stay safe everyone.

D + a lot. πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· Had a lazy morning where the highlight was a trump so loud everyone blamed grandad. I clearly have talent. Grandad went out for coffee again and daddy worked from home … teaching from afar as the school is currently locked down.

Mummy, me and grandad then went for a walk in the hills. Mummy says we’re lucky to have such glorious walks so close when we live in a city of 20 million – 20,000,001 to be precise. Don’t forget me!

Grandad and daddy then went for a run up the hill while I slept … and then, after a bath (which is my favourite thing) I peed so far it went over the mat and onto daddy’s expensive carpet. Records are being broken every day.Β 
Stay safe everyone.

D + such a long time πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· it’s cold out there. I had a grizzly night so mummy played ‘pass the baby’ to granny C and grandad, after which I was taken for a long, slow walk in the park by grandad. It was early and beautiful, with no eggy ladies telling grandad that I should be inside with warm ears.Β 

I slept immediately and then didn’t really wake much, other than to eat and poop. Apparently we went shopping where daddy bought some insulation for the doors and windows, and grandad forgot to buy granny C some chocolate almonds. I could tell she was crosser than she sounded.

The big people then took part in an on-line quiz via zoom and I grizzled throughout. How dare they enjoy something without me! I’m going to be a good quizzer, I can tell as I’m learning things every day … and I’ve got lots of days ahead to learn things. For example, I now know where my knuckles are and that they fit nicely into my mouth … did you know that? Who’d have guessed? Stay safe everyone.

To all the mums and dads

The usual Instagram cut and paste update is below. But it misses a key event, which I have purposefully left out until now. It’s quite a story which, as you read it, does have a happy ending – for Bex, Steven and Henry.

Henry’s birth wasn’t without stress – I’ll leave out the gory details, but safe to say what with a cesarean, a good deal of pain, a baby with low oxygen levels and a Korean system which briefly presents the baby and then stows them away in ICU for two days, it wasn’t without tears.

Which continued when Henry came home …

… and then a phone call from the hospital. Henry’s blood results showed an anomaly. Again, I’ll leave out the details but what the lad would have if the blood results were confirmed would have been caused by both parents having a defective gene. And the prognosis would lead to two illnesses, both of them life-threatening in infancy and certainly life-limiting.

We had to wait for two days to get Henry retested (during which time we Googled the hell out of everything and made ourselves more miserable, if that were possible). Bex and Steven saw a specialist who was calming, but couldn’t disregard the possibilities.

We then had the longest five day wait … and then the phone call. The retest was all clear. No explanation was given, but we reckon the anomalous blood result was caused by stress at birth.

So … for all those mums and dads out there who have been through the same sort of thing recently and maybe have had bad news for their young baby, we, all of us, are with you. So very, very sorry.

Now, back to what we’ve been up to, which should include a whole lot of fretting and no small amount of tears. You can supply your own.

++++++

D + 42 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· grandad and granny Claire walked some more of the Seoul city wall. I wasn’t allowed to go because, apparently, my legs aren’t long enough for the steps. I am a good burper, though. When I grow up I want to be an international burper. That’s a thing, right? I certainly have the talent.

Grandad tells me the locals love to hike and they have ‘all the gear’, as if they’re doing a couple of Monroes. And then they all gather in circles and have lunch. He also says they struggle a bit with personal space … he reckons the two metre rule here means they must get within two metres when they pass you. He likes them, though.

My&Dy took me to a friend’s house. I slept throughout and woke at home and grizzled all the way through lots of episodes of #thecrown. I’m not that keen on Margaret Thatcher. I slept well, though. 
Keep safe everyone.

D + 46 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· I get a lot of hiccups. I don’t really notice them, but everyone else finds them hilarious. 

Mummy went for a check up today. No midwife visits here, which surprises me, because the local ladies do like to get involved and show their appreciation. Apparently I’m quite a big baby … 

We walked everywhere. It was very chilly, but grandad carried me in the papoose which meant I was warm, although I did have to listen his swooner humming. Somebody should tell him …

They’re all watching/rewatching #marvellousmrsmaisel which is much kinder than #thecrown. I think I’ll be a stand up comedian when I grow up.

