Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Don't read this, read that!

Right...this really is it now. There are piles of boxes all around me, the pictures are down from the walls, we have turfed out all the Use By 2004 food items... We really are going. And later today, I'm going to dismantle this desk and pack up the pc, ready to take to our new home. I'll miss working up here in the loft. I've written two, nearly three, novels while we've been here and over fifty children's books. This space was where I clawed back some sanity, climbed up the metal ladder to come and write while my partner looked after the kids. It's where I've met you fellow bloggers and swapped stories. It's where I've built up my career.

I don't feel so sad about moving any more. Now that the house is looking so stripped and bare, it's not our home any longer. I'm excited now - ooh, a new start, what's going to happen in this new chapter?? I wonder what I'll write in my new office. I wonder who we'll meet and make friends with. I wonder how we'll fit in to our new community. I wonder how we'll look back on this summer. It's exciting, being on the very edge of something different. And our new house is empty and silent, just waiting for us to fill it with laughs and shrieks and pounding footsteps...

So, this is my last post for a time. But don't worry, there's a brand new website that will keep you entertained while I'm away. It's called Bookarazzi, and it's a collective effort, written and run by a group of bloggers-with-book-deals. You can have a look here.

See you soon!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Pond life

"Mum, when we move house, can we take the pond with us?" my son asked a few weeks ago.

I can see why he wants to. We've spent a lot of time crouching at the edge of that pond over the last few months, gazing into the murky water and charting the progress of the jelly frogspawn lumps as they become tadpoles, and then fattening them up with dried cat food (a fiercely fought-over job it's been, getting to chuck in the cat food and watch the sleek black taddies swarming all over it). Now the water is teeming with tiny baby froglets, and we have all oohed and aahed at their cuteness as they try to scramble up the side of the pond and into the big wide world. Youngest daughter has put herself in charge of froglet welfare and has had some stern words with the cat whenever she comes padding over for a look at the new babies. And while the pond itself is titchy - barely deserving of the word 'pond' being ooh, all of two feet in diameter - I sense that digging it up and transporting it, plants, froglets, water snails and all is not a goer.

(My most embarrassing moment during the trying-to-sell-our-house period came when a family from Devon arrived to look round the house. I was chatting to the parents in the kitchen and noticed their son (aged 8 or so) looked a bit bored and was scuffing his foot up and down the floor. "Do you want to go outside to see the pond?" I asked. "There's loads of frogspawn in it."
He shrugged, not seeming interested. "We had loads of it in one of our ponds," he said dismissively.
"Yes, till the heron got it all!" his mum put in.
I was really glad then that he hadn't wanted to go out and look. If they had more than one pond AND a heron to boast of, then all of a sudden I didn't want them to see our titchy twenty-foot garden and puddle of a pond. Still, it's always been good enough for us...)

Anyway, so no, we won't we be taking the pond with us. We will definitely be digging one in to our new garden, when we get there, though. I'm looking forward to it already...

Tuesday, 3 July 2007


I feel in a bit of a whirl at the moment. Keep forgetting important things (best friend's birthday present being the worst) but also not feeling on top of emails, bills, letters, blogging... I need a day to go through paperwork, filing, all that sort of stuff that makes you feel in control. No time for that now, sadly, I am just going to have to get through the move and hope to mop it all up afterwards, famous last words...

It's my son's 5th birthday tomorrow. Of course, being a sentimental old fool, I am thinking a lot about the day he was born, in 2002. It was the most perfect birth, quick and easy, right in the middle of our bed. I was listening to Moon Safari by Air (yes - just like Sadie in Any Way You Want Me) and every time I hear that album now, I get the shivers. I felt so in control the whole time, really primitive and powerful, if that doesn't sound too loopy. And then there he was, my son, all eight and a half pounds of him, so gorgeous and perfect and... Sorry. Getting carried away. But ooh, I'm dead proud of him.

In between packing boxes and writing our school appeal letter (gaahhhh) I am reading this - Home by Julie Myerson. It's about her house in Clapham, and her researching everyone who ever lived there. It is absolutely perfect reading for me right now - tuning into all those home-feelings I'm having. It starts with her coming back from the library and telling her daughter how she's just found out the names of the people who first lived in the house. There's this great scene where her daughter ponders about how long it's been since anyone called their names in the house - "Florence! Tea!" etc - and the two of them stand in the house calling out the original residents' names. I just love that idea. She also writes about how the way that an old house has echoes of all those who have lived in it. She describes pacing up and down with a baby, "knees caving in with exhaustion", trying to soothe it back to sleep - and thinking about the countless other people who have done the same thing within those walls, paced the same rooms, murmured the same things to grizzling babies, how everything you do in a house like that has been done before... Oh, I'm just drinking it in, I love thinking about that!