Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Hair yesterday - gone today and other stuff

I've done something today that usually frightens the life out of me. I went to a new hairdresser. Now you might think that that's really silly to be frightened of someone wielding a pair of scissors - but it's not. Hairdressers are notorious for cutting off too much - turning a fringe into a pelmet and hacking away at the back where you can't see until she whips out a mirror and says, what do you think? By then it's too late. The tresses are gone, the neck is bare and my face is visible to all. A scary thought. I like to really know my hairdresser - to be secure in the knowledge she is listening to me, knows what I want and does as I ask. So a new one is a terrifying ordeal. She has to be trained into my way of thinking. Has to know my particular foibles, as well as my follicles (is that how you spell it? It's too late to dig out the dictionary now) and generally pamper to my every whim. I'm not usually bossy, but I've had the odd - very odd - ghastly experience of hairdressers, so approaching a new member of the sisterhood is a daunting prospect.
But I should not have feared - and here, Chris, I give you my apologies for being unfaithful to you - but when the grey has come through in six inch tramlines along the top of my head, there is no other solution but to try and find a suitable replacement! For those of you in the dark, Chris is a brilliant hairdresser - but she lives in Cornwall, and as I had a bad back last time I was there and couldn't take advantage of her brilliant services, I've had to resort to finding a more local expert. It seems I was worrying needlessly. My hair has been beautifully cut, coloured and generally beautified from the previous sunbleached, tangled mess it was, and I feel so much better that I can actually face my reflection in a mirror. It's been a while.
Other news. Him indoors is going to be a grandfather again - and it's another girl. She will be born when we are in Australia celebrating my eldest son's birthday - but Christmas will be enhanced with her arrival.
Our new cat, Tilly is sitting on my lap, trying to help me write this blog. Not helpful at all. She can not only not spell, but she can't type either, and if I dare to try and get her off the keyboard, she swears at me. Nice. Nothing like snarling at the hand that feeds, cossets, strokes and fusses. Why do I love cats so much when actually they are selfish, stuck up, and generally antisocial except when they want to be?
My second son lives in Thailand and his sister is visiting him at the moment. He's broke as usual, but I seem to have become deaf to pleas of poverty. He's fallen off his scooter so can't do his diving at the moment and is scratching a living by teaching others to take underwater films - I suppose scratching is the wrong word really, as he's managed to scrape a good deal of his skin off on the rubble that's called a road in Koh Tao! Now he's moaning that his sister has brought the rain - I hate to tell him, but I thought it was monsoon season anyway!? I could be wrong.
Better go, talking rubbish and it's late, and I have to get everything done tomorrow morning nice and early so I can lounge about all afternoon and watch the tennis at Wimbledon. It's a terrible time waster, tennis at Wimbledon, but it wouldn't be summer without it. That and strawberries and cream. Some things are so British and so delicious they are impossible to resist. Good night!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Don't get it right, get it written!!!!

The above is an old writing adage which holds true today as it ever did. I find that if I crash through my stories from beginning to end and lay down the skeleton of the tale as quickly as possible, it makes the whole thing far more exciting - to write, and hopefully to read. Legacy is now finished - or at least I thought it was - my agent has decided otherwise and needs me to do a bit of tweaking before it goes off to my editor. Ho, hum, looks like it's work for me over the coming days, it's a good thing the weather forecast is bad and that my back has become accustomed to my typing chair again. It was murder a few weeks ago, couldn't sit, couldn't stand, couldn't even get into bed and lie down without a great deal of drama and being propped up by 'im indoors. He's fast becoming a legend, you know. People are always asking after him - and he's threatened to start up his own blog in competition. I've told him to go ahead - anything's better than him crashing into mine and messing the whole thing up like last time! Lovely he might be, kind certainly, but he's no computer buff, and I always know when he's been experimenting.
Anyway, with Legacy almost under my belt, my thoughts have now turned to what I am going to do next. It's a puzzle, and not an easy one. Should I continue with the Australian historical romances - should I set the new one firmly in England - or should I start it in England and end up in Australia? There seems to be a problem in the UK with books set in Australia - the supermarkets and larger bookshops don't like them - I have no idea why - so consequently, I'm not very well known over here. If I write a book set in England, will that at last see me breaking into the bestseller list here - or will it alienate all my readers who love the books set in Australia. It's a conundrum - and one I have yet to solve. Ideas on a postcard please - or better still, write to me here and let me know what you think.

