Saturday, October 19, 2019

September 2019 Facebook Posts

Sept 2nd
The Soldier is on a kindle monthly deal for September (in the UK) so you can buy it for 99p. Get in there!

The Soldier (Rise of the Jain Book 1)
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Took a day yesterday to clean house from top to bottom, and finally clean all the glue, paint and wood stain spots off my front terrace. It was also a day of peeling onions for pickling. The chilli sauce will be next.

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I was going to bring my laptop down to book my flight home, just couldn't bear the thought of it today. I've now got to try and think of positive aspects of the UK in winter. . . Nope, struggling here.

Nope. I have to bear in mind that winter here isn't exactly a beach party. Positive aspects of the UK: gas central heating, big fuck-off TV with surround sound and The Expanse to watch, carpets. . . nah, still struggling.

I guess I'll have to see the winter as a time of health focus with fasting, long walks, hitting the gym and a severe reduction in booze consumption, and nose to the grindstone on the word processor.

Blimey. I've just realised it's not even 4PM yet. Quick kayak run that - shows what a day of rest can do. And just in case you think I'm spending my time enjoying myself rather than working. I did my 2,000 words this morning . . . though I enjoyed that too.

Full of piethachia meh skortho (lamb chops with garlic) as opposed to pethachia meh skortho (which would be children with garlic) and now enjoying a warm evening at Revans. It's weird. I'm here for another month yet, know I know when I have to go, still feel like I'm leaving shortly. The drop in temperature contributes. In the village I contemplate wearing jeans and don't want to sit outside anymore. This translates as high summer in the UK.

Sept 3rd
I'm sure the tourists here are loving the yip yipping on the beach. Bloody people with dogs who think it's okay to let them just keep on barking, yipping, yapping whining and howling. It's not okay. It's selfish disregard for others. Fuck right off.

Sept 4th
I passed 100,000 words today but didn't do my 2,000. With the timeline of the book all over the place, making alterations gets a bit more complicated. For example: I decided that the prador destroyed the satellite here, but did the colonists have it for surveillance when they retrieved the fusion reactor? Or when the mobile strangler fig tried to eat Nursum? Or when the multidapt aliens grew wings?


The rat-dog from Hell is back. Whatever. I'll be out on my kayak on the peace of the ocean soon.

Sept 5th
Well that was depressing: I've just booked my flight home. But then I should step back and get a bit of perspective. It's over a month away and most people don't even get to stay here that long.

Okay, after last night's excesses I did a big kayak run to burn the shit out of my system. My turn-around point was a beach called Stousa, a round trip I estimate at 15K - 3.25 hours. I even came back wanting a beer. This morning the mere thought of beer turned my stomach. Kala na patho (I got what I deserved).

Sept 6th
12K walking in the mountains this morning, 10K on the kayak this afternoon, and no beer. Sometimes you just need to straighten yourself out.

Sept 8th
And another 12K in the mountains in the morning and 10K on the kayak this afternoon. Only this time I have beer, because I'm entitled, because it's Sunday, and because a couple of days of abstinence in this place is worthy of a medal.

I can attest that the pickled onions turned out very nice, since I ate a whole jar of them last night. I'm now looking into ways of preserving black figs since I'm getting loads of them. Tried oven drying. Next I'll try sticking them in syrup.

Sept 9th
I'm now at that point in the book I will call the 'how do I sort this mess out' stage. This entails lots of deleting, moving stuff around and figuring out how to tie off plot threads. It unfortunately means that the word counts of 2,000 become much more intermittent. This is no good for my OCD, but I expect I'll compensate by counting steps in the mountains or paddle strokes while out on the kayak.

And here's a rarity for the annals: me actually making notes. Of course the picture is sufficiently blurred so you can't read them. . .

