Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thursday 9 February 2006: Lord H's Birthday

Lord H's birthday today - so a speedy present opening session before he went to work this morning. I forgot the usual birthday cake (shame on me), but went towards making up for this shocking oversight by the individual chocolate cakes I bought at the university shop yesterday. He seemed to like the rather beautiful picture I bought for him from the university gallery - "L'escalier blanc" - he loves stairs, so I feel I've done well there. Also bought a whisky described as "long and complex". Just like himself really.

Lord H went off to work, and I made a start on a precis of a Mozart opera (The Magic Flute in 50 words - hard but fun!) for a Writers' News ( competition, and wrote a short story also for a Ws' N competition called "Creative Accountancy for Beginners" - about a spaceship attempting to park. Never say I'm not catholic in my writing tastes ... I love doing something I can finish in a day - a "quick win" in management-speak rather than the long-term novel commitment. Will also try to do a poem on a Mozart piece (spot the theme!) later on. I always do poems longhand before transferring them onto the computer, but the fiction - long or short - goes straight to screen.

Attempted to confirm my booking for a Fortnum & Mason's tea on Saturday for my gang of friends, but it was a nightmare of phone rage. Their system cut me off 3 times and I ended up having to ring their PR company to get to speak to a person. But never say PR isn't useful - 5 minutes after my call, the restaurant rang back and confirmed it. Thank goodness! How I hate doing these mass social arrangements, but it always - always! - ends up being me doing it. I swear - if I didn't do the running around, this lot would never meet up. I'm very fond of them, naturally, but how I wish for someone else to be the Social Secretary for a while. I work on my "days off" too, chaps - sometimes harder and for longer than my "working" days!

Sent an email query to Alma Books ( today about "A Dangerous Man". They emailed back quickly to request the synopsis and first chapter, so will send that to them by snail mail tomorrow. Fingers crossed - again!

Have just finished Harlan Coben's "The Innocent." Not very impressive, I must say, although a Coben is always a page-turner. It was a picnic of unlikely coincidences, and the wife, Olivia, has to be the most plastic and irritating character I've come across for a long while. At least in literature! And no marriage - believe me! - is ever that perfect.

Talking of which, I'd better start getting the birthday dinner ready for the homecoming (complete with the flowers I had sent today - hope it makes up for the lack of cake) Lord H: sausages, chips & beans, chocolate ice cream and champers. What more could you want?

Anne Brooke

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