29 December 2006


Guess who my first customer of the day was today?

Jo Wiley.

Pretty cool huh?

Image:Jo Whiley2.jpg

I kept looking at her thinking, blimey you look like Jo Wiley but what are the chances of her coming into my shop to buy a couple of books for her kids. Afterwards I made the ridiculous suggestion to my colleague who replied 'oh yeah, it probably was, she comes in all the time, she only lives up the road.' I was pleased I'd just smiled pleasantly and had her respond with a smile I can now interpret as 'uh huh, you clocked me but you're not going hysterical which is nice.' I was even more pleased I hadn't taken the 'oh wow, you really look like Jo Wiley, do you get that much? do you? do you? it's uncanny. of course you're not Jo Wiley that would be ridiculous but wow, you look like her' line.

28 December 2006

Let's ask Santa if this train goes to Luton.

The internet is an amazing place - now you can pretty much find out anything you want to. The problem is...what do I want to know?

You tube. What a great toy. But what do I want to see?

Tonight I typed in the name of my home town and clicked on a film called 'Santa Express'. It had me laughing out loud. You might want to give it a go.

25 December 2006

Christmas dinner as made by me;

whole roast leg of lamb - never done that before. Stuck it on as low as possible overnight and it just fell apart beautifully at lunch time. Roasted potatoes, parsnips, squash and sweet potatoes. Steamed baby carrots and mangetout. I've got to say, it was superb. And I made a pecan pie for the first time ever. (Jamie Oliver) Wasn't bad!

I now have the first entry in my new wine journal. ('New' referring to the journal!) Tupungato. Cab Sauv Malbec. I can strongly recommend. I rate it high 2. Now I'm drinking Tesco Finest Californian Cab Sauv. I rate it medium 1.

(ratings in ascending order; low 1, 2, 3, medium 1, 2, 3, high 1, 2, 3)

I know nothing about wine apart from that if it's red, I'll drink it. I'm going to try and be a little bit more informed by next Christmas.

22 December 2006

Even as he's holding up the toilet roll he's wondering why!

"You probably don't want to say that when you see her!"

If no-one sees the camera, is it really there?

They were NOT called Golden Nuggets.

I think you'll find they were.


Only sugary lolly pops could turn these cherubs into......

c R a Z i E s

you shall go to the ball!

21 December 2006

all change?

Today I spent a good quarter of an hour looking through all the hair dyes in Tesco deciding what to go for. Eventually I chose something that looked considerably different from my hair colour but natural enough not to make roots look like my head is cracking open when they grow through. I followed the instructions to the last letter.

The result?

Absolutely nothing. I can't see any difference, nor can mini-me.

20 December 2006

What mighty conquests rise from trivial things

Have been thinking big thoughts recently. It starts with me having a huge blank canvas and a paint brush in my hand......I add me and mini me in the middle......

All suggestions for a future picture welcome.

19 December 2006


"I can't find W"
"The W's. I can't find them."

Whose line?

Forgot just how much I loved 'Whose line is it anyway?' when it was on. Have only just dipped my foot into you tube.

Love Ryan.

Ryan Stiles

17 December 2006

Have just started reading this and I think it should be very good. More teen fiction - as I'm too busy at work to keep going with anything that needs a great deal of concentration at the moment - the blurb goes;

It was just supposed to be a routine exam. But when the doctors snake the fiber-optic tube down Robert Smith's throat, what they discover doesn't make medical sense. Plastic casings. Silver filaments. Moving metal parts. In his naked, anesthetized state on the operating table, Robert hears the surgeons' shocked comments: "What the hell is that?" "It's me," Robert thinks, "and I've got to get out of here." Armed with a stolen automatic and the videotape of his strange organs, he manages to escape, and to embark on an orphan's violent odyssey to find out exactly who--exactly what--he is.

Quite the weekend

2 days off in a row deserves blogging!

made an apple, blackcurrant and redcurrant crumble, 3 dozen mince pies & 20-25 parmesan cheese rounds for savoury snacking.

Had the work Christmas do which was fun. Lots of fabulous chinese food to eat, hugs from people I least expected but most welcome and lots of agreeable red wine. Plenty to laugh about and a most successful secret santa.

I gave a picture type of thing I had drawn that went down really well. I received a pack of 4 Reebok running socks that I am well chuffed about. I reckon the poor quality socks I've been using before might be partly to blame for the sore legs I've had all week that has prevented me from running. We shall see.

KA had its Carol Service this evening which was packed out and went really well. Always very creative and ambient.

And now we head into the mythical and legendary WEEK 34, the place where dreams come true and nightmares flourish!

15 December 2006

christmas visit. ho ho ho.

tomorrow (later today technically)
we have the M.D coming to visit.
no doubt he'll be happy
just to make small talk
and not get bogged down with details over
atv figures and
'this is meant to be an 'appy occassion,
let's not bicker over who killed who.'

14 December 2006

It's official.

