Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Modelling & Drugs

I have finished the evil that was the penicillin thank god. I might actually have some sort of normal stomach within the next 24 hours! I have to say I do not understand why penicillin is so bloody evil on your stomach.

Big news of the day is of course my first modelling job ever… and amazingly it won’t be my last. I have another on Friday so that should be a laugh. I have to admit I got a bit vexed and nervous in the hour leading up to my shoot (the hour in which I had a bath, tidied the flat manically and begged and pleaded with Hoyden to behave for a few hours, like a loon) but I shouldn’t have been.

Rob turned up bang on time, was really lovely we had a fag and a tea and then on it went. I think he thought it went well, I did say if I have a double chin on any of the photo’s he might be in big trouble. He was quite smitten with Hoyden and she lounged around herself for a few shots, upstaged by my own bloody cat! Oh and Rob (the sweetie) said he would talk to some contacts with me – bring on the extra freelance – hoorah!

Now I am in bed after watching ‘Confessions of a Diary Secretary’ Maxine Peake was of course marvellous. I actually quite enjoyed this political parody – normally I shy away thinking they are tosh but this was actually really, really good. I do have a bit of a headache though and think I must away to bed, after a few more drugs, of the paracetamol variety!

Restless For Books

I have a real problem, I think I am addicted to novels, I am seriously getting through them this year… but I know ‘we have been there done that’ I just can’t simply buy one – I always have to buy more, and I listed my ‘unread’ books in all my (still unpacked) boxes the other night, when finding some for that I had read and not loved, I have well over a hundred books I haven’t read that I have been carting around with me for the last year! Am I being boring? There is a reason for my endless dawdling on!

Tonight was book group. I love book group, I like every person who has joined in the last 11 months that has joined (even the ones who have joined but never turned up) and we always have a good (if slightly hilarious and not super intellectual) debates about the books and I just love hearing how everyone feels so differently about one book. I think it’s amazing that a media like that can be so differently read by people.

Blah, anyway this month was Spanielle’s choice and it was ‘Restless’ by William Boyd that everyone is now going crazy for since St Richard & Judy (the saviours of books – yes that is sarcasm from moi) had it in their book group. I have to say that I do take the piss but a few of there book choices have been favourite books of mine. ‘The Island’ was one of my favourite books of last year, ‘Notes On A Scandal’ is another good one, I could go on, oh that David Mitchell book was bloody awful – I just didn’t get it, but you catch my drift.

We all loved the book, Muffin did her fabulous contrariness which makes me wet my pants and have to really battle it out with her. We also had a lovely meal at Giraffe, it was great. The next read is Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘An Artist of the Floating World’ I am unsure but I will keep an open mind, he is meant to be a great author, we nearly did ‘Suite Francaise’ but damn it, it was piped to the post lol!

So of course I had to buy it tonight, and came away with two books. I think I may need to check into some ‘bookworm rehabilitation programme’. Have finished ‘Rebecca’ tonight and it is now a firm favourite. Ignore the ‘gothic romance’ tag that it’s been given, its not the least like that it’s just amazingly clever. Next is a proof book I am being asked to review (I am honoured) it’s a book called ‘Envy’ by Judy Corbett the tagline is ‘she thought I was her best friend – she had no idea how wrong she was…’ I funking love it already!

After that I must, must, must read ‘Star People’ by Paul Burston. I loved his previous book ‘Shameless’ and he was ever so lovely to me when I asked him some advice on writing – I then ran out and bought the book (a signed one too) and for some reason haven’t read it even though I really want to. See ‘book guilt’ whatever next?

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Cheesecake Eating Model

Yes folks that’ll be me, as on Wednesday and Thursday I will be doing some modelling. Fortunately for all of you no I am not the next CK Underpants model. No one wants to see that much of me, not even my mirror ha! I am doing it for the charity I volunteer for GMFA! I am quite excited. I haven’t been a model before… well bar when I was going to be the face of Fluid Magazine (when I worked for them) and then it went bust! I am sure they did that on purpose the bastards.

