Of course, before the writing and publishing period, a question about guttering might well involve hardware items and a trip to the hardware shop of Bunnings again. A wife would perhaps hold a ladder while husband is cleaning the gutter from leaves. Leaves always find a home inside the gutter. I can’t remember that cleaning gutters played much of a role in continental Europe. It is strange, but in Holland it was far more important to clean windows. Cultural differences are always so fascinating to reflect upon.
I remember as if it was yesterday. We had arrived at Schiphol airport, near Amsterdam. It was May, 1973. We walked through customs and into the below sea-level of Holland. The first thing I noticed after booking a night in a hotel nearby, was a solitary man standing outside on a short ladder washing his shop window. He was wearing a white jacket but wasn’t a doctor. I don’t think doctors stand on ladders cleaning outside windows.The shop was a spectacle shop. It had ‘optician’ written on the window, behind which was a display of different spectacles. This shop was all on its own with no other shops nearby.
All of a sudden I experienced a rush of recognition. Holland was still this window-cleaning paradise. It all came flooding back to the period before my families’ departure from Holland to Australia back in 1956. It was so long ago, but I felt, just for a second or so, doubtful if we had made the right move. I did feel a bit dispirited. Perhaps it was jetlag.
But, almost sixty years later I am on my second book. The gutters now involve the formatting of the pages. This time the book will be better. I am not saying that the word-order is different. The editing sorted out the worst of my crimes. After all, in my Word-Press blurb I seem to advertise grammar and syntax mistakes as an advantage and enticement. No, this time the presentation will be better. I know that in formatting one has to go for the ‘mirror option.’ It means that the margins of the book will alternate differently between the pages, facing the spine of the book. That is called the ‘gutter.’ I am also starting the different chapters or sections on a fresh page, instead of joining the previous one straight below it.
Yesterday, while checking the bank account I noticed a deposit. It came from Amazon. My first income from the previous book, ‘Almost There.’ It was a rather small amount. Enough to celebrate the event with a rack of lamb and a nice red. As yet I have to pluck up the courage to go to the local book shops and try to get the books on the shelves. In my minds eye I am preparing a little spiel on introducing myself and the book. I have to exercise and present solid confidence and a mien that oozes the successful author, with a straight look in the eyes of the bookshop owner. But, every time I come out practising the introductory sentence in the safety of home, it seems to come out reticent and hollow.
Still, it is all worthwhile and it keeps me away from washing windows while standing on a short ladder.