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Monday, 28 June 2010

Timeliness and the importance of Things Happening

Good day, my little chickadees.  You may, in your unswerving loyalty to this blog, have noticed that I am a day late with my post this week.  This is because I was waiting for something to happen.

Nothing specific, you understand.  I don't watch football or tennis and I didn't think the season finale of Doctor Who would sustain an entire blog post. Well, I did, but most of you would get bored and wander off. But I did think something else might come along, presenting itself neatly with its tail in the air, whiskers akimbo, ready to be blog-fodder.

It didn't.  I contemplated blogging on the subject of nail varnish colours, or jam, and I even started to draft up a post on the subject of My Ice Cream Hell (which was yesterday, and less of a Hell and more of a Disappointment, I mean Thornton's Toffee ice cream should at least have hints of toffee in, surely?)  But all of these topics seemed insufficient to engage your rampant attentions, my beauties, what with the competition I face from foot-pumicing or arranging your toe-nail clippings into order of size.

In short, this week has been decidedly light on events.  Tony Robinson has not arrived at my door (despite the fairly heavy hints I dropped last week), and although the delightful people at Choc Lit have begun wafting the delicious scent of newly-minted book-covers under my nose, we have not yet arrived at a suitable recipe, so I have nothing to show you on that score.  My clothes have not fallen off in an amusing or educational way, I have had neither trauma nor triumph to report and even the weather continues to be a rather boring khaki affair.

Short of asking your advice as to what to have for tea, I'm stumped.

I'm a writer, I am supposed to be more full of interesting and original ideas than a dog is full of tapeworms, but having finished polishing up two books, rewriting, editing, changing and generally sprucing up the old manuscripts, I seem to be all out of anything much to say.  I think I may have used up all my brain-words.  I shall attempt to distract you with a picture.

Look at the shiny-shiny.

This is a picture of the sky.  It's not very exciting, but there you go, at least you feel you've had your money's worth.

Pop back next week.  I've got the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse coming round for tea on Wednesday and I'm having my entire body rebuilt by the people who brought you Lego on Friday, so I should have something interesting to talk about by then.

Until then, my wonderful may leave.

Oooh, I've just thought of something!  On Monday, I got this phone call from David Tennant...oh.  They've all gone.  Bother.  That would have been quite interesting...

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Thinking about Men.

And so, dear reader, my lovely publisher-to-be, Choc Lit (whom I feel I may have mentioned just a smidgeon somewhere upon these blogs) hath recruited some of us writerly types to speak upon the subject of Heroes at the forthcoming RNA Conference.  RNA in this instance, stands for Romantic Novelists' Association, a name purposely designed to strike fear into anyone who doesn't know precisely where to place an apostrophe.  And so, my little snugglebunnies, I must apply myself thickly and evenly (avoiding the eye area) to the problem.

Talking about my heroes.

Now, my taste in men is somewhat... ahem...alternative.  I have to be possibly the only woman who can salivate over the sight of Tony Robinson (apart, presumably, from Mrs Tony Robinson).  I am well aware that he is a small, square man of middle years with very poor eyesight, but there is just something...appealing about him.  He has a touch of the 'last puppy in the pet shop' about him, as does the wonderful (and equally sexy) David Mitchell.  It's the big brown eyes thing.

And herein lies my problem.

How do I begin a talk about men I find attractive without reducing the audience to tears of laughter and, possibly, a whip-round for a George Clooney poster upon which I might imprint myself?  It is a well-known fact that writers of Romance feature men as heroes who have to turn sideways to come into a room as though they have swallowed a cereal box, and whose faces are always craggy and macho. Which doesn't sound much like Tony Robinson to me.  Although, in a desperate bid to appear normal here, I do also quite like Johnny Depp, although he never features as a hero in any of my books.

He's a sex god, I tell you.  A sex god!