Someone stupid said today ‘will it not bother you if they put one of those ‘I have HIV’ bubbles above your head? After stopping myself from hitting them and picking my jaw up off the floor, I looked them dead in the eye and said ‘no why should it?’ I don’t have HIV but modelling for a charity that helps fight that awful disease is only doing good. So what if I do have the ‘bubble’ above my head, I know I am not HIV and even if I was I would know not one of my friends would judge me. I mean have we not moved on as people, is there still this much prejudice? The answer is obviously yes, and also who is going to recognise me from a website and a few adverts in Boyz?

So anyway in an aim to look my best I decided to go to Sainsbury’s and buy ‘healthy vegetable based foods’. That was until I got to the puddings section. Having not had the best day at work i needed some uplifting and when I saw the fresh Strawberry Cheesecake I went into a trance. Yes I must buy it, yes; it must go in my basket now. I haven’t eaten any yet am already feeling guilty just from looking at it! Oh sod it I’ll have a slice.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Time for a Gay Change

No not me, I am still looking as ill as I feel. Mind you today am feeling slightly better than yesterday. However you can tell I am not right due to the fact that ‘Dancing on Ice’ reduced me to an emotional wreck… I don’t think it was the dancing; I just seem to be slightly unbalanced thanks to Erythromycin, try saying that after you have had four of them!

I did however venture further out of my flat. I made it two stops on the tube to Balham where I was taken for lunch which was nice. Good old full English at midday can make you feel a million times better. Had a short potter around the shops and bought flap all (see I AM sick) except for the new Gay Times (now known as GT) I thought it was a new magazine.

I have to say when I finally got my hands on it (Alex snatched it from me) I actually read it. Normally I would read a few bits and then ignore the rest. It seems a lot edgier and younger (or I am getting older and fitting into its readership better) and I have decided to bite the bullet and email the editor with a new idea I have had for a column. Will fill you in further on that if it kicks off at some point, and I don’t want people nicking my idea ha.

I have set fire to my kitchen this evening like a tit. It shows that you really should read the prescription notes (including ‘do not operate some machinery – well my oven is a fire machine) and not treat yourself to Crème Brule that needs grilling, cheers Sainsbury’s. My grill decided to set fire… I had set it to 200 degrees so it might possibly have been my fault. Now my flat smells of fat and smoke – delicious.

Oh need to mention some people. Helen thanks for your email really cheered me up – and look I have shoved you in my blog you bloody forceful cow! Ha ha! Also Declan Bennett cheers for your lovely comment on myspace, add him people add him! Right I am in need of an aerosol spray round my flat – I simply cannot bear this stench anymore. Did the previous tenants cook bodies in there or something! Ooh, another idea for a book to add to the four I have in my head – bugger!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Two Books in One Day

Sadly not two new books written by me, I have done zilch writing today.

I have been making the most of a Friday away from work buy doing some research. I have banged on before about how in order to write well you must read well and read well I have. First was ‘The Undomestic Goddess’ by Sophie Kinsella which I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy. Strangely I really liked it, am I now a chick-lit convert?

In truth I have read a few chick lit books in my time. I think Bridget Jones is a great book, ‘Pride & Prejudice’ was the chick lit of its time and everyone knows how much I like Lisa Jewell. ‘The Undomestic Goddess’ was a good book I actually liked all the characters and read it in a speedy three and a half hours. So that was my first bit of research for ‘Miss Write’ please someone remind me to put the link on here for anyone who actually wants to enter.

Second book, which I have literally just finished, was the first of ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’. I am interested in seeing what kids like reading these days for ‘The Miriam Perry Chronicles’. I’m not sure what I thought about it is apparently really popular with kids so I thought would give it a go. More research done, more to put on my PDP (Personal Development Plan).

Other than that today has been quite sedate. I half watched ‘Romance & Cigarettes’, but really need to watch that and not be doing research on the internet and only paying slight attention. In have been sorting out my files and all the magazine bits have ripped out over the last year or so ‘of interest’ and actually following them up with files like ‘Thing To Look Into’, ‘Columnists’ and ‘Writers’. The latter actually had a real find in it. It’s about Judith O’Reilly who has a blog about her reluctant move to the north. She writes brilliantly (I left a short message) and has gotten a book deal out of it which I think is wonderful for her, everyone should check it out.

