It will soon be time to start the post-beta reader edit. I have my proof reader stood by for the beginning of June (when we fly to Seoul). Between now and then I will have had to complete an edit with their comments and, because there will be no time when we get back, have designed the front and wrap-round cover. My ambition is to have book 5, On The Back Foot To Hell, out by the end of July. This is three weeks later than usual, but needs must.

The big decision for me is whether or not this is the last of the series. Five books is five books. Which is definitely a series. We’ll see. One of the things I will be doing in SE Asia is looking at locations for book 6 … indeed, I have a sub-plot (but no overall conspiracy) in my head, so I will be touring with an eye on something. The thing is I’m not sure I can write something else with a different voice. And I do love Sam. And she’s not done yet. I’m talking myself into this, aren’t I?


there were more people when I actually got up to speak…

It’s been a busy couple of days, the highlight, if you can call it that, was my presentation to 200+ civil servants at Newbury racecourse (which is incredibly posh). I was asked a month ago if I could be ‘the motivational speaker’ (don’t laugh) for a group of programme managers in the Ministry of Defence – which, as you know, is now leaderless; the government falling apart at the seams. Leaving politics to one side, my 40-min presentation was on ‘compassionate leadership’, something which I am evangelical about. It is what I mentor … and have run a few courses on. On Tuesday I was on just before lunch and, to be honest, the preceding presentations were so high level I thought I’d missed the market altogether.

Maybe not.

It is wrong, of course, to give you feedback on how well I might have gone down, but I think it was OK (I have been asked back). After lunch it went back to the high level stuff, much of which went over my head because I have been away from the MoD for almost 15 years – the terminology and acronyms have changed so much. But, what was clear, was that they are still doing the same things and are still beset by the same problems. Oh well.

Yesterday we were at Jen’s, picking up the orders of service for dad’s funeral next week, and collecting C who has been with Jen as James has been away. Today has been an admin day (checking everything for dad’s funeral, finishing Doris’s roof, painting the sitting room door, putting up a shelf, teak-oiling the garden furniture … etc) and tomorrow is purposefully¬† empty so we can take a breath before we head up to mum’s for a very long weekend.

The good news is that we should be off in Doris late next week, once mum is settled. We have just under a week planned and, as I type this, C is poring over a map to find somewhere to stay. The ambition is to do as little as possible, although I will be editing. And then back for some work at a school, a trip to the docs, some other bits and pieces and, just as His Orangeness lands, we’ll be heading skywards with our back packs. Phew … a close shave. I understand that crowds are going to line his route, but turn their backs and go silent as he drives past. I’m with them (well, technically and ironically, I’ll be 4,000 miles away, but you get my meaning). After the very recent and very late furore ref a climate emergency, it’s the least we can do to this climate change denier (and leader of the free world).