Weekends are the bane of my life, so they are. It’s that yawning, inviting gap of blank space that smiles so invitingly at you all week long. You make grand plans for filling it – in my case with The End Of The Novel – and then it’s gone in a frittering of interruptions and minor displacement activities, and you’ve only achieved a tenth of what you planned.

I’m not going to dwell on the procrastination blues – what I will say though is that when I have to process a writing problem, it’s often a good idea just to go away and do something else entirely and let my brain get on with it.

So. We spent the weekend painting M’s new kitchen. We fired up to B&Q after work on Friday and got the necessaries, and on Saturday morning, armed with two and a half litres of “Droplet”-flavoured emulsion (er, light blue to you and me) and a tin of white for the woodwork, we set about it like pros. Which meant: first off, after jumping into our old togs, nipping down the hill for rolls (bacon/square sausage/square sausage + tattie scone) and a couple bottles of Irn Bru (glass, natch). After that we broke out the rollers and went at it.

Cut to seven or eight hours of Ralph Macchio-like zen state later. Thought about the pub, but only had energy for How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? (is it just me or does anyone else think the “So Long, Farewell” routine for booting out each week’s failure is crass in the extreme?), an excellent takeaway from Wongs and a bottle wine. Followed by The Sleep Of The Dead.

Sunday I woke early, and delayed our return to painting by suddenly knowing how to replot the end of the book to make it work. Result. Once that was documented we got back into painting mode (our imaginary Mr Miyagi berating us in his characteristic taciturn manner), aided and abetted by a rare foray into the (vast) reaches of M’s vinyl collection (Free, Big Brother And The Holding Company, Badfinger, Mott The Hoople, Family). Next thing we knew it was time to go. M had a meeting and I had a project plan for getting the Nov done in three weeks, plus the first missing scene worked out and dying to be written.

The result – I’ve got 8000 words of detailed notes for the last three chapters and the writing boiler is well and truly stoked again.

And the good news, with the rest of M’s flat, and then mine, and then hopefully a new flat in the not too distant future, is there’s plenty more painting to be done if I need it.

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