Sunday, December 31, 2006

Failed roasts & tax returns

Hey, never let it be said that I don't know how to party. Actually Lord H & I were appalling layabouts today and didn't actually get out of bed till gone 10.30am, and weren't capable of answering the door to anyone (at least not decently washed and with clothes on) till gone midday. Shocking behaviour. We decided the Finger of God would indeed point and find us wanting, but if we whispered, He might not hear us. Let's hope He doesn't read blogs then ...

However, we redeemed ourselves in the afternoon. Lord H nobly filled in my tax return (thus earning him at least 50,000 Husband Points - and, hey, Points mean Prizes! - for the year to come) and discovered that Gordon Brown owes me £120 due to general governmental cock-ups over my tax code. Mean bugger. I shall be straight round there on Tuesday demanding what's mine. Probably worth watching the news then in that case. And I sorted out our cars and attempted for the second time to cook a decent roast lunch. Which happened - again - to be lamb. Um, that'll be another failure then - is lamb supposed to be that pink? Really? Ye gods. We could have had starring roles in TV's recent adaption of "Dracula" and not have needed the skills of the make-up department. Suffice it to say that I will never again cook roast lamb, as I obviously have no talent for it. And Lord H is in charge of tomorrow's roast turkey for sure.

Oh, and I made a concerted effort and managed to squeeze out another 1000 words to "The Gifting". Funny how these ideas float around my head and they never actually make it onto the page. At least not how I envisage them. Do all writers have this terrible gap between imagination and reality? Hell, don't answer that - it may well just be me. Still, I can only do my best.

This sudden burst of activity has been followed by a much-needed nap and my usual bout of end-of-year depression: comprising of (a) oh God, I haven't done half the things I dreamed of this year and there's only five hours left to do them (b) there's only one full holiday day left and I have to drag myself to work again on Tuesday, and this week off has been such an okay time and I hate the thought of leaving it. So bloody much! However, the good news is that Lord H and I are being Class A Party Poopers tonight and are staying in and not even bothering to stay up. We have half a bottle of champagne in the fridge which we will have with a mince pie and rum butter (made earlier today - I remembered!) later on before turning in with our fluffy dressing gowns and slippers. Bliss indeed. This is so definitely the way we prefer to spend New Year's Eve - I hope I can make it a tradition.

And I've just finished Tim Cantopher's "Depressive Illness: the curse of the strong". First-class stuff. If you're depressed, or know someone who is, I can highly recommend it. Short, practical and clear - what more could you want?

This week's (and the end of year's even ...) haiku is:

Poems are for trains:
the rise and fall; the rhythm;
the lilt of the track.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope 2007 will be good to us all.

Anne Brooke

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Lord H and I decided to end the year in style and get ourselves to Ascot for a day. We haven't been since the new grandstand was opened, and it certainly makes a hell of a difference. Ye gods, it's almost plush. And nice to be back at the horses once more - we don't seem to have been for a lifetime. Mind you, we're not the people the bookies want to see, as we don't spend more than four pounds a race and, besides, I always tend to go for the second favourite. Or maybe the pretty one. Ah choices, choices.

Mind you, we decided on a different system this year - which, for me, involved staring at the horses in the paddock as they stretched their fetlocks and also seeing (much more importantly) which owner had invited his cousins and sisters and aunts, thus showing a large amount of confidence in the outcome. Lord H's new system, on the other hand, consisted of working out which jockey had invited his girlfriend and was therefore hoping to impress her, with a consequently higher likelihood of a victory bonk later on. Results: two winners for me; one for Lord H. Which just goes to show that family triumphs over sex every time. Sad to say ...

We also attempted to circumnavigate the utterly peculiar arrangements for ordering afternoon tea in the new facilities. The waitresses were adept at lying and blaming the management, but not so hot on bringing us scones and jam. So we failed. Gloom indeed. Which just goes to show the power and speed of communication of the UK waitressing network: I'm sure that if I hadn't fought with yesterday's waitress over my clotted cream allowance, we would have been fine for tea today. I see that I will never be able to eat out in public again.

By the time we left - the last race being at 3.35pm - the torrential rain was making the car park (aka a field) into a veritable mire. Lucky we'd brought my Fiesta (called Rupert, by the way) and not Lord H's car - with a little care and only one moment of panic we managed to reach the tarmac unscathed. Though I have to admit that when the large car in front of us did get stuck, I fought a brief battle with my sense of civic duty and ... um ... lost, instead manoeuvring round it and abandoning it to its fate. Yes, I know - I'm an appalling person. But I wasn't the only one. And it was raining. Excuses, excuses, eh? ... The next time I break down in traffic, you have every right to drive past me sneering. I probably deserve it.