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I can understand how natural forces end up personified as gods, demons, angels or whatever. Out on the sea today I developed a strong case of Tourette's while talking to them. I set out against the wind, ended up in waves that weren't exactly malevolent but did seem to be toying with me. If I hadn't been alert I suspect I'd have been flipped a couple of times. Then as I came back, the wind changed direction while I was out from the coast. The big waves that had at last been working with me, acquired small waves on top of them heading in the opposite direction, and on the last third of the trip back I was paddling against the wind again. So naiads, nymphs, zephyrs or Poseidon bored and rattling his trident to see how big the waves need to be to have the Englishman off his kayak? Not unusual here: Greeks bored and playing with the xenos for entertainment.

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Sept 11th
Okay, latest bit of food preservation. The syrup consists of a cup of red wine vinegar, two of sugar and juice of a lemon plus zest. I microwaved the figs to sterilise them and stuck them in hot jars, syrup poured in and then on with the lids. I have absolutely no idea how these will taste. Pretty good I think. . .

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Um. As I commented to someone on here: I have a doorway in my house with a stone arch. It's okay if you're a little Greek granny but not so good if you're a hungover Englishman. The sore lump on the top of my head attests to this.

The book, now past 100,000 words, has two possible courses. I can finish it with the characters, plot threads, alarums and excursions I have thus far. Or I can do the Raymond Chandler 'time to walk a man in the room with a gun'. The gun in this case would be a fully armed and equipped prador dreadnought arriving just when it seems problems have been resolved. What do you think?

Time to return to the village. Do I sensibly stay in and cook for myself, or go out for food and quite possibly too much to drink. I think I know the answer already. . .

Thanks to Adam Fairchild we now have a new 'meme'. Having read Dawkins I'm not sure I like the usage of that word, but. . .

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Okay, now I'm full of lamb chops with garlic, chips and salad. Suddenly the tight T-shirt is not looking like such a good idea. Oh for those days of a six-pack stomach that didn't change after four pints of beer, a donna kebab and large chips. Long gone I fear.

Sept 12th
Phlegm, sore throat and a dry cough have been screwing with me for about five days. Yesterday I felt well so ate out, and drank ouzo. I woke in the middle of the night coughing my lungs out and feel pretty shitty today. But still I'm reluctant to forgo my kayak 10K. Sitting here trying to come to a decision on that. . .

Sept 16th
Uhuh, going out on the kayak while a cold is coming on was not such a great idea. For three days I've been out of it. My body's thermostat went haywire and all my muscles feel leaden and beaten. The cough progressed to nicely 'productive' and moved through the phlegm spectrum to an interesting pale jade colour. The blobs of sputum have been seemingly immiscible with water and at times resembled grapes. Still buggered - sitting here in Revans in jeans - amoxycillin washed down with orange juice. The sea looks lovely for kayaking, but I have to go home.

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Sept 17th
The sea is flat and calm, it's sunny and lovely and warm. Antibiotics and nighttime coughing episodes aside, I'm going out on that fucking kayak later.

Okay, I was warned that fruit juices interact with many drugs. *sigh* oh well. I washed down the antibiotic with beer. Anyway, after the 10K kayak I feel much better. Sometimes there comes a stage when you're feeling shite when you have to get off your arse and push yourself. I will of course be remembering these words when I'm coughing my lungs up tonight.

Sept 18th
Excellent. I slept without coughing last night. The cold is gone, the lungs are clearing, I wrote with enthusiasm this morning, and shortly I'll be heading out here:

A cold can last interminably. I wonder, however, how long it can spend incubating in the body before its effects really make themselves known? I felt crappy and worn out for some time before my throat felt a bit icky. Then again, just being worn out makes you vulnerable to the bastard virus.

Okay, feeling healthy again, the sea was calm, so I had to do the 15K kayak. Not feeling particularly weary either. I'll probably bugger this all up later with a meal out and too much to drink. That's life.

Sept 19th
Cover reveal time. Here then is The Human, the concluding (and of course action packed) book of The Rise of the Jain trilogy. Enjoy!