Stay safe everyone. 

D + 44 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· we went for a route march up a hill. This time I was allowed to come in the papoose. Grandad moaned, something along the lines of ‘I thought I’d left the infantry 15 years ago’. I think it was reference to my weight … somebody says I’m multiple bags of sugar heavy. That may be the case, but I’m all gorgeousness.

I slept through it all, but grandad tells me the views were lovely, especially across the river to the 5th tallest building in the world. I’m now 60 cm long … although I appreciate there’s no competition.

Apparently the older people are leaving in a week. There will be lots of tears … but much more room and considerably less advice.

Stay safe everyone.

I am cute …

D + 38 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· we went shopping yesterday to the local mall. It has the largest #uniqlo in the, well, anywhere. I’m not a shopper but does that place sell fleeces! We have immediately replaced the travelling baby clothes mountain with the fleece juggernaut for the journey home.

The circadian rhythm of a newborn continues to surprise …

Stay safe everyone.

[Henry takes over penning the blog … I couldn’t stop him.]

D + 39 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· a trip to the hospital for a check up and then I continued to be a perfect baby …

Weather was foul, so no tourist shots, but that has led to a change. Temperatures have dropped 10 degrees and winter has arrived. 

Apparently today we’re off to see the 5th tallest building in the world. I intend to sleep all the way through the experience.

Stay safe everyone

D + 40 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· we went to the 5th tallest building in the world and, as  predicted, I slept through the whole experience. Apparently it’s 500 metres tall and has 123 floors but, frankly, on a cold day and snug as a bug in my papoose, I couldn’t have cared less. I was only interested in weeing, pooing and sleeping.

There were so many shops.  I like shops; all those lights and smells. However, I did wake up on the subway and told everyone, I mean everyone, that I was awake and hungry. Apparently the local mummys think I’m cute and call me ‘eggy’ … I didn’t feel so cute at that point. 

We had lunch out and mummy took me into school. By the end of it all I was exhausted and slept like a baby. Tough life this …

I am cute, though. Stay safe all of you.

 D + 41 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· we went for a walk through the park to a coffee shop which, according to mummy, serves the best pastries. A well meaning eggy lady stopped daddy in the street to make sure I was warm enough. Apparently this is normal and I am looking forward to the extra attention. Daddy … mmm, not so sure.

After lots of gurgling at home – an activity which, along with staring absently at distant lights, I am getting good at – my&dy went to a local bar and grandad and granny Claire brought me down a little later. Grandad has taken to dancing with me … I hope dancing skips a generation and I can dance like my grandad. He should be on Strictly (that’s what he tells me).

And then an evening of PL football on the telly. I was a bit grizzly, but it was Newcastle Utd, so what can you expect. 

Pooing a lot, but still gorgeous. Stay safe everyone

ooh and ahh …

Leaving aside over-indulgent photos of grandson, you may ask is it worth coming to South Korea for a visit? Well, if you leave aside the covid-19 restrictions which mean you have to isolate in a government facility for 14 days at your expense (Β£1300), then … possibly.

If you consider other east Asian countries, the historical and cultural depth of SK is probably not as interesting as, say, Japan or China. And the scenery, the weather and the beaches, not as significant as Vietnam and Thailand. And there are no Sien Reaps … miles and miles of ancient palaces. And it’s not cheap, like Cambodia, but it’s not as expensive as Japan and Singapore. It’s all pretty middle-of-the-road.

And, and it’s a big and, we’ve only been to Seoul, although we are staying here with daughter and son-in-law, who have travelled widely.

But … there is plenty of countryside: mountains (you can ski here), lakes, rivers, gorges, national parks, beaches and islands. And there is the Demilitarised Zone, a short bus ride from Seoul, beyond which is North Korea and all those badies, fledgling nuclear missiles and all. It’s worth a visit. And the people are lovely. Oh, and there’s no crime. You can leave your laptop, wallet and phone open in Starbucks and nobody will half-hinch them. That’s a real plus.

