The snag with checking a large manuscript (The Finger: A Handbook) is that although you get better at it as you go along, you also start to get rather weary. I think you can see this also in the quality of the writing—and that’s an excellent argument for writing out of sequence, if you can manage or organize it that way. In this case I did, more a result of happenstance than of careful planning, and therefore at least in theory only I definitely know which sections came in those last few months of crazy slog, and which bits benefited (maybe) from several years of exhaustive finessing. On the other hand, I am quite certain that the principal differences between these are not too hard to spot, but let us not be deflected. In the end I was getting up at four o’clock in the morning, and writing until seven thirty, whereupon I went to work. My sustenance in those peaceful hours before dawn was three full pots of double-smoked Lapsang Souchong tea from the nice man at McNulty’s, to whom therefore at least some of the credit must go for dragging me over the line. Several months later, I am having that slightly peculiar experience of re-reading things that I only have a vague recollection of having written. However, the encouraging part is that from time to time you think to yourself, you know, this is actually quite good. Thus far the publishers have been gracious enough not to contradict me. No more body parts, I think. So I am starting to think about life after The Finger: A Handbook; what next?