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So I was a good boy and didn't go out and drink away my health gains last night. In fact I was knackered and didn't want to do much more than lie on my sofa. But gains were made as it seemed my subconscious had been chewing things over. I ended up in that state between waking and dreaming afterwards and sat down to scribble a few lines which, when expanded, will be the last quarter of the book. This morning I made some alterations to suit this then went straight into my 2,000 words. Very satisfying. And yes:

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Well that was a very laid back kayak trip. No wind, no waves, just sitting back in the thing and paddling along slowly. Actually needed after yesterday's adventure.

Emptying out now. It is September and getting late now. Quite sad to think this is the last year the Stratos is open under Dolores and Van. No more 'spot Neal Asher' and no more spicy food as an antidote to the generally bland Cretan fare.

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After a karavachi of ouzo in the Stratos to wash down hot wings followed by roast lamb, time to stagger over the hill to Revans. I will probably regret this in the morning.

A few people in Revans but it's early yet for the after dinner crowd. Steadily reviving now as my digestive system deals with its recent assault. But I mustn't stay out too late. Besides the danger of turning into a pumpkin, I have work to do! See, even in this setting I continue to do my job. . .

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Sept 20th
1,500 words done despite the ouzo hangover. Completely still and no wind when I headed down here from the house. From the moment I arrived the wind started blowing. It's those bloody zephyrs again. They're out to get me.

Well that was cool. The wind kicked up some big waves on the way to Koutsouras, then it died on the way back and the waves eased off. Ahead of me I caught sight of something large and grey-brown and a glimpse of something that looked like a fin. After a moment of buttock-clenching I went to investigate. It wasn't a fin but a flipper. I spent a happy few minutes watching a turtle sculling through the waves. It then turned away and dived. Excellent. First time I've seen one of them while out on the kayak.

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Right, back up to the house to write the 500 words to complete today's 2,000. The excitement never ends.

Sept 21st
I was looking at the clouds in the mountains last night and thinking WTF, this is early. I then saw this FB memory from four years ago. Perception of the present based on a certain selectivity about the past can be deceiving. This probably explains a lot about the 'Oh my God the climate' crowd.
4 years ago
Neal Asher
21 September 2015 ·
Ah the crappy weather has arrived. Just been watching a thunderstorm and apparently we're due for rain all night. Καλο βραδυ!

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As somebody (Ricardo Graves) once described it, it's blowing a hooligan out there. Dismissing the immediate grotesque mental image that summons up, I'm looking out to sea and wondering. Probably better if I just went home and did stuff around the house and garden. But then again, I like a challenge, and in this wind I might be able to get the kayak airborne. . .

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Okay, I easily ran with the wind to get out to the point. I turned the kayak into it once just to be sure I could paddle back against it. Sheltered going round the point then straight into it beyond there. White water, spray whipping up, then a strong gust picked the nose of the kayak about a foot out of the water and skidded it sideways. I suddenly lost my spirit of adventure at that juncture and turned around.

Eating out again tonight (because I haven't bothered filling the fridge) but definitely avoiding the ouzo. The Gabbiano is packed with Scandinavians once more. You can tell by the tables all together in a line - some throwback to Viking drinking halls or something. Mede and toasts to Odin. But they don't seem to be violent and I haven't glimpsed any concealed axes.

Sept 22nd
Ah, I did that then. And now I'll take this opportunity: all those who know me on Crete, please keep a lookout for dumped wooden furniture (no veneered crap) for me. Cupboards, chairs, tables . . . I'll be needing some projects next year.
4 years ago
Neal Asher
22 September 2015 ·
Okay, one scary chair renovation complete. Before and after pictures...

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After a recent discussion with someone, about agendas and motivations, I have to wonder if I've become a bit too cynical. My story-telling faculty (as it did when I was suffering from anxiety) tends to tell the bad stories and those are the ones I believe. Perhaps I should cut people more slack?

Okay, that's enough self examination. Where's my kayak?

Windy again today, but not quite so bad as yesterday. I think it might be dying off. I'll see if I can get a bit further with the kayak. Only two weeks of this left now before my return the grey of the UK, alcohol abstinence, fasting, sweating in the gym and plenty of writing of course.

