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Oh my goodness. What a week! Rarely so fried… You know how I like lists…. So I’ll do one and try not to use ellipses to the point of ridiculous…. (sorry).

1) Monday: M’s first solo violin concert. Plus three other group pieces. Did beautifully, despite meltdown over the previous weekend. Too much! Was supposed to do a maths challenge and a cross country run the same day. Hmm. We pulled her out of the run. Her violin teacher fetched and carried: playing the instrument, playing with dogs, a snack. That evening, she soared.

Oh, and we forgot E was off to London, to the Barbican to hear a concert. Oops. Got text: am on the bus to London. Have no money or lunch. Double oops. He begged, borrowed and stole. Apparently.

Beautiful food.

2) Tuesday: can’t remember a thing about it. Teaching.

3) Wednesday: M picked up by gorgeous Nancy, who took her for a picnic and brought her to Dance Warehouse, where I met them for an open lesson. E with me, and we both pas de basque-ed at some point…heavens knows when or how. Sandwiches in the car. E whisked into his concert — in two choirs — R showed up 10 mins beforehand from meeting. I went to Sainsbury’s to get something to take to writing group (hello Andrew, Nancy, Craig, Jeremy and Mark!). Ran into M’s drama teacher, who enthused about her and informed me that M had (once again) come home with Distinctions for top effort points in her form. Heavens! Forevermore. Lights under barrels and all that.

Writing group — a new combination — fantastic.

4) Thursday: admin, both kids home. Facing the chronic disaster of the house. Ikea building.

5) Friday: another concert, E on piano this time. Tear-bringing good. Again. Debussy and jazz. Not at the same time. A buzzy couple of hours, particularly seeing so many teenage boys in their element, being respectful, enjoying the music. Hurray Sam Bailey!

Ikea building.

Beautiful food.

6) Saturday: MY BIRTHDAY! Chocolate cake made by all, tulips for present still blooming. And beautiful food.

Laundry and Ikea building.

7) Sunday: Chocolate. Lamb, flagelet beans, mashed carrot & swede, potatoes dauphinoise, roasted parsnips.

Lordy. More laundry and vague Ikea building.

8) Today: end of laundry and end of Ikea building. Unpacking into it all! Trip to dump and a silly play a the swimming pool. Absolutely glorious chicken risotto.

25,000 words reading for next week. Hello students, hello world.


Don’t really want to do that again. Hoping to stop by here in two days rather than seven…! Thanks for listening.

p.s. if you come back later, you may find some rightful links added…I…just…can’t…do…them…now…

I am still in doppleganger land. I feel I’ve been here before. Or never. I may have even titled a post this before. Or not.

My head is pounding. One of the questions I have about life today is why I leave it until I need king codeine before I take something. Another is why can’t I just do what I want to do. Only. Nothing else.

Don’t answer either of them because I know all the answers. It’s a real bugger, being more introspective than is really good for you/me.


This is much better.

Yesterday was E’s birthday. 12 years old. Have I mentioned that I remember crying on my twelfth birthday, because I would never be 11 again? I did. I remember walking up to the bus stop, standing there waiting, watching the yellow and black thing round the corner, the particular hollow roar of it. And the rubberised deep brown steps to get up. Sniffing all the while, and actually answering someone’s question: why are you crying? And actually telling that someone. If I weren’t already somewhere near the ‘weird’ end of the spectrum in deepest darkest southwestern Virginia, I’m guessing that with that answer I went there.

Answering questions are sometimes not in our best interests.

However. Yesterday E did not cry. He celebrated in his quiet way, despite a heavy cold. He smiled, he appreciated the food his father cooked for him (baked salmon on leeks and capers, baked potato, roast carrots, no stovetop yet!) and the twelve rather skewed candles I’d pressed through the chocolate shell of his cake. He blew all the candles out at once, but had forgotten to make a wish. Later, he blew the table candles out, wish made.

He’s making a fine 12 year old. Handsome, talented, funny, thoughtful — and as precious as the day he was born. More, really.

I’m allowed to say that, even if he reads this and is mortified. So there!


Great news last thing last night: the London launch for Losing You is set. Hurray! Details:

Losing You front coverVenue: Crockatt & Powell Ltd, 119-120 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE

Date: 13th December 2007

Time: 7 pm

Come one come all…. I’m pretty sure the holiday season adrenaline (or champagne?) will mean that someone will have to peel me off the ceiling, but hey.

I have to confess I love launches, love parties in general. I especially like my own birthday parties, of which I’ve had precious few, truth be told. The last one was some time ago (ahem!), when I turned 30. We invited everyone we knew and I made Mexican food. What I really, really loved was that everyone turned up with a present — this aspect of ‘birthday party’ hadn’t occured to me for some reason — and that everyone actually did sing the song. We took turns reciting (stumbling through) poetry…and then I think that was when one of our dining room chairs fell to pieces, a guest ending up literally under the table. Whereupon we burned the wrapping paper (and chair) in the fire. Ah, those were the days.

A launch is a bit like that of course, a celebration of something specific. Which explains my fondness for them. Somehow though I don’t think the kind people at Crockatt & Powell would be best pleased if we start breaking chairs, never mind chucking them in fires. So control yourselves. (Well, a bit of singing perhaps.)


From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning


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Who am I?

A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.