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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Schrodinger's Socks, Dog Chunks and Special Gripping Hands (lack of)

I think I may be to housework what Richard Dawkins is to religion.  I recognise its existence but cannot think of a single positive thing to say about it.

I have friends who dust skirting boards.  I know, I know, and, believe me, I've done my best to talk them out of it.  I've told them that dust is nature's way of ensuring you always have something to write in when ideas strike and that skirting boards were invented purely so that when we slide down the walls we have warning before we actually hit the floor and that neither of these things mean that Sunday mornings should be spent with a damp cloth in hand. And ironing socks - who needs flat socks?  I don't know about you but I've got plumpy feet, so the second an ironed sock gets put on it instantly becomes foot-shaped, (ie plumpy).  So, what I shall have to refer to as The Sock of Flattage is only flat from the moment it leaves the ironing board (and yes, those words make me shudder too) until the moment it hits the foot.  Which is a period of time in which it is IN A CUPBOARD.  And no-one can see it.  So its flattage (or otherwise) is a matter of pure conjecture!  It is a Schrodinger's Sock!  (Incidentally, the same applies to underwear, but since I have a hitherto unsuspected love for wearing ironed knickers we shall draw a discreet veil over Schrodinger's Underpants).

Seriously though.  If it's a choice between this or lying in til lunchtime, you're really not going to choose something that looks like a robot trying to touch its toes, are you?

Hoovering I can just about come to terms with.  This is mainly because I have a dog whose fur, at certain times of the year, resembles something woven out of cotton wool by small children.  He stealth-moults, when I come downstairs in the morning the carpet has changed colour and seems to be made entirely of chunks of Dog. This must be dealt with by means of repeatedly running the hoover over the carpet, swearing, unbunging the hoover, whose nozzle has inexplicably clogged up with milk bottle tops, emptying the tank which is now full of Something (I don't know what it is, and I am certainly not going to investigate), and then going back to repeat the process.  But it does mean that hoovering is necessary if you ever want to see your feet again.
Looks cute, doesn't he?  But there's a reason this picture was taken outside... he's moulting, and we can't find the house.

I look at it this way - if I'd been meant to do housework, I would have been born with a grip suitable for holding a duster.  Like Action Man and his 'special gripping hands'?  Remember him?
He looked like this.  Only not quite know...underpanty.  

 Although I have a grip that is second to none if you try to, for example, part me from a ten pound note, when it comes to holding a moistened J-cloth I am surprisingly feeble.  And, I reason, that is because I have evolved into a human form that regards housework as a Creation of the Devil.

And Richard Dawkins agrees with me.  Or, at least he would, if we could find him,  I think he might be barricaded into the sock drawer with dog-fluff.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Cover your ears, I may shout a bit here... I WON THE ROMANTIC NOVEL OF THE YEAR!! Well, my book did, but you know what I mean...

Yes, it's true!  Honestly.  Look...

And, oh, my little chucklebunnies, there was wine...and people...and balloons, and shoes and canapes.  And there was me, in the middle of all of this, giggling like a loon and giving the world's most improv speech which featured (so I am told, for I suffered from some kind of shock-induced memory lapse, and nothing whatsoever to do with the alcohol for I am not that kind of woman, no sirree) incontinence wear.  There is only one phrase to sum up how I feel about my speech, and it is the good old phrase beloved of anyone who has had to abbreviate their feelings on Facebook or Twitter.  And it goes like this..

< headdesk >

I started the evening like this...

...although a little mad-about-the-eyes, which I put down to trying to appear both intelligent and sensible.  Also wearing make-up which I apply in the same way as a monkey paints with a stick.  Anyway. I blame the balloons for what happened next, or it might have been the heels, because first they announced the winner of the Joan Hessayon award for first published novel, and it was won by Choc Lit's very own Evonne Wareham, so obviously I had to toast her in champagne.  Quite a few times, because it was a terrific win!  And then they announced the Romantic Novel of the Year, so I toasted the announcement, and was just about to toast the winner when they read out my name...

And when I stopped thinking I was going to faint, and made my way through the crowd, most of who thought I had come to read the meter, I had to do a speech.  And I fear...oh, here comes that headdesk again... that the only thing that would come to mind was to talk about how, if told ten years ago that I would win the Romantic Novel of the Year Award (no, it never gets tired, writing that) that I would have wet myself...and that I still might...

And people laughed.

Kay Burley presented me (well, she tried to, I kept giving it back - large glass objects and I do not mix.  I've already dropped one television, thank-you-very-much..) with a glass rosebowl.  It is soooooo beautiful that it will be as out of place in my house as an academic in Hollyoaks.  But once the cats have had a go at it, and the dust has accumulated, I am sure it will fit in perfectly.  And after that the evening started to look like this...
And I STILL don't believe it, despite my name being dropped absolutely everywhere, from the BBC Entertainment News website to the local newspaper, and I STILL wake up in the morning thinking that I've just had a particularly nice dream (no, not the one about Tony Robinson and the cream cake...although, thinking about it, that one must be due a revisit sometime soon) and then I open my eyes and IT'S ALL TRUE. And then I think about the others on the shortlist with me (including Choc Lit's own Christina Courtney) and I am convinced that there must have been a terrible mistake.