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Thanks to Martin Lambert for this and, via a roundabout route, seeds of the top one here the Carolina Reaper. I may not get chillies this year from the four plants I'm growing, but hope to have someone picking and freezing them for me. Should make for some interesting chilli sauce next year.

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Oh dear. I had to go and get a top from the car and still feel a bit chilly. The end is nigh for the acclimatised. If I was staying to the end of October I could see myself down here in jeans and jumper, while others would be walking around in shorts and looking like broiled lobsters.

Sept 23rd
Ah fuck nuggets. Guess which company I found a cheap flight with a few weeks back: Thomas Bleeding Cook. I now have to find out what the hell is going on with that, probably book another flight, and probably find the prices have skyrocketed.

Oh right. I just got an email from Directline Flights concerning the Thomas Cook clusterfuck. My money will be refunded but I have to book another flight. Prices are already going up what with others looking for flights. Annoyingly I really do have to get back to the UK before a certain date, so I'm probably going to get shafted on price.

Hmm, I think I better return with the laptop later and start checking out flight options. An awful lot of people have been stranded by this. Maybe I will have to do an Athens transfer - not too much of a problem since I have no hold luggage.

Right. I managed to book an Easyjet flight back on the 7th. The cheaper flights were all gone and they weren't putting up prices on those remaining, so the cost was €80 - 90 more. It wasn't a cheap flight, but it wasn't silly money either. Glad that's sorted!

I suspect that quite a shit storm is going to be hitting Crete next year. Here in Makrigialos the very large Sunwing Hotel was 100% Thomas Cook. The knock-on effects of that closing down are not going to be pleasant. Meanwhile it seems that 80% of hotels on Crete have contracts with TC. We can only hope that an efficient company moves in to fill the void.

Sept 24th
Right. Checked in and ticket ready to print so that's as certain as it can be. Now preparations for departure. The only one at the house is a neighbour watering plants and picking and freezing my chillies. Nothing else needs doing really. Next a UK shopping list: tape for the handle of my kayak paddle - important stuff like that.

I imagine that teenagers in Maoist 'study sessions' thought they were speaking truth to power too. Nice to have unfollow or 30 day snooze for idiots who think otherwise.

I have a headache this has made me irritable. I think I've snoozed about ten people on here. Perhaps I should stop looking at stuff. My irritation levels rise every time I see that bloody Greta or more about politicians trying to shaft democracy.

Ah fuck this I'm off. Social media seems more like Bedlam to me today.

Sept 25th
Nope nope nope. Still Bedlam on the social media. I'm going to have to limit myself to reading replies to my posts and ignore everything else for a while.

Waves are eating the beach here and cloud is looming heavy over the mountains. 100% humidity yesterday, which was noticeable this morning when my car struggled to start. Not entirely sure that's down to the damp - a mouse might have nibbled a wire somewhere. I'll head out on the kayak and upon my return try to avoid the beer. I have cover briefs to do for the Owner trilogy and need to get them to Bella soon. Meanwhile the present book advances apace: railgun strikes from above and a WTF is that! And during the mayhem it turns out someone is not quite as human as they should be. I like it when a plan comes together.

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Okay, I'm being a good boy today. Here's the evidence:

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Okay, cover briefs sent off to Macmillan and a contract elsewhere agreed (no, I can't tell you because I would have to send a Jain mycelium to eat out your cortex). This involved coming down to Revans with my laptop. Of course, now I'm here. . .

Sept 26th
Gag. A quick scroll through FB and Twitter and its repetition of Greta/Brexit/Boris. I beat a hasty retreat. Anyway, 2,000 words written this morning as I join up the dots of a nasty AI weapons development conspiracy and line up the players for final mayhem. I then had a nice dinner of vlita and tsipoura and, when my stomach feels less like a barrage balloon, I'll head out on the kayak. See, that was better than all the 1st world problems virtue signalling SJW political wank out there.

Sept 27th
I felt a bit bloated and crappy recently, probably as a result of antibiotics and some evenings of being a tad dissolute. So 12K in the mountains this morning and shortly 10K out on the kayak. No bloody beer either! The walk did infringe on my writing time so only 1,500 words done. I will do the rest later.

