Summer's really coming to an end now. I'm off to Italy to clear my head ready for a new term and enjoy some light and heat before the mellow fruitfulness of Autumn by the river. In someways I don't mind - most of the last week has been spent redrafting the Sarajevo play and although it's in better shape now I've lacked the bravery to create the new material it needs and ended up with a touch of coffee fuelled, tidy the flat again, cabin fever. I know what needs to be done, but it probably needs the distraction of other work to really get a shift. The first draft went down easily simply because I should have been researching for Tender Souls.
On Tuesday had a lovely understated day of escape down to Whitstable with Eleanor. She did her MA in Victorian Studies - which is a period I'm a bit fearful of - never really seeing beyond the gloom, claustrophobia and rigid definition. It's a prejudice she might just help me overcome.
And the Victorians certainly got things done so much so that we're still following their projects today - transport, health care, crime prevention, housing all have their roots firmly ensconsed in organisation of the nineteenth century. In education we still, more or less, teach to the confident scale and discipline of the Victorian curriculum.
We stopped off to look at the Pre-Drawin, first draft dinosaurs in Crystal Palace park - assertively innacurate, but fearlessly presented with thumbs for horns, thigh bones for backs. It's easy to imagine what a stir they must have created when they were unveiled. Eleanor explained that a banquet was even thrown inside one of them in celebration at their creation. Sunday afternoon strolls in Sydenham can never have been the same again.
On to Whitstable, which still, in the fishermans' cottages along Squeeze Gut Alley, the old Horsebridge and the weatherbeaten oyster parlours has echos of past pleasures. Steamers used to leave London Bridge and stop off on the way to Margate. One of the first passenger railways ferried tourists to and from Canterbury on the long defunct Crab and Winkle line; whilst out in the bay the wrecks of some of the old fishing fleet smacks reveal themsleves at low tide.
Truth be told there's not much to the town now. Charity shops, pubs and sunsets - but the smell of the salt, the dark squals roaming across the horizon and the sound of the shingle pulled back down to the water's edge makes it a great place to come and forget work for a day.