By the time Christmas came around I took a couple of days off, and enjoyed it so much that I hardly did a thing for the whole holiday week - and it was lovely. I think I really needed it. I was quite sociable this Christmas, and even went out for New Year, which I tend not to do. One day my friend Jon and I watched all three Lord of the Rings films back to back (10 and half hours of viewing, his wife kindly took their children out for the day), which was highly enjoyable and I didn't fall asleep. Other films watched over Christmas include Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters (better than I remembered), Charge of the Light Brigade (Errol Flynn - fab, historical facts - questionable), Zulu (and Zulu Dawn earlier)... and maybe a couple more that don't come to mind right now.
My booklist on this blog is out of date, though I am still reading the Nausicaa volumes. I have bookmarks in a number of books, including 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell', on which I've ground to a halt about a quarter of the way through, and am not sure I'll strike up again. I'm also reading 'The Sepoy & the Cossack' and have just acquired Kurosawa's 'Something Like an Autobiography'. I got an intriguing banjo book for Christmas with about 75 tunes in it, so plenty to get on with there.
My final copy of The Rainbow Orchid sold on ebay in December, and went for £79, which was a nice surprise. However, it is outweighed somewhat by my own purchases, which have mainly been related to my Afghan war rersearch. I have obtained some wonderful papers and books over the past year, some quite rare, and I'd dread to add up the cost of them all. I hope they will earn their keep in the form of my own book, which is also the result of many hours of newspaper research and some quite fascinating insights. The Second Anglo-Afghan War of 1878 has amazing reflections in the recent Iraq fiasco in that most Britons thought it an unjustified war and an unwarranted act of aggression on the government's part.
Getting back to the Rainbow Orchid, I have plans to put part one online for those who have missed it, and part two may end up being serialised there too. Whatever happens, all three parts will be collected together in one book as a complete adventure. I'm not quite sure when Fusion 4 will be out yet. Keep an eye on Baz's blog. The PJ Forum, where Orchid has a home, was hacked into at the end of last year, and disappeared, but PJ has resurrected it, albeit starting from scratch, and it is up and running again. Rainbow Orchid news will appear there, as well as on this blog, and bigger events at the King Rat Press website - which is due for an overhaul.
A quite disproportionate amount of time has been taken up by the flotsam and jetsam that goes with moving house. Elyssa and I are moving house, and we have been since, er, September I think. Fingers very tightly crossed, hopefully we will be exchanging next week, but it has been going so slowly I'll refrain from being too positive about it. Needless to say, when we move, I'll let all interested parties know. That has been one of the main reasons I have not been able to get going on my contribution to Accent UK's 'Twelve' anthology, so I am now late with that.
Highlights of 2004? The success of Rainbow Orchid has been wonderful, I won't be coy about it. Seeing Brian Wilson with 'Smile' at the Festival Hall. Starting to learn the banjo. Selling (almost) our maisonette. Buying (almost) a new house. Being in a band again for a short while (though I decided to leave it, which was the right decision to free up some time). Being interviewed for Radio 4's 'Making History'.
Lowlights? Well, mostly not for this blog because I'm not one for putting all my washing out in public, but a couple of family deaths (a funeral again to start this year), and I have to say - being in a play, which I didn't really enjoy in hindsight, and took up too much time causing a very busy time of it. Completely my own fault for agreeing to do it. It was, overall, a good year.