Aug 282011
 

On Thursday I was finally able to get Dancing with Spies out into the market with its revised cover which I like just as much as Kelly’s first design. What do you think? It seems to have been many weeks since we were ready to publish but it has been delayed for one reason or another. The other good thing was that within three hours of it appearing on Kindle the first sale had been made.

That’s all I’m going to say about the new book, because I’ve been reading A Week in December by Sebastian Faulkes. As usual the writing is excellent and the characterisations are brilliant. But aren’t I glad that I don’t live in London any longer. The picture Faulkes paints of life in the British capital, which I’m sure is accurate, is of a people motivated entirely by greed, fuelled by drugs and ruined by racial disharmony. Their God is the new technology.

The England I knew wasn’t like that. I was brought up in the West Country in the decades after the Second World War. Material things were in short supply and some items were still rationed in the 1950’s. I remember my father had a tatty old, second-hand car. There was no television and most modern technological inventions hadn‘t even been thought of.

There was a strong sense of local community. As a lad I cycled everywhere. The roads were safe. The countryside was largely unspoiled. Nobody had heard of global warming or health and safety and the media knew their place. Of course tragedies and terrible crimes still occurred. But after the horrors of the war it seemed a light-hearted time to be alive. I count myself lucky to have grown up in that era. I have written about the times in my saga Riversmeet which I think I shall consider publishing early next year.

Now we have escaped from modern Britain and live in Spain, a few miles inland from the coast, where we can avoid the holiday-makers and experience some of the traditional ways of the Spanish. This Spain still seems to have a lot of the things I remember and value from England in the fifties. There is still a strong sense of community in the small towns and villages of the interior, encouraged by the local fiestas and other events. Traffic isn’t as horrendous as it has become in the UK. You can quickly get out into the country and up into the mountains where the only noises you encounter are those made by nature. You can eat and drink outside secret bars in the open air and listen to the arguments which they carry on at the top of their voices.

Of course Spain has many problems and there a number of things here which are not always to everybody’s liking. But the overwhelming sensation is that the Spanish still understand that the basic things in life are important and they give those things priority.

Viva Espana!