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Sunday, 26 December 2010

And a very merry midwinter festival of your choice!

Just popping by, my cheeky little ones, to wish you all the very best in this merry season of goodwill and merriment.  Thank you for patronising me thus far, and I look forward to the New Year, when I will return the favour.

Do keep dropping by, for there will be announcements in the weeks to come!  Yey, verily shall I say unto you that you may win copies of my very latest, Please Don't Stop the Music in the competition with which I shall gladden your hearts in the very near future.

But for now - I think I'm entitled to a little holidayette, don't you?  Normal service shall be resumed just as soon as I am normal again.

I leave you with this picture of an exploding Christmas Tree.  Because I can.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

..coming to a toilet near you!

Those of you who follow me (yes, I know you're there, even when you dodge behind those bushes) will know that, as part of my Releasing  a Book into the Wild campaign (Please Don't Stop the Music, coming from Choc Lit on 01 February), I shall be undertaking a bog tour.

Many of my friends and acquaintances have volunteered their amenities for this tour, about which I must admit to being slightly baffled.  Who wants a writer who comes around, uses their facilities and then leaves again?  But dear Luke at Choc Lit, a man with a mission and probably an Armitage and Shanks full flush number with low level cistern and mahogany seat (you see, I'm picking up the lingo already), maintains that a bog tour is the best way to raise my profile and announce the book to the world.

So, in preparation, I have loaded myself down with Andrex Super Strong, some wet wipes, a number of large books, and a number of tins of curried pea and ham soup (well, it always has that effect on me).  I have been working on my glutes, practicing my crouching, have installed myself in several pairs of elasticated waisted trousers, and now I am ready for the off!

It won't look like this when I've finished...

Already committed (as they should be) are The Nut Press -1st January, Strictly Writing- 8th January

 LoveRomancePassion 16th Jan, Coffee Time Romance 24th Jan.  And others are arriving all the time, for example the lovely Lucie Wheeler has also volunteered, as long as while I'm in there I don't dance or sing.  In fact, the calls for me not to sing are almost outnumbering those requesting various numbers!  I know!  I don't understand it either!  

Anyway, I'm now off to buy myself a special brush for those..err..awkward moments, and a little step to put my feet up on, also to double as a stage should I feel like regailing those there present with my own particular take on Biffy Clyro.  So, if anyone else feels like hosting my bog tour, just make sure that your porcelain number is buffed to perfection and I'll put you on the list.  

Hold on a minute.  My publicity man is on the other line...



Apparently it's a BLOG tour.  

Anyone want to buy forty-five rolls of mostly unused Andrex?

I'll even throw in the puppy...No, not like that!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The impact of a wind-assisted Christmas Tree.

Now, I don't want to panic anyone, but there are only 50 DAYS LEFT TO PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF PLEASE DON'T STOP THE MUSIC!  50!  That's like, no time at all if, like me, you can spend a fortnight looking for a sock.  And you know those 50 days will be gone in a flash, by the time you've had Christmas, and then New Year, and you're still thinking 'oh, I'll get round to it soon', and then before you know it it's February the First and the book is out and you have LOST YOUR CHANCE TO BE THE FIRST TO READ IT!

Consider yourselves told. 

Now.  In more sober news, I have yet to buy a Christmas tree.  But this is because I have yet to shovel clear an area of floor suitable for placement of said Yule greenery.  I live in the official House of Doors, you see.  It's a bit like living in a giant corridor when it comes to Christmas Trees and televisions - where do you put it so that it doesn't have to be wheeled out of the way every time someone lets the cat in?

Aha, I hear you cry, then why not get a small tree?  Something convenient and plastic with an inbuilt crumple zone and umbrella-fold decorations?  Why insist on one of those new-fangled 'real' things?  Well, my dearios, it isn't like I haven't experimented, you know.  Oh yes, once I too was possessed of a plastic tree; two and a half feet of shine and glitter with a little stand and ... Or was that Tony Robinson?  No, no, I'm fairly sure that was the tree.

Like this, but less classy.  If you can imagine.

