Something’s brewing

Yes, ok, I know I’m right in the middle of editing ‘Night Vision’ to publish it next month, I know I have the separate stories of the Portbradden family and Fredrico Milan to finish, oh and  other stuff as well, but those Radwinters keep nudging me.

As I mentioned before a set of characters have appeared in my head and they have been swirling around variously waiting to be attached to something, like a plot or a situation. and they have bumped into another idea which has been floating about for a very long time.

The image that comes to mind is from April Fool’s Day, many years ago before I was married when I was teaching in Oldham. My classroom looked out over an area of grass criss-crossed by paths going to the other parts of the school. Directly opposite me was the craft block where all the arts, cookery, needlework, wood and metal work were taught. Adjacent to that and also in my view was the science block. It was a brilliant day like the first day of spring as well as the first day of April and I noticed Stephen, a lad I liked a great deal walking very carefully from the science block to the art block, holding something between his two hands, as if afraid of dropping it. He was a very tall lad and it was a little comical to see this usually elegant young man almost shuffling along the path, his eyes focussed on what he was carrying.

I found out later the story behind Stephen’s cautious walk between the two blocks. As I mentioned, it was April Fool’s day, and whatever the tricks the students try to play on the teachers, the teachers are so much worse (or they used to be, when schools were about teaching more than academic excellence); for example, sending a kid to the art department to ask for striped paint, or to the domestic science department for a long weight (the poor student would then be kept hanging about for a ‘long wait’!).

Arthur, a comic in the Technical Drawing department,  had told Stephen to go over to the science block and ask one of the teachers for a bubble for his spirit level. Stephen being a young and obedient lad had trotted over and came across Jim (another Jim, physics Jim this time) and made the request for the bubble for Arthur’s spirit level. Jim went away and returned with a petri dish with some water and two drops of linseed oil… which looked to young Stephen, just like bubbles on the surface of the water. Jim told him he was sending Arthur a spare bubble, and they were both just the right size, so Stephen should walk very carefully and not allow the two bubbles to join together otherwise they would be one big bubble, too big for the spirit level… poor boy, how we all laughed … but Stephen was a great lad and he saw the funny side too when it was explained!

So going back to the Radwinters’ story… my other idea was a plot involving genealogy, which is a a great pastime of mine…. so it is as if my characters are one bubble and the genealogy story is another bubble, floating separately, but if they collided and became a single idea then maybe together they would be big enough for a new story… unlike one large bubble being too big for Arthur’s spirit level.

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