It turns out that our ghost has migrated. It must be the spring, or something. Tired of standing in the upper hallway as a dim and distant silhouette, he has gone out into the garden. It happened like this. I was in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, loading the dishwasher (oh, how middle class!) and I kept hearing the squeak of the gate outside and footsteps. So that you can understand, our back door from the kitchen opens into a concrete courtyard (Nik calls it the lanai or patio [pronounced 'pay-show'. Oh, how middle class!]), which has its own gate onto the garden, up a flight of five stone steps. The gate is heavy, iron and old, and very rusted in its hinges, so that every time someone opens it, you can hear it in the rest of the house. It cannot swing on its own and it would take a typhoon to move it. That Sunday afternoon was very still.
So, as I said, I was loading the dishwasher and I heard the gate squeak several times and lots of footsteps. At first, I thought it must be Jessica out in the garden for some reason (probably collecting herbs. Oh, how middle class). Then I thought it might be Nik, or Lily. But Jess was staying at a friend's house, Lily was up on the fourth floor revising and Nik was in our bedroom editing Titanicus. So I supposed it might be the boys next door, hopping over the stile that divides our properties (oh, how middle class) to retrieve their lovely little dog. BTW the dog is small enough to go through the gate without swinging it open.
So, I looked up, out of the kitchen window. There was nobody there. The garden was empty. As I watched, the gate deliberately swung open, stayed open, and closed again. As before, I heard footsteps outside.
The hussar has gone outside to enjoy the spring. It bodes well...
I told Lily about it as we were cooking dinner together and she immediately went outside and hooked the gate up to stop it 'blowing around in the wind' (which it hadn't). Half an hour later it was opening and closing again, all by itself.
So whatever... Blackpool!
Go Back to Back! Yay!
Lily was competing in the 8 couple formation dance competition at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool. Inevitably, since this was her first outing to Blackpool, Nik and I escorted her and stayed in a hotel nearby while she strutted her stuff. Blackpool is a very strange place. It's like England's answer to Las Vegas, but if it's England's answer to Las Vegas, Las Vegas is a bloody silly question. Lily's team reached the semi-final, the first time her dance school has done that in years, so we were all very proud, and shouted a lot.
Because we were up there, we arranged to put in an appearance at the nearest GW store (Preston) and a very fine reception we had. Many thanks to James, Alex, Chris, Paul, Gareth, Ben and... and... I'm really bad with names, but we had a lovely time and I hope Preston GW enjoyed it as much as we did. James, we'll be back same time next year, if you want us. I have a feeling Lily will be dancing then, too. Oh, and Sarah, I'm really sorry for making you wait while I blathered on. I didn't realise you were waiting for your books to be signed. Thanks for coming.
GW Blackpool - Pete, I'm really sorry we didn't get to see you too, we did try... promise.
And now to other business...
Rory - I have been invited to Scotland, I'll tell you when.
Allandaros - I wish I had a blog clone too. Nik is getting very tired.
WE ARE ALL ALPHARIUS!
Bigwill - Ravenor isn't half-eldar, but the fluff is (that I imagined) he was involved with the eldar for quite a long time in his early years, hence his use of wraithbone. I think it's mentioned in the books.
And no, you're not Omegon. I'm Omegon. Everyone else is Alpharius. Except the ones who are Omegon. On reflection, that might be you, so forget what I said previously.
Ross - Thank you for the kind comments on the Solaris story. Last weekend, it was reviewed, favourably, in the Guardian, and my tale was picked out as one of the highlights. Go me! Reviewed favourably in the Guardian!
Big - You are still the master of the Blood Pact. Apocalypse Blood Pact... you just wait for the next Gaunt.
Rob - I don't know where I'm signing this summer, apart from Games Day, obviously.
Per - Eisenhorn did it inwardly, of course. It was a character thing, not a muscular reaction.
Cor - Thanks a lot for the nice words.
Anonymous - I'm glad you appreciated the twist.
Okay everybody, sleeping in is so win, so I'm going to try for it.
Xhalax - I think you might be Kara Swole after all.
Oops... the gate's squeaking again. I must go and attend to my hussar. See you all next time on the funny place.