Friday, 2 January 2015


First things first: a big thank you to all of you who – through Transworld or Dartside Press – have sent us letters and cards this Christmas and New Year time: they really are much appreciated.

Light. Where would we be without it? Not only do we rely on it in our daily round but it figures in all our senses: physical, mental and spiritual. To be blind is one of my pet fears and my admiration for those who manage to live without sight is huge. So, light of my life, let there be light.

Four photographs taken from the bedroom window on the same day starting here about twenty minutes before sunrise.
Light is of special interest to photographers, and I include myself in that group, and for painters such as my mother. She was fascinated by the junction of the land and the sea and many of her paintings were set in coves or on rocky headlands. She would paint the same scene time after time – but it was not, of course, ever the same scene because the light was always different. One of her favourites was Lannacombe Cove which she painted scores of times. None of them contained people: she was not interested in people, just the play of light on water, rocks and the beach.

The sun has risen but as yet all it is doing is slightly colouring the sky.
I have become equally fascinated by the scene from our bedroom window. This started because it was what I spent a good deal of the time, when I was neither sleeping nor reading, looking at it. Not surprisingly it never looks quite the same but what is slightly odd is that there are times when the trees the other side of the field look as though they are miles away and other times when it seems you could lean out of the window and touch them. The same applied to the hills of Dartmoor as seen from our old house, The Hermitage. It is, of course, all to do with the light.

That's more like it.
At this time of the year, Transworld send to us the manuscript of the next book with suggestions for changes made by Yvonne Holland who has been the Copy Editor for most the books that Marcia has written. Her input is invaluable: she checks everything. To my (our?) shame some of the corrections she makes are for errors that one of us really should have seen but didn't. One such: in this book the boat float at Dartmouth features. Marcia wrote this as boat-float but Yvonne took the trouble to check this out and discovered that it is generally written as Boat Float. That may not really matter but the devil is in the details and Yvonne is a master at making sure they are right. It is impossible to over state how important her role is in producing the finished novel nor how good she is in that role.

And, sure enough, we are in for another lovely day.
Where, possibly, there is a small conflict between the way she and Marcia think it is in the matter of punctuation. Now, why do we punctuate sentences? There was a time when I acted as a consultant to some legal practices and the documents I then wrote had to be written with no punctuation at all. The rationale there is that it is important that these documents must not carry more than one possible interpretation and punctuation can lead to disputes as to what that interpretation might be.

In real life, of course, that is not really a problem. So – why has punctuation evolved and how important is it? I shall leave that question hanging in the air until next week.

I do hope that each and everyone of you has a wonderful 2015.