Um. I think I'll head towards Koutsouras today. The sea is nice and calm(ish) and the other route towards Kalo Nero would be good. However, I know that once on it I would be tempted to do 15K and, after this morning's walk, I'd end up completely knackered.

Then again. . .

And my next resolution will be not to make resolutions. . .

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Sept 29th
Um, no writing done this morning. Yesterday I did 12K walking in the mountains then 15K on the kayak, then I had some drinks with old friends (Chris and Anna), went home, ate something and crashed on the sofa at 8.30 and didn't wake till 1.30. The ensuing disrupted night's sleep left me be a bit crappy this morning. Instead of writing I spent my time digging out a load of rotted grape matter from the kazani next to my house. As they still raki from fermented grapes they dump the debris into a nearby ruin. And I spread this lot across my garden. So something achieved, anyway. Kayak time now.

Meh. Eight days to go and I'm back in the UK. But I must try to be positive about that (he said, while wondering about what might be involved in relocating here permanently). Of course I have to remember that winter here is not exactly a pushover. The convenience of central heating is not to be denied. Meh.

So anyway, what's the writing SOP? I have The Human ready to come out next year in March-April-May (I don't know the release date). I have Jack Four written to first draft and the one I'm working on is up to 115,000 words and I should have that done to first draft by Christmas. I have stories coming out in Ian Whates collections (perhaps you can say something about those Ian?). I've got a story called An Alien on Crete coming out in Azimov's and a novella called Moral Biology coming out in Analog. I have other stories ready to submit to a few markets. Other things are also happening but are either under an NDA or I've agreed to keep my gob shut about them. I have to talk to Bella Pagan about a new contract with Macmillan. Plans? I'll get this latest book to first draft and again make an attempt to kick out some more short stories. So, all in all, this writing lark is going quite well.

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Sept 30th
Okay, Bella Pagan tells me the publication date for The Human is the 16th April.

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Anna Haringa
30 September at 13:22 ·
It's great to be back in our favourite village and to meet up with our old friend Neal.

August 2019 Facebook Posts

August 1st
There's that standing joke about the writer sitting staring out the window 'working'. Trying to figure out how I'm going to work the 'all over the place' timeline of the present book I did a lot of something similar this morning. Mainly it involved staring at a long list of single sentence descriptions of scenes, then lying on the sofa with my eyes closed trying to see the shape they must form. I had the whole lot whirling round in my head till they seemed to gain weight, then turned into a headache. I did a lot of brainwork this morning, and wrote only about 20 words.

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August 2nd
Par for the course. I go out for a kayak run and it seems I'm paddling against the wind on the way out and the way back. A quarter hour after I get back and the wind just stops. Hard not to think it's personal sometimes.

2,000 words this morning and another 'piece' written. I'm coming to the conclusion that resolving the timeline issues is not going to happen quickly. My subconscious needs time to mull it all over.

August 3rd
Gawd I'm knackered. I walked to Voila this morning, wrote 2,000 words, then down here in Makri attempted a kayak to Koutsouras but turned back at two thirds the distance because the waves looked like they might splatter me. But it is a satisfying knackerdom.

I commented to a neighbour a couple of days ago that, had I got a gun, I don't know who I would shoot first, the owner or the dog. Howling yapping dogs in the village. Idiots with a dog they never disciplined because it is 'their baby' and when it was a puppy and started barking they went, 'ooh, isn't that cute'. Wankers. Of course it is no different in the UK, just that there we tend to have our windows closed for a larger part of the year.

Ah, the kind tourists feeding the cats. Two months later one cat is four cats. Yet strangely this place is not overrun with them for they disappear each Winter. I guess they're transported off to the cat planet of scratching posts and endless tuna.

August 5th
Bugger. I didn't know direct debits at my bank get cancelled if they're not used for 13 months. Lots of messing about on the internet and over the phone required to re-establish currency transfer. I'm sure Yorgos and Kostis at Revans won't mind if I run up a tab.