Possibly I really like Our Tone because, as a Time Team person, he would find me relatively young.  I mean, compared to Romans and things.  And he wouldn't even have to excavate very much in order to find me, simply opening a door HAS to be a relief to a man who normally has to remove several tons of earth to reach the object of his interest.  He might need to blow off some dust, but what woman doesn't have that problem?

I also have to do something about my hair.  I believe I have covered The Face (as you all should) on a previous blog, well now is the Coming of The Hair.  And I only have two and a bit weeks to subdue it in order for me to be allowed on public transport without a special licence.  So I'd better go and make a start.  Anyone got an industrial-grade razor?

Sunday, 13 June 2010

How much do you want to know?

In order that you, dear reader, may share a little in my triumphs and ...the other things, what is it that isn't a triumph?  Honda?  That'll do, ... that you may share in my hondas, I thought you may appreciate a tiny little crash course in the course that I am currently crashing.


This is a study of old things.  Like looking at my face in the mirror, only bigger.  This assumes that you know already that I don't have a huge face or anything.

Or maybe I do.

Anyway.  This may be undertaken in many ways;

a)  Looking.  This is not hard, and involves close investigation of things.  If the things you are investigating closely get up and walk away, then they are not old enough to be called archaeology and may, in fact, be the dog.

b)  Seeing.  This is like looking, only more generalised.  Used for landscape.  And portraits.

c)  Thermoluminescence.  This is shining a light on things to see how old they are.  Incidentally, it works on my face too.

d)  Digging. So far I have found some very interesting tools which turned out not to be flint tools made by neolithic man but which were, in fact, a hammer and screwdriver which someone buried in the garden about ten years ago and yes, kids, I AM looking at you.

I am faced with interesting conundrums such as 'Lindow Man - who was he and how did he die?'  All I can say is - I wasn't there, honest, I've got witnesses and everything.  And conservation of very old things - apparently even very good moisturiser isn't enough if the things are really old, which doesn't bode very well for the future of my face.

It's all very interesting, and enables me to sit for a long time, sucking the end of my highlighter pen and going "hmmm" in a knowledgeable way, which is only spoiled by the enormous amounts of pink dribble which I then generate because the pen was facing the wrong way.  It is entirely fraudulent because, as all of you who have so kindly followed my blog, mostly in a baffled and confused way, will know, I have the brainpower of a small, confused and elderly rodent.  I get to scribble all over books in a way unprecedented in someone who isn't three years old, mutter about 'The Harris Matrix' and draw willies all over the skeletons.  Well, not all over, only in the relevant places.  And I'm not sure this is part of my studies, but they gave me a pen and a picture of a skeleton and... what the hell did they expect?

Right.  I'm off now.  I have to look as if I understand the difference between Carbon 14 and Carbon 12.  They're both just pencils, aren't they?

I studied this for a while.  Then it got up and went away.

Oh, and it's all right.  In a spirit of equality I'm going to draw boobs on the other skeleton.

Saturday, 5 June 2010


Today I have decided that my blog will come to you through the medium of SONG.

You may wish to conjure the atmosphere.  In order to do this you will need a campfire, hotdogs, a few loose horses roaming around (optional) and beer.  For preference it should take place outside, but, hey, you want a campfire and horses in your living room - who am I to judge you?  Now, imagine (unless you have one handy) a burly, bearded cowboy with a guitar, plonked on a log in front of you, with a slightly surprised expression (there is always a sticky-up bit in any given log, and he's probably sitting on it, either that or he's astonished to find himself with an audience).  There should also be the slight, and unlikely, smell of hats.

Just imagine the toasting marshmallows, the singeing of fur...

Spread your blankets, people, and prepare for a sing-song!

TWANG, TWANG (it's all right, that's him tuning the guitar, the whole song doesn't go like that.)

Ohhhh gather ye people and come listen to meee
As I sing of a maiden so young and purrrdy. (stop giggling at the back, he's using artistic licence)
Her hair was as blonde as a yellowish crayon
And her clothes were all prefabricated in rayon.


