Saturday 28 August 2010

No holiday this year

So here's the scenario. John, just diagnosed with DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and I are being given The Talk. The doctor in question gives a lot of these talks, and is determined that we shouldn't miss a single word. We are shown a figure with blue lines for the veins, and red for the arteries (try to remember that. Blue for veins, red for arteries), and he begins to describe what's happened, in mind-numbing detail. I mention that I'm a nurse, and I know about DVTs, but that's brushed aside. We have to listen. To all of it. He is, he tells us, the expert, and no-one for miles around knows as much about DVTs as he does (GPs, apparently, know nothing at all). We say what about our holiday (which should start tomorrow)? He ploughs on. We must visit the hospital for tests on Monday, says he. But our holiday? Without treatment, John will be dead in seven weeks, says he (in the couse of the interview, he tells us this three times). John begins to lose his temper. The doctor announces that he, too, is becoming angry, and is taking ten minutes out to calm down. I lecture John on the necessity of keeping his cool, because (a) it's polite, and (b) we never know when we might need this doctor again (perish the thought).

The doctor returns, John apologises very nicely (as I have instructed him to), and we proceed. We are told again that we need to come back for tests on Monday (our holiday is brushed aside, once again, as is the fact the Monday is a bank holiday). We are shown horrific pictures of the worst case scenario (a man with what looks like a large, supurating black balloon on his chest; I'm still not sure what that was supposed to be). Our holiday? we ask. Again. That's ok, says he. We can go on our hoilday. What, flying? Certainly. But what about the tests on Monday? Ah. That's ok, because we can find a doctor and a hospital and get them all done when we're there (he hasn't asked where we are going; it could be Brighton, or Australia). We will be in Corsica, we explain. Miles from any hospital.

At last he hears us. No We can't go on our holiday (I thought not), but we must still come back on Monday for tests because otherwise John will be dead in seven weeks blah blah blah....

I cannot fault the doctor's patience, and I'm sure his knowledge is second to none But by the end of an hour I feel like going out and beating my brains to a pulp against the concrete in the car park (whose machines we have been steadily feeding with coins during the course of our ordeal). It is bad enough having to cancel our holiday, but this quite unnecessary lecture is the final straw. (As is the pile of lovely new books sitting waiting to go on holiday with us.)

Well, at least we can sit at home and read...

Tuesday 24 August 2010


The WIP is no longer a WIP (or nearly no longer) - it's a FWIP (or will be when I've finished editing it, but as I tend to edit as I go along, there isn't a huge amount to do). This is a serously scary time, as I love the journey (the writing), but the arrival is full of potential potholes. Firstly, of course, what will Agent think of it? This really matters a lot. And if she approves, will she find it a good home? A bidding war (dream on)? Even a two-figure bidding war would be nice, just so I could boast about it. (Actually, the French had a little bidding war over Birds and Bees, but a French bidding war isn't quite the same).

And I realised too late that not only have I done animal funerals again (as mentioned in a previous post), but human ones, too. What is it with me and funerals? Certainly I seem to have been to quite a few, including my first husband's (that was such a nightmarish day I don't know why I'm even mentioning it), and in another life I quite fancy the idea of being an undertaker (sorry. Funeral Director). But otherwise I wouldn't say I was over-preoccupied with death.

So. Very soon, The Wait will begin. Aaaaaaaagh!

Sunday 22 August 2010

Posh new website

I have a very nice new website courtesy of Danny (nephew-in-law, if there is such a thing), colour scheme devised by Lotte (niece). The original was designed by one of my sons in a great hurry, and I was extremely grateful for it, but I think this is cleaner and generally more professional-looking (sorry, Barney!). It seems to have stolen some of the photos from my blog, but someone is coming to help restore them. How I envy those of you who can do these things yourselves...

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Delaying tactics

I have been doing a lot of blogging recently, and there is a very good reason for this. I am avoiding the WIP.

I have reached the end. Nearly. And I am terrified that the ending (and the whole book, come to that)isn't going to come up to scratch. The more I think about it, the more worried I become, so I sign in and blog, and that is writing and feels like work (although of course it's not), and it takes my mind off the novel. I've written nearly 92,000 words (I was aiming for 90,000-95,000), which is a considerable investment of work and thought and, yes, love. Because like most (all?) of us, I love writing. But supposing it's no good? Supposing it joins the Failed Novel in obsurity? Will I be able to face this with fortitude, or will I just crumple and give up?

The other worry is, once it's finished, what shall I DO? Of course, there's plenty to do, but as all writing addicts know, if you haven't got something on the go, life loses much of its pleasure (and I, for one, become very difficult to live with). I'm not one of those writers who can start a new book straight away, although I'd love to be able to, so it's going to leave a big gap in my life.

Of course, there's still a lot of editing to do, but the fact remains; most of the writing is done. And I'm really, really not looking forward to it all being over.

Sunday 15 August 2010


Just to get away from grandchildren (I feel I've been overdoing it a bit), I thought I'd write about paint. Paint colours, to be exact, and their names. They are, after all, words.

I've always been interested in the names paint companies such as Dulux give to their colours. Pretty, whimsical names; names that often have little to do with the colour in question ("dawn"? "nightshade"?). But I wonder how important the names actually are? For instance, would someone be more likely to buy a green named "leaf", even though it wasn't nearly as nice a colour as (for example)the one labelled "dung"? Would "primrose" always out-sell "scrambled egg", even though scrambled egg might go better in the bedroom? A colour chart featuring names such as "blood" and "gloom" and "puddle" could catch on. It would make a change, anyway...

Don't drop me!

I'm sorry - I shall be very boring about this baby, but we've all been waiting for him for a long time. And since I'm being bombarded with photos, it's only fair to share them, isn't it?

Saturday 14 August 2010


I love talking to my grandchildren. I love the wacky questions and the weird conversations. I've just had two small grandsons to stay (aged 8 and 6), and we had some lovely chats, from why you can't bury a horse in your garden, to the following:

Freddy: Granny, what's the furthes away you've ever been?
Me: Africa.
Freddy: where in Africa?
Me: Zambia.
Freddy: why didn't you go to Chad?

Why indeed. I have no idea why I found this so entertaining. It could be that I've barely heard of Chad, or simply the inconsequential nature of the question. Or the fact that it's almost impossible to answer. Why didn't I go to Chad? Perhaps I should put that right while I've still got the energy.

Meanwhile the lavatory jokes rumbled on ("I've just done a poo in the shape of a woman!"). Why are these so endlessly entertaining for the under-somethings (not to mention one or two over-somethings)?

Friday 6 August 2010

Something to celebrate

One of my sons and his wife have had an appalling two years. A miscarriage at 12 weeks was followed by stillborn twins at 21 weeks. But at last there is good news. Lucas was born yesterday - all 9lbs 9ozs of him - and we're all celebrating. We've just got back from seeing him, and he's absolutely gorgeous!