But let me start off by rolling back the clock to last Friday. I spent half the day in London discussing some future work and then escaped back home early enough to use my cheap day-return. I haven't been to London for ages and I'd hoped to take advantage of the paid-for ticket; unfortunately, the heavens had opened while we were heading for lunch. So it was a case of eats and shoots off as I didn't fancy getting soaked and then having a damp and miserable wait until after rush hour before I was allowed onto a train; I scarpered back to Liverpool Street and headed straight home only to see the sun peer out from behind the clouds about ten seconds after embarking. For the whole trip the weather was gorgeous.
Mind you, it has been making up for it ever since and we've had rain every day, some of it quite heavy. In a way it has helped focus me on work — which at the moment is the Sexton Blake Annual reprints. I have one volume almost complete but my intention is to get at least the second volume finished before I release the first in order to make sure that the books come out regularly and on time. It will also give me a longer gap before I need to get down to work on Blake 3 during which time I'm hoping to get some work on another book done as there are a number of projects I've had hanging around for ages that I promised I'd get back to the first chance I had.
Meanwhile — and I know this is the bit you've all tuned in to hear about — I am still smoke free and have been for three weeks. Is it getting any easier? Yes. Do I want to smoke? Yes, please! Can I resist the urge? Yes. Am I still eating two packets of Polos a day? Yes.
Something I've discovered about Polos, incidentally... Nestle do a sugar-free version, which is useful as I'm getting through so many. They have zero sugar/fat/saturates and only trace amounts of salt compared to normal Polos which contain per tube — let me emphasise that, per tube — 32.8 grams of sugar, which is 37% of the suggested average adult intake. So my two tubes add up to 72% of my daily sugar ration.
Now, I'm not a big sugar eater — no sugar on breakfast cereal, no sugar in my coffee — so my intake has probably doubled over the past three weeks. So why no sugar rush? If anything, I'm feeling more tired. This is a topsy-turvy world!
The Kindle Fund has taken a bit of a leap thanks to a very kind donation from a regular Bear Alley reader. Add that to the money I've saved by not buying cigarettes and we've now reached a grand total of...
Kindle Fund: £131.22
Not much further to go now!
Random scans this week are inspired by a couple of titles I was given whilst up in London, so I'd like to thank Laurence Heyworth for the first pair on show. The World Distributors title is painted by R. W. Smethurst, who was a regular with World and produced covers for books and annuals, as well as magazines like Phantom and Combat for Dalrow Publishing. We ran another cover by Smethurst only recently.
Next up: Man-Bait by Charles Westhill, which reads very much like the kind of tough British crime novel that was common a few years earlier. The book is British but the cover is, I'm sure, a US reprint.
And to end on, a couple of further Digit paperbacks. The Eleanor Glyn is by R. A. Osborne and the Butler is possibly American; the original Digit cover is really dark and I've not been able to do much with it, although a little manipulation of the brightness and contrast has at least brought out the figures.