I asked '82ASK' if my sister would like the cuddly bunny i've bought her for christmas and they replied that while they didn't know my sister, she probably would like it because, and i quote; "most girls like stuffed animals."

is there anything a phone can't do for you?

12 December 2006

The Rope Ladder

Hot on the heels of my last read, I have picked up another proof. I think this is a teen book and it's by Nigel Richardson. I'm 66 pages in and finding it really gripping. Just the kind of easy, exciting quick read I need at the moment.
(his first novel)
There really is so much good, quirky, well written teen lit out there.

9 December 2006

Alone on a Wide Wide Sea.

Just zipped through Michael Morpurgo's latest in the last couple of days after having had a proof sat on my shelves for a good 2 or 3 months. For something that resides in the 9-12 section it's pretty harrowing. It's like a seretonin-free Louis Sachar's 'Holes'. Clearly by the speed at which I gobbled it up, it's compulsive reading. The first 2/3 reads more easily that the back third but it still hangs together pretty well.

Orphan boy gets shipped to Oz after his parents are killed in the war. He leaves with a key thread through with string given to him by his big sister Kittie. He meets a variety of cruel, sad, strange, gentle and hearty individuals who shape his life and move the story full circle until he has a daughter of his own and she decides to return to England and find out the truth about Kittie. Not a sniff of sentimentality and some pretty harsh things get thrown at the characters; abuse, snake bites, 30 foot waves to name but a few.

A very memorable read. I don't care if it's written for kids, he's a very accomplished writer, grounded in social realism and well worth the effort.

7 December 2006


6 December 2006

last night i caught a glimpse of f-nakaj'sbf.
i approve.
not that my approval was required.
all i have to say is that anyone who calls that silly hair but prefers this;

needs their eyes testing!

4 December 2006


I refer you to
where the following is posted:

"Do you have a book in stock called: 'Mayo'?"And there I was, like a fool, looking for a book that intrigued me by the title alone. There was I, expecting to be rewarded with a Mark Kurlansky-esque insight into the world of Mayonnaise - a la 'Cod' and 'Salt'."It's called Mayo: The Unknown Story"And there I was, like a fool, now even more intrigued, excited by this historical investigation into the very beginnings of the condiment... until..."And it's by someone called '...Chung Chang?' and '...John Holiday'."Oh.
Only today, in another unnamed, unmentioned, uncited and positively ANONYMOUS branch, the same request was made for 'Mayo' but then the customer added:
"It's the sequel to the curious incident of the dog in the night time."

3 December 2006


I need to up my running distance by a mile a week from now on if I'm going to stand a chance of completing the London Marathon.
So today I ran four miles. It took me 55 minutes which I know is really slow BUT it was further and longer than I've run before so I'm happy with that.
Bad news is that I've not been accepted through the ballot and all the Oxfam Gold Bonds have gone which means I have to find another charity to run for that still has places. I'm rather miffed about that.
But I ran four miles !!!!!
Need to plan a five miler for Thursday. >gulp<

30 November 2006

Homeland security announcement

Subject: Teacher arrested at JFK airport NEW YORK -

A public school teacher was arrested today at John F Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. "Al-gebra is a problem for us," Gonzales said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle'." When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes." White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the president.

29 November 2006


tonight i plucked up the courage to go and run with http://www.kingsafc.co.uk/ chaps while they did their mid-week training. I've been missing out on so much running time because it's dark by the time I leave in the evening. This way I get to run for as long as I can round a floodlit pitch. Kind of scary cos I only knew 2 of the guys there and I don't expect the others knew who the hell I was! I went for a modest 26.5 minutes which isn't bad considering I haven't actually run for quite a few days.

25 November 2006

2 purchases

Chicken with Plums & The Gaze of the Gorgon.
Marjane Satrapi Tony Harrison

24 November 2006

4 weeks to go!

yeah I know that's the last thing you want to hear but it's all go-go-go at work and i'm loving it. Spent enough money on books this week to buy a three bedroom house but it's paying off already as we have enough cover on titles that have already gone into reprint. of course this hive of activity leaves me in a near vegetative state in the evenings with only enough energy to sit down with mini-me and watch

21 November 2006


not making much progress despite the offer of champagne.

16 November 2006


Here is Kumquat.

Kumquat has a dog.

Here is Monty.

Hello Kumquat.

Hello Monty.

Kumquat pats the dog.

The dog has a ball.

The ball is red.

15 November 2006

reverse bathos

what an amazing day.
wandered over to http://www.giraffe.net/home.html two doors up and saw it was open and full of people. decided to try something new for lunch. girl met me at the door and said that she thought she had a couple of places left as they had invited people in to eat for free that day as it hadn't officially opened. there was one woman in front of me, so i was officially the last person they allowed in to eat for nowt. they positively encouraged you to eat lots so you could try as much as possible. not one to look a gift horse in the chops i had a blow out. tiger prawns and sweet chilli dip, spicy turkey enchilladas & choc chip cheesecake. and a drink. then i left a tip and literally got up and walked out. niiiice.
went back to work and arranged for a film crew from Anglia News to turn up tomorrow for a signing with Geraldine McCaughrean and a different lot from BBC4 to come on Friday to use the branch as a setting for a documentary with the highly interesting-to-google character Digby Anderson. Exciting.
Also a "competitor" dropped out of a high profile event and we have bravely stepped into the breach.
And now, after an evening of playing cards with mini-me and the dog resting his head on my feet, I am sat with a glass of wine.

