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I will admit that things have been rather sluggish recently.  I have had a busy time at work (the paid, day job) and I’m heading towards a holiday, so Sam has been on my mind but no so much on paper.  That said, I have managed to write nearly two thousand words (so far…) this weekend, in between chores, so am pleased with that progress.

One thing I spent quite a bit of time on was consulting my map.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I am heavily indebted to Greenwood’s 1827 map of London, but for ease of paper reference I have turned to an unusual source: the Transport for London cycling map of central London.  It is a lovely colourful folding map of the area I need, and because it is intended for cyclists on the hoof/wheel, it is wonderfully clear.  I have taken my coloured pens and marked on it all the key Plank locations – Great Marlborough Street magistrates’ court, Newgate prison, the Fleet, Sam’s house and so on – and then use pencil crosses for the more one-off places of interest.  If I then need Sam to hare, say, from home to Newgate, or from the Fleet to a suspect’s house, I can get a good overview of the route he would have taken.  Before mentioning any street names, I then cross-reference with Greenwood’s.  This is essential, as even the most seemingly established London place names might not be all that old.  Ludgate Circus, for instance, was actually called Farringdon-circus until relatively recently – and that’s certainly the name that Sam would have used for this busy junction.

Now that I know that my summer retreat-at-home is happening, I have decided that I will spend one of my precious days down in London, armed with my marked-up map, re-walking some of the main routes taken by Sam, just to add some little descriptive details – and to check that I am not making the poor man walk his boots off.

And for those of you who have requested it, please rest assured that I am considering the idea of including a map in the next book so that you can “walk the Plank” along with Sam.  (My husband is a neat little draughtsman and may be roped in on map-drawing duties with bribes of chocolate biscuits.)  The only thing that might stand in our way is whether I can include diagrams – rather than just text – in the interior template that I use for my books.  I will check it out and let you know.