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Sunday, 24 June 2012

Book Signings - now with 100% more Wee! A Blog of Thankitude and a tiny FSOG Snark:- Brought to you by Pimms!

...and then pour me another Pimms, would you? But no umbrella this time, I'm feeling a little sensitive, umbrella-wise and I think my Wellingtons may have become permanently welded to my feet.  If I try to get them off I'm going to snap at the ankles, like Action Mans.  Men.  Like they used to when you tried to change their boots and their feet came with them.  The boots, I mean, not 'them', of course their feet came with them, how could you go anywhere without your feet coming too?

Anyway.  Pimms, no umbrella.  Big one.  And less of the strawberries, I need a drink not a dessert and besides, when I tip the glass they hit me on the nose.

Ah.  There you are.  I just had a little drinkie while I was waiting for you.  Medicinal, of course.  Pimms is very good for the.. for the..eyesight.  Must be good, can now see two of everything!  Which is a definite improvement, because before I could barely see one!

Now, firstly I must say some 'thank yous'.  A Big One to Waterstones in Scarborough (yes, yes, a big 'thank you', why, what did you think I meant?  Did you?  Well why would I be wishing them one of those?  They've probably got lots already, between them.) for hosting my Signing yesterday.  Everything went brilliantly!  Look...

See?  So excited I dampened the floor! Had to sit cross-legged for the rest of the day so that more excitement didn't leak out!

Secondly, a big Thank You to everyone who came along and bought a book.  Particularly Dorinda, who stopped by to tell me that she follows this blog!    Hello!  Of course, all right minded and forward thinking people should follow me, and quite a lot of them do, but at a distance, so it's always lovely when people actually, you know, come close enough for me to see their faces.

And then another Big Thank you to Waterstones (yes, I know I did, but this is a different one.  No, it's the same Waterstones, but a different reason for thanks) for suggesting that I come back at the beginning of August to do an Event for the launch of Vampire State of Mind!  Yes, you would have thought they would have learned their lesson, what with the moistening of their carpet, and my constant leaping up and down to try to persuade innocent purchasers of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' that what they really wanted to do was to buy my book, but they still want me back!

Not saying anything, just... you know...

And then some other thanks - not lesser, just 'other'.  The Mysterious Steve, for eye catching of patrons on my behalf when my face was pointing another way, and for telling them that my books were far better than FSOG, and also more Award Winning; the British Weather, for ensuring that the crowds weren't flaunting their flesh upon Scarborough's sands but were instead wandering through the streets in search of something to spend money upon; those purchasers who, despite having started with no intentions of buying my books, allowed themselves to be persuaded (whilst being very jolly about it); Waterstones Simon, for lending me his pen (I know, I know, I just forgot, all right?) and then threatening me not to run off with it "Because I know Where You Live..." (and the scary thing is, he does...) and finally, but almost even more brilliantly, those people who came not to buy but to tell me that they had read one (or sometimes more!!!) of my books - and enjoyed them.

A lovely, lovely day.  And, on an entirely unrelated note, I bought some curtains, which fit the windows I bought them for!  A practically unheard-of event, and one which accounts for why, in this house, many windows can be looked out of, even when the curtains are drawn, and others have vanished behind swathes of fabric sufficient to curtain an entire greenhouse-worth of glass.

Now, where's that Pimms? For I have declared it Pimming Time!  Cheers, everybody!  Bottoms Up!

No, not you.  And, really, not like that...

Sunday, 17 June 2012

HobNobbing and Ginger Nutting with the rich and famous

Many hellos to you! Or should that be 'helloes'?  Hello's? Damn, now I'm caught up in the great tomato controversy - the greengrocer's apostrophe can only be seconds away... However, if we walk very quickly in this direction, I think we can outdistance it.  Follow me, everyone.

Good, you all kept up. Lovely. Right.  This week's news.

