Day 463 – Sunday Reflection.

I’ve been busy revamping my study.

Basically, I’ve got rid of more stuff I had forgotten I even had, or had kept because it might be useful at some point. I decided that some point had been reached and that the stuff wasn’t useful after all.

A family desk taken by my eldest son, freed up space for an armchair I’ve been looking at with fondness for a while now. I write at a standing desk, but I was hankering after a seat to muse, imagine, read, in.

I thoroughly recommend a standing desk if you don’t usually use one. Some are very pricey but mine is about the size of your laptop and does the job perfectly.

Revamping and tidying up are often necessary but also serve as perfect actions for not writing.

I sway between being really frustrated when I don’t write and just accepting that sometimes my brain needs a pause to fix something in a story, or make the necessary links to the next stage of the story.

I’ve probably mentioned this before but I don’t plot/plan in a James Patterson kind of way. Once the plot is down on paper then I know the story and my brain is off to the next one. The discipline to then take an extended plot and write it up into the finished novel eludes me. Be honest though, James Patterson probably feels the same way, which is why he has all of those co-authors.

I plan more like Lee Childs. I turn up, like Jack Reacher (okay – like a Jack Reacher who has been placed on too warm a wash cycle than the label directs!), meet a couple of people – good or bad – and the rest happens from there.

I am currently writing something new and it is requiring a little more thinking than I am used to. I think? Or I am doing a good job of pulling the wool over my own eyes. Sometimes, kicking back into the habit of hitting a word count each day, no matter what, really does get the job done.

I confess that all my normal habits have gone a bit wayward, with the only one remaining intact is the one where I listen to a new album everyday. Writing 1000 words a day has become disjointed. French language learning hasn’t been learnt for almost three weeks now. Exercise has not been what it should be. I have read more, and listened to podcasts and audio books more frequently.

My cotton-wash-when-it-should-have-been-a-wool-wash Reacher gives a Gallic shrug (as he can’t remember the phrase he was looking for) and wanders off into the night to regain his writing habit and his credibility . . .

Day 442 – Sunday Reflection.

A week of habit breaking, but not in a good way.

After a one day break in my habit of learning French – actually I missed out by five minutes on maintaining my streak by losing track of time – I then managed a couple more days before blowing it by a couple of days.

Next I blew my Tour de France blog, about five stages from the end.

Then I discovered that Simon Armitage was made Poet Laureate back in May – how did I miss that news?!?!

I did start writing new fiction and not just draft revising.

I read more.

I climbed back on the bike – literally.

A mixed week. Could do better on the report card. Not the end of the world though.

That’s the thing with habits – easily broken but just as easily started.

23 Days in July 2019 – Le Tour – Stage 9.

France’s national day – known generally to us as Bastille Day – known to the French as 14th Jolliet, as the Bastille was a prison in Paris and not specifically relevant to the rest of France, despite the history books linking it with the revolution.

14th Jolliet is day of family and celebrations and, if you are in the right area, sitting by the roadside waiting for the Tour to pass by.

This year the French will be that little bit happier maybe, as the Maillot Jaune is currently on the back of a Frenchman in Julian Alaphilippe, and most likely he will pull that jersey on again on the podium at the end of the stage.

This has already been mentioned but there is some consternation in the nation about the lack of home rider finishing atop the podium at the end of the greatest bike race in the world.


However, one of the ways in which this problem is attempting to be resolved is through the organisers trying to engineer the stages of the Tour to suit French riders. This seems like backwards logic as the race is then being designed to suit the riders’ performance at the previous edition.

It would make more sense to help French cycling, in general, to develop the talent in riders and sports directors, much as with the developments in GB cycling.

I have little knowledge of the great French cultural icons for their National Day – I wonder if it is the same as our impression? Cyclists like Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon. Impressionist painters, like Monet, Gaughan, and Degas. Classical composers like Bizet and Ravel, and modern musicians like Jean-Michel Jarre. Writer, Marc Levy. A number of actors, like Marion Cotillard, Sophie Marceau, Audrey Tatou, and Jean Reno. Buildings like Norte Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and Versailles. Fashion icons like Coco Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Stage Summary:

170.5km – Saint-Etienne to Brioude.

14 man breakaway with only 2 Frenchmen in it, but having Alaphilippe in Yellow probably placed less expectation on the other riders to get out and be in the public eye. There seems to be less dominant teams this year with only 3 or 4 riders from the same team getting on the front and controlling/lifting the pace. It is difficult to know if this is because the teams are weak from the make up of the riders, or if there is a specific change in tactics. Pete Kennagh seems to think that a couple of the Ineos riders are struggling for form and it does seem strange not to see the familiar train of Team Sky/Ineos on the front controlling matters. Maybe this is the problem, the other Director-Sporteiffs came to the race thinking changing in team name but it will be the same playbook. The possibility of course is to keep riders hidden away until the big mountain stages, which might possibly be borne out by how quickly Ineos riders brought Geraint Thomas back to the main bunch on yesterday’s stage. They took a big turn and then dropped back saving energy. The other key GC teams might be doing likewise or possibly have been caught out with the change in tactics.