A Day at the Races

It's that time of year again, and bad back or not, I was not going to miss Ascot. We went on the first day, Tuesday, and i'm indoors drove us there to meet our friends - much more sensible than last year - and we arrived on time! The weather held up, sunny with enough breeze to make it pleasant, and I had recycled the hat from last year by adding lots of silk flowers. Rather resembled Eliza Doolittle, but hey, why not? It is summer after all and the sun was shining. The back is still bad, so I had a pair of flat, sparkly sandals tucked away in my handbag just in case the wedges got too much. I know I shouldn't have been wearing heels at all, but they were solid, and actually held up really well until the very end of the day. Then I reverted to being Tasmanian and off they came. The grass felt wonderfully cool on bare feet!
I managed to win a couple of quidlettes on the horses as well, although Frankie Detorri let me down by not coming in the first three - how dare he - but I was still down on the day. I'm not a gambler, the most I ever put on a horse is a pound each way on the National and The Melbourne Cup - but as I was at Ascot, could see the horses and watch the odds, I went mad. Five quid each way - talk about reckless!!!!
Lots of champagne, good food, good company and an easy drive home meant the day went well, and although my back suffered the next morning by being a little stiff, no real harm done!
I'm off for an MRI scan tomorrow so the specialist can see just what I've actually done to myself, then he can decide how to put it right. Keep everything crossed I don't need an op!
We finally managed to get to the garden centre today to sort out bedding plants for all those empty pots and hanging baskets - it's a bit late in the season really, but we had a lovely sunny afternoon, 'im indoors carried anything heavy, swore and went pink around the ears trying to put a sun lounger together and generally made himself useful. Love him. I know how frustrated he's getting with me being off form, but he's trying so hard not to lose it - I can forgive him a bit of a swear-up over the sun lounger - the instructions were in Chinese, and the diagrams were absolutely no help at all.
I am writing this late at night because there's rubbish on the tv, football, football, football and repeat programmes - lovely - there are moths coming through the open window, the cat, Tilly is scratching frantically at the door and it's really my bed time. Tilly by the way is gorgeous, running to greet me every morning the minute she hears me up and about, sitting on my lap when I'm working - which isn't as much fun because she thinks she knows how to touch type - and generally endearing herself to me. Now I realise that cupboard love comes into this, she's being fed, loved and sheltered properly for the first time in her life and wants to keep things that way, but I like to think she likes me just a little, and I'm sure if her purring is anything to go by, she likes me quite a lot!
I'd better go, I'm rambling. Wish me luck for tomorrow. I have my flight booked for Melbourne in August, and I don't want to miss it.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Back in the Driving Seat

It's amazing isn't it? One bad back, six weeks of agony and a week of steroids and 'im indoors decides he's the blogger, author - general factotem! He even tells you my biggest piece of news before I can get my poor old bottom back in my chair! So now you know about the nomination and the fact that we're off to Australia in August - not really looking forward to the twenty three hours of flying - not with this back - but I wouldn't miss it for the world. And he's right, the art gallery is brilliant in Melbourne, and I can't wait to see McCubbin's Pioneers again. I have a large print of that tryptic on my wall in my lounge-room, and gaze at it frequently. It is so evocative, so beautiful that one feels you could just walk into it and smell the eucalyptus and the woodsmoke.
Enough of all that. I've had my hair cut and it's very short - too short really, but then I did risk a new hairdresser - always scary - and it will grow again. The one good thing about a bad back is that I've had plenty of time to sit in the sun and get a tan. Not politically correct really, but I feel better when I'm bronzed, and like to think I might even look a bit better too. The upshot is I can now wear orange and turquoise, and even yellow - colours not usually worn when pale and uninteresting in the winter.
The cats have settled in - just. We still have punch-ups in the middle of the night with fury felines doing the wall of death around the bedroom and up and down the stairs. But it's fun - some of the time. Tilly has decided she doesn't like the catflap and will only use it if him indoors opens it up and keeps it open with a bit of elastic so she doesn't have to put her nose against it and push her way through. Very lady-like - which is more than I can say about her language. Poor Bluey, he's quite shocked at her swearing, and when she's really wound-up, it is appalling!
Back to bed now. Will write again soon.

In Sickness and in Health.....

Hi there, it's 'm indoors writing a quick note on 'er upstairs behalf. Poor dear, she's been in a lot of pain with a suspected slipped disc for the last six weeks and can't sit at her workdesk for very long. And it's all been happening just at this most inconvenient time.
First the good news, 'Lands Beyond the Sea' has been shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year in Oz so as it's the first time the old girl has been nominated for anything - apart from the oldest swinger in town -we have decided to make another journey to the other side of the world this year and see what it's all about. Melbourne in winter, that could be fun, even in summer you can get all four seasons in a day but we do love the city itself and it will give us a chance to visit their wonderful art gallery once more.
The bad news? Well, apart from Tam's back I suppose there isn't any. We will miss most of our August break with friends in Cornwall and I do have to go on a boozy weekend in France on my own but if we can repair Tam's back and the pain killing steroids don't result in her growing a beard then the future looks bright. Here's hoping she will be back to write the blog herself very soon so I can get on with the important work of writing lists of jobs which I probably won't ever do.