You know that t-shirt, the one you always reach for when you're feeling blah? You thought you'd left it in that dreadful hotel with the pink bedspread that cheered up The Girl, and the gloopy cherry jam for breakfast, and the caged bird that was your only wolf-whistle in years. You'd hung it behind the bathroom door and promised yourself you wouldn't forget it. But you did, didn't you? You've been mourning it ever since. Nothing else makes you feel as comforted as that t-shirt.
Sunday, 30 September 2007
Saturday, 29 September 2007
Before we bought our first home together, the closest The Australian got to DIY was replacing a lightbulb. Now he has a deluxe toolbox and can name all the different types of screws - all well and good, you might say, but deluxe toolboxes come with the following freebies:
The Builders' Heavy Sigh (in every size from Mildly Solemn to Gravely Tormented)
The B&Q Twitch (an inability to let a weekend go by without popping in for something useful he hasn't got yet)
And it is this last one that has formed my second blister. Wall-tapping starts out fairly harmless - I used to think it was quite sweet when he'd follow a builder around the flat, tapping in the same places the builder had tapped and trying to be in the gang. But even after all the walls had been tapped, all the facts about said walls verified, and all the building work complete, the wall-tapping continued. Tap-tap-tap. And still continues to this day, even though we're moments from moving out - he doesn't care whose walls he taps these days, tap-tap-tap, it's a compulsion.
Tap-tap-tap. If you look closely there are tiny knuckle marks all over the place. When I challenge him about it he gets very defensive. "I do know what I'm doing!" he insists. Tap-tap-tap. "Do share," I urge. "I'm . . . checking for something." "For what?" "You're not interested, never you mind." "Tell me." "No." Tap-tap-tap. "Is it a secret? Are you sending Morse Code to all the other builders in the world?" He generally leaves the room at this point, and resumes the tapping in private.
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
I am a VIP. It says so here on my first-ever invitation to a perfume launch. There will be champagne, a chance to meet the perfumer, have a "bespoke fragrance consultation" and buy limited edition engraved bottles of . . .
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
It is five years to the day since The Australian's prolific wooing of me finally paid off. Not in the biblical sense - please! - I'm talking romance, here. To mark the occasion (other than with gifts and cards, which we exchanged like children on Christmas morning at about 6.53am) I thought I'd start a new series for my blog about all the things he does around the house that really get up my nose. Romantic, see?
And so to my Domestic Blisters: the things that really rub when you've been living together for some time . . .
No. 1: KNIVES
Why does he always have to use the biggest knife imaginable, no matter what he's cutting? I ask him to slice up some kiwi fruit for The Girl, he produces some sort of Samurai Warrior sword. A few herbs to sprinkle on a salad? Hmm, this is a job for my 16-incher, thinks he. He says he can't cut with small knives. He also wonders why it bothers me so much, and then I point to the huge great shining blade he's left overhanging the kitchen counter and then to the small, inquisitive child.
Ah, but I love him anyway. Happy Anniversary, Australian Smith.
Sunday, 16 September 2007
I am the proud owner of a new haircut, my first in 18 months. I was scared to go in case Paolo gave me a speech about neglecting myself and did that awful picking-up of rat-tailed clumps with a disgusted look on his face, or smoothing it down from the roots to expose my unsightly regrowth. But there was none of that. The only time I was told off was when I asked for advice:
In her typical fashion, Madonna ignited a storm of controversy last year when she explained her reasons for becoming an author.
"I'm starting to read to my son," said the Material Girl, once famed for her sexual escapades and pointy bras. "But I couldn't believe how vapid and vacant and empty all the stories were. There's, like, no lessons. ... There's, like, no books about anything."
Thursday, 13 September 2007
In between reading the highly absorbing, moving and funny Queen Mum, by Kate Long, and what promises to be a thrilling debut by Lisa Glass (Prince Rupert's Teardrop), I've been dipping into James N. Frey's How To Write Damn Good Fiction. Because I'd like to. Damnit.
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
As well as being nice to look at, The Girl and The Boy give me constant small reminders of the golden rule of writing for children: remember that children are at least one step further ahead than you think they are, (or sometimes one step ahead of you). They show me this in a range of ways - some of which make me swell with slightly stunned pride (like yesterday when The Girl told me why we should buy Fair Trade bananas), and others which make me growl a bit with the inconvenience and then sniff a little at how fast they grow up (like this morning when I realised that I could no longer put my coffee on the coffee table because The Boy has learnt how to pull himself up - amazing how he learns these things overnight . . . especially when he wakes up so damn often).
At a dinner party a few years ago, a woman asked me what I did and when I said "Write books for children" she kind of snarled "Oh that's such easy money," then nudged her husband and said "We should do that." "You really should," I urged, as the grudge frothed up inside me, turned solid and vowed never to leave me. I tried to think of a nasty comeback about one of their jobs but . . . I couldn't remember what either of them did.
Not only is it not easy money, it's not easy - or not very often, anyway. And getting the balance right between not talking down to the reader and not going over their heads is the trickiest part. I'm just glad I get these small reminders, even if it means I can no longer reach my coffee.
Sunday, 9 September 2007
Kill a minute / discover what your inner book is. I'm:
You're Prufrock and Other Observations!
by T.S. Eliot
Though you are very short and often overshadowed, your voice is poetic
and lyrical. Dark and brooding, you see the world as a hopeless effort of people trying
to impress other people. Though you make reference to almost everything, you've really
heard enough about Michelangelo. You measure out your life with coffee spoons.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
A friend asked me what the highlights of my holiday were, and I felt obliged to think of something profound, cultured, or at least grown-up. When nothing came I admitted that the best bits were:
1. Leaping with gay abandon on a bouncy castle.
2. Swooshing down a water slide. Thrice.
And this week I've discovered another thing I'm not too old for:
3. Teething. Unless I'm such an Earth Mother that I'm having sympathy pains for The Boy, I do believe I have a wisdom tooth coming. I'd gnaw on a Bickipeg if I could shove it back far enough, and if they didn't smell of dog biscuits.
So now I'm wondering whether I might also be young enough for:
4. Those shoes that have wheels on the bottom.
And I'm also heartened to learn that the oldest first-time novelist was 101 when his book came out. George Dawson was born in 1898 in Texas, and didn't learn to read until he was 98. And he died a year after his book was published (by Random House) so he didn't even have to suffer from the dreaded second-book syndrome.