Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Kimono Arms, Koko, Clocks and Christmas

Wednesday 12 December
What’s the point of staying at home for Christmas when we still have to hurtle down the M4 to drop off a load of presents anyway? Yes we’re heading south for another round of driving too much, eating too much and not sleeping enough. Ho hum! On the way we stop at a retail outlet at for some last minute presents (who is Last Minute and why does he get so many presents?). Tom, who has been on at me for ages to buy some wet weather gear for the boat, spots a bargain in Helly Hansen and I lob out the best part of forty quid for a deeply unsexy bib and braces number. ‘Well, that’s my Christmas outfit sorted,’ I tell the guy on the counter who has clearly heard it all before and cannot even raise a fake smile. Then it’s onwards to Epsom, a flying visit to Mum, a flying visit to my lovely friend Jill and finally to Worthing to stay with Mil and Dil.

Thursday 13 December
Still dealing with the after effects of eating Mil’s meat pudding at 10 o’clock at night, I fend off the cooked breakfast Mil’s is threatening us with. Besides, we are due to meet Stepson One at a pub chain for lunch and I dread to think what culinary delights lie in wait for us there. 40 miles later we are back in Surrey and I am staring at a burger meal and diet coke. Stepson One is off to Canada with his girlfriend for Christmas to meet her folks and they are also in the process of buying their first home together so there’s lots to catch up with. My sister, who works as a solicitor in the same town, escapes from the office long enough for me to force-feed her my chips. We then head off to drop off my nieces’ presents and say hello to my brother-in-law before downing more tea with Mum.

In the evening we collect Rose from work and catch up with her, then it’s over to Croydon to visit Tom’s brother and his family who’ve had another cr*ppy year with too many woes to go into. Just to add insult to injury, Dave’s been knocked off his bike this week, broken a finger and sustained multiple bruising all because someone didn’t look before opening their car door.

Friday 14 December
Tom finally gets the cooked breakfast but I chase some muesli round a bowl instead. Phew! Today we finish off the visiting, try a fabric warehouse for some curtain material I’ve been looking for (no luck – my goodness that makes me sound like domestic goddess!) and Tom buys some art materials.

Tonight we’re seeing Clocks at Koko in Camden (comment from Rose, ‘Mum, it’s very trendy there.’ And your point, Rose, is?). We say a quick hello to Stepson One, Girlf and a gaggle of colleagues before meeting Stepson Two for a curry before he goes on stage (rather him than me!). Stepson Two is looking suitably rock starry; lean and lovely, clad in black and wearing a top hat. He also, bless him, has two back stage passes so we can schmooze with the bands and drink their mini bar dry. ‘Drop o’ the hard stuff, eh?’ says their Scottish road manager when he comes in and sees us nursing our diet cokes but given that Clocks aren’t on stage until 11.45pm and we’re driving back to Wales afterwards it’s our only option!

So, picture the scene, if you will, Clocks are having a great time on stage, Stepson Two is working the crowd and really enjoying the night, the moshpit is heaving, Tom is off taking some photos of the band and I am standing, minding my own business idly wondering if SBS and I can work our bra twanging, kimono arm flapping routine into the act, when I get a tap on the shoulder and some boy who is a bit young even for Rose, tries to chat me up. What is this? Grab a granny night? He gives up when Tom returns but comes back for a second attempt when Clocks have finished their set. I also get my left buttock cupped by an unknown hand which is a bit unsettling… though not, perhaps, as unsettling as it was for the perpetrator, whoever it was, when I turned round!

Monday 17 December
We do a 260 mile round trip so that Tom can pick up a mangle he has bought on ebay with the aim of turning into a press for some lino prints. Sheesh! It’s never a dull moment here, I can tell you.

And finally…
I’m still working on the book but sometimes, especially at Christmas, you just have to show your face before your nearest and dearest forget what you look like. Thank you taking the time to read my blog this year. I look forwards to resuming this blog and catching up with yours early in the New Year. Here’s to you!

Hwyl fawr!

Painting is 'Pebble Pool' by Tom Tomos

Friday, 7 December 2007

That Friday Feeling

Hello chums and chumettes! Snailsbeachshepherdess was good enough to ask how my book/shoulder/Ma are going and since I’m in a Friday night sort of mood and, having fought my way round Haverfordwest to attempt some Christmas shopping (bah!), it’s clear that I’m not going to get any novel writing done today so here’s a quick update instead.

We are off to hit the town tonight with Tracy and Jeremy next door – I just hope the town doesn’t hit me back. Jeremy is keen for us to ‘Get a few early ones in’ before we eat -‘nuff said. I’ve splashed out a whole £7 on a top from New Look for the occasion and have been listening to Dave Gahan’s latest album ‘Hour Glass’ … I love his voice, he always sounds as if he’s going to break down the door and do unspeakable things to you. Only hope I’m not entertaining Mil and Dil if he pounds up my drive (ooh-er!).

Yes, well, back to the update. There have been moments when I’ve felt like taking Pipany’s advice (get drunk, stay drunk) but I really am getting there. I was confident that I would finish by Christmas until Tom reminded me that there are only two weeks to go before Hotel H’s open season begins and next week we are heading south for three days. Rewriting FTT has been like trying to tame a gigantic wild beast; for a while new storylines and characters were sprawling around all over the place but I think they’re finally under control. All I can say is that I’ve learned a lot during this process and next time I’ll do it differently!

Ma moved into her flat on November 1st. Since then she has had new double glazing installed, had rewiring and replumbing carried out, has gutted the kitchen (herself!!) and planned the next one, has ordered a new bathroom, laid a concrete base for her garden shed and started landscaping the garden. Oh, and she had a fight to the death with a rat in her kitchen. It’s okay, Ma won. Quelle surprise… this week she has been laid up with a bad back and is moaning like billy-o. I’ll have to see if there are a few little jobs she can do for me, like painting the exterior of the house, whilst she’s up over Christmas.

The shoulder is less painful but my arm is still neither up nor down. SBS and I have been comparing notes and we think we can manage to twang the odd bra strap (very odd in my case). Tom and I are off to see ‘Clocks’ at Club NME in Camden on Friday so I’m going to see if there’s any chance of SBS and I doing a bit of bra twanging in the background. Failing that I shall be able to clap beautifully by flapping the one bingo wing I’ve developed recently. Should go down very well with all those trendy night-clubbers.

Ah well, time for me to get into my glad rags and try to fix my face – better allow several hours.

Hwyl fawr!

Painting is 'Haverfordwest Castle' by Tom Tomos

PS There were copies of 'my 'anthology, 'Strange Days Indeed' in Tesco at Haverfordwest today... what a thrill!