Tonight, I'm doing sod all. And proud of it. And we're having a Chinese takeaway from Waitrose - hurrah!

Today's nice things:

1. Ascot
2. Winning
3. Chinese food.

Anne Brooke

Friday, December 29, 2006

Velasquez and clotted cream

Yes, the ideal combination. Lord H and I were up at the crack of dawn today in order to get to London on the 9.20 train. I factored in huge amounts of time to drive to Woking during the rush hour, but the rush hour appeared to be inoperative (hey, is nobody at all at work this week? What is the country coming to ...?) and we arrived at the station at 8.55. The car park was virtually empty too - and is now charging a massive £8.30 to park all day. Ye gods, for that price, I'd expect to own the bloody car park. And have it lined with Daniel Craig look-alikes too. Naked ones. Thank goodness the machine accepts credit cards and Lord H was feeling noble. Talking of noble, I lightheartedly waved my railcard at Lord H and said I'd pay for the train. Forgetting of course that the card doesn't work till after 10am, so I had to pay £40 for travel cards for the both of us. £40!! I ask you ... And people wonder why I won't work in London.

Lord H had decided to make the most of the train journey to package his theology essay & questionnaires into the appropriate envelopes (proofread and printed off late last night - Good Wife points all round ...) - so as soon as he sat down, he unbuttoned his coat, scrabbled at chest level inside his jumper and produced a paperclip. Then he did it again. And I'd been wondering what men's nipples were for. Now I know ... When I voiced this in my usual dulcet (not) tones, his response was that I should wait to see where he'd stored the rubber bands. At which point, the tannoy announcement asked us to let the train staff know if we saw anything suspicious and the family the other side of the aisle moved seats.

Which brings me to the National Gallery Velasquez exhibition. Wonderful. I can highly recommend it. Best of all, there are only four rooms so you don't have to have art (oh Lord, where's the chocolate, please give it to me now) overload syndrome. And there's a free micro-booklet which tells you just enough about each picture to keep your interest. Bliss. My favourites? - rather surprisingly, the portraits of men at court whom Velasquez knew. Very realistic and humane stuff. Moving too. Lord H's favourite? - the Rokeby Venus (the naked lady with her back to us and gazing in the mirror). Need you ask? However, Lord H did comment that her bottom was in sharp focus but the rest of her was very soft and almost impressionistic. He was right too - the photographer's eye, eh? Not, of course, the half-hour he spent staring at it and salivating ... So the good Velasquez is a bottom man. You heard it here first.

Post-art, we dropped into Fortnum & Mason to (a) check out the sales - rather like an art gallery but with food instead of paint - and (b) have a snack - which turned out to be tea & scones, replete with clotted cream buckets x2. Heaven. As always, and in true Essex Girl fashion, I'd saved a large teaspoon of cream and jam in the buckets to lap up sans scone at the end. But the moment I'd got rid of the bun, the waitress made a foolhardy attempt to whisk my plate away. I fought bravely to retain my clotted cream orgasm rights and, after a brief tussle, I won. Lord H said the look on my face as my plate was almost removed was Munch-like in its expression of raw terror. Hell, I got the cream though. Ha!

And so, home. Tonight, I need to make a token cleaning gesture and then slump in front of the TV again. Hey, it's good to have an exercise plan.

Today's nice things:

1. Velasquez
2. Clotted cream
3. An evening in.

Anne Brooke

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Godalming sales - and writing

Ah, what a relief - the Godalming sales do exist (unlike the Guildford ones) and are much more user friendly. The benefits of small-town life finally come into their own. I even managed to spend the Christmas money from mother - half on books and half on 2 sets of earrings, one of which I am wearing right now. Which means I have at last broken my earring crisis (the one where I coudn't be arsed to change them from my gold hoop fall-backs) - cheers all round, eh? I also bought a bag of crystallised ginger from the health shop - which Lord H and I have discovered means two seconds of pleasure, five minutes of fiery regret, and then a good end moment. I suggested this might be fairly similar to being married to me, but he had the wisdom to remain silent on this point. The eyebrows did move upward a fraction though ...

I've also taken an armload of holiday brochures in the hope that Lord H and I will find somewhere we can go which we both agree on next year. We've decided to ignore the usual independent stuff we do and go for the managed trips with personal slaves etc etc (aka tour operators) - so middle age and fear of the unknown has at last arrived. Obviously.

