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May 2023

Ha, it's been nearly a month since I finished 'Jump! 2' manuscript and I still think I am recovering

from the brutal sleep deprived last 2 weeks of the whole process. The final push involved a Sunday session of working from 9am to 10 pm, some food, a YouTube break and an hour’s sleep and then working from 1am to 12pm on Monday. All to a caffeine drenched sound track of Minecraft Relaxation music (with rain). I have had enough of Minecraft Relaxation Music (with rain) now. Talking of which I became really specific about the optimum volume to play this music at, to guarantee maximum productivity/creativity. It seemed I was most in “the zone” at level 36 on my lap top. 35 and I ended up googling Keith Richards’ historical sleep patterns and at 37 I would be googling the geographical prevalence of real tennis in 1600 (England). At 36, I was finally finishing Jump! 2………. As Goldilocks once said in her gruff, cockney tones, “yeah, that’ll do boys….” So anyway, infamous hell raiser and legendary guitarist Keith Richards once stayed up for 9 days straight without sleep. Straight, not even a cheeky strategic power nap during day 6! 9 days straight!! Apparently on the ninth day our dishevelled anti-hero he then eventually succumbed to the inevitable but did so in own inimitable way- sleeping standing up! Like a horse. Mint! Don’t mind if I do 😉 Pump up the volume……. 37 here I come……. I’ve always been fascinated by Real Tennis. This historic racket game originated in France in the 12th Century and is the forefather of modern tennis. It was originally played in the Royal Courts of Europe and the court itself involved a bizarre, idiosyncratic arrangement of a conventional hall plus some slanted roof top “add-ons” on the one side of the court. Henry the 8th, decent, all round good egg by all accounts was a really good Real Tennis player. Well at least by his account. And that was the main account. Really. Who was going to argue?

Hampton Court 1536. It’s a sweet day in May. Outside, the sky is blue and the sun is shining over the neat, geometric aisles of scented shrubs. I turn my head to the side, teased by the hard thump of a ball. I investigate. Sneaking through the shadows I stand aghast. It’s him. Actually him. Though I’ve never met him before. Obviously. It’s clearly him. I just know. Henry the 8th. I am 😉

The rally (I think that’s the word) has finished. The slim man rose into the air and smashed the ball into the King’s side. The King was nowhere. Game over. But not. Apparently.The King objected. Mr Slim obliged. Long Live the King. He also wrote Green Sleeves. Not.

So, I live in Shrewsbury, UK. In the 1990s I used to play in The Hole In The Wall pub with various bands. Imagine my surprise (sorry for sounding like Ronnie Corbett) when I found out that in the 1600s behind The Hole In The Wall pub, there was a Real Tennis court! How cool is that ??! For real…

Cheers dudes!

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