Monday, 14 August 2017


According to author Robert McCrum, in his new book Every Third Thought, every third thought of those of us over 65 is about death.

I have never seen death mentioned in a blog post (apart from in the context of personal bereavement), and thinking about it now, that seems strange. After all, life and death are the two basics we all have in common. We are alive, and we are going to die.

I fall into McCrum's age bracket, and yes. I think about death a lot. And it's not a prospect I relish. I feel like Woody Allen, who famously said that he wasn't afraid of death; he just didn't want to be around when it happened. I think I feel the same. I do have a fragile faith, but will it stand up to this final challenge? Quite possibly not. I regularly read the late great Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's book, Life After Death, because I find it comforting. She was a doctor who worked all her life with dying people, and she had no doubt at all that there is a (good) life after death. Am I pathetic? Quite possibly.

And yet it is hard to imagine a futureless ( for me) world. I remember laying out the body of a twenty-two-year-old girl. This was terribly sad, as these things alway are. But what I found especially poignant was that she had painted her toenails (blue). She knew she was going to die, and she was very frightened, but those sky blue toenails were like a small fragment of hope; a little stake in a future which wasn't to be.

And I can understand that.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Uses for an outsize cardboard box: No. 1

Well, since Amazon have declined to repossess their box (see previous post) I shall put it to good use. This is use no. 1. The photo is of all of my descendants (apart from one, who was born later. It's an old photo). No matter that we can no longer go up the kitchen stairs; I like seeing my family, and the two ancient jugs inherited from my parents.

Monday, 7 August 2017

A very dull post about a box

When this box arrived, I wondered whether I'd ordered a small bed or a fridge in my sleep. But no. It simply contained a (horse's) girth, as seen draped over the box. Oh - and lots of that drapey brown paper beloved of Amazon, to fill up the considerable space around it.

Now I have three problems:

1. This  thing will have to stand in the kitchen until I've tried the girth for size (I've been ill, and haven't been near the horse for a week), as I shall have to use the box if I need to return the girth. The box takes up a lot of room.

2. The box will take a lot of flattening, and will be hard to fit into the little recycling bags we're given.

3. Managing my indignation at this sheer waste.

So - I shall email Amazon and ask them to collect their box (which is presumably now my box) as I am giving it back. They can deal with it.

That's all.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Happy Birthday!

I've only just realised that this year marks the tenth birthday of my first novel, Dead Ernest. It doesn't seem possible that ten years have gone by. Like a first baby, there's something very special about a first novel, and I was disappointed when the publisher stopped issuing it in paperback. But lots of people liked it, including Andrew Davies (of Pride and Prejudice fame), who loved it, and a TV producer wanted to make it into a film, bu sadly, failed to get the necessary financial backing. She even had a well-known actress interested in playing the lead .Luckily, I didn't get too excited, as I had long since learnt that disappointment is built in to the writing game. But it would have been nice....

If you'd like to give Ernest (and me) a birthday present, please buy the Kindle version (or a second-hand copy) from Amazon. I know the Kindle is £4.72 ( and I've badgered the publisher to bring down the price), but it would make one writer (and one dead hero) very happy...

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The gas man and déjà vu

This has just happened again. It happens every year, and some years I mention it and some years I don't. This year's gas man was Gary. We liked Gary 😀

And we're still alive. And so is the boiler. I've just thrown away the "do not use this appliance" label, as I always do, but maybe I should have saved it for next year. Sigh.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Of feet and doormats

This morning, I had a bewildering experience in a hardware shop. Picture the scene. Man in front of me completing his transaction; me behind him queueing with a new doormat (life in the fast lane, eh?).

Man: I'll finish and let this gentleman (me) buy his mat.
Me (hurt): I'm a woman!
Man (apologetically): I was looking at your feet.

These are my feet, above, as exhibited this morning. Do they look like male feet? Please tell me they don't. The woman behind the counter was literally crying with laughter. I was just...crying.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Brooklyn Beckham...

...has published  a book of photographs: What I See. It is flying high in the Amazon listings, although I gather the photos are rather poor.

Two things:

1. Of course, as a struggling writer*, I envy his success, and the fact that a name undoubtedly gets you places. But -

2. Do people really have to be quite so nasty (read the reviews)? The photos may be bad, but if Penguin, no less, were prepared to publish it, he'd have been a fool to say no. Would you have turned down a deal from, Penguin? I certainly wouldn't. And his name must be a handicap as well as a help, for how will he ever know whether something he has done is good or bad, when the name of Beckham will inevitably open doors wherever he goes? He's only eighteen. I genuinely hope that he's not hurt by those reviews, but that his parents have prepared him for this sort of unkindness.

*Please read my books! Just saying...