Once home, Lord H was still doing his morning's work at the office today sorting out the finances, so I took the opportunity to do another 500 words of "The Gifting". Bloody hell, I can still write. Shame I don't seem to have many ideas at the moment however. Still, I always tend to wing it as I type (as you've no doubt gathered), so I'm hoping inspiration will arrive on screen as the bottom of the page approaches. It's worked so far ... I hope.

And talking of ideas, the marvellous Sue Haywood ( has come up with an ace set of ideas for marketing "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice". I was totally amazed by it all, and hope we can together thrash out some kind of realistic plan. You heard it here first - so watch this space ... Many thanks again, Sue. And buy a copy of the novel too, while stocks last - tee hee!

Oh, and I've just finished Jonathan Kellerman's "Rage" - another Alex Delaware mystery. It's not rocket science but, by gum, it's a bloody good read. As reliable as rock.

Tonight, it's TV catch-up night, and maybe some more writing - we'll see. I'm not going to do too much this week - hell, it is a holiday after all.

Today's nice things:

1. Sue's grand plan
2. Buying loads more books
3. Writing.

Anne Brooke

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sales nightmare

Oh Lord, don't talk to me about the bloody sales. Honestly, they're a nightmare! And, in our two hour sojourn in Guildford today, it seemed like not much of any interest was actually in the sales at all. Damn it. And I do so hate crowds ... Lord H and I finally came away with one pair of green shoes with heels which I managed to snatch from the hands of a white-haired old lady who was about to reject them, I'm sure (really - even I'm not that mean!) of it (which are mine - for my dancing lessons. I mention the heels as normally I don't do heels) and one dusky pink shirt (his - for those New Man moments), as well as a lot of existential angst.

But we cheered up in Godalming Waitrose which was (a) fairly empty (not surprising as it's just so damn expensive, but Lord H will shop nowhere else ...) and (b) had everything we wanted - or almost everything - plus bargains. We ended up buying cut-price Lindor shaped chocolates for the Christmas tree - which we don't actually have, being a non-tree, non-decoration household. Puritanism starts here, y'know. But, what the hell, it's chocolate. So everyone wins.

This afternoon, I am going to attempt to make the flat look habitable as my brother-in-law, Peter, and his fiancee, Sue, are coming for dinner tonight. Lord H is cooking. Thank God. I will have to try to appear normal, though I'm not sure I've succeeded yet. Lovely people, but they're staying at a local hotel tonight, so our home still remains our own - hurrah!

I'll have to remember to video "Torchwood" though - Lord H and I can't do without our weekly fix of bizarre pseudo-erotic antics. More pseudo than erotic, really, I'm sad to say. Ah well. If only we had digital, eh?...

Today's nice things:

1. Buying a pair of dancing shoes
2. Finding cut-price Lindor. Bliss
3. Not having overnight guests.

Anne Brooke

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas survived!

And, hey, it wasn't too bad actually. I even managed to go to church with Lord H and it was all right. Mind you, we sang "Oh little town" and, as I think that's got the most profound first verse of all the carols, we couldn't really go far wrong. And the visiting preacher was quite human too and didn't blow a gasket when I said how much I hated that famous beginning to John 1 and isn't Christmas ruined by the fact that we have to have it each ruddy year? To my mind, a little sensible editorial work would in fact have either cut it entirely or at least placed it at the end of the whole book. Start with the action is what I say. Other highlights of the service were the new utterly adorable, round woolly sheep that have been added to the manger. I nearly pinched them for home but Lord H raised his eyebrows and groaned a little too loudly. But I filched two chocolates from the Christmas tree - hurrah!

The big Christmas pleasure though was at the African waterhole which we always visit whenever we can via webcam ( there was a pride of lions having a Christmas meal of (dead) wildebeest. Marvellous - nature red of tooth and claw. I love it! Oh and we saw a green woodpecker in the garden, so that was grand too. If not quite as blood-thirsty as the lions.

Other Christmas pleasures - Lord H buying me a ballroom/Latin American dancing beginners' book and a DVD to go with it. I shall have twinkling toes indeed when I start my classes next year. Something to look forward to indeed. And "Doctor Who" and "The Vicar of Dibley" on TV were first-class.

Which brings us to:

Boxing Day

Which has included a morning's (rather cold) golf, an afternoon snoozing in front of "Giselle" on TV and another evening's slump ahead. Bliss. Though I really ought to make a shopping list for tomorrow before the week gets too set in.