12 November 2006

nano III

'Amandine is refusing to come with us.'
'Oh dear, we've been through all this before. It's really quite unnecessary.'
'She's putting furniture up against her door, Clarissa.''Anthony, this is really too much. Let me speak to her.''She won't yield this time, we only got her there by bribery last time
and she's got all those ghastly teenage hormones going round her now.'
'She's still our daughter and she'll do as she's told until she's no longer living under our roof. This will take two minutes, you just need to be firm and consistent.'
Anthony tilted his head as another scrape-thump of furniture resounded fromthe floor above. He rested his brow on his forearms and waited for thepromised miracle from upstairs. Clarissa looked formidable today in herburgundy suit. One word from her in that outfit and Anthony would buckleunder her glare or stern word but it appeared to him that young people werefar more resilient than him in such matters.
'Amandine! Come out this instance. I will not be made to run late because of your childishness.'Anthony sighed deeply and thought about how much he would give to have the old au pair return and coerce his daughter into a family trip out butClarissa had let her go. She seemed to think her girl was a woman and nolonger required the attentions of a babysitter.
'I shall not be ignored young lady.' Clarissa's growled. 'Come on darling, let's be grown up about this shall we, Uncle M isn't the liveliest ofrelatives but he is still my brother.'There was no response and then Anthony could hear her trying to push thedoor open in a series of short jabs.
'Damn it Anthony,' Clarissa raised her voice, 'something is splittingbecause of this silly girl.'Anthony pulled himself upright and walked to the bottom of the stairs.
'Would you like me to try?' he enquired reticently.
'Your father is coming up now.' She replied, addressing the bedroom door as Anthony wearily climbed the staircase.
'Amandine, love, we're going to be running late. Could you at least speak to us? What's the problem?'
'Good Lord Anthony, we're not in a hostage situation, there's nothing to be gained by negotiating with her.'
'Well we're still trying to get a response your way.' He snapped,regretting the words as soon as they were out of his mouth.
'Fourteen years I have brought this girl up and you think you can undermine me as she sits behind that door while you make a mockery of my parenting?'Clarissa's voice, which had risen in volume was like an unexpected downpourwhen the best you can do is shield yourself from the worst of it and find somewhere to bolt for cover. Anthony edged towards the door andproduced the same horrible splintering sound. He paused but something hadgiven on the other side of the door and it suddenly gave in to his pressureand he found himself stumbling into Amandine's room. The front legs of herchest of drawers had collapsed and toppled the piece over onto the carpet.Her room was unusually chilly but the mess of unattended textbooks and washing remained the same.
'Ah a visit from Captain Hook.' Anthony chuckled behind the relative safety of the door.
‘What has she got to say for herself? We’re running late and I’m leaving in two minutes flat.’
Clarissa poked her head round the door and immediately caught sight of the window swung open to its widest capacity.
‘Oh the minx!’ Clarissa gasped. ‘Let me past you.’
Anthony edged the drawers away from the door and both legs sheered off as he pulled the piece out of his wife’s way.
‘Her grandmother’s!’ She expostulated. ‘I will be having words with her about that. I should never have let her use it.’
She stepped over the adolescent debris to the window and looked at the drop onto the lower roof.
‘Any sign of her?’ Anthony ventured.
‘Nothing but she can’t be far. Go down into the garden she’s probably hiding somewhere there. I’m ringing Magenta to say we’re stuck in traffic.’
Anthony looked at her in disbelief.
‘Do you really think we should still be going?’
‘Oh really Anthony, I don’t know.’ Clarissa clenched her fist anxiously over her mouth and lines of anxiety furrowed her brow.

9 November 2006

nano (II)

