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As regular readers will know, over the summer I was able to blag myself a writing retreat – a whole month away from the day job and the ironing and the food shopping, with just a daily word count to achieve, with the (achieved) aim of completing the main draft of “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”.  I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to do it again in 2015, as it was pretty grim for my husband, left behind to keep the home fires burning, but I did think that I might be able to do something approximating it over this festive period.  Nothing like as long, or as isolated, of course, but still time away from the daily routines.

My Grand Plan is this.  I am finishing work today – which is rare for me, as we self-employed types tend to work on through.  But I have put in extra hours over the past few weeks and “worked ahead” on January deadlines, so now (unless something spectacular happens in the world of money laundering) I don’t need to do anything until 5 January 2015.  That’s next year!  By my diary count, and excluding Christmas Day and other days already committed to family visits, this gives me eleven days of freedom.  Let’s knock off another three for being just too lazy, or going to the cinema, or watching “Morecambe and Wise”, or reading the piles of books that I have put on my Christmas list – and I’ve still got eight days for writing.  Eight whole days!

Of course, with “Plank 3” being at such an early stage, I can’t use the daily word count thing to galvanise myself.  But there are certain things I still need to do, and I’m going to spend Day One writing down all of these tasks, and then allocate them to Days Two to Eight.  So by the time I get back to work, “Plank 3” will be bubbling away nicely on the back burner.  I may blog about this as I do it, or I may ban myself from the Internet to avoid distractions – we’ll see.  Either way, I’ll muse on how the Inaugural Christmas Pseudo-Retreat went when I “return” in January.

Merry Christmas to you all!  And in case you thought Christmas buskers were a new invention, here are some that Sam might have seen:

Italian Minstrels in London, At Christmas 1825