I have to admit that I'm enjoying the hols, but - being me - it will be marvellous to get back to our normal routine next week. I'm nothing if not a party pooper ...

Oh and I've just finished another marvellous book from Taichi Yamada - "In Search of a Distant Voice". Another Murakami in truth, and highly recommended. And I gave up on Andrew Martin's "The Lost Luggage Porter" at the end of Page 5: the hero has to be the most boring man on God's fictional earth. My advice is: don't bother. Stick to the Yamada instead.

Christmas' nice things:

1. Hungry lions in Africa
2. Dancing books/DVD
3. Golf.

Anne Brooke

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Lordy, lordy, here it is again, eh? A nice lazy start to the morning today, and then I had to nip out to Godalming for some medicines I don't seem to have in the house. Women's troubles - say no more! Just what I didn't ask from Santa. Luckily one of the High Street chemists was open, so it's safe to say that the rest of today and tomorrow will be rather less twitchy than it otherwise would have been. Actually, most of the shops were open and there was actually quite a relaxed atmosphere around. I also desperately tried to find petrol as I only have a spit-full left, but the Sainsbury's petrol station seemed to be having a rather exciting incident involving a fire engine and an abandoned car (never say we're dull in Godalming ...) and the other petrol station had a line of cars right out onto the road, so I didn't bother.

The combination of aforementioned illness and the lack of fuel put me right into tantrum mode (the household wouldn't be the same without Anne's Christmas Tantrum, you know ...), and Lord H is now wearing the cloak of nobility and has gone for another hunt for some petrol. This means he's ahead in the Christmas Hero stakes, but as I've just washed the car and made rum butter, then I must surely be catching up by now. One hopes. Never mind, once we've got the beers open tonight, then all harmony will be restored again. I shall even offer to proof-read his latest theology essay - which has to be in by 31 December, so we'd better be quick. Still, at least we're still able to laugh about how differently we both deal with stress. Ho ho ho.

Tonight, we are distinctly not attending church (hurrah!) and will be having a pagan Christmas in front of the TV. Bliss.

Today's haiku (especially for the season) is:

How has this week been?
Work; sleep; darkness; fog. Slow steps
on the way to God.

Today's nice things:

1. Making rum butter
2. Not attending church
3. Surviving the hell that is Christmas - one hopes.

Happy Christmas to all!

Anne Brooke

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Day with Mother

Argggghhhhh! Gulp. No, actually, it wasn't that bad in the end. Even though I was very twitchy about it, and kept waking up last night and panicking, thinking: is it over yet? Err, no. Is this just me being a heartless daughter, or do all mother/daughter relationships have that frisson of fear? Hmm, don't answer that. I just find it exceptionally hard to be nice all day when I'm with her. Not that she's a scary woman. She isn't. Well, not really - although Lord H and I do call her The Poison Poppet (she can't be more that 4 foot 2. Ok, maybe that is a slight exaggeration ...) for her amazing manipulation skills. I, of course, never manipulate. Not more than 60% of the day anyway.

So I attempted to be a Good Daughter, but that lasted all of 5 minutes before I started sounding off and arguing about something or other. And then I get involved, and I don't really want to tell her all my stuff - none of it! She wouldn't understand, and then it would be seriously awkward. The two plus points about Mother and Me are: (a) we have the same sense of humour; and (b) we both agree that we could never live in the same house again without killing each other and 4 visits a year is the limit of our endurance abilities. Hell, so maybe I am a chip off the old block after all? (apart from the significant height difference: mother, where are you? Ah that must be you at my knee level again ...) - don't tell me that!!!

So, nice (so nice!) to be at home this evening watching "Strictly Come Dancing". What the bloody hell am I going to do now this is the last one? My Saturday nights will be empty and sad for sure.

Oh, and I've just finished trawling my way through the latest edition of "Poetry Review". There were one or two poems I liked, but as usual the rest of it passed me by. I'm beginning to feel about poetry the way I feel about clothes shopping: surely there must be something that suits me out there, but fuck me if I can find it. One day, I swear, I will start a clothes & poetry shop that caters for the normal-sized woman and normal reader. You heard it here first.

Today's nice things:

1. Coming home from Mother's (hell, she'd say the same)
2. An evening of dance TV.

Anne Brooke

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fog and scribbling

Or rather tapping. Another freezing fog-bound day in Godalming today. I wonder if the rest of the country is actually basking in glorious sunshine, and it's only Surrey which is lying under the misty curse? Reminds me of the start of one of those old Doctor Who episodes - possibly the one where the Cybermen first clump up out of the ocean. No sea here though. The Surrey matrons wouldn't allow it - Surrey's too rich for sea-water.