Instead she swept away the crumbs from the polished oak table into her saucer and picked up her cup.
At the kitchen sink, Melissa squirted a watered down bleach solution into her palms and pounded her knuckles vigorously into her palms. She then interlocked her fingers as if in supplication and rubbed enthusiastically as she had seen nurses do after any possible exposure to infection. She dabbed at the broken skin around her fingertips before slipping her hands under the pool of acidic water. The ledge was empty of plants or ornaments that might soften the austere, uniform lines of the window. Two days after moving in to Empire Road, Melissa had completed a thorough decontamination routine of the apartment. All the previous tenant’s knickknacks and plants had been swept into a bin liner, tied up and removed from the new home. Nothing living had the audacity to resist her chill of order and regularity. The removals men had had a fraught day trying to negotiate their way round her demands for order and cleanliness. Each box had to be wiped and laid on a plastic bag before it could be tugged inside. The men took their tea breaks outside and angrily agreed among themselves that if the boss had turned up that day they would demand bonus payment. Their wives had to tolerate their early starts and unsociable days but coming home late was a license to start an argument as soon as they heard the key in the lock. By the time they were dismissed from Melissa’s at ten o’clock, they were grateful to have enough energy to pass by the chemist for painkillers before heading home.
Melissa lifted her hands out of the sink, shook the excess water away then rested them on a clean towel to dry naturally. The sparseness of her surroundings prompted Melissa to cogitate on the events of the afternoon. Lionel had loved her, she supposed, but she had refused his affections for many years. He would never be her father, she thought clinically, so I can never pretend to be his daughter. Until the age of about six she had accepted his paternal role in her life without question. She was all she had known and she loved him like a daddy even though he was careful to feint away from the title. He had never hidden the truth of her story but she remembered vividly an evening after school he had taken her out to the park to talk to her about serious things she needed to hear. The sun had just dipped behind the trees as she sat on the roundabout swinging her legs and watching the warm glow of late summer seep through the park foliage behind Lionel’s head. He had chosen a summer evening and a familiar spot to tell her how she had become his family. He described how much he loved her. He explained how delighted he had been to offer a homeless child a place to be safe and happy but as he talked, the summer evening took on a chill. Clouds had begun to gather on the horizon and the quality of light had dropped significantly as he told her that her mother had abandoned her after her baby had been born. Without warning, Melissa felt that she was in the hands of a stranger. ‘Stranger Danger’ they had called it at school and despite Lionel’s best efforts to get the place and timing perfect, Melissa became taut and increasingly uncooperative when he decided it was time to get in the car and go home. She refused to hold his hand as they walked back to the vehicle. Lionel thought she was asserting her right to behave like a grown up but in fact, she was pulling herself away from him. Over the years, she stopped asking him to take her out and happily relied on her friend’s parents for help. Melissa knew he had only seen her considerate nature in her refusal to accept his generosity. One day she had chalked a family tree onto the paving slabs outside the back door. It showed Mummy and Daddy having baby Melissa and no sign of Lionel. Years later when he discovered he had been omitted from her 16th birthday plans he had left her gifts at the foot of her bed and gone silently to bed. Melissa then knew that he had admitted to himself the change in her affection towards him. She had recoiled from his touch, timed appointments to coincide with times he was at home, bought a lock for her bedroom door and found a multitude of little ways in which to keep him away. She was repulsed at living with a man twice her age, who was not her father and his proximity developed into abhorrence. Lionel had never asked to be called Dad but Melissa made a strange coupling between him and her mother that she could neither express nor forget. He would always appear to her like the cuckoo in the nest that had ousted her mother even though he had fostered her after her abandonment. Sharing a house with him began to feel like a perversion to Melissa.

Magenta Unwin filed the last of his pending paperwork into the top drawer of his desk and slid the drawer shut with a muted swish-thud. It was Friday and he had plans. His little butterfly would be waiting inside the front door with his scarlet kimono draped over her arm. They would kiss, he would wrap her in his arms and tonight he might scoop her off her feet and carry her to the bedroom. He had decided that this evening would be perfectly romantic. He would turn her head with lilies, catch her eye with chocolate and melt her heart with diamonds. His colleagues assumed he lead a bachelor existence because he had never been accompanied to work Christmas drinks and kept his home life an intensely personal matter. Descending in the lift from the 12th floor, Magenta smiled to himself and studiously disregarded the glances of piqued interest of the others dropping down the floors to their weekends.
The trees were turning into a fabulous array of colour, he mused as he stepped into the spacious entrance to the apartment block. On the first floor he turned over his hands twice sensing there was some dampness between his fingers but they were as dry as when he had held them under the dryer in the gents at work. Mounting the second flight he hung his hands by his sides and had his fingers spread out to air them before he realised that he was still experiencing a sensation of water on his hands. What state was this for him to be in upon his return from work? Nothing would detract from the evening he had prepared for his little bird. He thought about her slim, boyish figure and her prettily cropped hair that fell from a bare neck into a long sculpted flick of fringe. Tonight he would thrill her by offering an engagement ring in white gold, engraved with their names. His mind was full of her delight and sparkling green eyes as he slid his key into the lock and pushed open the front door.

8 November 2006


'Over the road' gets Gordon, we get Barbie. You'll have to wait for the pics of me and Gordon. >>sigh<<

ANYway...yes, we got Barbie, who - cover the ears of your children - only pretends to be Barbie part time to fill in the gaps for her acting career. Just don't mention how she has to dress up as an elf for her next bit job!

Lovely girl etc etc and not at all like the scathing reports of unmentionable rep (think rusty compass) who clearly thought the Barbie he'd seen wasn't sexy enough.

