Wednesday, 30 April 2008


Oh Gawd. Went to bed last night and scribbled half a dozen GENIUS ideas for Novel 3 in my notebook (in the dark) and dropped off to sleep feeling all excited about writing such brilliant plot points into the story in the morning.

Somehow or other, though, I've managed to delete more words than I've added so far today. How has this happened??

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Books and more books and some telly too

Ooer, I’ve just done one of those impulse Amazon orders. You know where you dreamily add all sorts of things to your basket and then have a sod-it moment and buy the lot? Well, I’ve just gone and done exactly that. I’ve ordered Mothernight by Sarah Stovell, which looks and sounds fabulous, Rowan Coleman’s new one, The Accidental Wife which I am sure will be brilliant, two Goldfrapp CDs, some bits and bobs for the kids… Ahem. Must stop doing that just-can’t-resist thing on Amazon, especially as my To Be Read pile already resembles a small mountain…

I’m currently reading Mister Pip. I know, I know, you’ve all read it already and I’m the only person left in the world who hasn't yet… But ooh, isn’t it good? So vibrant and rich and beautiful. It’s the first title of a new book group I’m in so I’ve got to finish it by our meeting next Monday and think of some clever-sounding things to say about it other than “Oooh, isn’t it good?” It is fab to be in a book group again, I have to say. Wine, kettle chips, lovely new friends, gossip and oh yeah, a bit of chat about books. What more could you wish for?

PS I am very excited about tonight…Heroes is back on the box, and I’ve got last night’s Apprentice Sky-Plussed too as I was down the boozer and missed it. Ahhh – what a perfect night in!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

I feel the earth move...

So I know what you're all wondering. How's the running going?
Well. It was going great - until I got my first ever sports injury. Ouch. I don't know what I was doing wrong but my knee started to really hurt every time I put my foot down. Which was quite inconvenient really.
I googled "knee pain running" and found all sorts of very technical sites about anatomy and running techniques and words like 'pronating' which I had to look up in the dictionary and...oh, it was bewildering, to be honest. Too much information. Didn't understand. Too complicated.
Anyway, I was plunged into doom and gloom - ohhh, I'll never be able to do it now! etc and had to return to a go-slow and wear a stretchy knee bandage which has all been a bit dispiriting.
Today, though, I ran for 22 minutes on the treadmill and managed 3.43 km which made me feel better. So I am aiming to build up to 4km by the end of next week, and then hopefully I will be on for 5km by 1st June...

For all that, though, I still haven't braved it into the outside world. It's stupid but I'm slightly worried that the sight of my tomato face will reduce infants to sobs of fear, my thunderous thighs will make Bath Abbey sway and tumble to the ground and people everywhere will point and stare at me. Lovely Partner has been very encouraging and has persuaded me to go running with him this Friday morning while our youngest is at playgroup but he is like a lean, lithe greyhound whereas I am more of your fat Labrador that's been at the Easter Eggs.
*sigh* Wish me luck. And if you see news reports that Bath Abbey has plunged to destruction on Friday, don't let on that it was me.

PS I've got a new children's book out this week - Happy Birthday Oliver Moon! which Amazon are selling for a rather tasty £2.99... a bargain, frankly!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Deep Breathing

Twelve years ago, I was living and working in Australia as part of the 18-month period I spent travelling around the world (it seems soooo long ago now...). My diary from 12 years ago to this day reads like this:

Today. Gawd! Up at 5.15, aarrgh! Nightmare or what. Slept really badly due to the nutter’s midnight prowls. Picked up at 6am, worked an 11-hour day. Never worked so hard in my life. Knackering. Everyone is okay except this woman Ann who plays her shite CDs all day. Today me and Erika washed and sorted ONE THOUSAND banana bags. Arrrrr, shite or what?...

Oooh yes, that was awful. Working on a banana farm in Innisfail, Queensland. Luckily after a few weeks of that, I’d saved enough dollars to move on and was in gorgeous koala-tastic Magnetic Island, where I got a job painting the men’s toilets in the backpackers’ hostel where I was staying, before being promoted to the dizzy heights of – gasp! – kitchen assistant to the most miserable chef in the southern hemisphere.

Anyway, amidst all that glamour, I was trying to read as many Australian authors as possible although being a skint traveller I was reduced to swapping books and getting them from second-hand places, so it was pot luck. But in between painting toilets on Magnetic Island, I discovered Tim Winton. AHHHH! I have a really clear memory of lying in bright Aussie sunshine, stinking of turps, feeling a bit fuzzy from too much VB or whatever it was the night before, reading Cloudstreet and just feeling blown away by it. Oooooh. Just so fantastic.

So imagine how chuffed I was to win a competition on the Picador blog a few weeks ago, where the prize was an early proof of TW’s new book, Breath. I finished it the other week and it really made me feel as if I was back there – the sound of the ocean, the karri trees and peppermint scrub, the houses on stilts, the wildness and loneliness of rural Australia… I love the way he writes – so sensual, so physical, such powerfully atmospheric scenes. The story is about Bruce, a boy who’s always felt an outsider, his friendship with Loonie (another outsider), and their love of surfing. All innocence at first, but then they become involved with an older couple, Sando and Eva, and gradually things becomes darker and more intense between them all.
Reading the story is rather like being gathered up in a huge wave, if that isn’t too obvious a metaphor. You know it’s going to break at some point and are hanging on, waiting to see how hard the crash will be…and whether there will be any survivors to tell the tale…
Anyway, it’s out in a week or so, I think. Totally recommend it.
And hello everyone, by the way! It's nice to be back.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Fear of the fat pinchers

Oooh, I went on a blog blind date last night. Well, kind of, anyway. I met up with the lovely Single Mother on the Verge who was in town putting on a play, and we sat and talked books, blogs and gossip over a drink or three. Her book is coming out next year and after Glass of Wine Number Two I was trying to get her to tell me all the juicy bits. She wasn't giving too much away sadly but from what she did say, it sounds like it's going to be a corker. I will definitely be buying a copy, put it like that...

Up to 2.7km on the treadmill trying to go a bit further and a bit faster each time. I nearly didn't bother this morning - felt somewhat frazzled and was extremely tempted by an invite to go to the nice coffee shop up the road with some of the mums from school but I have got my monthly 'gym review' on Thursday so don't want the fat pinchers to tell tales on any frothy hot chocolate-drinking slackness...