The penicillin is still making me feel really sick which is horrid. That’s why have chosen to curl under the duvet and religiously read rather than write myself (which I will have you know is quite draining) between running for the loo to throw up – the wonders of modern medicine.

My lover however is bringing me more ‘Lobster Spaghetti’ from Carpaccio’s where he works. It makes me feel quite nice that I can eat Geri Halliwell’s favourite dinner, for free, and from the comfort of my own bed with my own personal waiter. The NHS has got nursing so wrong.

Oh and have done a new page on my website it’s a question and answers page, but if anyone can think of more questions or simply more ideas on what layout or what info I should have on there do let me know!

How Jealous Am I?

My mate Ric is the guy in the white top - jammy sod!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I'm An Accessory To Murder...

Hoyden being the clever little cat that she is has caught a mouse tonight (I am in denial that there are mice behind my fabulous kitchen cabinets so we won’t mention the point of origin) and I just let her kill it.

Hence forth I am giving my statement on The Murder of Molly Mouse;

I, Simon Savidge, witnessed the murder of Molly Mouse of *** Tooting High Street, Molly was scratching and vandalising my property. It has also been rumoured she was whoring herself on my private property (and the public property of the shared entrance hall of me and other flats) and reproducing somewhere spreading vermin and disease. Yes that’s more what rats do but she was like a very small rat.

Hoyden aged 9 was only protecting her property and queeny owner who doesn’t take to kindly to mice, especially if they are ruining his stylish furnishings. She therefore crept under the cooker and attacked Molly. Dragging her out she tortured Molly much to my dismay as I believed she would just eat her… that happened ten minutes later. There is now no sign of the victim.

Hoyden is a loving and loyal lady. She normally wouldn’t hurt a fly, even when they are buzzing in her face, and she certainly makes no efforts to chase any of her toys as she is a slightly lazy bitch in all honesty mainly content to simply eat and shit. However she is very loving when I am ill, lonely, or asleep to the point that she sometimes sleeps so close to me she scares me in the morning a full on purring face in mine. She has a good past record only pissing on the inflatable sofa and Alex’s tops once. The only know moment of violence was when she bit hard on Alex’s nose and that was only done to make her owner laugh… and indeed I did – and so have my friends when have told them, so she truly has brought joy to many lives from that incident.

Yours, Simon Savidge

Are All Men Bastards?

My mate Andy came to visit me on my deathbed today. He brought some ‘Thornton’s Classics’ to help me get better which was such a sweet thing to do. We had a good catch up about him and his sudden departure from his workplace. We discussed my current feelings on mine. Then came the subject of men as it often does over a Lemsip or three.

Andy is one of the most lovely, sweet, caring and downright loony men I know. How he hasn’t gotten a man is a mystery to me (and a mystery to him), he’s been dating a few in the past few months. However none of these have come through as yet (and frankly they should have) I have a theory though… he’s too nice. Andy wears his heart on his sleeve, he is giving without a thought to any personal gain, and he let’s people know how he feels about them. Isn’t that what men want from another man these days?

The last one for me is the technical glitch (the letting people know how he feels), and as an agony uncle I feel I can give my sixpence worth or whatever the turn of phrase is… and as a friend more importantly. It seems to me there are three types of men. Men who don’t want a boyfriend, men who do want a boyfriend and those tricky few who say they want a boyfriend… until someone better comes along or they freak out.

Andy seems to have been meting a lot of the latter (I hope he doesn’t kill me for writing all this) men who say they want to date; only they mean more than one person. Men who say they want a boyfriend send you roses on Valentines and then simply ‘feel confused’. Get a sodding grip and save the money in your wallet.

Why can’t people just be upfront? If you don’t want a relationship, don’t say you do. If you just want a shag – tell it like it is. These have been the keys to my relationships/liaisons, and though there can be a sting with being so honest, it’s a short term one, rather than the turmoil you can do to someone’s feelings and confidence.

I’m feeling sick again. It’s the penicillin, either that or the site of Ian ‘H’ Watkins with no clothes on in this week's Boyz that popped through my door. Oh I am mean… it made me feel better for a second though!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Eyre's & Graces

I have had lots of gifts from friends in the last twenty four hours which has made me feel quite loved and a little better.

