Happy New Year and Apologies

Apologies for my long silence - more than a month. My excuse, quite apart from Christmas and several power cuts, has been that the run up to the holiday was spent in a frantic effort to complete the latest 'tranche' of renovations on our house, and the computer became completely inaccessible for a while. Posting on blogs was the last thing on my mind. Oh and I did my back in lifting, you've guessed it, boxes and boxes of books, and spent the week between Christmas and New Year hobbling about, high on painkillers and the occasional infusion of wine, or something stronger.
After accumulating books for many years, I decided that the end of 2006 would see a certain amount of decluttering. I'm not one of those writers who can work on an untidy desk, although I'm not of the minimalist persuasion either - I just like things to be a bit ordered around me. The study had become more and more of a hell hole, so one of our pre Christmas tasks was to strip it bare, decorate it, carpet it and decide what really HAD to go back in, and what could safely be consigned to the car boot sale or the charity shop. My aim was to reduce the library by a third. I probably achieved about a quarter.
First of all, we spread a few more books round the house - you know, novels in the living room, textile and art books downstairs, all the Dickens and Agatha Christie in nice editions in the hallway where visitors can make a selection before bed, that sort of thing. Well, it gives the illusion of decluttering anyway...
Then I sifted miserably through the rest, trying to decide which books I (a) would never ever read again, (b) would never read at all or (c) wouldn't discover, immediately after throwing them out, that I needed for some obscure research project or other. They amounted to several boxes worth, they have gone, and my heart feels inexplicably lighter. My back's knackered though. Ulysses is still hanging on in there, as is War and Peace. Some dear old friends (The Lucia Books by E.F. Benson, for instance) are so battered by time and love, that I think I need new editions. In the course of the selection, I did find a little book that I had spent many hours searching for in connection with God's Islanders, completely unaware that it was lurking on my own shelves all the time.
Now, the study is painted in that restful shade of blue that the Swedes were traditionally so fond of. The shelves are relatively dust free. The carpet is soft and woolly. The PC is enticing. And spring is surely on its way. All I need to do is finish the next two novels. Of which more soon. Oh, and guess what? There's a bit of room for some new books.