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As you may remember, I have been dithering about how to repeat my retreat success of last summer, when I spent a very productive month out in Switzerland finishing the first draft of what became “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”.  I’m not ready for another month alone in the Alps – perhaps next year – and my enquiries about holiday cottages in the UK revealed that I would have to sell thousands of books to cover the cost, so it was back to the dithering.  And then fate stepped in.

My husband is extremely keen on cycling and bicycles.  In particular, he spends a lot of time trying to think of ways and means to turn the UK into a cycle-friendly country like the Netherlands.  And then he spotted that this summer the University of Amsterdam is running a three-week course on “Planning the Cycling City”.  His little eyes lit up, and his application was in quicker than you can mend a puncture (which is his case, is about ten minutes).  And he’s been accepted.

Of course, I am thrilled that the chap will be spending three whole weeks studying a subject he loves – and talking about it with people who are not me.  But can I just say, very selfishly indeed, YIPPEE!  The timing is perfect for my first draft (second half of July, first week of August) and it means that I can retreat at home and think all day and all night if I wish about “Plank 3”.  I am one happy bunny.