All very quiet at work today – due to holidays, conferences, non-working days and a variety of illnesses, the only one in the office apart from the Dean is … um … me. Goodness but it’s quiet. I do think the Dean should perform some kind of song-and-dance routine to entertain the troops accordingly. Or, rather, troop. Mind you, I don’t feel so good myself actually, if you’re asking, so maybe that’s not such a clever idea. Though I did nip into Tesco on the way in this morning to stock up with the necessary medicine, so am surely already on the up. One hopes.
So, I’m taking the opportunity of arranging the whole academic year’s supply of Steering Group meetings for next year. My, everyone’s in-boxes will be bursting. It’s good to have some kind of power, you know. Even if only of the email kind. It’s such a great feeling to have the gang all sorted out up to July 2009 and, yes, I know I’m sad, but I’m nothing if not an obsessive planner. Isn’t that what the University pays me for?
I also strolled round the campus at lunchtime and admired the new art exhibition. This time it’s portraits. I do think it’s a sign of age that I really like portrait painting now. I never did in my 20s or 30s, but I woke up when I was 40 thinking: Lordy but I’d love to see paintings of people and give me more of them. Perhaps it’s my hormones? And today’s other lunch excitement was the gingerbread sheep, fresh from Lord H’s shopping trip to Waitrose. Gingerbread sheep make Wednesdays suddenly worthwhile, you know. Ooh, and I’ve ordered a new mobile phone as O2 tell me that it’s time for an update (Gawd bless ’em …). As ever and being a hard-nosed meanie, I asked for whatever was free, so I appear to be getting a Nokia 6300 in black, which comes with a camera. Well, goodness me, I haven’t had a camera-phone before! I’m usually barely able to press the keys to make a call, and finding where numbers might be stored is a mystery of the deepest kind. I foresee much confusion ahead, Carruthers …
Meanwhile, this week’s heroes are (a) the Dean – for sparing me the need to listen to any entertainment after all; and (b) Lord H – for knowing the difference between the Klu Klux Klan and the penitents of Andalusia, without even having to look it up.
Tonight, I’m starting the second tranche of editing The Bones of Summer as – yes! – I finished the first run through last night. Hurrah! No, double hurrahs and somebody put the bunting out. Mind you, I’ve already thought of two or three tweaks (at least) for the second run-through, so it’s not all champagne and canapés here in the outback. Sadly.
I’ve just read Blake Morrison’s South of the River. Now, I usually really rate Morrison, and his previous novel, The Justification of Johan Gutenberg, is a tour-de-force which everyone should read. But really SOTR is dull, wordy, faintly irritating and way, way too long. I struggled through it womanfully, but purely out of a misplaced sense of loyalty to Morrison. At the end, I was skipping wildly and maybe reading one word in 100. If that. Not only that, but the font size can only be read by eagles having a particularly good day. It just made my eyes ache. What is wrong with publishers??? Perhaps they should sell a magnifying glass with every copy. Now, I know it’s about 600 pages long (groan …), but either they divide it into two and give us a decent font, or they simply edit the thing down to the 200 page novel it actually is. That would have been the more merciful option for sure.
Meanwhile Maloney’s Law on Amazon UK now has a rating on it, as the truly lovely Jilly has actually bought a copy. Thank you, Jilly! My first customer, triple hurrahs! I hope you enjoy the read.
Today’s nice things:
1. Arranging a year’s-worth of meetings
2. Portrait paintings
3. Gingerbread sheep
4. A new mobile
5. Editing Bones
6. Maloney’s Amazon UK rating and Jilly buying a copy!