It turns out the break from writing wasn't such a bad thing after all. Every other time I've had a break of this length of time I've just completely lost the story or the characters have also run away for an extended holiday and never come back, but not this time.
In the interim I did flick through the notebook and decide that I needed to develop certain characters a bit more and that the beginning was kind of weak. So when I finally got back to it that's where I started; at the beginning with a wee bit of character development.
Next I was planning on carrying on where I had last stopped writing, but to do that I had to re-read the six chapters I had already written. My conclusions after this read through was: OH MY GOD! How confusing is this? What the hell is going on? So that's good, right, because if I had just happily kept on writing it would have just kept on getting more confusing.
There was a wee moment there on Sunday night as I was making a cheese sandwich when I had that 30,000 word 'Oh my this is crap' feeling, but that quickly passed as I came up with a completely alternative plot. As I brushed my teeth I realised that the alternative plot line would mean that I needed a new notebook and to start all over again. As the tooth paste dripped from my aghast mouth a completely different beginning popped into my head and I quickly finished brushing so that I could go and scribble it down.
So yesterday after almost paying the entire Tax bill for my arrondissement (I got a bit carried away with filling in figures in boxes and it was only after I was estimated a 14,000€ tax bill that I went back and realised I was claiming I had a double income!) I wrote the new beginning. It's something like the 7th beginning, the 1st one now being somewhere far past the middle! Anyway, the important thing is it cuts to the chase and means that I've been able to cut (and will be able to cut) a lot of unnecessary telling later on and eh... I like it.
The other thing I realised over this weekend is that research is fun, but then you don't have to put it ALL in. I had more or less realised that before when I had stopped myself writing a long description about a sledge, but I definitely realised it this weekend as I mercilessly chopped paragraphs here and there.
So I'm now up to 22,000 words ish although that will probably go down rather than up as I edit the first bit to fit in with the new beginning.