Anyway, I'm burbling. Have spent the day tapping like a madwoman on the computer and produced another 1000 words of "The Gifting". Hurrah! My day would have been different if Marian and I had been brave enough to play golf, but neither of us wanted to be snatched away by the fog demons and, besides, we were worried about losing our balls in the mist. Not that either of us can send the ball that far, but you never know ... Frankly, I was glad of the chance to stay in and nap. Which is what I did, after my 1000 words were done. Goodness, I am so becoming like my grandmother. Soon I shall be knitting and shouting at the TV phrases like "Don't I know him?" and "Didn't he use to be in Coronation Street?" Oh, I forgot. I already do this. But not in a northern accent.

In the midst of all this, I'm been doing some more reading of Tim Cantopher's book on depression - today's chapter was how to cope with recovery. Apparently it's all right to leave a task halfway through if you get tired. My goodness, how I need to learn that. I get extremely twitchy if I don't finish stuff, and start compulsively checking plugs and things - or is that just part of being female??

Tonight I will clean for Christmas, I think. Why do I always have to do that, by the way? After all, God willing, there will be a time after The Big Day when all the cleaning (damn it) can be done, and we (thank the Lord) don't have visitors, so why bother anyway? Hmm, once again, maybe that's something they embed into you when they hand you the womb gene at conception. As I don't think men ever have the urge to get out the Mr Sheen - though I'm happy to be proved wrong, of course. I might even leave it halfway through - you never know (oh Lord, I'm getting twitchy at the mere thought!...).

I'm also going to be glued to the "Strictly Come Dancing" update - an hour's special this evening - how my cup runneth over indeed! And later, there's always "QI" with the adorably marvellous Stephen Fry. Goodness me, that rhymes - there's hope for me yet.

Today's nice things:

1. Tapping away at the novel
2. Not going out
3. TV.

Anne Brooke

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Armani and Champagne

Goodness me, but I'm up and down like a goat on a mountain these days - must be my hormones. Or maybe it's just me, eh? Anyway, a much better day today - and thank you to all those good wishes people were kind enough to send my way yesterday. It was very much appreciated.

Up with the milkman this morning (not literally) to go to my optician's appointment at 8.45am. Bloody hell, but what possessed me to agree on such an early time?? Especially as today an icy fog has fallen upon the world and Godalming looks like something out of a Sherlock Holmes film. Thank goodness the receptionist arrived early to let me in. My appointment brought home, above all, the astonishing passing of time - when I first arrived in Surrey and began seeing the Optician thirteen years ago, I thought he was the sexiest thing in Surrey (apart from Lord H, of course) and used to giggle maniacally when he had to gaze into my eyes with that little light. Now, we've probably both gone greyer and the stardust has vanished. Ah well ... he's still a genuinely nice bloke! And, yes, the time has come for new glasses - my right eye is fading gently, even though my left one will probably be seeing perfectly well in the grave, thank you. So I had ten minutes of fun and frolics with the dispensing optician choosing a new pair of glasses - my first since 1996 apparently! My, how out-of-date I am. But the joy comes from realising that the ones I really, really liked were Armani (at last, I get designer style!!!) and in the sales (even better - Lord H won't complain about the price!!). So roll on, New Year, and I'll wow them in the office.

After the sight test, I popped to church to deliver two extra bottles of communion wine to the vestry, in case the post-pub keenies get a little too keen at Midnight Mass on Sunday. You never know ... And then, back home - where I was delighted to receive a glowing review of "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice" from Sue on MySpace ( Thanks hugely, Sue - it's really cheered me today. And (with Sue's permission), I add it below:

"I just knew I was going to love this book even before reading it. Why? I’ve met Anne, the writer of this book through MySpace and she writes some really funny articles in her blog section. When I saw that she had just brought out this book, I knew I had to get a copy and I wasn’t disappointed. My measure of a good read is how fast I get through it. By that, if I’ve read it within a few days, it was because I couldn’t put it down. Well, I’d read this book cover to cover in two days! So why was it so good? It has a brilliant mixture of humour, characters and a very different storyline. I was able to visualise all the characters, even down to how the buildings would look. So I’d better not be disappointed when they make it into a film!!
The storyline is about Angie who flees from her very loving home to make her mark in the world. She looks up her Uncle John who she hasn’t seen for many years and turns up unannounced. Maybe Angie should have had some hints that all would not be as it seems, when she asks for directions and is met with ‘you want where?’. Her first meeting with Uncle John is a memorable one and the story of why Uncle John has not been around for years unfolds with interesting reasons. Mixed in with this are the people who work for Uncle John and the entangled love interests. To find out why you’ll just have to read the book. If you want a taster then you can read the first chapter by clicking here. You’ll be hooked." (Courtesy of Sue's weblog -