In honour of me entering the ‘Miss Write’ competition I’ve been sent some chick-lit (and what better get well read fodder could there be) ‘The Undomestic Goddess’ by Sophie Kinsella and ‘Straight Talking’ by Jane Green. I also remembered that I had the latest Lisa Jewell so that will have to come out too.

Another gift was ‘Jane Eyre’ the BBC version that was on last year and I was quite royally addicted to. It’s made me want to read all the Bronte’s work. I know I need to hold off as have the chick-lit to read and also want to save ‘Wuthering Heights’ till my long weekend in Yorkshire when I can feel the spirit of it even more.

That’s all really, I am now going to sit and watch all that and then ‘Prime’ and ‘The Black Dahlia’ that Alex got me from the video shop! Being ill is so much fun, well it would be if I wasn’t having hot flushes, nausea and coughing fits.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Kissing Disease

I am still sick… I don’t want to write much. I have exhausted myself cleaning the flat between sleep. Why is it when you are ill that you cannot stand mess? The time I should not give a shit and let it all go over my head, I simply can’t. I can’t even be bothered to read. Oh it’s all too much, woe is me!

Oh I have been watching the second season of ‘24’. I loved it till the bomb went off and then Jack died and it all seemed WAY too far fetched! But then that’s why I love it I guess, maybe it’s the bug that’s making me lose faith in Jack?

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Gland Scheme of Things

I haven’t written all weekend as you will have seen. I have been sooooooooo ill! I have had fevers before but this weekend was surreal. I looked like I had been in the sun for four hours on Saturday night and was so hot you could feel it radiating off my skin, then I would sweat and go completely freezing.

Left work early and sent myself to the doctors and they think I may have glandular fever ‘the kissing disease’. I have had it before and it’s no picnic I promise you. I thought that you only got it in your early twenties and teens, and as I had it before I couldn’t get it again. Wrong! Oh well, blood has been taken and we will see.

So really I can’t add more, I’m shattered and can feel a flush coming. So I think I ought to head off to bed.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's All A Bit Carrie Bradshaw

If you are a mad ‘Sex and the City’ fan then you will know what I am about to start harping on about. If you aren’t then you might want to skip this blog as it’s a bit of a rant… but do stay a while, read on, you might like it. (Oh shut up Simon and get on with it!)

There’s one episode where she suddenly has her laptop die on her and has she backed up? Has she hell. Do the IT people go on at her like there is no tomorrow, of course they do. I am in that predicament. The IT lads think I am stupid as hell as I have never backed up in my life and has it not been for one IT genius all my data would have been lost. As it is I have 60% of it, most of my writing is lost. I am gutted, but I am also a fool and have now repented my sins and bought a ‘discgo’ which is a nifty little device that stores 1GB of your stuff and you can have it on a key ring! Genius.

The other Carrie Bradshaw episode is that one where everyone has fluey symptoms on the same day – all special occasions. That was me on Valentine’s. Yes sad to say Simon was sufficiently sick. I wouldn’t have been up to much anyways as Mr B was working, as it was he was Florence Nightingale for a while before college. I did get some chocolates (Brazil versions of Nestle classics with fabulous names such as Seducao, Prestigio, Chandelle and Charge!!!) Their Milkybar’s are fucking weird the Milkybar kid is blue – that’s just wrong!

So Valentines and Christmas have both been anti-climaxes. Oh apart from the new laptop I got on Valentines that is. Yes a Mr Big of my very own helped me out of a tight situation and now I am good to go – sold my own one this morning, its been sent to be fixed! I am just preying that the 24th of March isn’t one huge wash out… in case you didn’t know, that’s my birthday!

Monday, February 12, 2007

University Cheating

Ok it’s not all going well so far this week. I feel like death warmed up, my computer isn’t working and even the IT geeks at work can’t seem to save my old work/pictures/porn/writing. I am close to having some sort of mental breakdown. Thank god for Miss Polly Littlewood and her pizzas.

I am not writing much tonight as I really need an early one to ensure that this bloody cold buggers off. Suffice to say I had fun with the old Polly, after 21 years of friendship if we hadn’t of there would have been a problem, and her pizza’s were as usual divine.

