A few days

I think 2017 has to be my most unlucky year for illnesses for decades (I still put the year of three surgeries as a worse one). I seem to have picked up every bug I could during 2017 culminating with flu a month ago and (depending on opinion) a very heavy cold or different flavour of flu in the past week. All I know is it's curtailed a lot of the normal activity I would expect - i.e. writing.

I did recover enough though to pop down to Torquay for the weekend just gone - although it was only barely. I really didn't do much whilst I was down there. I certainly can't say I saw all that much of Torquay beyond the inside of one hotel and two restaurants.

The drive back was a bit better. We stopped at a number of seaside towns, keen to get just one more glimpse (after another) of the sea before heading back to the landlocked county of Leicestershire and home.

One of the most fun and yet frustrating stops had to be Budleigh Salterton. (Yes, it's a great name.) I have no idea what the town looks like - every road in was closed. We did find our way to a car park on the very edge of the town only to find we didn't have enough change to pay for parking so couldn't hang around. But whilst I was waiting for my wife to see if she could find an open shop for change (she volunteered to go, don't accuse me of anything) I strolled around the beach a little and this is what I found...

The whole beach was just made up pebbles, no sand at all. And as you can see some of the stones are roughly round and very flat - or perfect for a little skimming on the sea. So I figured as I'm writing a book where the two lead characters are fourteen I should indulge my inner fourteen year old a little so I collect one or two of these and made my way down to the sea's edge and did a little skimming. I don't think I'd done that in thirty years.

Looking closer at some of these stones there were some fantastic minerals to be seen. I found an incredible quartz pebble with some beautiful veins of colour running through it, as well as a deep coppery red stone (I think was chert) and a deep black pebble. I had thought to bring a sample or two with me to enable me to later do my research but as I went to leave I noticed a sign saying the beach was protected and taking anything from it was prohibited. I think it's because they form a bank that seems to be protected the environment behind it (a salt flat?). Anyway I'm a stickler for obeying these kind of rules so back they went. A great shame as I would like to have figured out what mineral they were made of. Of course I realise later I could have taken photos of the individual stones and used the images but, hey, I didn't think of that 'til later - D'Oh!

Anyway, despite the sea air and the exertions of skimming a handful of stones, after a day at work I am too tired, given the draining nature of my recent illness, for an attempt at writing anything tonight other than this blog. And if you think this just sounds like an excuse then you'e not alone. I think this too. Only I know how my head feels and what it doesn't feel is the creating of new fiction. So off to get some sleep and hope to have better health later in the week so I can get back to the novel.


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