There are no seats on the train as I write this, sat on my luggage in between carriages as we careen over the South Yorkshire countryside. I don't know why I didn't reserve a seat, but I didn't, and so I'm sharing this small in-between space with a young father and his baby. The baby's pretty cute and well-behaved and seems to like sticking his tongue out at strangers. Or hers. Never been good at determining baby gender.
The train is heading north. I'm going back to Scotland for the first time in 8 or 9 months, which is probably my longest time away in the last 20 years. I'm visiting friends and doing at least one tasting and reading from Salt & Old Vines.
Which is finished, by the way. I submitted the final manuscript to my editor reasonably on time. I submitted it 40 minutes after it achieved full funding, at just before midnight on the 30th of July. I couldn't really sleep afterwards. Instead I stared at the ceiling above my bed. The sense of relief I was expecting hasn't really arrived yet. There is just a general feeling of overstimulation and impatience.
And a need to fill my time. Instead of basking in the luxury of weekends without deadlines, I'm committing to all manner of things. I'm going back to Islay to run the half marathon. There are weddings (not mine). A few days ago, I pulled out the big binder that holds the manuscript for my novel. The plan is to rewrite that over August. I'm reading it at the moment and it's not as awful as I feared.
Soon it will be vintage. The train tumbles along while my thoughts flick between France and Scotland, between one book and the other, sat between carriages and wondering why I didn't book a seat.