My whisky's a little cloudy, which is no bad thing and somewhat reflective of the season. Or seasons, depending on where you are and where you've been.
I've been to Scotland and France in the meantime.
I ran into the North Atlantic in the shadow of a threatening storm and dipped through the surf as the sun peaked through the veil of grey towards the horizon. Afterwards the three of us huddled in towels and changed back into our clothes on the beach in Machir Bay. We avoided the riptide. A weather station stood on the cliff to the west. It felt like the very edge of the world.
The next day I ran and fell and hobbled over the finish line in Bowmore. The rain fell harder as the race went on and I didn't know if I'd make it, but I did. I'll be faster next year. It would be hard to be slower.
There was a house on Islay for sale. In Bowmore. I tried to work out if I could buy it. I couldn't.
I signed the contract for my next book. That was nice.
And then I went to France. I made wine and drank some, too. And beer and gin. More gin even than usual, which is saying something. We bbq'd snails and used Catalan flip knives to cut pieces of bread and cheese for lunch. There was a party at a bar called Jeannine à la Mer in Canet. The barmen wore togas and the barmaid opened my beer with her teeth. The walls stood adorned with fishing tackle and the DJ played ridiculous remixes of both Aretha and the Beatles. Thibault did a striptease and the girls sprayed him with Perrier water. We drank Champagne when the gin was finished because the bar ran out of beer. The heavens opened that night, and thankfully there was no fruit picked the next day.
Now I'm here again and some friends have left and some friends are back. Some won't be coming back.
Now I sit down to write and find something else to do. I heard a deadline whizz by me on Wednesday, and there's another scheduled to whizz by me on Monday. My editor says it's okay, he understands. It happens. I know, I say, thanks, I know it happens.
But I still hate it when it does.