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Showing posts from June, 2012

Picture This

‘Be punctual, bring props’ is today’s brief. My publishers, Choc Lit, have linked up with the UK’s largest coach operator, National Express, to give away a great selection of ‘summer reads’ on selected coach services to major airports and from major cities throughout July and August. My new novel Move Over Darling will be making its debut on the coaches, giving passengers a pre-publication preview which is why I’m on my way to Cardiff for a photo shoot.

My anxiety levels are stratospheric, there’s the ‘be punctual’ bit for a start. I hate being late, so I leave the house at Crack of Doom to allow for tractors and milking time on the long drive through narrow lanes. I manage to find a parking space at the station (my next worry). The train turns up on time, phew, and there’s enough space for me, my big orange sun hat and my small red suitcase.

In Cardiff I’m almost undone by the station loos where eight women are queuing for two cubicles one of which seems to be permanently enga…

Long Distance Love

Between nursing the poorly and nursing edits this week, I managed to meet up with my dear friends, the Ace Gang, aka the Thursday Girls, (for the day we met, of course). I went on a tour of Rose’s lovely new home, admired photos of Ann’s adorable new granddaughter and joined the girls for a cup of tea - all without leaving my desk! We’ve been a bit slow to pick up on the idea of video calls so there were a few teething troubles initially. Exclamations of surprise, laughter and cries of ‘Oh, there you are!’ from their end had me weeping and wailing at my end because I couldn’t see them. But once we’d found each other it was wonderful, nearly as good as old times, although, sadly, I couldn’t actually join in with the fizz and quiche. My goodness did I miss them when we finally ended the call, these brilliantly-supportive and dearly-loved friends who’ve been part of my life since we met as young (very young!) mums.

Ma and I have also managed a few video calls since she acquired her …

Top to Bottom

How life turns! One minute you’re up in the gods at the opera or schmoozing with Monty Don (to be fair, so were hordes of other people so I doubt that he noticed), and the next…
Well, Tom’s lost a stone since last week, thanks to norovirus (really, really horrid – stay away from it, folks), and the bug in my sinuses has made a last-ditch attempt to resist eviction. 
And just to give me something to do, my edits came in so I’m busy this week with them. Back soon!
Painting is Royal Festival Hall, by Tom Tomos

Part Two: A Day at the Hay Festival

Bunting’s a bit thin on the ground in this part of west Wales (mind you, so are houses) but Diamond Jubilee carnivals, apparently, are not. We seem to join up with one in every other village on our journey to Hay, but anyone not on a float appears to have turned up either at the Hay festival or in the town.

My daughter Rose and I are delighted to have been invited to help Honno Press celebrate twenty-five years of publishing Welsh women’s writing at their anniversary party, but first we go for a wander round the festival site. There are queues for author events, book-signings, ice creams, but not, thankfully, the loos which are surprisingly civilised. A steward is bellowing that this is NOT the queue for Jeanette Winterson at one line, another column is supposed to lead to Stephen Fry, although Rose and I aren’t convinced it’s the back of his head we can see, and there’s Monty Don in the bookshop looking – I’ll be able to tell Ma – just like he does on the TV.

And so to the Moot and…

Part One: A Night at the Opera

It’s a couple of hours’ drive, at best, from here to the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, but since that pretty much takes us from door to door, it’s worth the occasional marathon for a good night’s entertainment. Tonight, however, in addition to the journey, we have a marathon opera; five and a half hours of Tristan und Isolde… although that does, thank goodness, include two intervals!

I fear, as we take our seats, that it’s also five and half hours of adjusting to the ablutionary habits of the man to my left, suggestive of a rather ‘stuff and nonsense’ approach to fancy shampoo. However, as the show begins and the exchange between Isolde and her maid, Brangaene, goes on at length, I get rather comfortable and enjoy a little power napette which refreshes me nicely for the rest of the performance.

I’ve come in the hope of being converted to Wagner, but by the end of Act One there’s some way to go. My younger daughter, Rose, played the French horn at school and when we heard that her te…