Thanks, Sue. Again. And it inspired me to beaver away on "The Gifting" today, and I have added another 1000 words. Phew! Quite pleased with the way it went too. Also inspired by Sue, I drummed up the courage to ring Flame Books ( again - this time I tried Michael rather than Sean, and managed to get a more comprehensive explanation as to what on earth is going on. Apparently, they've had to change printers (no reason given, and I was too scared to ask) and hope that my inspection copies will be with me in the New Year - so it looks like they're not dumping me - yet. So I might not be forming my Flame Pit of Despair (courtesy of Jonathan - another confused Flame would-be author - I'm right with you, Jonathan, and thanks for your note!) Support Group, at least for a while. We'll see.

Ooh, and I've just finished Laurie Graham's "The Future Homemakers of America". This was much like a packet of plain chocolate digestives - difficult to get into, a marvel in the middle, but a disappointing crumbly finish. I'll definitely be looking out for her again though - the middle was good!

Today's nice things:

1. Ordering Armani glasses (go, girl, go!)
2. Sue's lovely review
3. Speaking to Michael of Flame - at last!

Anne Brooke

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

End of year and publishing blues

God, what a day. Felt reasonably okay when I got in, but rapidly went plunging down into feeling totally depressed and worthless. And yes, I know the year has on the face of it been good, and people have been positive about my last book – but to my mind that has absolutely nothing to do with how up or down I feel. Unfortunately. Hey, it’s an internal thing. Damn it.

So, I struggled to write up yesterday’s minutes – at a speed of approximately one page per hour and a half, as a lot of that time I spent surfing, staring at the screen and generally feeling tearful. Some secretary I am, eh?...

And the thoughts going through my head were: (a) hey, another year nearly done and still “A Dangerous Man” (yes, it is the novel I really, really want to be published, even though I know the rest are fine – please don’t confront me on this or get cross, it’s just the way it is …) is stuck in non-book form. In spite of promises to the contrary. I’m wavering between being incredibly upset and angry with Flame Books about it and just incredibly depressed and resigned – the “oh well, that’s just my luck – even my publishers don’t want to print it” mental scenario; (b) I can’t even get my latest poetry collection published, in spite of winning/being placed in awards for it and the stuff it contains, and I shall no doubt have to self-publish it next year once again, as the small press I’ve sent it to won’t bother replying to me even though it was they who requested it in the first place; (c) rage (yes, that is the right word) at the fact that 90% of the other writers I know all seem to have publication dates for their latest novels coming out of their ears. And of course they’re all with hugely well-known and mainstream “ah darling, aren’t you brilliant? Let me throw you a party” publishers. And I know that these are all good and wonderful people, with novels which will last the test of time and win loads of awards, but please, please don’t tell me about them again until they are actually out. I just can’t bear the pain and am liable to print a picture of your novel off, tear it to little pieces and burn it. Though of course I will buy it in the long run. Probably. But hey give me a break now, people ...; (d) In any case, why can’t my publisher or agent even bear to see me? I am fed up with people telling me what wonderful people their publishers/agents/editors are and what excellent lunches they give when I haven’t even met mine. Any of them. And I’ve been promised lunch twice by my current agent, and been stood up by him once at another event too. With a fairly okay reason, but even so ... I’m beginning to assume that I’m simply not good enough actually to meet anyone face-to-face, and I’ll never be good enough. (e) Even at work, I can’t escape the agony of it all – some bloody punter from the Language Centre has produced his first novel (or rather novella – it’s only 100 pages) and the publicity for it is emblazoned over the intranet. Every time I see it, I’m giving it the good old two fingers. Naturally, being the sweet and generous person I am (ha!), I have emailed my congratulations, but have also written to the internal PR people to ask why the fuck they told me they wouldn’t advertise people’s novels as it was “too commercial”. Just because the Language Centre boyo is with HarperCollins (oh, dahlings, how super …) and I’m with Goldenford, eh? Bloody tight-arse PR losers. (f) Finally how much I hate Christmas and the New Year – I have ten whole days to face when there’s absolutely no chance of getting any good news in my email or by phone from any writing contact about any of my work. And to be honest the thought that this time when I go home my agent/publisher/editor might surely have contacted me – even just to say they’re still there and working on things – is the one thing that keeps me going from day to day.

