Back to Work

Xmas is over now and all the offspring have returned to their own homes, despite snow, ice, delayed and cancelled flights and other obstacles. So there’s no excuse for not getting down to work again. Neil has returned to the marble yard where he’s converting a plaster maquette into a glittering white marble sculpture. He has bought a block of ‘statuary grade’ Carrara marble, which looks rather like Kendal Mint Cake. You can see it above. The man standing is Pietro who is providing the marble and the blue overalls belong to Anat, an Israeli sculptor who owns the marble yard.

Marble yards are filthy places - white dust everywhere like snow; pieces of marble piled up haphazardly among the machinery; fork lifts and hoists. Even a small piece of marble weighs a ton - quite literally.

Since Monday Neil has been attacking the block with an angle-grinder and diamond blade. I would be terrified of sawing off the wrong bit - unlike writing, once something’s edited out, it’s out for good! But his block now looks something like this.

And I’m back to the editing of the book - now working on the end notes and references, which is a long and frustrating process. Will my reputation as a biographer really be ruined if I can’t read my handwriting when I jotted down a reference 5 years ago? I don’t believe it will, but my editor has other ideas! Thank goodness for the internet.

The weather here is still cold and often wet. We are staying in a large, unheated house with marble floors, high ceilings and draughty doors. Last night it was cold enough for two duvets, a pair of fleecy pyjamas, a cardigan and the electric blanket. But at lunch-time I went outside and ate my lunch on the terrace in the sun. Miraculous!


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