Funny moment of the night, after watching the freak show that was Junior Mastermind (and the little shit that won – arrogant sod) put University Challenge on Sky in the lounge. Polly was unaware I could hear the show a few seconds earlier as Dale was watching it whilst cooking in the kitchen. You know how terrestrial is always slightly ahead of digital. So it came to a picture round of ‘cats named after countries’ I was getting them alright, and Polly was looking shocked especially when I said ‘oh that one is easy… Norwegian Red Wood’ then the bugger heard the answer to the next one ‘Burmese Blue’ and bloody scuppered me. Oh how we laughed, and we hadn’t even had anything to drink.

Now to bed, I am exhausted and feel the energy in me draining away.

A First Class Day

Sunday 11th of February

Normally after some time away I get the blues (you’ll have seen this in Blogs previously) but today hasn’t been so bad. I got up early thanks to the start of a cold which I am hoping will bugger of tout suite. Soon it was off for a walk in the delightful waterfalls that are juts down the road from my grandparents, and the inspiration for one of my books ‘Wishingstone Way’. Naturally my trusty camera was with me so I now have lots of pictures for the inspiration I have been so badly in need of. My Gran couldn’t come as she had a much worse cold than me, so Bong and I went off in search of adventure in the snow. We didn’t find any adventure but we did have a good old natter.

Lunch came and went (as did several Meringues) and then it was home time. Well time to catch the train anyways. Now what I hate about bloody trains is no matter how much people tell you that it’s a busy service and you will have no trouble getting a seat you always sodding do. So not giving two hoots after one stop I decided to embrace the Agatha Raisin in me and just sit in First Class. No one came and checked and I had a journey with leg space, comfort and no noisy buggers. I naturally then decided I would do all my notes on the weekend on my laptop… it’s broken.

You know me, when I get in a mood a) I can sense it coming (and then ignore it and let it happen) and b) I just can’t shift that ‘arsey’ feeling for quite a while. I was good today, I simply went and bought a small bottle of wine, some chocolate and got deeply engrossed in ‘The Observations’ by Jane Harris.

Alex was late at the station, again mood avoided, I just sent him a text saying ‘your bloody late I am in WHSmiths in Kings Cross, hurry up or you won’t see me ever again.’ See mood avoided.

Tonight in an attempt to make this cold bug sweat itself out of my body we went to one of the (many) Indians down my road in Tooting. It’s one of those places that is always full and that makes me think that the food must be good. I can tell you it’s fabulous. ‘Sree Krishna’ is a South Indian restaurant and I had ‘Masala Vadai’ and ‘Chicken Chettinadu Korma’ it was bloody gorgeous. The staff there are lovely, we had 10% taken off as one of the dishes arrived late and I can promise you that if I know you and you are coming round for a curry this is where we will be going! Alex thought it was too hot, tut, these Brazilians.

The Observations

It’s been a lovely day today, really nice. I have fitted quite a lot in. Firstly had to go and feed some cats with Bong. It’s for this woman who has been having an affair with a colleague of his for about 20 years or more, I don’t understand how that works personally, but hey ho, he’s an architect and the house is amazing! Not that I had a snoop around the place or a tour from my badly behaving elder!

Then it was off to Cromford Mill which was… interesting. Stunning with all the snow, but it hasn’t much in it for my shopping addiction. What did however is a shop that I loathed as a child but now love as an adult (though I now see I really am turning into my Mum – still no word – and my Gran) Scarthin Books. It’s one of those bookshops you see in Harry Potter movies, really old and higgledy piggledy shop with secret rooms behind the bookshelves and all that jazz! I was very good and only bought two books ‘Mrs De Winter’ by Susan White and ‘The Observations’ by Jane Harris. One old and one new, I like to do my bit for independent bookshops – I want one eventually, so its karma.

It was back for some lovely cheese and pickle sandwiches with the papers and off to my auntie Cazzie’s to see her and the kids. Then back to Cromford for dinner at my old babysitters (from when I was three) in their converted Chapel. Merren made an amazing Chestnut Soup it was amazing! Now am going to tuck myself into bed with ‘The Observations’ it sounds like a right old gothic romp!

