Friday, 27 September 2013

This week, a tumble, a wumble and an apology.

Let's get the apology out of the way first. In part this is associated with the tumble but there were other inputs as well. These included a stray nephew who asked if he could come and stay for a few nights – he is an architect who practises as a Design Manager on construction projects. He had come down from York to resolve a few problems on a site in our part of the world. Thus our evenings have been taken up chatting about old times (when he and his generation were small and would stay with Marcia) and about his work. It was great fun having him to stay but our usual schedules took a hammering with the result that I did not respond to the comments on last week's blog. Sorry about that.

Shot in Totnes outside Totnes Bookshop. Author and reader, I assume.

The tumble happened on Sunday when Marcia was walking to church. There are a number of places where the kerbs are 'dropped' to road level in order to make it easier for those in wheelchairs or using Zimmer frames. Basically she tripped over the slope at the end of the dropped section and fell rather heavily. With blood pouring out of one hand, and feeling very sick, she decided to return home but one of our neighbours saw her. Bless, her, she took Marcia into her kitchen and carefully cleaned the wounds, applied anti-septic cream, bandages and a good measure of tender loving care. Then she walked up our lane with Marcia to ensure her safe arrival home. She was extremely lucky: she could so easily have broken her wrist. As it was both wrists and her right shoulder were badly bruised – still are but now in the browny-yellowy stage, the angry purples having faded.

One of the nice things about Totnes is the total disregard most people have for cars.

There was no question of her typing on Monday so we spent the day going into Totnes, where some part of the work in progress may or may not be set, and then down to Dartmouth and along the coast to Torcross, both of which are definite candidates.

Whenever we go to Dartmouth, I gravitate to the boats.
Well, I would, I suppose. I have been doing that for as long as I can remember.
The wumble was associated with the contract for Postcards from the Past and the Sea Garden with St Martin's Press in New York. This is a fairly bulky document and the obvious way to send it across the Atlantic for checking and signing is to do so electronically. For some reason, which I still do not understand, we often have problems opening these files from the US. This time, I was able to open the it in read-only mode but not in edit-mode. Thus there was no possibility of Marcia signing 'electronically' and my sending the contract back as an attachment to an email – as we do with all the European contracts. Back to snail mail but ...
An evening shot of the mouth of the River Dart taken a few weeks ago.
In the US the standard paper size is American foolscap. Here it is A4. Furthermore, SMP call for six copies – each having twenty-four pages. Apart from worrying about the destruction of the woodlands required to produce all this paper there are the costs associated with postage. Because of the difference in paper size, the way this has happened in the past is that SMP sends the contract electronically to Marcia’s agent’s agent in New York, Kathy Anderson, who prints off the required six copies and posts them to Dinah Wiener in London. Dinah then checks the contract and, if all is well, posts all copies to us. Marcia signs them and we post everything back to Kathy. All of these costs are, of course, charged to Marcia.

This is looking down over Torcross from the hill behind. The narrow strip of pebble bank that divides the fresh water "ley" (pronounced "lee") from the sea along which the road runs is clearly visible. The village is just to the right of this picture.
You can see why we want to find an easier and cheaper way. Anyway, this time we have taken a flyer. We can read the whole contract on the screen and I was able to print off six copies of those sheets that need Marcia's signature – on the wrong paper size, of course – and I have posted them off to Kathy. Will this be acceptable to SMP? I have no idea but I'll let you know next week – assuming we know then – and I will also tell you about the complications created by publishing zones.

Looking along Slapton Ley towards the village of Torcross.
By the way: if you don’t know what I mean by wumbled, it’s time to read Echoes of the Dance.

This week our blog dog is a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog - Oscar. Now, where have I heard that names before?