Now the day came a-dawning (they talk like that, cowboys.  You just have to go with it), the day of her ruin,
And this time it weren't on account of home brewin' (you have to allow them rhyming licence as well)
Now the maiden is up to her gusset in tins,
For on Thursday she forgot to put out the bins.

SINGING - A TWIDDLE A DIDDLE ETC (you don't sing the et cetera, you sing the come fiddle me fee, obviously.  Unless you actually are fiddling your fee, in which case be quiet or the taxman will come and find you).

TWANG.  (Now is when the guitar goes all slow and plangent.  It's a good word, plangent.  I always thought they were the ones that came after the Tudors, but apparently not.)

The beautiful maiden (all right, I know), she stared at the trash,
The greasy chip papers, the half-eaten mash,
The fish cakes and sausages covered in ketchup, (I should like to point out at this juncture that this is a completely fictional song, and in no way reflects the current state of my kitchen.  No, as our cowboy would say, Sireee Bob)
And the putrid obnoxious stink there made her retch up.

SINGING - well, I'm sure you've got the hang of it now.

TWANG.  (Now the guitar goes all fast.  You can dance, if you like.  Just make sure you've got your underwear on - I speak from experience here.)

But the maiden whose form was so cute and loveleee,
She sang and she danced, so undaunted was sheee,
Picked up the beans, cans and papers with lard in -
Threw them over the fence into the next-door garden!


Disclaimer; the writer of this blog in no way condones the flinging of rubbish into any gardens, let alone the next door neighbour's, particularly if they are in any way armed or in possession of a big dog.

It's all right you can stop singing now.  And if I catch anyone fol-de-diddling later, it will go hard with you...

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

What? I was asleep there... oh. Hello.

and then he grabbed the cucumber.  It was terrible, but at least the police stopped chasing us...

Oh! Gosh, you made me jump!  You really shouldn't creep up on blogs like that, I'm going to have to put in some kind of doorbell or something.  Anyway, now you're here, come in and shut the door, there's a draught.  Right.

I'm sure I had something very important to say, but, honestly, brain like a sieve again (if you don't believe me, just read my earlier blog about thought mice).  Still, now I'm here I'll just ramble on for a bit, so you might want to go and fetch some chocolate biscuits and have a sit down, it might be quite a while before I find a point to get to.

Ah, I remember.  Spiders.  That was it.

There was a dead bat outside my front door the other day. Not that it died waiting to be let in, or that the postman had made a particularly unusual delivery and anyway it would have fitted through the letterbox, but there it was, casualty of cat-action I think.  And I found myself wondering... how come I'm not afraid of bats/rats/snakes etc, and yet the moderate crawlie-action of a very modest-sized spider can reduce me to actual screaming, leaving-the-room hysteria?  It's silly, and I know it's silly.  Rats can give you diseases (although all the ones I've ever had as pets have been most careful about washing their paws and not kissing if they've had a cold), snakes can bite.  Bats ...umm, I don't know why anyone is scared of bats, something to do with getting tangled in their hair or something but bats don't even have much hair and anyway I once kept one down my bra, and it's very hard to be scared of something you once had in your underwear, apart from Peter Andre, but I think that's a story for another time...

So why spiders?  I have reasoned to myself that it's because you can't see their eyes.  Even snakes who, let's face it, have all the facial expression of Amanda Holden after a 'BOGOF' Botox deal, you can see their eyes. Spiders allegedly have eight eyes.  BUT I CAN'T SEE THEM!  And that makes them sinister.  The FBI don't wear those dark glasses for nothing, you know.

It's the only reason I can think of, anyway.  That and the fact that spiders creep up on you when you aren't expecting it - I'm sure we've all done the 'putting on the dressing gown and subsequently finding a spider the size of a small Frisbee in there with you', haven't we?

And with that happy thought, and the knowledge that every one of you will be examining your dressing gowns with a paranoia I would be proud of, I shall leave you.

Close the door on your way out, and remember next time to knock.