Friday, 3 August 2012

A Day in the Life

I'm on holiday in a caravan with no internet connection, somewhere in Wales, and really couldn't be expected to write a blog post this week. So here's one I wrote before I went. I gazed deep into my crystal ball and predicted what kind of a day I would be having...

03:07 - Youngest daughter wakes up screaming "Help! Help! Where am I?" for third night in a row.
03:07 and 4 seconds - Jump out of bed, only to discover that youngest daughter has fallen back asleep.
03:50 - Finally fall back asleep myself.

08:00 - Wake up with genius plot idea.
08:01 - Discover that notepad, pen, smartphone, laptop and all other writing materials are in caravan locker above our bed. Briefly consider scrawling something using wife's eyebrow pencil.
08:02 - Both daughters join us in bed, talking/whining/fighting.
08:03 - Have forgotten genius plot idea.
08:30 - Breakfast. Youngest daughter reads the back of the cereal packet in a loud voice, while eldest daughter attempts to secretly read copy of the Dandy that is hidden in her lap.

Do I really have to stop talking while I'm drinking?

09:15 - Stumble into campsite shower block. Am highly amused by conversation from the next cubicle, as a Welsh father tries (and fails) to get his four-year-old son to wash his hair, but have nothing to write it down on.
09:45 - Back at caravan and family nowhere to be seen. Go inside and pick up notepad.
09:50 - Crying from outside - youngest daughter has fallen off scooter into a bush. Put down notepad and go outside, cursing under my breath.
10:15 - Completely uninjured daughter has only just stopped crying. Wife comes back from posting letter and asks if we are having fun.

10:20 - Really should write, but decide to make a cup of coffee and read a book for just ten minutes.
11:20 - Realise I've been reading for an hour. It's a good book. Put it down, pick up notepad instead.
11:21 - Start writing.
11:23 - Decide to check email on smartphone, in case agent/editor has sent a message saying how much they love my book.
11:24 - No signal.
11:30 - Decide to walk up cliff overlooking the sea to get signal.
11:45 - On windswept cliff being attacked by seagulls. One bar of signal.
11:46 - Look over edge and realise this is a bad place to be if I have an email from agent/editor rejecting my book.
11:47 - No emails.

Trying to get a signal

11:49 - Check Facebook, but phone only downloads half of enormous LOLCat picture before mobile signal vanishes. Walk back down.
12:10 - At the bottom. Realise that blog will have auto-posted by now. Walk all the way back up again so I can tweet about it.
12:40 - Back at caravan. Step in mud stew that children have been making right outside the door.
12:45 - New socks and grumpy children who claim I have ruined their holiday (and stew)

A selection of the finest mud cuisine

13:00 - Eldest daughter has read all of the books she brought on holiday even faster than last year, and is eyeing the one that I'm only halfway through. When I move it away, she huffs and makes comments about how we should buy her a Kindle.
13:30 - Lunch. Youngest daughter reads leaflet about owl sanctuary in a loud voice while eldest daughter attempts to secretly read my book over my shoulder. Wife is onto seventh Mills & Boon book of the holiday.
14:10 - Time to write. But first, ice cream!
14:34 - Worry about work for approximately 12 seconds, then forget about it for the rest of the day.

15:10 - Reading again. This book is really good.
15:50 - Heart-stopping climax. I clutch the seat cushion with excitement.
15:50 and twelve seconds - Squeal of pain from the left makes me realise that I am actually digging my fingers into wife's leg.
16:05 - I read the last page, wipe my brow and hand book over to eldest daughter.
16:08 - Eldest daughter reads five pages of book, puts it down and goes back to The Dandy.

16:10 - Decide I will go outside to write, as that will help conjure up my muse.
16:15 - It starts pelting with rain. Go back inside.
16:20 - The children have made a new friend. Said friend pokes around our caravan for some minutes, commenting on how much smaller it is than theirs.
16:30 - Daughters and New Friend are colouring. I pick up my notepad and make some plot notes in the back.
16:50 - Discover that New Friend is colouring the tabletop instead. Confiscate pens and turf children out of the caravan.

The colouring in question

16:55 - Start writing.
17:05 - Wife asks me to wash up as there's no room for her to make dinner. Living in a caravan with one set of plates and cutlery makes for a lot of washing up.
17:30 - Finish drying and putting away. Wife asks me to find children for dinner.
17:45 - Children nowhere to be seen. I wander around the campsite calling their names.
18:05 - Eventually find daughters in New Friend's caravan. It is bigger than ours. Daughters are totally oblivious to the fact I've been trying to find them for twenty minutes.
18:10 - Sit down to dinner. It's delicious. Briefly marvel at how wife has produced this feast using only two gas rings and a frying pan. Then we all tuck in with gusto and no-one reads anything.
18:11 - Decide that one small bottle of beer with dinner can't hurt and might even enhance my creativity.
18:15 - Completely unable to do anything useful for the next hour and a half.

18:45 - Reading Treasure Island to the children. Villainous things are happening. This is good.
20:00 - Can I write now? No. Wife says I have to spend some more "quality time" with the children. This means Scrabble.
20:45 - I win Scrabble with a ridiculously long (and frankly rather fluky) word. Youngest daughter begins to cry uncontrollably.

20:50 - Put the kids to bed and slide their bedroom partition across.
20:55 - Spend some minutes sliding partition back and forth until it provides "just enough light so it isn't too scary, Daddy."
21:00 - Try to write. Children are moaning about too much light coming into their bedroom.
21:20 - Think the kids are asleep. Manage to finally start writing in earnest.

22:20 - Have written about four hundred not-totally-wretched words. As I stretch, hands behind my head, I realise that the kids are giggling behind their partition. Still, as long as they're not bothering me...
22:40 - Kids finally asleep. Clear up and get ready for bed.
23:00 - About to get into bed, when I remember genius plot idea that I forgot this morning. Open caravan locker above bed. Notepad, pen, smartphone, laptop and various assorted writing materials fall out onto wife who was half asleep.
23:30 - Fall asleep. Perchance to dream.

03:14 - Youngest daughter wakes up screaming "Help! Help! Where am I?" for fourth night in a row.



  1. I was starting to hope that a Cthulhu god might turn up and offer you some respite.

  2. So, what was the good book you were reading? And, what a lot of material you have for another book, even if it wasn't the one you were plotting! And sometimes, isn't it lovely to have NO internet?

  3. Oh, Nick, this made me laugh! It's a bit like that here, too (minus the caravan).

  4. I'm with eldest daughter, you need to buy her a Kindle with 3G.