So right now, I feel I just want to curl up on the bed, have a really long tearful session and give up being a writer entirely. So my advice to anyone wanting to publish a book via anyone apart from themselves is much like the good old advice to those about to get married: Don’t. It’s not bloody worth it.

In spite of this, I did have one or two nice points in the day - the Pro Vice-Chancellor emailed to thank me for my help on various committees throughout the year. Obviously the words most likely to appear on my gravestone are: Good secretary; failed author. Bollocks, eh? It's not what I want. Oh, and Julia from UniSWriters popped in to give me a Christmas present - which I shall save until the big day. So that was nice. And I finally got the first draft of those ruddy minutes done. Hu-bloody-rrah.

Today’s nice things:

1. Apart from some of the above, sweet FA, to be frank.

Anne Brooke

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Reflexology and Pink Champagne

Hey, a good day at work today. In the morning, we had the Health Centre Christmas party (which has to be better than doing work!), and the boss sent us a fun Christmas game on the computer, so there was a valid excuse to do no work. Must be the new management approach - and I'm all for it of course. At lunch, I had my regular reflexology session, which was pure bliss - so much so that I dozed off three times and woke myself up by snoring. Can't have been pleasant for the poor therapist ...

This afternoon, I spent minuting a Board meeting for a new project - and everyone was in jolly mood. Even the Professor was joking. And he was early - ye gods! I had to go to rustle up some more water though - and, as the catering staff had all gone home, all I could find to put it in was a teapot. Well, I like to convey a professional image to the powers that be. If only I could work out how.

And some lovely news on the novel front - Sue on Myspace ( has just finished reading "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice", has thoroughly enjoyed it, and hopes to do a full review for her website/blog ( That's made my day, Sue - so thank you very much! I'm so glad you liked it.

Tonight, I'm hoping to send off some more writing competition entries (I've been sensible and bought a sheet of large-letter stamps instead of queueing for years at the PO), which I started yesterday evening. Apart from that, a quiet evening - bliss.

Today's nice things:

1. Reflexology
2. Sue's review
3. A quiet evening - again.

Anne Brooke

Monday, December 18, 2006

Post Office blues

A quiet day at work. Read through the brochure for next year’s work-related conference and decided I’d been right about my initial choice of seminars. It’s just that the management speak was clouding the sense of them. As it tends to do indeed. And I discovered a new university TLA (Three Letter Acronym, for the uninitiated …) – SMT, or Senior Management Team. Hmm. Why not just say “team of crazed professors” and have done with it?

Walked round the campus at lunchtime but decided not to chance any of the damp benches (gives you piles, you know) and instead attempted to post a review copy of “Pink Champagne and Apple Juice” to Canada. My first attempt failed as the campus PO had decided to close for lunch as there’s only one of her on counter today. So I popped back at 2.30pm and the queue was so long it was actually out of the door. Most of this appeared to be Japanese students attempting to post boxes to home, poor things. Suspect they won’t make it for Christmas now. I was so long in the queue (half an hour to be precise, but I stuck it out as it’s a quiet day at the office) that by the time I got to the top of it, I’d forgotten (a) how to speak and (b) what I was there for in the first place. My confusion was doubled by another queue-dweller asking me to get some stickers for her, but I wasn’t quite sure what she wanted, asked for the wrong thing and, when the right thing was handed to me, I attempted to fill it in myself instead of the Canada form I was supposed to be filling in. Are you with me so far? Hmm. Still, it gave the line of people behind me a few laughs, so never say we don’t provide an essential student support service in this office …

This afternoon, Lord H took time off to battle with the pre-Christmas food shop. At least he didn’t need to get mince pies, as I panicked earlier in the month and we now have six boxes of them. Which I do accept is probably too much for two people, but you can be sure we won’t run out. I intend to spend the evening watching TV and being a couch potato. And an early night would be good. I might do the odd sentence or two to “The Gifting” but I’m not holding my breath.

Today's nice things:

1. Lunchtime walk
2. Sending out a review copy of Champers
3. An evening in.

Anne Brooke

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Church and golf

An action-packed programme today. First off, we were very late back from Liz & John's last night (after a very enjoyable evening, I have to say - so thank you, Liz) and only got to bed at about 1.45am. I'd planned to get up at about 7am in order to be awake and functioning in time for church, but the smoke alarm decided its battery was dead at 6am and started beeping for attention. Naturally, I sent Lord H to sort it out, but neither of us managed to get back to sleep afterwards, so we just got up.