But I am prepared to fight to the death to keep the rosebowl.  Just, you know, not in heels or anything.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Some writers are mad, you know. Mad, mad, I tell you! Mwhahwhahahaha!! Fortunately for you, I am not one of them!

All right, I know I promised not to go on about these award thingies but, you know, I don't get out much otherwise... and it's London, and I get to wear a frock, and meet people to whom I am not related by blood or financial obligation!  So, anyway.  This coming Thursday me, my wellingtons and my unsuitable hair will be parading around the Overseas League and applauding the winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year! And then, in June, me, my collection of various and intriguing skin conditions and my even more unsuitable hair will be repeating the procedure for the Melissa Nathan Award!

There.  It's all right, I've stopped talking about it now.  I just wanted to remind you, in case you'd had a blow to the head or some of your special little pills and had forgotten.

What, you thought I didn't know?

 Because I'm not the sort of person that usually gets to go to these kind of things, so a little thing like getting a Big Purple Invitation to the Melissa Nathan awards is quite something.  The last time I got a Big Purple Invitation I think I was probably about seven and it was to Nicola Coleman's birthday party (it's all right, you aren't meant to know who she is, unless you went to St David's JM&I, Dinham Road, where I occasionally manned the tuck shop and the girls' toilets used to flood in moments of high rainage).  Anyway.  So.  I have my invitations, and now you all know about them, so it's no good them denying all knowledge when I turn up wearing the dining room lampshade and a pair of big boots.  They only have themselves to blame.

It has to be quite a high-risk activity, inviting writers to things.  Most of us are either as mad as a box of spoons, or very, very shy, which accounts for why an awful lot of literary events involve half the participants trying to find an unoccupied corner to sit in and the other half talking to the tablecloths. I am sure there must be some normal writers out there, who can hold normal conversations and take themselves to the toilet, indeed, I myself have met a few of these paragons at conventions and signings.  Some of my best friends are quite sane and sensible authors, in fact.  Most of the others, though, phew, you wouldn't want to meet them on a dark night when you didn't have your bucket with you...  Although, to be fair, they can do the Lambada like nobody's business and their 'Elephant stuck in quicksand' sound-effects are second to none.

They do terrific 'vole' impersonations too.  Next time you meet a writer, why not ask them to show you?  Just remember, punching you on the nose is a writer's way of showing affection...

Anyway.  That's where I shall be on Thursday. Mixing with the lovely ladies of the RNA, only some of who will be making elephant noises and talking to the tablecloths.  If you like, you can have a go at guessing which ones. I couldn't possibly comment...

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Not the Grand National. Because books don't jump.

In a little more than ten days...yes, all right, eleven days if you must be pedantic, but somehow 'a little more than ten' sounds more.. I dunno, picturesque and writerly, maybe because it's got more words in it, just like a novel is more writerly than, say, a pamphlet. Where was I?  Oh yes.  In a few days I shall be back off to London again.  This time it is to attend the RNA Summer Party - where glamour is the order of the day.  At least, it's one of the orders of the day, several of the other orders include 'shut up and sit down', 'put that young man back where you found him' and 'do NOT run down the road with a stolen traffic cone on your head'.

And I shall be obeying all these orders (well, maybe some of them, others are less 'orders' and more 'guidelines'..) in a nice dress and heels.  For, attendant with the Summer Party, comes The Awards.

Those of you nice people who follow my blog, and me around the supermarket, know that my book 'Please Don't Stop the Music' is one of those in the running for the Romantic Novel of the Year award.  Which is lovely, but I have to say that my book doesn't jump well, isn't keen on soft going, and may well fall at Beechers, although I have cantered it up and down a few times and popped it over some low fences...oh.  Hang on a minute, I think I may have got confused here.
My book.

A horse.  Not the same thing.  Although similar in the 'beeeeyyyyooooootiful' stakes.

This has necessitated a certain degree of rummage.  Since my budget has squeaked rather alarmingly at the cost of travelling down to what, since the advent of the new anti-cigarette laws, can no longer be called The Big Smoke and must instead be described as the The Big Outside, for the second time (and since I shall be travelling down again in June for the Melissa Nathan Award) I will not be buying a new dress.  Instead, I shall be wearing just one of the many, many designer creations which adorn my Ikea wardrobe, hanging in its slightly wonky chipboard interior like diamonds in an outside toilet.

You will have to wait eleven days to find out which one I have chosen.  And also which shoes are to be the pair that tread the hallowed carpets of the Royal Over-Seas League which isn't, despite the name, actually overseas, it's in St James' Park.  Well, not actually in the park, obviously, because then the whole party would be one long search for the toilets and pigeon-bunfight and there wouldn't be any carpets to worry about, but it's in the environs.  At least, I hope there are carpets.  Knowing that I am to be attending may be enough for them to strip out all the moveable fixtures and spread the floor with sawdust.

Maybe I should wear my wellingtons again?