I can’t believe it’s February already! Where did January go? Unfortunately I’ve entered the new month with a stinking cold. It’s been threatening all day but finally wrapped itself around me as we went to fetch the kids from nursery.
I have been making cards and mini paintings for the gallery today as well as trying to pull together January’s Claire instalments into an ebook. Unfortunately it looks like I won’t be able to offer the ebook for free but I’m still investigating how it all works for kindle: despite reading a dozen blogs on the subject I’m still a complete newbie when it comes to e-publishing!
I have found a cheap image for my front cover (unfortunately the image is tiny as I only had 2 istockphoto credits left so I’ve had to rescale it for the Kindle cover. Definitely work in progress) and I’m pummeling my brain for a better title than “two-hundred steps home” but nothing has come forward yet – suggestions gratefully received!
I had hoped to finish the ebook ready for anyone who wants to catch up from the beginning but doesn’t want to wade through 31 posts but it seems my word document has lost some formatting so I need to re-read it from the beginning. That’s going to be frustrating because I don’t intend to edit the posts at this stage (aside from any missed typos). I want to keep it true to the blog for now. I’m going to have to sit on my hands as I’ve already found one continuity error (on Day 7 I write about the street light shining through Claire’s window but later I say she has blackout blinds). There are bound to be others.
Anyway I need to fight this cold off for half an hour more and write something about Claire’s next experience…
P.S. My husband took the kids for two hours this morning so I’ve got some sort of version of the January e-book going through Kindle review process although I haven’t yet written anything for the post. I have thirty minutes to my 10am deadline and husband and kids are at the end of their tolerance so might be another short one today!)
“Stop being such a girl.”
“I am a girl and that hurts!”
Josh looked up at Claire and shook his head. “What possessed you to take your hands off the handlebars anyway? You said you hadn’t been on a bike since you were a nipper.”
Claire lowered her head so her hair fell over her face. “I felt like I was flying. I wanted to sit up and feel the wind in my face.”
“Dingbat! Only the pros take their hands off on a cross-country track.” Josh dabbed at the blood pouring from beneath Claire’s ripped trousers.
“Oh look at my GAP jeans, they’re ruined.” Claire’s wail at the state of her clothes was louder than the cry of pain as Josh picked gravel from the wound.
“Nothing a patch won’t fix.”
“I am not putting a patch on my jeans. I might be reduced to sleeping in a bunk-bed and driving a rust bucket but I am not walking round with patches on my clothes.”
“Find yourself a Thrifty then. What do you call them here? A charity shop. That’s where most of my stuff comes from.”
Claire shuddered at the thought of wearing something already used and abused by someone else. It might be time to dip into my wages again. I couldn’t do this backpacking thing for real. She vowed to find a Mountain Warehouse or whatever at the next decent-sized town she came to. I’ll be buggered if I’m going to wreck my good clothes for Carl’s sake.
Josh applied a plaster to Claire’s knee and wiped her other scrapes and grazes with an antiseptic wipe.
“You’re pretty handy at that first aid thing,” Claire said. “I can’t stomach the sight of blood, even my own.”
“I used to work in a hospital back in Oz.” Josh’s voice was closed, preventing Claire from asking the questions that pushed at her lips.
“So, what’s your plan for the rest of the day, Planning Lady?” He looked up brightly at her and then pushed himself to his feet to sit down next to her at the table.
“Move on to the next hostel. If I leave now I’ll be there before reception closes.”
“What is the next hostel?” Josh picked at some dirt under his nails.
“Well, the nearest one is a bunkhouse and I’ve decided to leave those until the summer – I have to come back for Wooler anyway – so I’m going on to Once Brewed.”
“Once Brewed? That’s the name of a hostel? Awesome! Count me in!” He turned to face her, his face split in a grin.
Claire took in his expectant expression, like a dog sitting at the fridge. Oh crap he wants to come with me. What do I do? Claire had some notion that backpackers spent a lot of time hitchhiking but she hadn’t equated that with taking anyone along with her. Can I bear to travel with someone? What if I can’t get rid of him?
While her brain churned Josh sat staring, his eyes boring into the side of her face. Oh what the hell. I can always leave while he’s asleep. It might be nice to travel with someone who knows how this hostelling thing works. It’s not like we’ll have to share a room. Most of the dorms have been single-sex so far.
She turned to face Josh, grinning at the expression on his face. “Sure, why not? Can you be ready to leave in an hour?”
“You bet!” Josh jumped up and went to leave the room. He stopped at the door, walked briskly back to Claire and gave her a quick, odoriferous, peck on the cheek. “You’ve no idea how long I’ve been stuck in this damn place waiting for a lift out. You’re an angel!” He turned to leave again and Claire called out to him to wait. He turned anxiously.
“Josh? Take a shower.”