Which reminds me how good it feels to have seen my last rep of the year today. The really quite bearable chap from Penguin. He came into the office and said 'I see you're taking up a second career'. I thought, hit me, what now? Journalism.Turns out he was talking about my review in The Bookseller. A stunning few lines of literary genius likely to set the bookselling world alight. Maybe.


so i've forgotten the password i used for my nano blog hence the reason nothing else has been posted there.

am mostly spending my time sleeping at the moment as i gave up coffee three days ago due to heart palpitations. the palps have gone but i now can't keep my eyes open and drop into bed as soon as i get home. not good for marathon training or novel writing!

still. looks like skiing is going to happen feb time so am feeling dashed chipper about the whole escapade. bring on the 16k black Sarenne run!!

3 November 2006



very tired this evening so last few hundred words got a bit laboured. but there it is, if you want to follow what i write this year.

2 November 2006

Nano begins

Two years ago I published everything I wrote on Nano on a separate website. I don't know if I will do the same this year but this is what I have written today on the first day...already a thousand words short of my daily quota. Responses welcome.

Melissa ran her gloved fingers across the serrated edge of his carving knife and gazed out of the kitchen window. Her eyes focused on the shiny privet hedge separating the terraced gardens. Rain glistened on the small dark leaves. There had been a brief but heavy shower and the hedge sparkled as if someone had turned up the colour function of the outside world and saturated the leaves with thick browns and greens. A tiny bird hopped between the hedge’s tight branches. Melissa wanted to strangle it. It momentarily disappeared from view then rose above the gardens and dipped behind the rooftops. Melissa drum-rolled the blade on the pristine worktop before letting it drop idly out of her hand and skitter across the melamine. Her wristwatch corresponded with the kitchen clock exactly. Melissa knew Lionel could be expected back from the school run within ten minutes accompanied by another victim of his do-goodery. She lifted the carving knife and stabbed downwards at the kidneys lying on the chopping board. The handle fell straight over and landed in the bloody mess she had carefully transported from the butcher. There was already a spattering of blood on the fingers of her gloves. They would further stain if she lifted the knife for a second attempt but what kind of a threat would her break in be if she only left a bag of food on the surface? Pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes she extricated the handle from the slippery mounds and slammed the blade down so that the point stuck into the wood beneath and stood upright through the kidneys. Then she peeled off the bloodied gloves and hurriedly stuffed them into her pockets and headed for the back door. Stepping into the garden she pulled on an identical pair of gloves and eased the door quietly shut. Her hands were especially raw today and exacerbated by the autumn chill in the air. She winced in anticipation of the washing she would have to give them when she got back home and pulled back her fifth pair of latex gloves of the day. Right now she had to concentrate on getting away from Marcham Grove unnoticed. She decided the best way to be unseen was to walk across the square as if she had every right to be there. Melissa’s boots picked up pace as Lionel’s house shrunk behind her. There were two buses before she could get safely behind a closed door and draw the bolt between her and the outside world. Only when she was on the second bus did she allow herself to assess her afternoon. The kidneys had gone well, she reflected. Lionel would have encountered the guts in his kitchen by now and she longed to know how he had reacted. She rolled the possibilities through her mind like a film reel, imagining multiple permutations of his bewilderment, disgust and fear. From what she knew of him, she favoured the possibility that he would sweep the horror of entrails into the bin and keep his revulsion a private matter. Perhaps he would think about it during the evening and get a chill down his spine realising that someone had been in his house. It would be something she was forcing them to share. The thought warmed her. She anticipated it would be mid evening before Lionel noticed something pungent coming from the kitchen. However, it could be days before he located the prawns that she had rolled up inside the kitchen blinds. The bus lurched noisily to a halt rousing Melissa from her thoughts. She pulled her scarf over her ears and mouth before descending from the bus and searching for her house keys.
119 Empire Road was part of a foreboding block of flats that would have been elegant in the middle of the last century but the grime had been left to accumulate on every surface not fought over by a grim community of pigeons. Melissa lived in a suite that cleared the height of the trees and gave her a panorama of the park from the dining room table. She invariably sat at the table late every afternoon with a tisane and box of crackers, staring out of the window. As dusk drew in she studied the various shades of autumn turn from copper and gold to russet and maroon. She toyed with the idea of ringing Lionel but left her thoughts of confrontation and exposure to the realms of fantasy.

31 October 2006

map my inertia

www.mapmyrun.com tells me that my snail paced jog this afternoon burned off 133 calories and I ran 1.55 miles. (disgruntled look) Jemma managed 5 miles on her last run, I really need to 'step up'.

big november


Last week I didn't run at all due to an injury. I replaced running time with eating. Today is my day off and I have a head cold which I probably shouldn't run on. However, I have been training reasonably well for the last month and really need to crack on in November. http://www.justgiving.com/marathonjoy I will continue plugging this site. Please make a donation. Honestly, giving just a couple of quid a month til I run will make me ecstatically happy.


