Friday, 31 July 2009

Moniack Mhor

This blog is a traditional diary really. On the Pepys model. Except not in shorthand. Not really intended to be read as entertainment. Part aide memoire, part writing practise. Like doing my scales. A way to limber up of a morning.

Today is Caron's birthday and she got a short dress, a short skirt, some bangles, a ring, some brightly coloured tights. Jill Dawson's A Great Lover... (Caron is a fan of her work...). 7 was worried (really worried, crying worried) he hadn't got her a present, so he gave her the tights...

And then I fought with the child tax credit people... like a million others. Very brusque, exasperated Glaswegian lady. Not a great day for her... This was a typical Gordon Brown scheme. Over complicated, fussy but also somehow fuzzy too... well intentioned but paranoid... and bureaucratic, trying to cover all angles and somehow satisfying nobody...

Just back from Inverness where I was reading at Moniack. Lovely group. I knew three from Lumb. Jane who has come a few times. Steph and the Canadian PR man - Ryan. Who used to do PR for New York City and now does it for Poundland. And here's the twist - Poundland pay more for their PR than the City of new York. Ryan was responsible for that whole 'best job in the world' thing which was actually a PR stunt for the queensland tourist board... or similar...

Lots of intelligent questions and a responsive crowd. Spent some time talking to a stylish, skinny indie-chick who turned out to be a Farsi and Arabic speaker who was just starting work at the Foreign Office. Our spooks have changed... for the better...

Today I've got to catch up on the writing. Gonna start with a shave...

Saturday, 25 July 2009

punching nice girls in the face

Yesterday I smacked two women in the face. They are perfectly nice women who had not harmed me in the slightest. There were witnesses too, and yet no-one intervened. I could have smacked them many more times, and much harder and still no-one would have stopped me.

I was in a boxing ring and these girls - Mandy and Kath - were in there too.

We've all been going to boxing training for a couple of years and we're all mates. We used to train at a bowls club in the village, but we sort of out-grew it and now the instructor (also an actor and TV writer. You'd know his face, even if you didn't know his name) has his own boxing gym in town. (prob our town is one of the few where a boxing gym will be run by an actor/writer, and where the clientele will include several published novelists, poets, actors, dancers, film-writers, acupuncterists, aromatherapists, masseurs, hypnotists, puppeteers, TV producers, professional layabouts of all descriptions)

Friday is sparring night and we were separated into two groups. Me and the two girls. My wife and two lads. I wasn't trying to hurt anyone. I was even really trying to hit anyone. Touch and move away, touch and move away, that was my mantra. But I'm clearly not quick enough or experienced enough to judge things probably. I'm also 13 stone and my opponents were 9 and half each. It would have been fairer to fight them both at the same time.

They were very good about it, but I felt wretched. Wretched enough to refuse if put in with girls again. It's just wrong.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

first post

I have a brain tumour. Actually I have rectal cancer with secondary tumours in the brain. Or, possibly, I'm just a bit knackered and don't get to bed early enough. The thing is, I haven't been ill for years, not so much as a sniff. This is a terrible burden because it makes me think I'm being saved for something truly hideous. And, worse than this, undignified. Anyway, to keep the hypochondria at bay I have booked myself a well man check at the surgery for Tuesday. And a trip to the dentist and bought some socks and pants. I'm in full on MOT mode. I would say I'm giving myself a bit of a service, but I know what you're like. You with your mind like a sewer - so I won't.

And I've got to ring the tax office about child-tax credits and about a self-assessment number. And I've got to book the car in for a service too. Ring the electrician about coming to fix the cooker like he promised he would weeks ago. And there's all sorts of nipping and popping to do. (to the co-op, to the community centre to book a badminton court, you know how it is - never a dull moment round here). It's the summer holidays. A chance to do some routine stuff cos I can't do much else cos I'm looking after seven. (We've two other children called respectively 22 and 15 - I know, what were we thinking...). Anyway, I'm keeping my mind occupied because apparently my next book Life! Death! Prizes! is in an acquistions meeting even as I type.

I love that book. It deserves a chance. It's a book worth being ill for. Not rectal cancer or brain tumours obviously, but I'd go as high as swine flu easy.