And I did mention that I live in a corridor, didn't I?  My living room has...(hang on, I might need fingers here).. four doors (one of them a cupboard), a fireplace, a staircase and the recent cast of Strictly Come Dancing in it.  To accommodate these features, the tree could only be placed in one position - directly opposite the patio doors.  Which, in keeping with tradition, opened on to the garden.

Now I can see some of you have got ahead of me here.  I can tell by the way you are sniggering and smirking.  For, yes, the tree was duly placed opposite the patio doors.  In a house with two dogs and four cats, all of which treat the door as though it has been placed there for their own personal use.

And Lo!  came Christmas Eve!  And with Christmas Eve came gales!  And with the Christmas Eve gales came a run of animal incontinence the like of which has ne'er been seen!

Now, if you've ever opened a patio door to a gale you may have some glimmering as to the result.  Cat wanted out.  Door was casually opened, in came a wind as winds do, wandering around the place, running its finger along the mantelpiece and muttering about dust, caught the plastic Christmas tree somewhere around midsection and suddenly the air was full of balls and tinsel.

The tree itself did three circuits of the living room before we caught it, some of the baubles have never been recaptured and the dog now hides under the table at the sight of a fairy.

Hence, thereafter we have always had a real tree.  Six foot of solid pine which, to be on the safe side, we then nail to the floor.  It ain't pretty but I'm not having those vet bills again.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

364 days warning and it STILL catches us by surprise!

Now, I don't want to alarm anyone (actually I do, you should see how funny you look when your hair stands on end and you shout "Ahhhhh!  What the hell was that?!"), but it's only three weeks to Christmas.

Three weeks.  That's, say fifteen shopping days if you don't go at weekends, which are always too busy.  But, if you don't go on Wednesdays (because the shops close early) or Mondays (because who wants to shop on a Monday when you're all hungover and cross), then it's only about seven days.  Ish.  More or less.  So.  You've got seven days to find the perfect present for everyone in the entire world, you don't get paid until a week on Tuesday, your Amazon account is broken, your credit card accidentally snapped in half when you were trying to break into the cupboard at work that everyone refers to as THE CUPBOARD OF DOOM, when funny noises were coming out of it and you suspected that a hedgehog might have got in - all right, it's up five flights of stairs, but hedgehogs can climb stairs, can't they? - and M&S keep sending you e-mails telling you that everyone you know really REALLY wants a purple jumper with sequins on.

Ready?  GO!

Yes, the annual panic is upon us.  Well, it's upon me anyway.  I start in September, carefully hand-selecting items of extreme personal interest to those closest to me, and yet, by the first of December I too have resorted to buying anything labelled '3 for 2' in Superdrug in a kind of ritualistic frenzy, fuelled by egg-nog and Cranberry Surprise. 

I start with those on the outer fringes of my circle, the work colleagues, the cousins, the neighbours.  These all get unfrenzied, thoughtful, hand-picked presents of personal interest and appeal. 

This kind of thing.  Tasteful, and attractive.  Like me.

Next we come to siblings, close friends and parents.  These receive gifts slightly less personally chosen, because by now it's November, the shops are busy and I'm stressed.  But still, nice things.  You know.  Not rubbish or anything.  Useful presents.

 Everyone needs somewhere to put the wheelie bin, right?

Then the kids.  Oh, yes, the kids.  And when you have five of the little....things, this involves quite a lot of shopping.  But, oddly, not that much thought.

Any and all of the above.  Usually all.  Walk into the first shop bearing any of these logos, fill basket, pay, walk out.

But by now it's the middle of December.  Work is busy, there is writing to be done, I haven't yet written a single Christmas card, there's all the food to sort out and the dog was just sick on the carpet.  And I haven't bought a thing for my husband.

Oh, I've looked.  You cannot fault my research skills.  I have surfed the net until my fingers went all wrinkly, I have made lists (which I then lost, but at least I made them) of super, innovative, fun, thrilling and wacky ideas.  And then, suddenly - because 364 days is NOT ENOUGH WARNING, it's Christmas Eve.  And we all know what that means, don't we?

Yep.  He's getting it in purple.  With sequins.  M&S, you win again.