I am sorry to have to break it to you all, but I didn't win the Melissa Nathan Award.  All right, all right, you can keep the sobbing to a minimum, I am truly not at all unhappy about the result, for I was beaten by Jenny Colgan, for whom I have almost fangirl admiration.  In contrast to my 'diseased leg of pork' Jenny was wearing a long, pink, satin dress, the sort it's lovely to hold up against your cheek and sort of rub... and I manfully refrained from doing this, even when she hugged me, so I think I won overall, don't you?  And I met Jo Brand (who liked my hair in front of lots of people), and Helen Lederer, chuckled at me and patted my shoulder.  There were other people there too, of course, lots and lots of them.  Some of them spoke to me, some just pointed and laughed, but I am used to that kind of behaviour in my daily life, so I maintained my air of inscrutability (mostly by pulling my dress up over my head, balancing a glass on top and pretending to be a table).  So that was all right.

This is where I didn't curtsey or burst into tears.  Doesn't she look lovely?  

Me with the judging panel, receiving my runners'-up glass obelisk.  Which I have to dust, apparently. Huh.
So, anyway.  I came home from this Evening of Loveliness, and the following day (ish, I've rather lost track of time lately.  I must be the only person in the world who can get jet-lagged travelling from London to York), a very nice man in a lorry brought me a box.  'Aha', thought I, 'my genius has been recognised, and an enormous box of money has been despatched from the Royal Mint to reward me for my diligence and for remembering to wear clean underwear to all my Award thingies.'  Although it rattled somewhat, and the one thing I do know about boxes full of money, or at least the paper kind which, let's face it, is the only kind worth having unless someone gives you 40 million 50p pieces, is that it rarely rattles.  It makes more of a kind of dull thump, a bit like when you have a human head in a box, but it's usually less soggy.

Reader, I opened it.

And inside was something better than money...  No, not David Mitchell, who I am now only prepared to consider if he comes with pound coins taped all over him, and besides it wasn't that big a box.  You could only have fitted David Mitchell in if he was, sort of, dismembered, and he wouldn't be much use to me in that state, would he? Even if we eliminate the pound coins. No.  It was full to the brim with copies of my new book!

Shiny and glossy red, like a particularly nice peony, only with my name all over it!  Smelling of new book and paper and, slightly inexplicably, of Pop Tarts.  Look.

Here I am, in a representative sample of my garden, exhibiting myself.  It was a rare day, when rain wasn't falling from the sky, so I press-ganged a daughter into taking multiple shots.  Only later did I realise that this one makes me look as though I have dislocated my face.  But anyway.  This is how it looks without me in it..

And, if you hasten across to its page on the Choc Lit site... here you can read the first two chapters!  Go on, I'll wait.

Now that you have wetted, hang on. Now that you have whetted your appetites, you will have to wait a mere handful of weeks...less than a handful in fact, more like three fingers... for the book is Officially Revealed Unto the Nation on the 7th of August... when you will be able to read the rest! I know, I know, we spoil you, don't we? 

Oh damn, here comes that bloody greengrocer's apostrophe, go people!  Head for the hill's!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Melissa Nathan Awards clothing question - leg of pork or Henry the VIII?

Ah, there you are.  Now, what can I tell you that might engage your perpetually-flitting minds?  I know.  Next Tuesday I am invited to the exotically named Cafe de Paris which, inexplicably, is in London, not Paris, for the Melissa Nathan Awards.  Once there, I am reliably informed, there will be champagne.
Yes, we all know I would be more at home with this.  But it's not on offer.  Champagne or nothing, all right?  Anyways.  Or, as people have a rueful tendency to say around here 'any road up'. Which is odd, don't you think, because if the road is up, then one cannot, by definition, travel along it.  You might as well say 'any diversion that doesn't go via Birmingham' or 'the M25' and have the same effect.  Bugger, now where was I? Ah, yes.  Me, Cafe de Paris, champagne... Ah yes, and the ever-present 'frock problem' rears its head once again.

So far I have got away with it.  I have worn Dress Number 1 and Dress Number 2 to the two events that have necessitated my appearance in something other than a duffel coat and socks, and now we hit the main problem - which dress do I wear again?  There are a significant number of photographs of me wearing both dresses (no, not at once, come on I don't need any MORE help to look gigantically fat), so I pose you this question; 'which dress do I wear again and hope that people don't take photographs of me which might therefore reveal that I have only 2 dresses?'  Futhermore, one of the dresses makes me look as though I have been ruthlessly triangulated in the lower portions, and the other makes me look like a leg of badly-cooked pork.  For proof, I refer you to here and also here where there are pictures of people wearing proper clothes, and me in my lampshade or culinary disaster.

