I lost a notebook. One with the beginning of a new story in it. There were also notes of descriptions, notes for two other stories, some practical stuff.
It’s my own fault, I put it down and forgot to pick it up again. But it’s not been handed in to lost property and is likely gone forever. I can probably reconstruct, or create anew, the story. It’s been in my head long enough for me to have a shape there. But one of the others? I had an inspiration and started scribbling. I can’t even remember what I wrote. It was out of my mind, down my arm and through the pen so fast that it didn’t stick to even one lonely brain cell. That one’s gone and I’m in mourning for it.
I was in London for the day. I finally got to the point where I could submit my tax reference number application to the IRS and went down to visit them. I reckoned if I’d made any mistakes it was better to know at that point, rather than after posting it to the US and waiting a while. And they copy your documents for free, while getting an apostille copy would cost money. It went quickly and easily and the staff were as nice as they are on the phone. In two months I should have the number.
So, very pleased with my day so far, I headed to the British Museum. I’ve not been there in many years and I was looking forward to having a look inside again. It’s big, so you have to pick which bit you’re going to look at, and I went for the part about Europe through the ages
People look at you strangely when you’re barefoot, I don’t know why. Maybe because plump, middle-aged women don’t usually wander museums without their shoes. But my foot hurt, and when I took off my shoe to have a look found out I’d rubbed a huge blister on top of the joint where my big toe meets my foot. Not only that, but I’d rubbed the top off the blister. No wonder it hurt. So I wandered the tiled rooms without my shoes and really appreciated how cool the metal gratings in the floor were.
I had my notebook in my hand because I had ideas for a character in one of my stories who’s studying to be an archaeologist. So when I went to the toilet at the end of my visit, I put it down. On a ledge above and behind the toilet, while my bag went on the floor. Silly me. I walked out of the cubicle with bag and coat, but minus notebook. I discovered the loss when I was on the coach home, half an hour into my journey and a couple of hours after the museum had closed.
There was a panicked search through every bit of my bag, which didn’t take long because it didn’t have much in it. When visiting the American Embassy you can’t take any electronics with you, not even a mobile phone, and you have to take a relatively small bag. Then the trying to work out where I’d left it and lighting on the only possibility. Finally the, rather foolish, “I should have” this and “I should have” that. Yes, I should have put it in my bag, or put my bag next to it on the ledge. But I didn’t. So “should have” is a nonsensical thing to say to yourself.
I did it anyway.
But. The loss of a notebook isn’t the end of the world. I can recreate a version of the story that had been around long enough to remember. I will have other ideas. In the meantime, I’m in mourning for a cheap notebook that was probably picked up by a cleaner and put in the rubbish.
See you round