August 6th
Blustery day today. After being beaten about on a massage table I decided to swim rather than kayak. I didn't like it yesterday, when it wasn't so windy, getting skidded sideways across the ocean then having to beach the kayak because it was going backwards. Such trials I face.

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August 7th
Perfect. 12K walk in the mountains, 2,000 words written and some major positive rearranging of the book, a 10K kayak on a lovely sea (with less wind than expected) and now a nice cool beer. Why would I want to add anything more? (he said, while eyeing some of the bikini-clad items on the beach).

 And actual research done today. Well, I looked up 'strangler fig' on the internet to see if the things looked like I remembered. Yes they do and, of course, my version is mobile and hostile.

August 8th
The erstwhile (yes, I know I like that word) short story has now cleared 60,000 words. Interesting way to write something - not straight-line development of the plot but putting together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Though I have to carve the pieces, and the holes they fit, and there are no edges, and no box picture, and. . .

Annoying. I can't find red beans for chilli here (admittedly I haven't looked very hard), so I'm trying gigantes. These are the big beans used in a dish here that goes very well with feta. They also have a marked effect on the colon - often a quite loud effect.

August 9th
A quote for my Polity Separatists.

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And another 2,000 words done today. I'll probably be two books in hand by the time it comes to discuss a further contract with Macmillan. Meanwhile I just received a contract from Analog for 'Moral Biology'. Only drawback here is I'm not producing all those short stories I intended to write.

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Okay. I'm a bit pooped today. I kayaked to a beach called Stousa. This is the furthest I've been. Upwards of 15K round trip. I must check it on Google Earth.

August 10th
2,000 words done on a Saturday morning, which makes up for a day missed in the week. I'll may do another 2,000 tomorrow since I might avoid Makrigialos and its crowds. That being said, there are surprisingly few down here today. Perhaps an initial holiday rush is dying off?

The view has changed since four years ago. I think a TV aerial fell over.

4 years ago

Neal Asher
10 August 2015 ·
Yesterday it was cloudy and dull, and I'd also thought I'd returned to a more sordid area of Essex (y'know, where it's necessary to keep a baseball bat handy). But this morning I look out and Crete is still there. Kalimera!

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Like the name 'Q-carbon' and its properties. Definite grist for the writing mill.

Good grief Messenger collects a lot of crap over the years. I really wish it wouldn't send that 'Say hi to your new Facebook friend'. If I had wanted to I would have done so!

August 11th
2,000 words on a Sunday. I had to close the terrace door to cut down on the sound of the yapping, whining and howling dog at the bottom of the village. I went down to knock on the owners' door to complain but they were out. The dog of course was on a leash in their yard. While there I saw another dog on a leash over the other side. It's yap wasn't up to much because it had grown old, but I recognised it as the constant yapper from years ago. Some people should have a 'No Dogs' warning tattooed on their foreheads.

August 12th
It's noticeable with some expats here that they become more of what they were back home. Accents broaden, national and local traits are emphasised. It almost seems like a defensive measure. Whatever. In the spirit of all that, and having run out of washing powder, I had to buy this:

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Interesting conversation this morning. A French couple with a smattering of Greek, a Greek woman who speaks English and me with my sub par Greek. Lots of hand waving. Amazing what can be conveyed with gestures.

I'm sorry. My humour is crude. But this still makes me laugh. A lot.

4 years ago

Neal Asher
12 August 2015 ·
This put in in comments by Richie Jarvis had me spit half chewed cheese sandwich on my Ipad. I could say sorry if it causes offence, but I would be lying.

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August 13th
First time I've seen these covers.

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Okay. Apparently today's run was over 4 hours of kayaking. I went the furthest I've ever been to a beach called Stousa where I took a brief break. And I have to admit to not writing a damned thing today.

August 15th
The Gabbiano was busy last night with 50 or more people in it. It's been busy for a while as I could tell the other day by Stelios's yawns. I refuelled on piethachia meh scortho (garlic lamb chops) and Gabbiano salata then popped down to Revans. Full there too with people watching football. Not my thing so I buggered off home.

