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Weekend sports

15 August 2004

Well, lookit. Chaz had the weekend off. And like any unattached summer city male, he spent it partly in the pub, and partly watching sports on TV. The Premiership has opened and the Olympics have just kicked off - I'm sorry, those should be the other way around - but they are incidental, frankly. This was also the weekend of the Hungarian Grand Prix, and the intimate middle days of the third test (for those of you not keeping up, that's cars and cricket, that way round). In such a weekend, what's a man to do? Not work, for sure.

Actually, to be fair to myself, I have been thinking quite hard about work-stuff all weekend; and my forays into a pub were at least work-related. I went to meet Ann Cleeves, one of my fellow murder-squaddies, in order to pick up my copies of the CD the Squad has recorded, of readings from our work. That we then did a lunchtime's drinking with her daughter and associated boyfriend means that I don't really count it as work, but hey... And then today I went to the pub to read, a book that I've been asked to support with some nice quotes; which again doesn't quite count as work, but hey again, stop counting...

And to be even more fair to myself, the reason I did no real work is not because there was so much to distract me. Thing is, with the big book behind me and its immediate sequel, the Durham LitFest commission also finished, I'm beset with three or four or five smaller tasks, all of which have to be done, but not necessarily in any given order; so I'm pulled this way and that, and so not actually doing any of them. I am definitely a one-project man, I find multitasking really hard.

I do know the order in which I ought to tackle these new tasks. First the rewrites on the novel, those take priority; then the how-to-write-genre-fiction guide for a website, that has a deadline and a fee; then the various short stories and proposals for new work, the creative stuff, before I get down to writing volume two of Selling Water. But having a task-list sorted is just bureaucracy, it's not engagement; and my mind is scattergunning ideas, snatches of dialogue, moods, opening lines, all for half a dozen different pieces of work. And most of that is getting lost because I'm writing none of it down, I'm watching cars go round in circles and men bash balls with bits of wood.

But this, this is engagement. And this was a fine week to be engaged with Ferrari, the race when they secured their sixth consecutive constructor's championship; andit is now certain that one of their drivers will be individual champion also, as only Barrichello can now catch Schumacher (well, in his dreams, maybe...). I wear my red with pride.

And it's a fine weekend to be a cricket fan also, with the test delightfully poised; tomorrow is the last day, and all four legitimate results are still possible. Actually, I think three of them are highly probable. I think it's highly probable that England will win; I think it's highly probable that England will lose; I think it's highly probable that the match will end in a draw. The only unlikelihood is a tie, and even that has been known.

My rigorous assessment of the probabilities may perhaps help you to understand why I am no gambler. But I really do think each of those outcomes is more likely than either of the other two. I find myself in three minds, which is by no means unusual. "I am large, I contain multitudes" - which is by way of being my quotation of the week.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.