And finally the weather. It’s blooming cold in the winter and Mediterranean hot in the summer, but damper as the rains can come and come. However, the Spring and Autumn are lovely. We’re here in mid-November and the autumn tree display is fabulous and it is very dry and, depending on which way the wind is coming, it can get lovely and warm (overcast and 18 degrees today; 20 degrees and sunny yesterday … sunny and crispy cold from the weekend onwards).

So … is it worth a trip. Yes, absolutely. Would it be top of my east Asian list. No. Vietnam is culturally much more frantic and the beaches are to die for … nearly all year round. And we’ve not been to Japan, but Bex tells us it’s fabulous, provided you can afford it.

Now, what have we been up to?

+++++++

D + 34 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· the weather is fab. It’s high teens until the end of the week and then … Winter is coming!

Lots of Henry stuff … ooing and ahhing. He’s been pretty brilliant during the day. A little noisy at night. Thankfully we’re here to lend a hand … and then push off.

Still exercising like a loon.Β  And on the final edit of ‘of Black Bulls and White Horses’. It should be with you by Christmas.Β 

Stay safe everyone.Β 

D + 35 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· I don’t mind admitting that, just now, I had Henry lying on my knees and tears were rolling down my cheeks. It is remarkable, new life. And we, Claire and I, are so fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with our grandson. The emotion took me by surprise.

The thing is, as new parents there are so many competing things … including work … which don’t allow you time to marvel. I don’t regret that I didn’t find that time. I’m just so happy that we’ve found time now. So, Bex and Jen … we love youΒ 

Photos are from a bit more of the city wall we did.

Β Stay safe everyone.Β 

D + 36 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· I don’t want to overburden you with gratuitous baby photos, although we are taking a lot. Henry had his first day out yesterday … for coffee and then a hospital check up.

We went via Itaewon, which is close Bex’s place where they had a recent covid-19 outbreak (a few 100 cases). It’s struggling for business now, hence the street sign.

Still feeling blessed to have the opportunity to indulge. And, let me tell you, pushing a pram up these hills is good for your calves.

Stay safe, everyone.Β 

D + 36 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· ok, so you wanted more Henry picks?

We went out for lunch yesterday to a Moroccan place. Henry came too!

I’m still managing to run every second day. It’s a bit to hilly for Claire, but the walking us just as good.Β 

We’re all a bit tired and frazzled … but managing.Β 

Keep safeΒ 

We are grandfather …

Technically we are grandparents, but I thought the title more amusing.

welcome Henry, John, Albert Green

And so Henry John Albert Green comes into the world. I would argue a worse place than when our children arrived, over 30 years ago. What with Trump and Brexit, a golden four years opportunity to grip our worst vices – namely climate ruin and the decent into popularism and the dismal, self-serving leadership which accompanies it. Thankfully Trump has gone. Unfortunately, regardless of the ‘cummings’ and goings, the UK still faces a bleak future. Frankly I have absolutely no interest in the pantomime which is this inner working of No10. I just want to governed by decent, intelligent, competent people with integrity. There seems little chance of that.

Anyhow, other than a baby, what have we been up to?

+++++++++++++++++

we’ll leave that to the next generation

D + 30 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· we have a baby – Henry. I won’t go into the gory details, but mother and baby are safe and well. No photos yet, and it’s possible Bex will not be out hospital until the weekend. We are very proud of all of them. And are now, technically, grandparents. Oh well.

We walked again yesterday. Down for a coffee and a wander around. I’m still working on the book … mostly, we were pacing, waiting for news. 
So, the world gets another child. I have huge faith in my children’s generation. They are intelligent, inclusive, sensitive and alive to the challenges our planet faces … our generation, not so much. Hopefully by the time Henry is old enough to reason, he’ll start to notice the change.

