Just so that you don’t think I’ve fallen down a large hole… The first draft of “Plank 2” is sitting waiting for me, having been backed up assiduously by my husband – he knows from past experience that whenever something goes wrong with anything technical in our house, it will be his fault, and so he takes great preventive measures. I have worked out that I should not begin proper editing until next Tuesday – that allows a full fortnight since I finished writing the draft. But I figure that on Saturday I can go through it, map to hand, checking all the London locations and routes.
London, of course, is a city that changes constantly. I am delighted to have pinpointed the exact street where Plank lives – it no longer exists, but it is just right for him in 1825. Well, it exists, but with a different name – and I thought that might be sensible, as when Plank is as famous as Sherlock Holmes, I don’t want the poor residents of his street to be bothered by the hordes of fans coming to pay homage. And indeed plenty of places in “Plank 2” have changed name and sometimes shape since Plank was there. So I will have a current map to write on – coloured pens at the ready, for coding various locations – and the marvellous Greenwood’s 1827 map of London for contemporary checking. Even with that one, of course, I have to be careful: Plank’s neighbourhood of Piccadilly was developing at speed, and even from 1825 to 1827 there were significant alterations to street layout. So my “O” level geography teacher was right: one day I would be grateful to him for explaining map symbols and teaching me to envisage a 3D landscape from a 2D representation. Mr Lay, I belatedly salute you.