And another 2,000 words this morning. The book is zooming along nicely now and I've got most of the timeline issues sorted. Meanwhile in the village it seems the howling whining dog has been moved somewhere so it's not so intrusive and has resorted to yapping, so no visit to the Sitia Police today as intended. Now I'm trying to decide whether or not another 4-hour kayak run this week will be too much.

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Bloody hell.

Bloody hell.
Neal's posts have been liked 250,000 times
Chilling in Revans. The moon and lights on the Libyan Sea in one direction. Football in the other. Life is full of contrasts.

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August 16th
It gets boring me writing 'and another 2,000 words this morning,' though I assure you the words are not. Humans adopt an alien form of communication while repelling lethal predators from a giant armoured car ... okay that's enough. Anyway, I kayaked for over three ... zzzzzzz ...

Oh, and I'm past 70,000 words on this book. That's a halfway marker (kinda). I wonder now about my chances of getting three books ahead of the publisher again over the next year. Pretty good I reckon.

Just too warm and nice to stay in. Feeding myself up at the Stratos tonight since my total food consumption today has been a small bowl of peanuts and similar of crisps. Heat is a good diet aid. I could probably have gone to bed on that.

August 17th
Anyway. 2,000 words done this morning and now I'm off on my kayak. . .

Hmm, big bottle of water drunk because of ouzo-related dehydration. Twinge in my stomach muscles while kayaking. I think a zero alcohol evening of relaxation is called for, and maybe I should cool it on the 15K kayak runs.

I may change my mind.

August 19th
A day's rest and the stomach muscle twinge has gone away. I ate pretty hugely too with three boiled eggs for breakfast with friganes, then pork steaks later in a kind of ratatouille (with chilli added of course) and with that, for the first time, I cooked vlita. Without the usual Greek load of lemon juice and olive oil it tastes like spinach - definitely something I'll grow again. The saucepans that came off my stove contained enough for a meal each for three people. I ate the lot throughout the afternoon and evening. Kayak today of course, and on both days 2,000 words a day as usual.

Morose speculations about past and present decisions have led to a third beer. The auspices are not good for sobriety of any kind as this day progresses.

I think I need to walk in the mountains. I'm a total cynic about anything supernatural or edging into the realm of pseudoscience, so the expression of a neighbour of 'taking power from the mountains' I regard with tongue in cheek. However, it does feel like that. A good long stomp through them and, though I may come back knackered, my head feels like it's back on straight.

Okay. That's enough. Time to lie on the sofa and stare at my eyelids. All is negotiable after that.

August 20th
80,000 words cleared this morning. I'm rather enjoying this 'start from the present and explore the past'. It's really filling out the main character.

Quiet and peaceful down here this morning. The coffee and water crowds have yet to arrive. I've just had a nice fried breakfast at Revans and will shortly head off to have my bones thumped by a masseur. It's such a struggle here. 

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Bone thumping completed. I probably should rest now but, looking at the calm sea, 15K on the kayak is looking increasingly likely.

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August 21st
No words written this morning. I instead sliced off the lower rotten part of a friend's door and replaced it with new. Very satisfying, though I looked like I walked through a working saw mill.

August 22nd
I put this up two years ago and am not really sure of the sentiment of the meme. The only kind of writing that would scare me a little would be attempting to write an aga saga or something for Mills and Boon.

2 years ago

Neal Asher
22 August 2017 · 
Righto, 2,000 words done and the story advances apace. I'm now hitting a stage when I need to up the stakes, skew the narrative and throw a big oily spanner in ...

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Annoying. I will probably have to go back to the UK earlier than expected and thus miss the raki season here. I guess my body will thank me for not eating barbecued pork and drinking raki all day. Meh.

Okay. Long chat with someone and afterwards I can't be bothered with food preparations even though they are only 'throw it in the microwave'. So the Gabbiano it is. Lamb chops with garlic and their salad. Mmmmm. The busiest restaurant in Makrigialos Stelios tells me.

