Four years ago I finally decided to write the book I had been promising myself and everyone else. So I got out my notepad and started writing a few notes, trying to be creative.
I soon realised that a blank piece of paper can be quite intimidating. I was getting nowhere! I also realised that it’s also quite hard to convince everyone that staring out the window or going on long walks is work (as ‘I am thinking about the book’).
Fueled up with coffee and chocolate I soldiered on and finally typed up the first few precious pages.
Progress was slow as I can only type with one finger and have to look for all the letters.
For some reason my tongue sticks out as I type too.
After about a year I had quite a bit of material. I thought I had nearly finished but soon realised it was just the beginning! The summer months sped past making all the recipes and photographing them. Luckily Samia has a good camera and carefully set up the photoshoots.
Then she started doing the layout, and this is where the real magic began. The typed pages were carefully crafted into something special. A book is not just about information it is like a precious piece of art.
Beautiful to look at and precious to possess.
The biggest job was checking my spelling and punctuation. I was a bit lazy at school so there were lots of mistakes and that took a long time to correct. Spell-check software helps, but unfortunately it doesn’t weed out words that are so badly spelt they accidentally form a new correctly spelt word. Also ‘spelt’ is a type of flour mentioned in the book so it gets confusing.
Writing a book is a bit like building a house. It takes at least a year longer than you think it will. But this autumn we finally finished everything and sent it off to the printers.
A few weeks later we received this draft version which is 50% resolution.
On the 29th of December the amazing first 12 copies arrived by courier. It it was like Christmas all over again as we eagerly unwrapped the parcel. It was great to finally hold the real book in our hands.
Here’s a close up of some of the content. You may be able to read some of it for free if you really zoom in!
The first few copies of the book had an easy ride by air. The rest of the shipment has a long journey by sea.
The main delivery has a 6,000 km voyage ahead: crossing great oceans, running the gauntlet of pirates in the Gulf of Aden and facing the fiercest storms nature can offer in the Bay of Biscay.
The precious cargo leaves Hong Kong on the 15th January 2017. On its way, it will stop in Singapore then go on to the new super-port in Malaysia on the 19th. From there the ship crosses the Indian Ocean towards Aden where I was born. Here they dare not slow down and it’s full steam ahead into the safety of the Red Sea. Then through the Suez Canal the gateway to the Mediterranean Sea.
The last stop is in the Port of Tangiers where the crew again brace themselves for the Atlantic Ocean. The sea can be a cruel mistress and the notorious storms in the Bay of Biscay are the worst. Finally in early February they reach the relative calm of the English Channel. All books due to arrive in on 8th February in Felixtowe.
Click here for more information and sample pages.