First things first: congratulations to all the World Fantasy Award winners and nominees! I’ll write more about the con, but need to wait until I have a proper keyboard again. Until then, I’ll just say that I owe too many people drinks!
I had to leave in the middle of the awards ceremony to catch a train, and through stations untold and buses unnumbered, in the rain, and overencumbered, I made it from Brighton to Southampton in just under four hours. After a final trial of station stairs, mine host at the b&b collected me, and soon there was a hot bath, a soft warm bed with a gorgeous floral headboard, and a salmon pink divan on which I could recline and pretend to be Anatole France’s Satan by the Ganges if only I could be bothered removing the litter of belongings I’ve dumped on it – though I suppose I could pretend to be Satan lying on a pile of emery boards and borrowed Banlon singlets.
Day emerged clear and sunny, looking bloody determined to stay that way, and it did. I wandered a bit in the village, then headed out into the woods and fields, encountering the ponies for which the New Forest is famous and, as a bonus, pigs, who are allowed to wander free in acorn season to “pannage” – eating acorns so that the horses don’t. I’ve seen pigs splashing through a stream, making the acquaintance of bicycles, on acorn-eating duty, and two with patterned coats crossing the road like two fat ladies in smart frocks. I’ve also seen deer, at dusk and a distance, and have the photos of little brown smudges indistinguishable from trees to prove it.