Stay safe 

D + 32 (rapidly losing count) πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· mum and baby are well. Likely out of hospital on Saturday. Apparently Henry is quite ‘noisy’, which we all know is a euphemism for something more extreme.

Claire and I walked part of the city walks yesterday. Seoul has the longest set of walls in the world. We were out on our feet, up and down, for ever. And we’ve still got two thirds of the walls to do. Colours are majestic, though.

Not sure about coming home. Infections look bleak, and what with Brexit … can there be a coup in the next couple of weeks? (I know some people …)
Stay safe.

D + 33 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· welcome, Henry, to a world which is not quite where we’d like it to be. Not yet. But your mum and her generation have a plan.

All is well here. We’ve had a day of not doing a great deal, save I ran up to the tower following the wall. It was just a never ending stairway. Exhausted

Weather holds good here, getting colder towards the end of the week.
Keep safe in the UK, please.

Hanging on …

the tower I keep going on about

D + 28 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· Yes, four weeks since this adventure began. Still no baby, but it will come soon.

Steve and I ran up to the tower (2.5km and I know not what climb), ran off the top and then ran back up again up a set of steps immortalised by #ledzeppelin … and then ran down again. Exhausted.

mmm … picnic. We also had our first altercation with an Asian murder hornet which actually tried to take a bit out of my sandwich. That was interesting …

Claire and I then gave B&S some space and took a picnic to the local (and very busy) park where I finished reading book 7 to her. (I have a lot of work to do on it.)

Getting to the end of #Hinterland on #Netflix. Can it get any more grey?

Stay safe everyone

off to have a baby

D + 29 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· Bex has gone in to get a little help with bringing baby into the world. Apparently that’s how they do things here. So far, no news.

we saw some things …

Claire and I walked into the city (about 4km, up and down), and saw a few sights. Weather cold, but beautiful. Caught the bus back. The bus system is hugely comprehensive. It’s all linked to the city map App, with live times and WiFi on the bus. One journey – 80p. We took a picnic …

Finished #hinterland last night. It’s hardly a great advert for Cambrian tourism …

a B52 … mmm, not sure what I think about this.

D + 30 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· No sign of baby, but I’m told it’s nothing to worry about. I’m keeping my head in the sand.

We walked into town (the other way) past the war memorial/museum. It’s a fascinating place and has a live #B52 in its car park. These are frightening beasts.Β 

local fire station

I thought it interesting when set against the Koreans love for small, cute and cuddly – the sign for the local fire station makes that clear.Β 

Hope all of you in πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ are surviving. And good luck to πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² as they struggle to get everyone in their country to understand what democracy looks like.Β 

And … breathe

I have included the usual Korean catch up below, but I couldn’t let today pass without a few words on the Biden-Harris win in the US elections. For all of us here, but me and Bex in particular, it’s been quite a few days: the ups, downs and then the final realisation that the man – just a single man – who has blighted our lives over the past four years, will no longer be the menace he has been. Sure, in the end it was straightforward, but at one point we thought Trump might win. At that point, I sincerely believed it would be the end of democracy in the US – emboldening politicians like Johnson and Gove here in the UK. That may sound dramatic, but I really believe that to the case. If Trump was given a mandate for a second term, he would only get worse.

Well, he hasn’t. And, in the same way I think Trump is the worst of men, Biden is among the most decent. And Harris too. Let’s hope so. If nothing else, it will good to listen to President who speaks in full sentences, without the need to insult, ridicule or upset. Thanks goodness.

could do with these posters in the UK

And, I’ve finished the book – still no title. Every year my plan is always to close it by Christmas. This time I’d hoped for ‘by the time we got off the plane at Heathrow’. Well, here I am three weeks early. It’s 132,000 words … not all of them in the right order. I love the plot. I just need to edit the hell out of it. I’m going to work on the last three chapters over the next week, and then let it settle until January. My next job is to get Of Black Bulls and White Horses out there. That’s for release before Christmas … it never stops.

Anyhow … what have we been up to?