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A little bit of water in a small water bottle to wash down my food. 😊 And if you believe that. . .

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A shy and reserved waitress at the Gabbiano, aren't you Eirini?

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The Gabbiano guys: Stelios, Yorgos and Marco.

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Further Gabbiano staff in Alexandra and Manos:

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August 23rd
Trying to figure out if 'kala na patho' is correct for 'I get/got what I deserve'. I didn't feel very well this morning and I don't feel so great now. Wine followed by raki. . . Still, I did my 2,000 words and shortly will sweat out the hangover dregs on the kayak.

August 24th
Heh. Always worth sharing again.
4 years ago
Neal Asher
24 August 2015 · 
Right, I've spent quite enough time twiddling my thumbs, or wrapped up in some silliness that occurred in this village recently, or feeling tired and depressed....

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August 25th
Ah. Good morning. I collapsed on the sofa yesterday evening at 8, woke at 9 and went to bed shortly afterwards. I woke at about 4 with the book playing in my mind. I was in that half-conscious state where thoughts are ranging into the territory of dream, had some excellent ideas that push the book to further weirdness and made some good plot connections. These remained with me for the morning writing session during which I was still a bit spaced out mentally, even after a further snooze on the sofa. Obviously my subconscious had been mulling things over.

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Ti thalassa einai yali (the sea is glass). Like a millpond this evening. I hope it remains that way tomorrow.

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August 27th
Ah, a tranquil scene from four years ago when I was about as stable mentally as a fairground ride with all the nuts and bolts taken out.
4 years ago
Neal Asher
27 August 2015 · 
I was going to walk to Voila this morning, but since I didn't crawl out of bed till gone 7 and still feel sleepy I'm giving that a miss. It's going to be a hot one today.

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Past 90,000 words now on the book. It's getting complicated in there and decidedly weird. Not quite sure what to do with one strange character and his obsession with the mobile strangler fig tree that tried to eat him. I'll think of something. Be nice to have this to first draft before I return to the UK in October.

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Well that was good: 3.5 hours out on the kayak, ocean rolling like slow blued-iron-coloured beasts, sun diamond-glinting on the ripples. I saw quite a large fish jump out of the water and this year I've noticed more fish-eating birds. A couple of herons silhouetted against the ocean glare like forged iron sculptures. Yup, rising up out of the muscle pain and exhaustion and flooded with endorphins I had some of those 'moments of beauty' Ambassador Kosh mentioned.

August 28th
Okay, it must be the excessive exercise followed by soporific beers. Crashed again yesterday evening and then slept through the night. A total of 10 to 11 hours. This does occasionally have me scratching my head and thinking I must sort myself out. But, just so long as I write those words, everything else is negotiable. Also, I spent about four years of being grateful to have slept more than four hours a night, so the big sleeps are enjoyable!

Well, that 10+ hours of sleep was obviously needed. Energy reserves increased, kayaking without those 'pauses to look at the view', and no longer feeling like I've been run over by a steamroller.

August 29th
I knew I was in the region of my. 2,000 words this morning. Checked the word count: 95,000 precisely. That'll do.

Amazing really. Sea the temperature of bathwater, temperature in the 30s and not a cloud in the blue in blue sky, lovely sandy beaches, freezing cold beer, restaurants serving excellent food at 'it isn't worth cooking' prices and bugger-all people here. No, not amazing, just nuts.

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August 30th
I popped round my neighbour Jean-Pierre's house yesterday where I met his friend . . . Jean-Pierre. Both Belgians. The second JP identified himself as an SF addict, immediately grabbing my attention by mentioning A E Van Vogt. Thereafter as wine and mezes were consumed, I kept throwing old names at him - Clifford D Simak, James Blish, A C Clarke, Poul Anderson - to which his response was frequently a wide smile and a, 'Yes!' Detente achieved and fuck the EU.

August 31st
I think the kayak run I usually do in 2 hours took about 2.5 today. I could blame it on fighting against the wind out there, but in reality it was an ouzo penalty. I blame your karavachis Dolores.