A motif at the heart of both my previous novels was a character moving house. Bunderlin began with Martin Latham moving temporarity into a flat and waiting for his new home to be refurbished; Tom Sparrow set the story of LeavingGilead in motion when he decided to buy an old house in the forest.
Motifs can, of course, all too easily become cliches and I thought I had side-stepped the moving house one in Whitaker's Basin. But no, it's there in the section I am about to begin writing next week. Judy, my lead character, is setting out on several walks, partly in the real Cheshire countryside and partly, through her imagination, into those same places as they were in the early nineteenth century. She is trying to understand a story written by her barely literate ancestor, Solomon Whitaker, of his mother's encounter with a shadowy Frenchman, Jean-Luc Anquetil and the part he played at a distance in Solomon's departure from the forest (the same forest as the one in Leaving Gilead) and his acquisition of a pair of cottages beside the canal basin.
The motif is present in Freddie's story as well, as he prepares to leave Cambridge and return, perhaps, to Cheshire. Freddie's story, however, will probably have to await its own treatment in a separate novel. That would make four in a row.
Personally, having recently completely my eighth move of home in thirty years, I have no intention of upping sticks ever again. Leominster is a great place to live and I'm staying put. From now on I'll just write about other people moving.
So here's a pic of Leominster - the sort of place where I've always wanted to live: