Thursday 18 November 2010


Right. Here is where I list further progress in novel writing via tv programmes I have watched. I have not watched a further episode of Mariella (don't worry they are all recorded on the oojamaflip and I will get to them soon). But I did just watch JK Rowling on Oprah. Inspired? You bloody betcha. She said that being at rock bottom provided her with a solid foundation. I am lucky enough to have been - or at least felt - at rock bottom in my life. It was long enough ago for me to honestly state that I have totally surmounted it and few enough years ago to be able to remember it well, if I try hard enough. So I'm already at an advantage, right? I have also purchased a much-needed laptop. This will enable me to work in front of the television whilst imbibing further inspirational ideas. See? More progress.

What else? Well. I had intended when I started this blogette, to explain my bag theory. It has helped many people whom I have explained it to, freeing them up to look at the big picture, so much so that they soon started to quote my bags back at me. Sadly, I have forgotten what's in my own bags. I need to work hard to maintain my title of Bag Lady of Bushey. Once I have sorted them out I will post on here and you too can benefit from lightening the load of your own bag by returning superflous property to its rightful owners.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Mummy on the Edge Families NW Mag Nov/ Dec 2010

How Mini-Me gets her toot after Angelina’s fluteless mission.

Gosh, it’s been a while since we’ve met. What’s happened since then? Me? Well, the little person my life revolves around aka Mini-Me has started Year 4, acquired a stepmother (I know! - But no good can come from writing about that…) and has nearly finished reading Harry Potter 6 - The Sickly Mallows; He casts a spell to force the Deatheaters to eat 127 packets of Tunnocks Teacakes each and they all throw up and die at the end – okay he probably doesn’t, but whatever. I’m not sure it’s suitable for her but she insists it’s fine and isn’t giving her nightmares and she has read and watched numbers 1 -5 innumerable times, so I’m going to save a neurosis for something more worthy.

She has also somehow coerced me into allowing her to take up the flute at school. In the mistaken assumption that instructions would be issued as to what to get and where from, I didn’t realise that I was supposed to find a flute from somewhere before she started lessons until it was toot late (Ha! Geddit?) So, I sent her to her first flute lesson sans flute. But I promised her that I would work on getting one toot suite (Ha! Never mind…) Having borrowed the teachers flute for the lesson, Mini-Me came back with absolutely no knowledge of what I was supposed to provide. However, I had done a bit of research that day so I knew what to ask.

“Do you need a straight flute or a curved flute, hmm?”

“Um... I don’t know mummy.”

I went on recommendation and discovered it was possible to rent a flute for Mini-Me from Prozone Music, based in a little kiosk inside Clarendon Muse at Watford Grammar Boys School. I promised her I would try to get one before her next lesson, with the absolute intention of doing so (but with also the absolute anticipation of my probable failure).

The evening before her second lesson, I drove to Prozone to collect the instrument I had arranged to hire at a cost of £60 for 3 months. I was instructed to bring proof of address and two forms of identification and my credit card. Hmm, I wondered, am I hiring a flute or a Kalashnikov? I got there to find that the instrument had not arrived yet. I was forced to while away an hour and a half in TK Maxx down the road and this increased the hire price to £100 by way of a powder blue cashmere cardigan at £39.99.

Meanwhile, I pondered my friend’s email containing a link to a website that offered a curved flute (for her little arms) to buy for £99. But I needed this instrument by tomorrow’s second lesson, or I would acquire a reputation! (Of what? Don’t ask.) When I went back to complete the deal I was confronted with a wadge of paperwork with caveats about Insurance and Responsibility (read Disaster, Blame and More Money). I was unable to process this probably straightforward and sensible documentation due to the swift and final activation of my anxiety reflex (doesn’t take much, really) and I caved and went home without the instrument. Yes, I felt very guilty when I arrived home from this fluteless mission. I put my hands on Mini-Me’s shoulders and explained thus: “I regret I was unable to procure you a flute in time for tomorrow’s lesson. However, I will try again and I’m almost sure you will have one by your third lesson” This elicited a look of slight disappointment but mostly pity. The look said: “My poor, pathetic, neurotic mother. How I love her.”

