The week before we left for Prague was dark.

Our building recepitonist stopped me the one morning as I can in and asked me if I was okay as I looked so unhappy.  I was really startled.  I had no idea that my inners were visible on my outers.

And I was unhappy.  Birthdays – which I both love and loathe – have become more and more difficult for me as I’ve grown older.  It’s not because I’m growing older (pah!) but because I miss my mum not being there and celebrating with me.  I miss her so much my heart physically aches sometimes.  And although the loss is there quite a bit it is only at my birthday where I feel this big gap in my life.  But then I take a deep breath and think to myself that being here, in London, following my writerly dream, is something she would totally understand.  And that it’s okay to be a bit sad but not to let it drag me down.  She followed her dreams and she would want me to do the same.  Then I pick myself up and consider all the things I should be grateful for, and continue on.

Prague in silhouette - very proud of this photo!

So the trip to Prague was amazing.  Mark was wonderful and really went out of his way to pander to me and look after me.  He is a great travel companion.  We can be quiet together and noisy together.  We only have to share a look to know what the other is thinking.  Scary, but also very nice.

We had a wonderful time – the food was good, the company was great, the city was mindbogglingly beautiful.  It surpassed everything I had thought it would be.  To me Prague is what Paris was supposed to be.  Impossibly grand and wonderfully old and a bit doddering and a bit weird too.

We walked all over the city.  From the Old Town to New Town, all around the Jewish Quarter and Lower Town and the castle and poked our noses down deserted alleyways and we saw and experienced so much.  And what made it so lovely too was our hotel in New Town.  We got home after a heavy day of taking photos, eating pastries and the most gorgeous cheesecake in the WORLD and having dinner at a tiny restaurant near the castle, and there was a bottle of champagne and a bowl of strawberries from the hotel management for my birthday.  How utterly cool is that?

Prague by night - a shot of the Charles Bridge and the castle

I had most of the strawberries and some champers (being allergic to grapes is crappy) but Mark had most of the champaigne and we lazed about feeling truly decadent.  It was fabulous.  Very truly spoiled.

We got home yesterday and as much as we loved Prague we were glad to get home to our couches, our own bed and our books.  At 3pm Barking Mad showed up with Sparrow who had been on his own holiday to a host family.  It was great seeing the crazy Pup of Woe again but sadly he was a bit out of sorts, a bit miserable, and so we snuggled for hours on the couch.  This morning he’s back to his usual bouncy happy dog-like self and we fawned a bit over him.

Today I’m back in the office but it’s not too bad – the sun is shining and I have received some great review books from Gollancz and Transworld.  I can take my time sorting out various things work-wise and lunch time I’m off to go and write as I got hit with the Eureka stick last night and this morning regarding Grimm’s backstory and some plot items.  I stupidly didn’t bring a book in for my commute so this morning I sat with my moleskine and I made a lot of notes on the backstory and how it will go ahead and influence the story going forward in the draft.

Whoo!  I love it when a plan comes together.