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The Dustshoveller's Gazette: February 2011

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Jammed Up

Although the manuscript is finished, there will always be just one more tweak to make.  I was due to drive to Gatwick today to pick up husband from the airport (Jct 7, M25), and thought I could do a few final checks on some rogue references at the National Archives (Jct 1A, M4).  

A massive queue on the South Circular (A 205) put paid to that though.  I'll have to go another time.  Bah!


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The End of the Road

As a reward to myself I visited the London Fire Brigade Museum in Southwark today. I had tried to get on a tour two or three times previously but kept having to cancel due to pressure of work.  I really wanted to visit to do some picture research for the book.  Anyway, this time I made it, and saw some original fullsize historic fire engines.  None were exactly from the 1830s, but there were some models of the kind that would have been used at the Westminster fire - as below...

Horsedrawn engine.  Note seat for the driver at the front
and the tank on the back, with the concertina-ed levers tucked
in at the sides which would be straightened out at the scene
and then used to pump water through the tank by teams of volunteers

Here on a different model you can see the levers outstretched with
hoses piled on the top, and other kit such as ladders strapped to the sides

I also saw examples of the wooden water pipes that ran under the streets at the time (known as 'trunk mains' for obvious reasons).  The narrow end would slot into the thick end of the next trunk and then be tarred over to make it waterproof...

... and James Braidwood's battered epaulettes (with the LFEE monogram on them), which were removed from his uniform after he died at the Tooley St Warehouses fire in 1861.  Ghoulish but fascinating.

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Monday, 21 February 2011

Stage Four: Seeking an Agent. Again.

After a long weekend, using up most of my remaining leave for the year, I have completed the final chapters.  And today, Monday, about ten minutes ago, I sent off postal submissions containing a covering letter, CV, synopsis and first three chapters to four agents.  Another will go off by post tomorrow, and a final one by email on Wednesday.  I've researched them all very carefully, so fingers crossed...

And that's that.  Short post, big moment.


Sunday, 6 February 2011

Food for Thought

Two friends, architectural historians (one a qualified architect), came to dinner last night.  I gave them mini goat's cheese omelettes, pheasant casserole and rhubarb compote with sorbet.  They gave me comments on the ground plan showing the likely location of the furnaces under the House of Lords.   A fair exchange, I thought.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Stage Three: Seeking an Agent

Last Friday I was contacted by the very reputable and well-known agent who had been so interested in the book in November.  Sadly, she has been overwhelmed by other work and thinks I would be better served by someone else.  She hasn't had time to read the stuff I've been trickling through since November, and thinks she would not do me justice given her current workload.  We hadn't signed an agreement.  I am a bit disappointed, but at least I know where I stand.  I am taking at face value her positive parting shot that I should have no problem finding another agent very quickly.  I still have the very short shortlist of agents to approach I had drawn up late last year, so am now aiming to send out a well-targeted submission to a select few around 21 Feb.  In the meantime I have polished up chapters 11 to 13 and sent them off to my trusty readers for comment.  Fingers crossed that by the end of this month I should have secured another agent...