+++++++

another day, another coffee

D + 24 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² Still no sign of baby. We walked to local coffee shop, then did some shopping, then home, then out for supper for very decent pies and chips.

I think we’ve all been a bit stressed by the US election although, as I write, that looks like it might be a more positive outcome. I hope so. (Baby too … early indoctrination is key, I feel.)

Supper out felt very western. Pies were fab – black pepper steak.
3,000 words yesterday. I’m half a scene and an epilogue away from done. Almost there … and that will be 8 books and well over 1,000,000 words. (Not all of them in the right order.)

Stay safe everyone.

we’ve eaten a lot of burgers …

D + 25 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² The view is baby’s not prepared to come into the world until there is certainty. Who can blame him? #bidenharris2020!

We walked a little yesterday, had a biosomething coffee at a posh cafe (there are 5 within short strolling distance of the flat, and this is an urban area). We were given a dissolvable wafer to put on our tongues … I lost my tummy 6 hours later, so I’m not convinced.

Pushed out 3,500 rubbish words yesterday. I’m 2,000 from finishing the main book … and then the relaxation of the epilogue, which I love.

All calm here. I guess our UK friends are in lockdown. Please stay safe.

baby watching CNN …

D + 26 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² still no sign of baby. Don’t worry, all wives’ tales and urban myths have been dispensed. It will come when it’s ready. Hopefully in the next couple of days, but we’re patient people … all of us.

Well done #bidenharris2020. It seems certain now that at least in the US some semblance of order should be resumed. If nothing else him and VP Harris seem like decent people. That would be nice … (the photo is my congratulations).

Claire and I walked down to the shops yesterday. Bex and Steven live on a bit of a hill, so you can’t help but exercise when you go out. Cost of living here is about 30% up on the UK. We’ll survive …

Oh … and, less the epilogue, the books done. Another 3,000 words yesterday (yippee).

Keep safe everyone.

D + 27 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡². Baby can come now. Some decency has returned.Β 
Did a lot of walking – up to the tower (pregnant woman made it, hurrah) and then across town for lunch. We watched #parasite … in its home country. Interesting commentary and probably a must watch if you’re coming here.

watching Parasite …

Finished the epilogue. 132k words. Most of them in the right order. I’ll leave it now until Jan 21 when it gets four edits and then a professional proofreader. Publish Jul 21. Anyone who thinks self-published authors don’t do it properly, then that’s not the case.

Baby will come soon. It’s the law.Β 

Hopefully today the earth resets its axis …

D + 21 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· Yes, it’s been three weeks. This is me in #starbucks whilst Bex and Claire go for a hospital check up. No sign of baby, other than the obvious. 

C and I walked the 5 miler around the base of the tower yesterday. Exercise is huge here, with the old in particular always out walking and using the exercise machines. We tried a short cut and ended up at the tower and celebrated with a couple of burgers.

mmm, burgers
there’s money in Seoul

Writing continues. I’m a couple of long scenes from finishing (110/125k). Will be done by the weekend.
Good luck to my πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² friends tomorrow. If you’re voting for His πŸŠness then I suggest you stop following me … for everyone else, we’re with you every step of the way.

And for our πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ pals, stay safe and look after each other.

D + 22 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·  More exercise for the pregnant one … instructions from El Doctirie. As you can see the trees are turning nicely.

We’re all rubbing along quite nicely. Plenty of rest, walks (and writing). And we’ve just finished #Roadkill, which left us wandering ‘what was the point?’.

someone’s cleaning the floor

I’m into the final scene before the epilogue. It’s probably 6/8k words, which will bring the book close to 125/30k, which is ok. I’ve loved it, but like any marathon, I want it to be over. I hope you all like it. (Still struggling with the title.)

Hopefully tomorrow we wake up to a brave new world πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡². 

Stay safe everywhere.

vote Biden!

D + 23 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² Baby watching US elections. I think baby is a #bidenharris2020 supporter. Fingers crossed .

