Sunday, March 30, 2008



On Thursday evening it actually wasn't raining or freezing cold. The sky was blue with clouds that were white instead of London default grey, the birds were singing their hearts out and we decided to go into the garden. It's a communal garden so you don't just wander out, you have to do the decision thing - get the key and any bits you want, make sure your hair's brushed and nothing's hanging out where it shouldn't, go out of the flat, out of the front door, down the steps along the street and unlock the gate. I've had a communal garden before & loved it but always ached for my own bit of earthy stuff I could drift out into and slob around in without all the key business. And do all the digging and growing things of course, but when it's a rental you're not so inclined. Over the 5 or 6 moves I've done over the past decade every kitchen was utter crap (apart from one which even had one of those slidey tall larders that you pull out from the wall, which I did about 500 times a day to get my money's worth) - but there always had to be a garden. But bloody hell this one is amazing.

We have a balcony as well, but it overlooks the basement flat's garden which makes it a bit embarrassing when they're out there and you're out there. It also has a grandstand view of Author Next Door's garden which is just too weird. However, I took laptop with me into the square and, hooray, I can get onto my wireless from the garden bench. Not so good for the wordcount but means it's more likely to become permanent summer office. Checking my e-mails, like you do, one from agent in. I'd sent the MS earlier in the day but somehow it had gone into zip up mode so I had to resend it. Thought it fortuitous that off it went from one of the loveliest spots imaginable.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008



Slight sorry-for-self glums today. Reached the stage where I read a blog this morning and thought how amazing that some people, even slightly wonderfully un-normal people, have normal lives where they go out and do things and enjoy things and all.

I haven't sent the novel yet, am fiddling and fussing. Just as well because there was lots to tweek. Keep thinking could edit one more chapter before it goes.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Saturday, March 15, 2008



Came across this on last weekend's saunt. A brick wall rather than a house but still. Had escorted daughter & friend to Victoria to see her Christmas gift from friend, Wicked, & decided to walk home. It was raining & I didn't have a map so more than a few false turns. Found the Albert Hall eventually & bussed the last leg. I enjoyed being lost & must do it more often.

A mid-week jaunt as well this week, with writer friend to the Derek Jarman exhibition at the Serpentine. We had our laptops with us and intended to retreat to caff to write afterwards, we have identical deadlines, but somehow nattering took over and time was just too short. The nightmare traffic didn't help, worst for 9 years the paper said after Hammersmith Broadway and all roads leading closed for 24 hours. Because of this we did accidentally in a roundabout way come across a blue plaque heaven though - 3 biggies for 1 at 22 Hyde Park Gate, - at the end of a cul-de-sac even the most footly of saunts would never fall upon.

You may have noticed slight obsession with writers and their houses at the moment. Maybe because I'm a writer without a house. Library book had me noting the list below for some more far-flung trips one day. When I'm into old ladyhood proper. Perhaps I'll even do a coach trip. I've always secretly enjoyed coach trips, being looked after, told what to do and when to pee and where to take tea, I haven't been on one since I was 11 but I can feel the new age approaching. Maybe there'll be a novel in it, The Magic Bus Revisited.

Shandy Hall, Coxwold, Yorkshire

Penshurst Place, Kent

Batemans, Burwash, East Sussex

Down House, Down, Kent

Charleston, Firle, East Sussex

Chawton, Hampshire

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008



After completing the new, final screwing down of the plot am back at the beginning for what is going to be the last major re-edit. I've transferred the relevant comments and notes from the edited chapter summary to the final text and now have to work them in. For Chapter 1 it's working in the setting up of one of the sub-plots - something the reader wants to find out and worry about unfolding beneath the main action of the plot. It feels so good to be working with an agent who is an editor, an editor who really knows her stuff inside out whatsmore.

Am printing off each chapter as I go, to work on by hand. It's the only way. Trouble is it's so tedious having to type it all in afterwards. However, at Monday's writers' pub night, met an American poet who was raving about the New Yorker podcasts. Have discovered I can do the copying back onto the computer bit whilst listening to stories at the same time. This makes it oh way, way much more of a pleasant way to spend a day. I know some people can write with music playing, have never been able to understand that. I couldn't do the actual writing bit but copying out my scribble is OK. This morning it was Paul Theroux talking about and reading Borges' The Gospel According To St Mark. Twice. Theroux sounds great, so much more normal and unaffected than I had imagined him.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, March 10, 2008

INTERVAL III When a 70s icon comes to town:


When teenagers go to a gig, getting hugger-mugger with a lot of other kids is a big part of the attraction. For an audience of this age, such compression's pure horror. They don't like each other any more. They're ever so big and unweildy and they don't fit in their seats. They're stiff and they don't like having to get up to let people by. They have weak bladders, prostate trouble. It's one of the few occasions I've been to where there was a long and impassioned queue for the gents and none at all for the ladies. And the night was long, well over four hours. Some fans couldn't stay up so late. And the crammed hall became not just horribly hot but smelly too. Farty, to be precise. Gigs are hard going for the geriatric. It was worth it to see Neil Young though.....

David Sexton on, Neil Young at the Apollo
Evening Standard 7.3.08

Monday, March 03, 2008



For the next 6 days only:
The Archive Hour
featuring the recently-discovered Philip Larkin tapes.

For the next 7 days:
Woman's Hour featuring our very own Petite.