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I can’t believe I am nearly at the end of chapter five! More than half way through (my outline has nine chapters though it may turn out to be a little more or a little less). Of course it’s all crap, and half of what I’ve written really belongs in different chapters, but at least I’ll have a first draft to tinker with.

I do really think a lot of it is crap. Or at least not up to my normal standard of writing. Added to which, my new word processing software has done weird things to the text, probably because I haven’t really understood templates and formats yet. That’ll have to come later. What – me a technophobe? Er… yes…


Have made some progress with the book this week, but mostly restoring the thousand or so words I think I lost from what I wrote for Chapter Three last week. And today I just had to give up and go back to bed, and when I got up, to go swimming to make myself feel better. It worked – sort of.

PS Still haven’t remembered the third thing I saw on my trip to town last week. Well, it can’t have been all that interesting…


Today on the bus back from the sleep clinic appointment, I spied a large and flamboyant young woman who used to go to my son’s school. As well as being – shall we say, voluptuous – she has always dressed very eccentrically, in bold colours and with large and multiple hair accessories: big bows, big bobbly hair ties, and today even a miniature hat which I think is called a fascinator. Actually when I saw her at the school I had always assumed she had some learning difficulty which caused her to dress oddly.

Today, however, she was in the company of not only her mother (who is not flamboyant at all), but a distinctly hot boyfriend of Asian origin. They were snogging so enthusiastically on the seat in front of me that I didn’t have the guts to say, ‘Hello, you used to be at [name of school], didn’t you?’ Instead I just reflected that people do get the most unexpected partners, and that one should never judge by appearance. My mother comes out sometimes with a German proverb meaning ‘every pot finds a lid’. Which is patently untrue, or there wouldn’t be so many people (including myself for years) who are unwillingly single. But the scene before me did make me think of that saying. I just hope he’s being good to her – she can’t be more than 19 and I would hate to think of her getting exploited.

Meanwhile the book, which I restarted writing two days ago, is going swimmingly. I’m now more than halfway through chapter 3 (of 10-12, I hope) and really starting to enjoy the process of writing. I’ve rediscovered something I had forgotten: that writing makes me happy. At least it does when it’s going well…

Pub meetings et al

We had a parents’ inclusion group meeting last night, in the pub where the Kinks used to play. My minutes may have been somewhat affected by alcohol (champage, provided on her business by the group’s chair) and the difficulty of hearing anyone against the general pub chatter. It was however a pleasant occasion, with nibbles as well as drink to toast the departure of The Demon Headmaster.

I had hoped to report that I was no longer secretary of the group, having declared when I took it on that I would not do it beyond July. However in the absence of any volunteer to take over, we agreed that minute-taking and typing up would rotate round the group, and that I would continue to draw up agendas and send meeting reminders. Given the amount of flattery the group gave me to persuade me to stay on, I just had to cave in.

So today I was typing minutes again, but also, much to my own surprise, managed to get together three fairly presentable, if old, poems to send to the poetry competition which had miraculously extended its deadline so I could still enter. I also discovered that although it feels as if I haven’t written any poetry at all in the last five to seven years, there has in fact been no year in which I didn’t write at least one. Which is better than nothing. Nothing however to match 2003 when I wrote 35 – but then I was in love. Now I’m not.


Lord knows how it came up, but I found myself yesterday informing my teenage son that ‘feet’ in the Bible is often used as a euphemism for ‘genitals’ (as in the cherubim: ‘with twain they covered their feet’ – and it gives a whole new slant to Ruth uncovering Boaz’s ‘feet’!) He thought for a moment and then said ‘Jesus washed his disciples’ feet’. Hm – a little Bible knowledge can be a dangerous thing…

Not the election

I have nothing to say about the election, except that because of boundary changes I have been moved into a safe Tory seat and thus my vote was not worth the paper it was written on. Still, at least I got a vote, which hundreds didn’t.

I hate to admit anything good about the recession, but I can’t help taking a little Schadenfreude pleasure in the fact that our local gambling arcade has closed down. It’s an ill wind…

Atlantic adventure

I’ve been and gone and done it! (actually i haven’t been and gone yet, but as a result of doing it I will be and go this summer). Yes folks, I have booked three flights with a well known carrier to the good old U S of A, and am in process of working out a complicated itinerary which enables me and my hardworking family to stay in four different places and visit (or, in USspeak, ‘visit with’) seven different pairs of friends who have in the past been on the staff of the London Mennonite Centre and part of our congregation. Indeed, we will be ‘Mennoniting our way’.

Not only that, but I have done the whole process (well, most of it, of which more later) online, grappling yesterday and today with multiple websites and dates and prices which sent my head into a total spin. I am still not out of the woods, since I need to book two ‘roomettes’ on an overnight train from Chicago to Pennsylvania, but can’t do that until I hear from the Pennsylvania friends as to whether the dates we have chosen suit them. By which time, the ‘roomettes’ may very probably be booked up. Incidentally, the Amtrak website assured me that the standard bedroom could accommodate three people at a push, but when I tried to book one, it kept telling me the room was too small for the number of travellers. Make your minds up, Amtrak!

Somehow, (she says, crossing everything crossable and uttering a silent prayer), in a couple of months’ time we will be literally winging (and I mean literally literally) our way across the Pond that divides us by a common language. Whoopee! Well actually I am too exhausted to shout Whoopee, having been awake half the night worrying about the trip, but I promise I’ll shout Whoopee when I’ve had some sleep.

Gooseberry bushes

I absolutely refuse to believe, even though I read it in Marie Claire at the hairdresser’s, that the founder of a sperm donor clinic in Copenhagen is called Ms Stork. Next thing they’ll be saying babies arrive under a gooseberry bush.

As result of said visit to hairdresser I am now blonder than ever. No wonder my memory is getting so bad.

Another thing I refuse to believe is that I actually agree with something the BNP has said. Apparently they want troops out of Afghanistan immediately. This is however not enough (and nothing will ever be enough) to make me vote for them.

I fear in any case that their policy on this is nothing to do with the fact that killing people is a really bad way to solve problems, and everything to do with their ‘Fortress Britain’ mentality. They seem to think we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan because Afghans are bloody foreigners and don’t deserve our help. (Not quite sure why this doesn’t apply to Iraq as well.) As a bloody foreigner myself I am not likely to agree. If the BNP find out I am a second generation immigrant they will probably want to repatriate me to Austria. Can’t be long before they go for the Jews…