We bussed/walked to the main mall – it’s sunny but chilly, and getting colder. Had lunch and coffee out – we are surpassing ourselves. 

And I’m on the final scene (less epilogue) … 5k words to go. 

Stay safe 

Getting into a routine – no baby …

D + 17 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· Awwww! They were expecting us!Β 

Ran up the local hill to the famous #Seoul Comms tower. Just lovely to be in the fresh air, even if I had to wear a mask. It’s 100%Β masksΒ here … no exceptions and nobody’s worried.

Weather is fab. Cool in the evening, warming during the day. We walked/waddled (well done Bex) for about an hour and a half into town to a huge shopping centre, past the war memorial/museum which we went to last time. It is fab. I’ll explain in detail when we go again … which we will.
Pushed out 1,500 words and, as we were all in bed early, I’m pretty close to sorting out the final scenes.Β 

The photo is the view from the top of Bex’s apartment roof across one part of Seoul. There are many parts … it’s a city of 10M and many different quarters.Β 

I’m sorry to hear that the UK looks set for another lockdown … keep safe.Β 

D + 18 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· we walked where I ran yesterday (just me and Claire). Trees are turning nicely … it is the best time of year. #Starbucks at the top. Yum.Β 
Baby is kicking like a footballer (Steven is a footballer) but no sign of the little lad. Bex not yet screaming for baby to come, so we’re all cool.

I put out 2,000 words yesterday, so the output has dropped, but the end is in sight. Then it’ll be full steam ahead for getting ‘Of Black Bulls And White Horses’ out by Christmas.Β 

Stay safe in the UK

D + 19 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·Β another day, another walk. This time along the main river which dissects #Seoul. Bex up for it … on our feet for a couple of hours. (Baby was due today, but decided against it.) Had coffee in a floating #starbucks and out to supper with school friends – no restrictions here, just masks.

never seen a flock of cormorants before

Writing continues. Another 2,000 words although, on inspection, 1,765 need moving about. The life of a writer. I now have to think of a title. I normally have it by now …

We’re keeping an eye on you all at home. All you can do is apply your own common sense, keep away from people where you can andΒ #wearamask. You don’t want the disease even if some of you think it might now be an inevitability.

Stay safe and keep in touch with each other.Β 

tireder than I look

D + 20 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· another full day in the life of a tourist in Korea waiting for ‘baby’. Steve took me for a 5-miler around the base of the tower. It was up and down, a bit x-country and by the end of it I was shattered.

mmmm

We then popped out to a Moroccan restaurant for a fab lunch – which, in itself, was a bit of a walk. Well done again Bex.

We all had a bit of a zizz, and then I wrote another 1,500 words. Getting closer. I also had a bit of a stab at the title. No luck, but I thought ‘Intended Consequences’ sounded ok, but there’s already a book on Amazon with that title. We’ll see.

Sorry about the lock down. Don’t get me started on the politics of it all …
Stay safe

Sshhhh. We’ve escaped.

D + 12 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·. I don’t post this snap of an @andrerieu concert to upset my musical friends from my old school. I stick it up here because the #maastricht concert was the backdrop for my run today.

Why? Two reasons. First because I like him and his orchestra. I think he brings classical music to punters like me who have more of an ear for #TheBeachBoys. Second because it reminds me of my poor old dad. Claire and I took him and mum on a European tour for his 80th. The surprise was an Andre Rieu concert in #Karlsruhe.Β 

My dad was a man of simple tastes (like me, I guess) and now that he is no longer with us it reminded me of him lent forward in his chair, smile on his face, mouthing words and sounds to the music. Priceless.

Anyhow, the run past with lots of ooompah!

And, and I’m exhausted, 4,500 words today, a new Ladley record. Phew.
Two more days to go, everyone.

D + 13 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· happy breakfast everyone. The problem with getting old is your mind knows how to get the best out of being younger, but your body refuses to join it. We both wake with aches and pains, stuffy heads and with the drive of a Ford Anglia. Ambition, though? Yeah, even that’s incandescent when it should be LED.

