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I made the mistake at the weekend to go travelling without my notebook. I usually never travel without my notebook (and on Tuesdays this ends up being 3 notebooks – one writing one, one for OOC notes for Fools and Heroes and one which contains my IC law book which is a notebook I don’t mind taking a sharp knife to to fix mistakes or updated versions … if my future Forester lives long enough …).

But, I digress. I went travelling without my notebook. What a mistake!

 

I had to do this partly as I trying to limit the amount of luggage I needed for two days, so as I had to pack several music books and my Filofax plus the usual assorted sundries into a tiny handbag (must learn handbag Tetris …), the notebook was the first thing to go. I was tempted to carry the notebook, but writing in the car has proven to be a terrible idea in the past.

But, as I was sat in the car (in the dark) on the way back from a lovely meal with my family, I felt the flickering beginnings of an idea for TFatM. And it began to grow, fed by the fact most people were falling asleep and my Dad doesn’t talk much when he drives. And after spending more time with the family to finally jump in the car to head home, the flames of inspiration began to grow until I had a whole scene running through my head as we drove in the dark. I could have gotten my Filofax out, but it was pretty wedged into my handbag and it would have involved disturbing my sleeping OH. I could have written stuff up before I got into bed, scribbling notes into the Filofax to try and keep things alive, but I didn’t. And when I got up in the morning, those “cool” ideas had faded away like the dying flame of inspiration.

 

I really need to learn that my memory of “cool” story ideas is terrible. Serves me right for not having my notebook with me.

 

Lesson to be learnt: don’t go anywhere without your notebook. Or your towel …

 

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A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

– The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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