I’m not particularly well travelled, not compared with a lot of people. It’s just never happened for me. I keep hoping that one day it will. I used to imagine (still do) going somewhere in a long-haul jet, walking down onto a runway where it is warm and the air and light very different from home, and being met by someone. Not someone with an upside down card and my name misspelled on it, but someone who holds out their hand and says my name even though we’ve never met before. Maybe, as much a part of that quiet longing as a real curiosity, I’ve taken to finding out what jets they are that pass so high (seven miles up) over my house. It’s easy – there’s a tracking web site (http://www.flightradar24.com/51.06,-3.28/9) and match the plane to the one that is in the sky overhead right now, and suddenly those small silver arrows become real things full of real people going to real places.
For example, this particular silver arrow was the morning flight from Panama City to Amsterdam, and it flew right over my house. It makes the world small and big all at the same time. Panama City to Amsterdam, fancy that. I wonder where all those people who were on it are now?
Perhaps it’s to do with that thing about wanting to travel and see other places, but I’ve always liked learning foreign languages. I’m not that bad at it really, but unless you get to use them regularly, they go stale in your head, as though you brain says ‘enough already, I don’t use this so why bother,’ and out it goes. Learn its language and you think differently about a place and its culture and its people. I like hearing other voices and being able, even just for a moment, to understand them. So, I try to keep languages brushed up. The other day it was Spanish, I haven’t done that for a while. So, I took out my book with all my notes written in the margins, and was going to make a start, but somehow swept the book up in a whole load of washing that was going into the machine. I didn’t even notice I’d done it until the machine stopped, still full of water, and looking in the window I saw it was filled with Spanish language book paper-mache. So, brushing up on Spanish is on hold for the moment. No te preocupes. Se se realice. (I think)
I like making small stop/go animations. Now, I’m not very good at them, but they are fun to do, and sometimes when I’m sitting staring out of the window when I should be writing, I think something like ‘what if a load of lego men played football across my laptop?’ That, it turned out looks like this
or, ‘what if someone found Elvis Presley hiding in their kitchen?’ That looked like this
So, last year about this time, I thought it would be good to make an animation for Halloween. I bought a few Playmobil skeletons off ebay, but they had to come from Malta, and by the time they arrived Halloween had passed. But I didn’t forget, and the other day, me and the skeleton boys made a movie! I won’t post it until Halloween, but I’ll be sure to put the link in here.
And now I need to get on with writing. The short stories are more or less done, but they will not now be in the shops until Halloween 2016, which is a disappointment, but there we go. They will still be called The Wrong Train and may well give a few people a few sleepless nights.