What better to do when you're feeling run down, exhausted, training for one of the most gruelling physical runs on earth and approaching a retailers most frantic time of year than to take on another impossible challenge. Two years ago I took part in and completed NANO. http://www.nanowrimo.org/ Essentially you write 50,000 words in 30 for no prize, result or logical reason. It averages out at 1700 words a day. 2004 was a matter of competition and pride as I was pitted against Mole. This year I've agreed to start it and see how I get on. My personal life continues to be adding to life's rich tapestry so I'm promising nuffink.

30 October 2006


3am after the last guest had left.... I had a great evening so thank you to everyone who came. Thank you to one rather fab person who spent hours helping me get thing ready just to see me happy and with a house full of mates. Thank you also to mini-me for being a great host and fun company.

29 October 2006


A crazy bunch of guests started to turn up at my party and steadily drink themselves into oblivion while I tried to distract them with the lesser pleasures of smoked salmon and cream cheese on home made parmesan biscuits...

Borrower got teased all night about being a pocket sized northener...but look how diddy she is!

Guests queue up for the piece de resistance dish of the evening....Chocolate fountain!!

Josh kept everyone brilliantly entertained with his on the spot songs about the guests and mournful ballads on the subject of being turned down for a credit card!

I had 17 people in the house which I loved. The party was celebrating nothing. I just wanted a houseful of nice people and that's exactly what I got.

The candle-lit chill out room seemed to be a success and the fennel tree with blue lights made an impression. I overheard some cracking conversations and laughed more than I have in a long time. (Anecdote: "UNACCEPTABLE" and the reason why Andrew hasn't spoken since 1982!!)

20 October 2006


monty's gone missing again. i'm about done with bad news for the moment.

shocking lie!

Yesterday I was introduced to someone with the words; 'she makes Stephen Fry look like Jade Goody'. Ok so it's a lie and it was just to try and get me a place on a pub quiz team but I just had to share that one! heh heh.

18 October 2006

wit with a silent T at the beginning

Told a rep - one of the few i don't want to murder with a rusty compass and soiled dental floss - about my blog with the fatal words; 'it's very witty'.

Now i scroll back to see that the last page consists of recipes and fitness training. granted, eunuchs are mentioned but i must up my game (no, no fitness analogies), start posting something a bit meatier (no, no cooking analogies) and try and improve my satirical margin, maybe run a spreadsheet on hits per comment and compose a cluster comparison report against other witty blogs. Yes, that should really give it a boost.

Lights, compass, action!

17 October 2006

25 plus 5. you do the maths.

yes THIRTY, well done.

tonight i upped my max 25 minutes to 30 minutes of running. out with the borrower and montefiore round the river. two crazy things happened to me on this run and both in the last five minutes.

firstly my feet felt like they had suddenly risen dramatically in temperature i lost all feeling in my toes apart from pins and needles. odd. next time i'll tie the laces more loosely and see if that makes a difference.

secondly, all the tiredness in my calves disappeared and i started running faster than i had the rest of the run. runner's high maybe. i don't know but i felt like i could have kept running much further. only i couldn't feel my feet. seemed like a good moment to stop, throw off my trainers and march round on gravel trying to get sensation back!

anyway, i'm feeling suitably smug and self satisfied now. tomorrow morning when i have a changeover to execute and i can't stand up without crying, i might feel less bouyant.

16 October 2006

Spent a few minutes flicking through 'How to run a marathon' and concluded I lack a great deal of discipline. Vowed to go to bed very early and get up and have a run before work in the morning. Went to the pub. Decided discipline could wait for a coupla days. HOWEVER, did agree with "crazy drunken tree hugger, ali why did you let go, i'm on the ground now??" that we would run together in the evenings starting tomorrow. the actual tomorrow, not a symbolic tomorrow.

15 October 2006

customer service

1st exchange:

customer: I was wondering if you had any small guide books on eunuchs.
me: eunuchs?
customer: yes. eunuchs.
me: ummm, I think it's not very likely....(trails off)
customer: it's just that I see you have books here on 'Linux' but I was really after something on Unix.
me: Ah, Unix let me have a look for you.....

2nd exchange:

customer:hello, do you have an english book?
me: what kind of english book?
customer: I don't know, I can't remember the title.
me: Something like an english literature book?
customer: No (with voice of disdain)
me: umm, teaching english as a foreign language
customer: no
me: What kind of English book? I need to know which department you're interested in.
customer: I can't remember the title but if you tell me where it would be I can go and look.
me: I know, how about you get out of my shop, go home, work out what the hell you want then come back and ask a sensible question. (thought only!)


A bookseller has written 'FICTION' on a piece of paper for the stock take guys but the writing is joined up so the F and I are slightly merged together. The stock take guy who obviously hasn't spent a great deal of time drinking from the fountain of knowledge approaches a different, and coincidentally gay, member of staff, holds out the piece of paper to him and says "I'm looking for ACTION."