And no, I cannot go and buy another dress. For one thing, or a), I don't have any money, and for another, or b) I refuse to buy things that I will never wear again.  So until someone invents a dress that I can wear for work (clue, must be laughter-and-mockery proof and resistant to acid), to walk the dogs in (MUST be waterproof, for the love of God, I'm not some kind of masochist), ride horses in (and no, sidesaddle is not an option, have you seen the size of me?  Watching horses tip over sideways might be funny for YOU, but you're not the one underneath, are you?) and with the world's most forgiving waistband, then I have to stick to the ones I already have.

I suppose I could try to make the dress look different by standing differently in it.  So far I have favoured the 'legs slightly apart' pose, a la Henry the Eighth.

Exactly like this, only without the beard.  It both makes me look keen and eager and also slightly desperate for the toilet and, since I am usually all of these, it works nicely. And I'm not sure that I can stand in any other way, not without someone sawing the heel off one of my shoes, in which case I will stand pretty much like this, only with added lurch.

Oh, and then we get to the shoe problem, and, after last time, I am NOT going there again.  Wellingtons are acceptable anywhere, all right?

So, if you happen to find yourself in central London on Tuesday night and you meet someone who appears to be wearing a dog blanket fastened around the middle with string, it may be me.  Or it may be a tramp.  Either way, give them 50p and tell them to have a nice night.  And to take it easy on the Irn Bru...

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Happy Jubilee Weekend - and welcome to the new British Flag, the Big Purple Wrinklie!

You know that song 'Dancing in the Street'?    The one that goes 'summer's here, and the time is right for dancing in the street'?  That one?  Well, yes indeed, summer is here, and time is, indeed, right for dancing in the street, if one is a) a frogman, b) a masochist or c) a duck.

This is how we know it is a Bank Holiday.  Morning goes like this - wake up stupidly early to the sound of chickens.  It's like the dawn chorus only slightly less musical and with more 'waaaahhhhWAHWAHwahhh' (which is the sound chickens make when they are shut in their run in the pouring rain and want to go out into the garden, presumably in the belief that it's not as wet if you're not surrounded by wire).

The hen known as 'Big Ginge' in happier times, ie, when the sun was shining
Let chickens out of run.  Realise that it is raining.  Go back to bed in the slight, and pathetic, hope that because it is so early (like, really really early, even the dawn chorus is just brushing off its music) the rain will have stopped by breakfast time.  Lie in bed listening to sound of downpour.  Realise that you are riding horses later in the day and wonder where you have put your waterproof pants - the ones that keep water out, not in.

Wake again later, to sounds of chickens mugging one another.  It is still raining.  Damp bunting flops against the window like washing that's been on the line for six months and has welded to the pegs and you realise that this is Jubilee Weekend.  That four day weekend that everyone has been looking forward to since the Coronation.  And it's raining.

Let's just run through it again, shall we?  For those readers who live in places where the weather follows fairly normal lines, who, therefore, might not be able to get to grips with this.  It is June.  It is so cold that I had the electric blanket on last night, went out in a long-sleeved top and a fleece and was still cold.  It is raining so hard that the chickens look like soggy mop-heads and are hiding under the hedge.  We should be sitting out in the garden with a Pimms or seven, deckchairs and suncream.  Instead, we are sitting indoors with hot tea, blankets and Vick's Vapor Rub, resigning ourselves to moist Jubilee Celebrations and the red white and blue of home-painted flags are running into one another until it looks as though our national flag is a big blob of purple on a wrinkled background.

Actually, that's not a bad idea.  Let's do away with the Union flag, on account of the fact that every time it's going to be flown (national celebration, Queen visiting, etc) it will be raining, and go for the more all-purpose 'Big Purple Wrinklie'.

It probably won't look as good as this when it's flopping from a flagpole, though.
So, let us go forth and celebrate the Jubilee in the hope that the weather improves and we will not have to sit in damp fields eating moist sandwiches and playing 'identify the insect that is burrowing into my leg', coming home with trench foot and four new kinds of scabies.  Let us hope the sun comes out, that our Purple Wrinklies dry out and fly proud and that the Pimms is undiluted!

Happy Diamond Jubilee, everyone!

Now, where are my waterproof pants?