Snow Where To Go

9th Feb 2007

Well it’s been a right old trauma having to get home to the delight that is Matlock. Yes I have bitten the bullet (a half joke) and come up to Derbyshire to spend time with my delightful grandparents. It couldn’t be a simple journey though could it… course not!

I had just bought the bloody £66 tickets when I had a voicemail “Simon its Bong, I am very concerned that its snowing up here heavily and I won’t be able to drive to chesterfield to get you. Can you call me back?” Now it wasn’t snowing in London and I know they can be ever so slightly dramatic (where do I get it from?) sometimes so I thought ‘oh piffle’ phoned up and said I would phone them from Leicester and see what happened. Three hours later at Leicester there was a sprinkling of icing like snow and ‘no you must get off at Derby and get a train to Matlock’. So I did… cursing them both.

Yes, Derby was quite snowy, and yes they started cancelling all trains to Nottingham. For my whole forty-five minute wait I was thinking ‘shit if express trains can’t get to Nottingham I am really screwed with the pathetic effort that commutes from Matlock to Derby’ but I was to be impressed it turned up. Sadly my elation was short lived. Gran phones on her mobile ‘Bong will walk down and get you!’ Now if you know Matlock you will know it’s built on a valley, a tall steep valley. As the train arrived the snow was 4 inches deep and I was in such a mard! I wanted to escape my escape from London and head right back. I remained dignified however and did the forty minute slip to there house on the top of the f**king hill! Aren’t I a good boy?

I was rewarded however with a slap up meal. Salmon to start and roast for mains it was lovely! Now it’s to bed, we’ve just had some excitement actually. A blackout and BLUE lightening… yes BLUE! Bong thought it was Armageddon. Silly sod!

Oh and Bong is my Granddad – I couldn’t say Grandpa when I was a child – so sue me!

I'm A Good Boss... I Think!

8th Feb 2007

It shows you are a good boss when you have on of your ex members of staff want to meet up with you, and tonight that’s just what happened with me. I hadn’t seen Naoma since she left my workplace last year but it was like we had seen each other yesterday and it was fabulous. Naturally the old Simon is a racist and Naoma is a homophobe jokes came out and people were looking a little shocked in Wagamama in Angel, did we care… did we bollocks. I admit I might be quite drunk.

We spent most of the evening in a gay bar I never knew existed called The Green and its really nice, the food they do looks delicious. She’s still in TV and I am in writing so we are a right pair of media bitches sat having a good old gossip about ‘him of telly’ and ‘her who writes’ it was fantastic. She’s just done Car Booty which I am most envious of… I know the winners but can’t tell you, it’s a Comic Relief surprise!

I did have to drag her into my Mecca that is Waterstones. I wanted to get my Gran and my mother (no still not heard a word) a copy of ‘The Night Watch’ each by Sarah Waters as they both like her and it was half price… so books, food, great company and drinks, what more could I ask for?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Read-a-thon

I think I have a problem, in fact I think I might have an addiction. I am addicted to books. Those of you who know me won’t be that surprised, I am forever reading something, and sadly I think this is worse than I feared! I have gone through loads of books so far this year. Mind you it was my aim to read a lot more. Well to write you must read and all that. So let’s take a look at what I have been divulging!

The Shadow of the North – Phillip Pullman
On Beauty – Zadie Smith
Eragon – Christopher Paolini
The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
Restless – William Boyd
Notes On A Scandal – Zoe Heller
The Quiche of Death – M. C. Beeton
Running With Scissors – Augusten Burroghs
Morality For Beautiful Girls – Alexander McCall Smith (Current Read)

No not the most exciting blog but so what – I am sure you wanna know what I am up to hahahahahahahahaha!

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Uninspiring Return

Isn’t it odd the different things that comfort us? For me today is been the above… Tuna sandwiches, with salad cream - not mayonnaise, mayonnaise will normally make everything better – but not tuna sarnies.

I’m feeling glum; I always get like this after a holiday, but not normally to the level where I am reaching for the tuna and shopping last minute for salad cream. I have had the best couple of days in ages and now being back in London it feels a bit bleak. Its work tomorrow and that means I will be back in the fray. Doing all the stuff that I don’t dislike and gets me paid – but after this weekend I know my heart won’t be in it. I think I may have to do some stock taking on everything for a few days and see how I feel – no rash moves Simon. I love the people I wok with, the jobs not a bad one but being away and just feeling so relaxed and yet so inspired makes London seem greyer than it has in a long time.