Today I shall mostly be writing. I’m one major event from finishing and have, as I always have at this point, the final scene mapped out. It’s a remarkable feeling, a combination of ending the marathon and believing that what you are about to write, you are going to love. I do tear up … I do.Β 
And we have two sleeps until we’re out. We need to get out. We need fresh air and sunshine and a breeze and proper exercise and vegetables and meat without sauce and a washing machine and that sense when you don’t feel like you can’t do what you want.

Physical health: Green; Mental health: resilient coloured.
Stay safe. And remember when the govt brought in seatbelts and we all rallied against it and then it saved all those lives?

D + 13 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· I just realised that my UK friends will be waking up every day to two posts from me. I post at breakfast and at tea. For you lot they’re both in the middle of the night, so you get an early morning splurge. Sorry. I’ll go back to a single post a day when we escape … (this is acting as a diary; I cut a paste these into our biweekly blog, so, in fact, you’re all suffering for our memories).

2,500 words today. I have to say I felt distinctly rubbish after lunch (I have no idea why), but I persevered and it’s done … hurrah. Feeling better now.
Claire, who could represent the globe against any old planet in a ‘knit-off’ was on YouTube earlier learning how to crochet. We’re no further forward, I feel.

Anyhow, one full day to go and we still have all our limbs!
Stay safe everywhereΒ 

D + 14 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· we get a huge stack of paper cups with various messages. This, aptly, is to all of you who have sent through their wishes in our (melodramatic music) darkest hour. Not so much for those of you who have been taking the Mickey. We know who you are … and we have a very flexible Christmas card list.

It is our last full day. Tomorrow we will be free and, likely, a little bit tipsy. Yippee!

More writing, a final run up and down the carpet, a walk to Tesco (I haven’t told you about that. I try to walk to Tesco every day … Claire takes out and collects the washing), more writing and then sleep.

Down to one post a day tomorrow as we wait for our grandchild …
Physical health – green; Mental health – 🍊
Stay safeΒ 

D + 14 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·. Do my feet look big in this? Photo is one of three writing positions, none of which would survive an environmental health inspection. But I’m there. Apart from yesterday (2.7k words) I’ve knocked out over 3k a day. Total for 14 days = 48k words. I am exhausted.Β 
Sam’s about to get on a flight to #Abuja and then it’s all over. 130k words is the target. I’ll get the final 30k finished in the next four weeks before we fly home.

I’ve tagged @sorrel_golding who is an actress. She is currently narrating #UnsuspectingHero for #audiobook. If any writer’s want to discuss the process, then DM me. Sorrel, BTW, is fab. (Only 6 books to go, Sorrel.)Next time you hear from me, we should be free, although manhandling the suitcases across Seoul might make that a not so pleasant experience …
Stay safe everyoneΒ 

D + 15 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· (ssshhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but we’re free.)
Phew, although the Seoul air quality is poor ATM. We got a shuttle to the main station where Bex met us … fab. Bus to her place.Β 

We immediately got talking about baby names. My advice was if it’s born on 3rd November, call it Donald. Bex favoured Joseph in that case …

Food was a relief, although are we looking forward to a salad. That’s tonight’s plan.

Anyhow, flight is on 1 December. In the meantime we’ve got a baby to pop out. Stay safe.

D + 16 πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡°πŸ‡· the big reveal. Not of the bump (which is behind the quilt), but of all of the knitted cardigans, baby clothes, sleep suits, etc. Claire kept bringing out stuff I’d never seen. She clearly has v fast hands. (@claremcdonnell did the quilt.)

We had alcohol last night. It’s not cheap here (Β£6 cheapest bottle of wine) and a can of beer is over a Β£.

Weather set fair. It doesn’t rain in the winter, but it does get cold.Β 
Running outside today, which will be a novelty … I have to wear a mask (mandated in any public place. Kids of all ages outside with masks on.)
Stay safe and thanks 😘 for all the nice comments. Messages all passed to Bex (& Steven).