Ten days without blogging. Tsk, tsk. Where have I been? Well I’ll tell you.

First  I was in Wiltshire for our annual dose of rural English charm. The village of Ramsbury never fails us and this year will be especially memorable as our hosts carried off first prize in the inaugural Best Scarecrow competition. I’d have loved to share a photo with you but Potato Head Pete is currently under wraps for a little top secret titivating before his next contest. Maybe next week. But while I’m on the subject of scarecrows and their ilk, can anyone tell me why Southwark council have renamed November 5th The Colour Thief?

I’m not the first to ask, I realise. It doesn’t surprise me that Guy Fawkes’s name has been expunged and I don’t think it’s out of any sudden sensitivity to Catholics. I doubt many people today even remember what the Gunpowder Plot was about. And for a PC-obsessed council to appropriate something traditional and try to turn it into ‘a seasonal festival, inclusive of all communities’  is nothing new. Remember Winterval? But what the Sam Hill does the Colour Thief signify? And why bother? Fireworks, bonfires and sparklers are now apparently too risky for us to manage in our own backyards, sausages might give you salmonella and if you survive the sausages there’s always the risk you’ll choke on a toffee apple so why don’t we just forget about the whole hugely dangerous thing, stay home and watch TV.

From bucolic after-glow to bilious rant in just one paragraph. Uh-oh. I think the Wiltshire Effect is wearing off.

Anyway, the reason I’ve been silent is I’ve been working long hours, tidying up my new book ready for delivery. Yes, the end is nigh. And to gee me up I received the exciting news that YOU, the Mail on Sunday magazine, has selected my last novel, At Sea, as their book of the month for October. More on that in a day or two. Right now I have to address the glass of sauvignon blanc Mr F has just delivered to my desk.

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