My feet were whipped from under me, my body swung out and I flew, landing three metres downhill with a thump which generated a loud involuntary expelling of air that sounded like a death moan. If you believe in omens, and might wonder what that's got to do with a book manuscript, read on.
Well, this happened yesterday, not long after I'd handed my latest book to a small publisher who I'd first met on the 20th April when I approached him with Camino Voices. He liked the book but said the market was too niche to consider. A little deflated, on the spare of the moment I told him about another concept and a week thence, liking the rough outline of a manuscript on de-stressin., he commissioned me. In a single month I transformed my original 2004 concept, researching, writing and illustrating a 60 page book and yesterday the man was happy and said the book will be out in October.
To celebrate, I walked up Glastonbury Tor, arriving at the top exhausted, with my heart pumping. A couple of daft hippies had luged a sofa up the steep incline and were sat like kings. Delighted, I looked across Somerset to the distant ridge upon which we live and ate a sandwich.
Soon rain attacked from the east and I headed down hill. Not really thinking, exhausted from the exercise but still elated, at the steepest point I stepped off the concrete steps which were hurting my knees. Having fallen, I skidded down the wet grass at speed, grasping the turf with my fingers. Eventually, I stopped and lay out of breath, rain falling on my face and I scolded myself for having forgotten a simple mountaineering fact - that wet grass is as slippery as ice.
Sore, but unbelievably able to rise, I was glad. I've always fallen without tensing up, be it on a ski slope, off a speeding bike or a galloping horse. Consequently, I've never broken bones. Stiff with pain, I made my way cautiously towards the welcome concrete path where I discovered my crutch's strong elbow-support had snapped, proving the power of my fall.
A young woman in her twenties who had witnessed this dangerous accident, ignored me, stepping quickly up hill, but a young family asked if I was OK. Realising I was going in the wrong direction, disoriented, I headed the other way, eventually arriving at my car, happy to be OK and to have another book on its way. Now that, in my mind, is a good omen, but then I always find the positive.