There is a slight ray of light in my horizon though, in fact there are three. I am going back north this weekend for a ‘home’ visit to Matlock and the grandparents. I have spoken with Michelle and Yorkshire is still looking likely in April (static caravans, the Bronte’s house and Famous Five picnics ahead) and there is a lovely new writing competition for me to enter thanks to a quick shop (half price Sarah Water’s novel ‘The Night Watch’) in Waterstones in Kendal this morning. I can’t believe I was the other end of the UK only 12 hours ago.

The competition is not what I would have expected to be thinking of entering but any writing competition must be entered this year. I have made a pact with myself and I am determined to see it through. The competition in question is ‘Miss Write’ its with Waterstones and Cosmopolitan and they are looking for the next ‘Chick Lit’ writer ‘male applicants welcome’ – does that mean ‘come on you poofs give it a go’? Well I bloody well shall! It’s the first 3000 words, and a synopsis and I think I could do it. I mean ‘chick lit’ wasn’t how I saw myself writing but I think I could do it (I’m not being bigheaded) and you can move on and change genres in your career surely.

The piece on ‘chick lit’ was actually very interesting. It was an interview with three of the biggest selling authors in that field Sophie Kinsella, Wendy Holden, and Jill Mansell who have sold over 20,000,000 between them. Now I will admit to liking a bit of ‘chick lit’ (hell I have been known to read the odd Mills and Boon) I love all works by Lisa Jewell (‘A Friend In The Family’ is particularly brilliant) and Bridget Jones is fabulous, plus Jane Austen technically wrote ‘chick lit’ and look what happened there. Now I just need to research – oh and get a new laptop – this one is behaving most weirdly, keeps crashing and producing a blue screen… what does that mean?

Have just had a brainwave, maybe the first line of my chick lit book could read... 'she knew there was only one thing for it. She reached for the white bread, tuna and salad cream and got stuck into a proper tuna sandwich, it made everything better'.

The World Of Beatrix Potter

Sunday 4th of Feb

Today has left me feeling totally inspired. I haven’t had my mind as full of potential ideas as I have today. I think weekends away are the way forward – especially away from London and especially away from the thronging masses.

We rose early as I wanted to make the day as full as physically possible and Alex was desperate to have an English breakfast ‘traditional style’, it was good but not amazing! By 9am we were making our way to Kendal Castle something we hadn’t managed to fit in the day before. I was really impressed by the site as its not run by the National Trust or the English Heritage and its in really good ‘keep’ (do you see what I did there) ok there was one dirty bit of toilet roll (who poo’s in a castle?) but I was graffiti free and had loads of signs telling you all about it. I also quite like a ruin – you have to use your imagination more. Already you can hazard a guess my mind was whirring away thinking of what aspects I could use in a book, so made sure to take lots of pictures and make some notes – Alex always looks at me with slight despair when I get a whim and we’ve not been seeing each other long lol.

We then headed back for a couple of hours in the Spa at the hotel before the first train to Windermere. Yet again sat in the Jacuzzi my mind had started to spin with all these ideas. I already knew this wouldn’t be ‘Dora’s Legacy’ for a setting – this was all very much going towards the third Miriam Perry tale as the first two are done and dusted (in my dead at least). The title dawned on me later, but I shan't spoil it for you right now.

We caught the 12.20 train to Windermere and its true what they say about Kendal not really being in the Lake District as only a few miles later it becomes less hilly and much more mountainous. Alex was in his element just looking at the scenery – I was lost in my own world. We couldn’t get a bike (shame!) at Windermere station so walked to Bowness and grabbed some Scampi on the way. Now I used to come to the Lakes EVERY summer as a child, I’d canoe, walk through Rhoda and Tony’s woods and just love it – its not lost any of its charm. Ok Bowness is tackier than my childhood memories but so is Matlock Bath when I go home. It’s just so beautiful it really leaves you speechless.

