Oh, Spring, Where Have You Gone?

I realize you’re all here for London photos and stories, but first you get the writing updates:

The never ending novel-in-progress is still in progress. I’m in the middle of the third major revision. After this it goes on submission. Perhaps it sees the light of day in a couple years. Perhaps it ends up in a trunk after a hundred rejections. I have no idea. Once I start sending it out, I’ll start writing another book. In the meantime, I’m still writing and submitting short fiction. 

It’s been 8 months since Viable Paradise. I am fairly sure I learned some things, if only because the writing comes harder than ever now. I more easily see things that aren’t working in my stories, but then when I think things are working, I get feedback that no, they aren’t quite. Writing is beautiful and terrible in that it’s a never-ending journey of improvement, but that improvement stalls out and splutters backwards and forwards.¬†

Yes, but what fun things have you been up to in Europe? 

Well, a few. Mom left in February, so we didn’t do a tremendous amount in March and April. In March I took the oldest child to The Globe to see Romeo & Juliet. The theatre was brilliant. The cast was excellent. We stood two meters from the stage for the entire show. For 5 quid a ticket, it might be the best value of anything (paid) in London. 

The Globe Theatre, as seen from the second floor balcony

In April I went to Eastercon on the Saturday before Easter and chatted with one of my VP instructors and a VP alumnus from a previous year. For Easter dinner I made a roast leg of lamb for the first time. It’s a traditional English thing to make for Easter, I’m told. It was good. Carissa might have preferred steak, but she definitely enjoyed the lamb. 
In May a big round of visitors came. My brother and his wife were here for a week early in the month, and one of my board games pals from Missouri and his wife came for a week late in the month. Oh, the places we saw. Oh, the food we ate. Oh, the walking we did. 

The birth of the tank

Highlights included:

  • The cliffs at Dover
  • London Bridge and Tower of London
  • The Spirit Tour at the Natural History Museum
  • A day in Richmond to watch football and consume schnitzel and hefeweizen
  • Kebabs x2
  • The Churchill War Rooms
  • The HMS Belfast
  • The Tank Museum in Bovington
  • The League 1 playoff final where Charlton scored in the 90th minute to gain promotion
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Globe¬†
The white cliffs of Dover. Missing iPhone not pictured.

We rented a car and drove to Dover to see the cliffs. It absolutely gushed rain on us on the way out, but when we arrived it was a beautiful day with scudding clouds and a nice breeze over the English Channel. My colleagues were not impressed with our plan to visit the cliffs, but the way I see it, if something is a Wonder of the World in Civilization, that means it’s worth seeing. The highlight of the trip was when the girls and I decided to sit at the top of the cliff pictured above. My eldest was sitting quietly, taking pictures of France, when I heard a screech and looked up. Her iPhone tumbled forward, bounced once, and went right over the edge. It seems she encountered a spider, and her response was to panic and toss the phone. Over. The. Edge. Of. The. Cliff. Kids these days. On the plus side, she’s fine other than a bruise to her pride.

London Bridge on a sunny May afternoon
London Bridge

With all that behind us, the summer will be no less busy. We’ll be in America for two weeks to see friends and family. The day after we get back to London we’re moving to a new place a little further from the city center. We’ll be a few minutes’ walk from Twickenham Station, so my commute will actually go down due to the faster trains, but the biggest thing is that we’ll have more school options for the girls. 

A storage room at the London Natural History Museum.

Amongst all that, I read a few books. Kameron Hurley’s “The Light Brigade” was brilliant. It’s a vicious deconstruction of military science fiction and neoliberal capitalism. It’s science fiction using the elements of wonder to shine a light on the present day. 

I also did something unusual for me: I watched television. Not just a little, either. I binged seasons 2 through 7 of Game of Thrones so I could watch the final season with the rest of the world. After watching them all in about a month, I think the series peaked in episode one of season seven. “The north remembers” was such a brilliant line and the culmination of years worth of character development for Arya. After that, it felt like a rush to the conclusion. A series defined by the characters turned into a chess match of moving pieces into place, and the resolutions for Brienne, Cersei, Jaime, and Daenerys didn’t work for me. Dany’s felt rushed, but it might have worked with more time to setup. The others I just plain hated. The Starks, at least, seemed to do okay out of the deal.