Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Dina Rabinovitch

I've just seen in the Guardian that Dina Rabinovitch has died. I used to read her column in the Guardian, where she wrote about her battle against breast cancer with such dignity, humour and bravery, it never failed to move me. She was only 44.

You can read her blog here or contribute to her appeal here.

Is Mummy working AGAIN?

"Is Mummy working AGAIN?" I heard my youngest ask, as Husband-to-Be ushered her and her siblings out of the house on the school run this morning. "But she worked yesterday!"

Afraid so, sweetpea. Mummy is the only breadwinner at the moment - lovely H-t-B has taken three months' unpaid parental leave to do the house up a bit and look after the kids on the 3 days that I'm (supposedly) working now. This 3 months off started in September and so far has been blissful... both of us sharing school runs, cooking, washing - and he has also done loads to the house. Result. However, I haven't managed a single week where I've actually worked three full days yet as I've been helping out in my kids' classes, and sorting out the fruit and veg at school some mornings and generally being a bit keen. It was actually very nice to get to know all the kids, and it really helped settle in my eldest two, but it did mean I wasn't getting a whole lot done. That was why I didn't even DARE go near Blogger for a while.

However, it's a new half-term and I've had to stop being such a keeno and drop out of all the school help for now. I'm going to work REALLY hard for this last month of domestic harmony, before H-t-B goes back to work in Dec and life suddenly gets a whole lot harder. Oliver Moon Book 12 to finish (still haven't cracked it) and other children's things, plus I want to get a big chunk of the new novel under my belt too. So that's the plan.

Anyway. Why did I tell you all that? Maybe I'm procrastinating... Clare Sudbery has just written a great article on author procrastination over at Bookarazzi, by the way, if you fancy a look - it's well worth a read. I'm going to take her advice, I think, and Just Do It with the writing today. No excuses!

Monday, 29 October 2007

Beat your deadline the luxury way

Now here's a thought for all you writers out there... I was at a rather swanky spa place with my mum and sisters on Saturday and was just flicking through the spa magazine when I saw this article about two authors who have been inspired by stays there. One of them, JoJo Moyes, wrote that she'd been struggling to meet a deadline whilst contending with the many demands of her three young children/life, so she booked herself in for a three-day stay...and wrote 18,000 words of her novel - and managed a few luxury treatments at the same time. Result!

I have to say, it was very persuasive. VERY persuasive.

I was reading it, my brain whirring, my eyes widening with excitement, thinking what a fantastic idea! Yes, JoJo, you are absolutely right, you're a genius! I have three children and a busy life and deadlines too - I NEED to go! yes! Get me my fluffy towelling robe and private room immediately!
Now I just have to think up my excuses to convince my husband-to-be (do love saying that) why I really must finish my novel in Champneys luxury. Although I'm wondering, do you think three nights is enough? I've got quite a lot left to write, after all. Maybe I should book myself in for a month?

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Ear We Go

Well, I TRIED to care about the rugby yesterday, honest – but sadly, I was more gutted about Kimberley being knocked out of X Factor than I was about England losing. Sorry. Not my cup of Tetleys. But I can’t BELIEVE Kimberley was out, when those cheesers stayed in. Can’t remember what they’re called but you know who I mean. The white-grinned vaguely sinister brother/sister combo. Pass the bucket!!

Enough bitching. It’s half term here – hoorah!! – which we are all chuffed about. This has been the first weekend since we moved that we haven’t had people visiting/staying, so it has been tres relaxing just slobbing around not doing very much. Fantastic. We were meant to be going to Brighton yesterday for a few days but eldest daughter has had some ear trouble which means we have to go to the hospital tomorrow. She’s so selfish that girl, mucking up our holiday plans… (JOKE, please don’t grass me up to social services.) She’s had to have drops put in three times a day for the last two weeks – Gordon Bennett, the melodramas this has caused, I can hardly begin to describe them. I have to chase her upstairs each time, wrestle her to the floor and contend with much screaming, anguish and general hamming up. Aaargh. Really hope the consultant gives her the all-clear tomorrow. Neither of us can face that bottle of ear-drops any more.

So, anyway. Read any good books lately? I have just finished Extreme Motherhood: The Triplet Diaries by Jackie Clune which was brilliant. Talk about a hardcore mum – she already had a one-year-old, then found out she was pregnant with triplets. Eeeek. She writes a very funny, frank, moving account of the pregnancy, births and the first few months of having four children under two. Like I say, hardcore. Respect to the Triplet Lady!

That's all for now – and perhaps the rest of the week. Ears permitting, we'll be back beside the seaside asap. In the meantime, have a good week, one and all!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Dr Caroline and me

OOOOOOOOOH. Just heard some vair vair exciting news.

Do you remember ages ago, I talked about this book of mine being read on Jackanory Junior? I've just heard who actually did the reading. Tamsin Greig!!!! As in Green Wing! And Black Books! One of my favourite actresses. I am so blimmin chuffed, you wouldn't believe it. The producers say it'll be on CBeebies in January. Set the SkyPlus immediately!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Return of the Diamond

Hello again,

Is anybody out there?
Sorry for the recent quietness. I haven't been the best blogger lately, have I? Somehow or other the months just kept rolling by, and still I didn't get near the old Blogger Dashboard. And now I'm out of the habit, and it's been so long there's way too much to say in a single post. (phew, nice one, that's got me out of a lengthy catch-up session.)

But anyway, shameful slackness aside, I have been busy.

We moved house three months ago - eek, I can't believe it's that long. Quarter of a year! (And have we finished unpacking? Have we buggery. And have we all settled in? Well, kind of. We're getting there.)

It's strange, upping sticks and moving to a different part of the country where you don't know anybody.
"Ooh, you are BRAVE," people kept saying to me before we moved.
"Oh, it'll be FINE!" I kept replying breezily. (I think that's what they call 'denial'. Or perhaps 'kidding myself'.)
And the day before we moved, I actually thought, What's all the fuss about? It's not like we're moving to a different country and saying goodbye to our friends forever! In fact, I even started wishing we were making a bigger move, all going travelling round the world for a few years or something fun like that.

I have moved around a lot before, living in lots of different British cities and travelling to lots of different parts of the world. It was always really easy in the past, packing up and moving on. Exciting to have a new address, make new friends, explore a new area. But leaving Brighton was definitely the biggest wrench so far. Saying goodbye to all our friends...I cried. Saying goodbye to all the school mums...I cried. I even cried on two of the teachers at school, what a saddo.

And then, wandering round the old house the day we moved, saying goodbye to all the different rooms made me AND the two eldest cry - especially when it came to saying goodbye to mine and partner's bedroom where the two youngest had been born. I still get a shiver down my spine thinking about that. I can't believe I won't be in that room again. It holds so many memories.

So. Anyway. Nine hundred and eighty-seven boxes later (slight exaggeration but that's what it felt like) we were packed. We loaded up and drove away, nearly all of us boo-hooing in the car.
I felt like we were leaving behind so many good friends and memories. (oh Gawd, don't start me off, I'm starting to get all tearful again, just thinking about it.)

We did all the unloading, found the kettle, bought in pizza, drank (lots of) wine. And then we realised we had about ten 18-year-old Polish backpackers living next door to us, playing that bloody Umbrella song at top volume all day and night long. More boo-hooing.
We've really done it now, I thought.

(to be continued)
(Yeah, I know, just like a soap opera, innit?)
(Coming in the next instalment: the school appeal, wot I dun on my holidays and a proposal)
(That's yer lot for now, though.)