Anyway, the long and the short and the curve of it, is that I ended up ordering the toot from Student Music Supplies. They made a note of my precise delivery instructions (If I’m not at home, please deliver to any random flippin’ house on my street except for my immediate next door neighbour because I’d rather use Encona as eye drops than knock on her door) and it arrived just in time, the day before her third flute lesson.

Of course, the next morning I forgot to give it to her, so after I returned at lunch time from teaching my Sing and Sign class in Stanmore, it was with slow motion horror that I realised that my poor child may have had her third fluteless lesson. I ran up to the school desperately clutching the black case, begging the universe for a break. “I forgot to give this to her! Am I too late for her lesson?” I panted at the school secretary. “No”, she said, “it’s at toot-thirty!”

Info box
I ordered Mini-Me’s flute from SMS, They were really helpful over the phone and delivery was super-speedy: 01256 350 282

Prozone Music have a little kiosk at Clarendon Muse, at Watford Boys School. It’s advisable to phone the main shop in Chesham first. They were also very helpful and knowledgable: 01494 776 262.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

I have begun to fail by failing to begin.

So I started this thing how many weeks ago? And I've posted how many entries? Exactly. But well, y'know, I've sorta been writing them in my head. I write a lot that way. Especially in the shower. Or when I'm cooking. Someone needs to invent a showerproof and greaseproof laptop. I don't know why I am unable to write. Yesterday - or the day before, I wrote a very long and rambling email to my clients re the work I do for them. It was silly and probably defeated it's purpose being as it was to get people to decide what merchandise to purchase and to re-book my classes for January and being that they had to scroll down acres of my mindless regurgitation before getting to the salient points. But some of them liked it. Should I post it??

You see, now I'm writing this, with precisely no one in mind to read it. Maybe that's what I need to do. Maybe just write for myself as if no one's going to read it. Maybe that will allow me the freedom I need. But as I write this, I am experiencing self-loathing, disgust at the ugly vanity displayed by my ego at even considering that anyone would want to read anything I have to say. Especially as, right now, it appears I have nothing to say.  

I can see that I'm going to drive myself mad in this vein fairly regularly. I need to keep at this though. I actually thought of a plot yesterday (of the novel variety). I talked it over briefly with MF (for whom I need to think of another pseudonym because MF sounds like something very very rude which did not occur to me when I first came up with it but which made me cry with laughter after he pointed it out to me).

Anyway, actually I'm not reporting all progress. I am upstairs now having kissed Mini-Me (8) goodnight after watching half an hour of Mariella Frostrup on Sky Arts' The Book Show. I have to watch that programme regularly. Maybe it will be the catalyst (read rocket up arse) that I need to start writing my oevre. Also, Mariella Frostrup is so clever and attractive, with her nail file voice, and silky tan blouse, her golden light shines over drab plebs in the audience at whichever literary festival she's at. She interviews Salman, taking care to stress the correct syllable of his name and playfully chides gap toothed whassername who writes all the horsey romps about having a romantic lead who is nearing 70 and should be looking after her grandchildren. See, I've just seen it and I can't remember whom I'm talking about. Thats the problem. No memory. No tenacity. Just laziness. I mean, who else is going to attempt to pass off watching half a tv programme as progress in novel writing. Especially when attention wanders to what I would look like if I cut my hair in a bob like Mariella. And whether I could get away with wearing a bow fronted blouse like Mariella. Instead of concentrating on useful stuff like what Jilly Cooper (THAT'S IT) has to say about the perfect male romantic character.

Y'know those slot machines where you stick coins in and they fall onto a shelf which moves back and forth against an arm seemingly pushing the coins off the end of the shelf? I am one of those coins. Ostensibly being pushed by external forces and environmental shape changes... gradually... slowly... towards... the... cliff, where it will ultimately have to slip... (not leap bravely) into writerdom. Ostensibly. But not actually. In truth, it is stationary. Pressured, pushed, yet going nowhere.