11 October 2006

two years

'...for me the kumquat taken whole
best fruit, and metaphor, to fit the soul...'
I have just noticed that the anniversary of my blog has passed me by twice now. Kumquat's blog has been entertaining and educating the world at large for over two years and I think a celebration is called for.
Where else to look but to Tony Harrison?
'...a fruit an older poet might substitute
for the grape John Keats thought fit to be Joy's fruit...'
Let me tell you about the men in my life. HBH introduced me to Alexander Pope, JA introduced me to Camus and GD introduced me to Iris Murdoch and Tony Harrison.
'The new day dawns. O days! My spirit greets
the kumquat with the spirit of John Keats.
O kumquat, comfort for not dying young,
both sweet and bitter, bless the poet's tongue!'
Tony for poet laureate!
Here's to another two years. By that time I will have a 16 year old and be more than half way to my three score years and ten.
'Then it's the kumquat fruit expresses best
how days have darkness round them like a rind,
life has a skin of death that keeps its zest.'

Roux's pumpkin

Neither a philosophical tenet such as Pascal's wager nor a scientific brainteaser such as Schrodinger's cat. This is in fact, none other than a rather yumptious soup I made yesterday that I'm enjoying second helpings of this evening. I served it out of the hollowed out pumpkin with the lid back on and a ladel sticking out. Aww, yeah, dead rustic I am. So rustic me camera's batteries ran out so i can't post a picture for you. Bloomin' nice. Shallots and nutmeg and creammmm.

9 October 2006


the unintelligible sound made by many people talking at once.

Please try to use this delightful expression in the next 24 hours and report back here on the response you received.

8 October 2006

pam's chicken

a thousand blessings upon the head of a friend and colleague's mother's friend i don't know called pam. and her chicken. don't be put off by the lurid ingredients, it tastes amazing.

* Fry off 4 x chicken breasts and put in an ovenproof dish
* Add a good helping of cooked broccoli
* Mix 1 x tin condensed mushroom soup, 4-5 dollops of mayo, 4 tbsps double cream and enough curry powder to colour and flavour.
* Top the chicken and broc. with the creamy mix
* Blend 2 slices of bread and cover the sauce
* Add some grated parmesan if you have any
* Cook for 40 minutes. (I put it on 6 but you might want to change the times depending on whether you decide to chop the chicken into big chunks, as I did, before putting it in the oven.)

I'm sure this would translate into a great veggie dish because the sauce on the broc. was really tasty.

3 October 2006


I thought 'STRANGERS' by Yamada was amazing so I picked up his (her?) second novel 'IN SEARCH OF A DISTANT VOICE'. I finished it today and found it to be a wholly unsatisfying read despite a well driven plot and an intriguing main character .
The TBR shelf groans.

too dark

I so know Jem is gunna check up on me tonight and no, I didn't run. By the time I got home after being in a long traffic jam, it was too dark to go out. I don't know how I'm going to run in the winter. Bring on the badminton / swimming / running buddy evenings!
In other news:

Work continues to be a laugh a minute with customers ringing us up to tell us that women are inferior men and shout at us because the vans that take our deliveries are German and all the drivers are foreign.

And then of course there are the interviewees who come for Christmas jobs, get to the end of the interview and when asked if they have any questions, offer; 'Do I have to work over Christmas?'

Oh yes, we attract an altogether classier kind of job-seeker.

29 September 2006

you are going to get so tired of this

Trainers managed to take me all the way round the lake this morning. I only needed to stop once for about 5 seconds to shout "MONTY".

Am trying to choose a charity to run for. I want to run for Oxfam but they have a largish initial contribution to get me started that I don't have but they're still my favourite. I have sent an email to Christian Aid to find out the deal there. The other charity I'd be interested in is Leukaemia Research. They have no minimum amount to raise but somehow, despite how close this is to my heart, I still feel that clean water for everyone is more important than anything.

28 September 2006

what a malarkey

my legs hurt
ma·lar·key also ma·lar·ky (m?-lär'k?) n. Slang.
Exaggerated or foolish talk, usually intended to deceive

27 September 2006

Back to Asics

Dunno if these are the actual ones I have but they look pretty much like this. Asics as recommended by Alimal. I was at the 4th shop before I found any women's running shoes that weren't by Nike. I actually told one assistant that I was 'outraged of milton keynes'. heh. Anyway, work and other sweat shops aside, I am rather chuffed with these little babies.

Chaussure Asics running GEL GT 2110

That is, I was impressed until I went running. I don't know whether I should take them back or not but I got about 3/4 of the way round the lake that I've been able to run round easily before and they stopped. They would only let me walk in them. I don't understand.

So I've done my first day of running. A pitiful 15 minutes but I've got til April right? And there's only Christmas standing between me and svelt athleticism. Piece of cake! (I mean......)