We got on a cruise around Windermere which is a 35 minute trip to Ambleside and back, you can get off if you want and have a wander but we thought no we have too much to see (like Hilltop – which was closed so I ain’t discussing it further, get the attitude) but just the 70 minutes on water and I had the opening sequence to ‘Miriam Perry and the Witches of Windermere’ firmly stuck in my head. It amazes me how something like that can just inspire you so much, its also made me think maybe my London time is coming up? Have I had enough? Do I want to become a country bumpkin? Ray Castle is vacant – maybe I can hire that of the National Trust? Ha ha ha! Just sit in my castle on the edge of the lake for a few months, have mates over for long weekends – do no work! No seriously, it’s made me think.

Finally we had lunch (do NOT go to Sutherlands Restaurant, all the vegetables tasted like water) and then decide to risk ‘The World of Beatrix Potter – The Attraction’. Now all my cousins have been and visited so I felt I should… I should mention they are all under ten – but I quite enjoyed myself. There was an informative film, then you met all the characters (I had a lovely chat with both Miss Tiggywinkle and Jemima Puddleduck – my fav character) and finally got to do my favourite thing – shop for rubbish and I didn’t leave empty handed, I got stickers, stationery, books the works! It was brill. What I have most gained from the day though is to get away – go places and just relax, suddenly your mind is open to endless possibilities!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Is Kendal Mint?

The answer is yes...

I am so relieved, I have finally arrived in Kendal and a) they weren’t homophobic at the check in (oh believe me it has been known “a double from… for you both?”) and b) the bloody fog has lifted. All the way between Rugby and Lancaster there was a mass of fog whereby you could see no further than the nearest tree and I was worried that on Alex’s first big trip up north in the UK he would see absolutely sod all. Thankfully no sooner had we left Lancaster (after a 45 minute wait between trains) it suddenly went and the Dales were covered in sunshine – it makes you realise how much beauty we have on our very own doorstep in England, I’d forgotten.

Anyway we’re now in Kendal finally. The hotel is great. We have a room on the first floor that is literally ON the River Kent. The ducks and seagulls have been going crazy outside the window but who cares, it’s the countryside. You can see the castle if you pop your head out the window and the town is sooooooo much nicer than I had anticipated. Only one slight minor complaint… what’s the deal with all the teenagers, they are everywhere, little hordes of Goths!

We met my Uncle Matt, Aunt Frinny (or Catherine as normal people call her) and the kids and Alex has been a success. We met in ‘The Brewery Arts Centre’ (it has a cinema and everything) the plan was to get a nice pizza and have a good old catch up. Sadly the chef had a hissy fit about orders arriving 5 minutes early and refused to serve any meals, we soon left. Kendal was thriving (it was dead when we played pool at 2.30pm – I won) and there were literally no places with free tables. So we went and had bar food at the hotel – mash with mint is amazing, I must cook it myself – and I had proper Cumbrian Sausage (oo-er) the kids were a delight and it was so nice seeing Matt and Cath, such a success was the evening they have invited us round fro dinner tomorrow night!

We’re planning a big trip round Windermere first, hoping to include Hilltop farm – the home of the wondrous Beatrix Potter. I have just realised that for the whole day in Kendal I’ve not had a single piece of mint cake. I must head out to by some before we get drunk in the bar!

A Ducking Scandal

Friday 2nd of February

Have seen the fabulous ‘Notes on a Scandal’. It is truly brilliant – I cannot recommend it enough – and Dame Judi of the Dench is just superb. Psychotic, evil and yet cunningly sweet to begin she makes Sheba (Cate Blanchett – also good) have the downfall of all downfalls.

Ok so it’s not the book but then no movie ever is! The ending (which I won’t give away) is different – but strangely more satisfying! I would recommend the book to anyone though; it’s a book that is disturbing yet readable.

Another such book is the one I now have my face deeply engrossed in, Running with Scissors the memoir of a truly dysfunctional childhood by Augusten Burroughs. The quote ‘I would write it down but no one would believe it’ is justified. So far at the age of 13 he has had his mother give him to her psychiatrist and has just started a love affair with the paedophile homosexual who lives in a barn at the end of the garden (I love how us gays get such lovely characters) its madness but also brilliant! Sadly it’s one of those books that makes me sad am away and have to go out and do things, but thems the breaks xxxxxxxxx