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Archive for October, 2009

Work and play

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Back when I worked in advertising monitoring (don’t ask) I used to complain that work flowed over into my home life: that I couldn’t read a magazine any more, because something at the back of my mind would start trying to classify – and to price – all the advertisements. And this was not a good thing.

Yet one of the reasons why I love my job is that work and not-work are so inextricably entangled. Even when we’re on holiday I see things that make me think of clients. In our social life, too, some of our friends have become clients, and many of our clients have become friends.

Which is how we came to be spending last Saturday evening helping Ann Cleeves celebrate her birthday, and hearing her exciting news about spending a day on set with ITV Productions who are filming Hidden Depths, one of her Vera Stanhope novels. We talked, too, about the Shetland evening with Ann and fiddler Chris Stout, which I am very much looking forward to.

The previous Sunday, we had been in Boroughbridge, lunching with the Northern Chapter of the Crime Writers’Association. This was a useful opportunity to talk to CWA members about keeping the web site up to date with their news, and it was also a chance to catch up with a number of individual clients. But it was also a pleasant lunch in congenial company. CWA Press Officer John Dean, who also runs his own PR company, commented that we probably found, as he did, that you occasionally did work for the client, because you wanted to, that you couldn’t fit within the professional budget. We agreed that yes, that very day we had travelled 50 miles to eat lunch with the client… "And we appreciate that!" he replied.

What is more, this evening the Dagger Awards ceremony is being televised: so I am about to go and watch television on behalf of a client. The great thing about my job is, sometimes it really doesn’t feel like work…

The Owlman of Roscoff

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Cornwell Internet is just back from a week in Brittany, where we enjoyed ourselves greatly walking around small towns and across small islands, discovering new places and revisiting places we had been before (and discovering new aspects of them). There was also a fair amount of eating and drinking and catching up on some reading, and altogether a very pleasant break from work.

Owl-man carvingBut as I have said before, there is always something there to remind us…

Roscoff is one of the ports used by Brittany ferries, and although we have been there in the past, I’m sure it was for no longer than it takes to get off the morning ferry and away. This time we had a more leisurely look round, and were charmed by the old town. Several of the old houses in the central square are decorated with carvings, as is the church – some of them look old, some very new, and with some it’s impossible to tell! And opposite the church, on a gatepost, is this strange figure. The stumpy legs and round tummy make it look like a toddler in fancy dress, but it could be something more frightening…

I knew that one of the first jobs I would have to do on my return home was update Karen Maitland’s web site, to reflect the publication in the US of her new novel, The Owl Killers. And I knew that one of the inspirations for The Owl Killers was her discovery of a medieval bogeyman known as the Owlman "who had the head and wings of an owl, but the body and legs of a man" (as she describes him in her guest blog on the Random House web site). And here to remind me was the Owlman himself!

Back home, and ready to pass my curious little story on to Karen, only to discover a e-mail from her: she had a curious little story for me, too. It seems that the US edition of The Owl Killers has sold at least one copy, and to a completely unexpected reader – former President Bill Clinton! (Read the full story).

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