25 September 2006

mind control, mass hysteria and powers of suggestion

i might be about to agree to run the london marathon. and all because one of my team is doing it and asked me so nicely to join her. am i out of my mind?? my first question, quite shamefullly, was whether i would have to sacrifice eating blueberry muffins from the wild bean cafe. seriously, they are unrivalled. in second place i would vote the apple and cinnamon muffins at starbucks. also top ranking muffins come from a place called 'kooki'. I would always go for the raspberry and white chocolate there. now don't get me wrong, i'm not a fool for every muffin i see. the double chocolate muffin at M&S is a big disappointment. They used to do a fabulous lemon and white chocolate but it has been changed and honestly, it was a big time player on the muffin front. do you see why i was concerned about committing to a marathon?

17 September 2006

Day out in London

Spent an interesting morning in Hounslow, revisiting Phillie's youth.

Had lunch at Bistro 1 on Southampton Street. I had a very good sea bream topped with salmon and something yellow that was probably a hollandaise sauce. Served with mash. Very tasty.

Spent the rest of the day walking to numerous underground stations that were all closed for engineering work.

Finally got to see the pokemon card collection. Quite underwhelming but the B.S.S made up for the disappointment.

(Spent a good while debating if K and G had spent much time at the C.C discussing L and A)

16 September 2006

ethical question of the lowest order


Should I blog an extract from someone's application form? I'd be in a hell of a lot of trouble if I was caught. However, it is staggeringly funny. I am horribly torn. I'm a shameless tart for getting a laugh but should a booksellers equivalent of the hypocratic oath override my urge to tell you how someone answered; 'Describe a time when you have worked as part of a team. What was your part in its success.'

Would it sway your decision if I told you it involved mice?

13 September 2006

what's the verdict?

Went to the hairdressers on the spur of the moment and had about a foot taken off my hair!

11 September 2006

concert pianist or thug? choices, choices!

This evening I joined in with Bedford Film Society and watched what has to be the most awkwardly translated title of 'The Beat that my Heart Skipped'. I think it may be better translated as 'The Beat that Stopped my Heart' but anyway....

...twas a diverting evening and full of everything that you'd expect from a french film - sex, revenge, adultery and two hours of achingly beautiful Bach piano pieces.


we ate like gods.
clam chowder soup with potato shavings
steamed chicken, bacon and tarragon pudding
creme brulee with redcurrants
found this gorgeous, sumptuous place in the foodie guide
and it really is worth the drive wherever you live!

4 September 2006

tree huggers

a nifty website that saves some trees and gets rids of stacks of junk mail. spread the word!

3 September 2006

lovely extended weekend with sunshine, dinner out with some of my favourite people, lots of lounging around, egg custard tart milkshakes, playing cards over coffee and cake out with mini me, painting the walls, great company staying over and booking tickets to see The Stranglers next month!

1 September 2006

The Rota Almighty

Rang work today to check that I was working a late and apparantly - in the words of my colleague - no one would mind if I just turned round and went home. Translated that means the rota says I'm not due back til Monday. I'm sure it's wrong but who am I to stand in the way of a higher authority?

29 August 2006

close shave

Monty is just out hospital after being hit by a car. All is well. He had a miraculous escape but has a few stitches and is getting over the sedation which makes him even more affectionate and cute if such a thing were possible. He looks like he's done a few rounds with the worst wound being under his right eye which is split below the lid. Precious critter.

Other breaking news of staggering importance:

I am drinking Floc de Gascogne an aperitif brought back from holiday.
I did my first oil painting today it was lousy but i had fun.
I've joined the amazon dvd rental scheme and my first film, 'Delicatessen' is on its way. Anyone is free to make recommendations if you have half an idea of my taste.
Only 2 precious days before I have to go back to work. I love my job but at this current stage in my life I'm struggling to give a credible performance of someone who gives a damn.

28 August 2006


Oops, should have credited Mr Auster with the photos I nicked. Here you goes: http://newyorktrilogy.livejournal.com/

So anyway, thinking I was going to go to a gallery or summat today with fire-eating P, I didn't take my camera. In the end we went to Notting Hill Carnival. So I hijacked his camera and will supply you with pictures soon.

However the pictures can't show you the atmosphere, the vibration of bass in your chest, the smell of Jerk chicken, the sheer volume of people crowding the streets and the pain I still have in my right leg, akin to a trapped nerve, from having been pounding the pavement for 5 hours.

It's an experience everyone should have tucked away for posterity. I had a fab afternoon thank you Peter.

Also some sweetheart bought me presents today. Uber expensive paper, canvases and oil paints for me to play with...and a boxed set of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Whoever they are should know better. But THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!! x x x

25 August 2006

Part VII. People.

(NB: it's best to read the entries for France in order if you can be bothered.)

(i) Armagnac barrels. Phil, mini-me and mini-him.
(ii) Pimms o'clock.
(iii) Nirvana Baby
(iv) Mini-him almost in the pool
(v) Phil at Pyla

(vi) Creperie in the Place Royale
(vii) Kids at Notre-Dame des Cyclistes.