July 1-16, 2010:

Apologies, apologies, apologies. I plead tourist insanity. I plead business. I plead sluggishness, I plead exhaustion, I plead. . .the Fifth.

And of course I cannot remember all that has happened in the past sixteen days, so this will perforce be a quick catchup.

First touristy stuff: As the girls were here for two weeks, of course I had to do stuff with them, complicated by the fact that Heidi really didn’t know how to drive on the left side of the road. So if there was driving to be done, I had to go with them. So close to home, we went to the East Neuk–Anstruther, Crail (and Crail pottery), walking in St. Andrews one day, with Marianna to the Wemyss caves and pictish stones in Lindores and Strathmiglo another day. Heidi an Maddison went several more walks around St A on their own, and three times into Edinburgh on the train, only once when I went with them.

And then we took a wonderful trip to Skye, though it was mitigated  by a blown tire in Crieff and then some sideways rain the first night we were on the island, staying at a friend’s house. But we had a lovely day out the next day with actual sun: seeing Dunvegan Castle, the marvelous water garden, some ruined churches, and a terribly spooky drive to visit a site that our host insisted we mustn’t miss. The road there was a terrifying one track, night was falling, and the mist rolled in so thick, we couldn’t see more a foot or two in front of us. We came to a huge hill that could have taken us into Hell or over a cliff, for all we knew. Dear Readers, we turned back.

Next day, Eileen Donan Castle, then off to Inverness for Urquart Castle, then Dunkeld’s ruined church, and home. Whew.

Two days later we went to the Borders, and had our best day out yet: Direlton Castle, Tantallon Castle, the N Berwick seabird center, and a trip by boat around the Bass Rock, the greatest gannetry in the world.

Home again that same day, and after another trip for them into Edinburgh, another walk about in St A, their last day here we had afternoon tea at Rufflets, the weather being perfect we sat in the formal gardens.

They left, the British Open tourists and the rain and gales rolled in. I stayed at home after that to write.

Writing: I wrote three drafts of  a new Dino book (Birthday), did editorial revisions for Last Laughs, Twinspiration, Birds of a Feather. Wrote a short story based on one my characters from Except the Queen, called “Dog Boy Remembers” (3,000 words), started another short story I’d be writing with Adam. Retold the final Jewish folktale for Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts. Whew, a lot to do in a few short days.

Got my first copy of Hush Little Horsie which, since it was dedicated to my friend Nora here, I got to give her the evening we went off to see Shrek 3, which we both enjoyed.

Signed several small contracts for short story reprints, fielded a request from an Italian publisher possibly interested in Briar Rose and said yes to the small Hungarian offer for the same book.

And finally–finally–began to rewrite the first 22,000+ words of the novel, Snow in Summer which contractually I have to finish by summer’s end. Fiddled, twiddled, tarted it up and pared it down, and the first 11 chapters (of the 20 already written became 23,000+. I hope this weekend to finish up and solve my major problem with it, so I can  push ahead next week on the book since my visitors are gone. And no new visitors due until mid August. So a whole month to myself. Whew.

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