This month is the first time I have spent not-lambing for close on fifty years. Our one and only remaining ewe, one Daisy Death-wish, has today dropped yet another mutant into the world, aided by some friends who are housing her for the winter. So instead of late night vigils, all I get are a few photos to say the job is done, successfully, from a few thousand miles away. Great result everyone.
I did threaten that during this 'lambing-holiday' we might instead head off to South America to visit my son who is working out there but, as it happens, he is back in Blighty this month, so we will just make an 800 mile road-trip to see him in the Midlands instead, visiting a few other family members in the process. Not that I have been lazy these last few weeks, as I have been constantly kept busy shuffling furniture around from one place to another, then occasionally back again, generally on my own. That's the one beauty of using Swedish furniture, it does all come apart and reassemble, even without a set of diagrams designed for idiots.
In between times, I have found myself at my writing desk, the first time for nearly two years. A couple of ideas were kicking around in my head, occasionally shouting to be heard above the constant whirr of an overcrowded bureau full of un-completed admin. A framework has been drafted and a few chapters already scribbled towards a new novel based in the early sixties around a true set of events. I am not sure when I will get chance to finish it, nor re-visit the list of half-written projects lurking on my PC, but it is nice to get back to my preferred occupation, rather than the one I have forced myself into out of financial necessity. Out of total co-incidence I noticed a poster for a local writing group here in East Neuk and decided to attend one of their meetings. I have to admit it is the first time I have ever been to such a thing, but I am now card carrying member of Writersneuk.com, and already supplying contributions to their website.
Obviously I can only make it to the winter events of writers workshops, pool matches, quiz nights etc, as we will be back in France from Spring through to Autumn. It was suggested that I could attend, via Skype, an innovation that allows people to pretend to be somewhere they are not. But then I happened to read in the weekend's paper about how Abba are going on tour this year, by hologram! Yes, instead of their tired 70-year old bodies being shoehorned back into lycra and high-heels, the crowds can enjoy Agnetha, as she was back in 1978, cavorting around in that oh-so-tight silver cat suit! Apparently, says the article, you wouldn’t know it wasn’t really them, so life-like is the stage act. So much so that, at a hundred quid a ticket, folks are queuing up to get a front row seat. Now that I have to say is a win-win for everyone, especially Bjorn's dignity and bank account. This is, of course, the thin end of a very long and fat wedge. How long before the Beatles get back together and take a world tour or, heaven forbid, The Bay City Rollers restart the fashion statement of tartan flares and tank-tops? The concept is limitless. Donald Trump could send himself out on stage, safe in the knowledge that when someone assassinates him, the bullet would go right through and into any world leader standing behind him. Once the Chinese get hold of the technology it won't be long before we can all get a hologram of ourselves for Christmas? My wife could send herself to business meetings in Aberdeen in her best suit, whilst simultaneously sipping gin by our pool with her rollers in. I could be at home writing a book, at work with a pointing trowel and in France mowing the lawn, all at the same time. Oh hang on a minute, I do that already!
I couldn’t let this month's column go by without some reference to the 'B' word and the impending deadline of doom. Has anybody a clue what is going on? I mean, really? It is nearly a couple of years ago since the press filled up our ears with Article 50, back-stops, soft-borders and a whole load of other foggy jargon and propaganda. Now we get threatened with withdrawals, extensions and no-trade-deals, and it appears blatantly obvious that nobody has a Scooby-do about what will happen come April 2019. Should I be back in France by that date? Will they charge me to return to my own home? Or let me in at all? Will I still be able to buy wine and cheese on a British passport? Does our habitation tax double next year, unless we can prove our residency by singing both verses of the Marseillaise? Will my hologram be French, or British? In fact, does a hologram have to pay tax at all? Or need a passport for that matter? There's a question I bet Teresa May hadn’t considered? Oh dear, back to the drawing board we go...