I was dreading church, to be honest, but in the event it wasn't too bad - at least Lord H wasn't performing any duties and could actually sit with me this week. Mind you, we seem to have decided to ignore any hint of Advent or Christmas by having the hymns we'd normally have on an ordinary Sunday. Strange, but it suits me, sir. There'd also been many a rumour beforehand that our new priest, Paul Jenkins, was going to pay us a surprise visit to check us all out before he's installed in January - and indeed he did. However, I don't think he had much idea about travelling incognito as he arrived in full black gown with a red trim, and did more crossing and genuflecting than I've seen the Pope do at Easter. Suspect he might be high then (in church terms) - or perhaps just the Pope's love child? Now that wouldn't be entirely unexpected ... And I even managed to go up to Communion (which in itself managed to be okay for a moment or two, thank the Lord) and mumble my way through some of the hymns. So it might not be all doom and gloom on the holy front. You never know. Mind you, I left sharpish to avoid the chat.

We then played golf with Marian & Siegi at lunchtime. A game of two halves on the whole (as it were!) - we were crap at the start (except for my startingly brilliant putt on the first hole which nailed it for a 5 - hurrah), but warmed up after the first few holes. Our turn to do lunch today - Lord H did a magnificent slow-cooked game casserole, but unfortunately Marian doesn't like game. Ah well. The best laid plans ... etc, etc. The pudding went down well though.

Tonight I am planning some serious chilling and brainless TV viewing - with no more talking to anyone till tomorrow (apart from Lord H of course). I think we both deserve it.

This week's haiku (which came suddenly to me on my twilight walk to the station earlier this week) is:

Moonlight on water.
The bridge beckons me onward.
Step into the dark.

Today's nice things:

1. Laughing at the bizarre antics of our priest-to-be
2. Golf
3. A quiet evening.

Anne Brooke

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Haircut and black tie dinner

Never say I don't lead the high life on occasion. This morning was a lazy lie-in followed by a half-hearted cleaning session in preparation for doing lunch for friends tomorrow. But there is some good news! - cleaning is much nicer with an iPod. It's true - technology works. It does make our lives nicer. I feel much calmer if I'm listening to Mozart while scrubbing the kitchen, and Blondie's "Sunday Girl" is a wow for washing the floors to. You heard it here first. And how Blondie takes me back to my school days - ah happy memories (at least in terms of secondary school anyhow). The only trouble was the sing-along moments disturbing Lord H's efforts to do his theology essay (not that he complained, and before anyone asks, yes, he had done his share of the cleaning by then ...) - I'm not sure I have the range that Deborah Harry had. Ever. In any circumstance.

Managed to squeeze in one episode of the original "Star Trek" (ah, they don't make 'em like that any more, more's the pity) before my hairdresser turned up to get rid of the neck flicks and fringe which have crept up on me over the last couple of weeks or so. Thank God. I was beginning to think that the '40s had come again.

Lord H has gone to the shops to stock up for tomorrow's lunch and tonight's wine offerings, but has actually now come back as the queues to get into the ruddy Waitrose car park were so long he'd probably be there till the next millenium. The hell that is Christmas indeed ... Anyone for fish 'n' chips tomorrow?

Tonight we're at Liz & John's for Liz's annual black tie dinner. We went for the first time last year, and rather enjoyed it - there are only about 8 people and it's in her home, so it's manageable even for me. Surely. Last year, I was on something of a high though, and suspect I didn't stop talking for three hours. Though I don't think they minded. Still, I hope to be on a calmer roll this year and try to avoid my usual performance defence mechanism. Now that would be nice.

Oh, and I've given up with my Handbook for Depressed Christians (or similar title - I can't be arsed to get off my ... well ... arse and check it, sorry) as it was getting on my nerves and was beginning to be so shallow I could have held it up and seen right through it. Not bad for 400 pages plus. Instead, I bought another book for non-religion specific depressed people last week - Tim Cantopher's "Depression: the Curse of the Strong" and ye gods, it's bloody good. Small, very readable and highly sane. Not bad for a psychiatrist author then. I'm getting more out of that than I did the other, for sure. Interestingly, Tim is actually a Consultant Psychiatrist at the University, though I've never actually met him - so at least I'm keeping it local.

And, for those of you keeping up with this kind of thing, did I get my copies of "A Dangerous Man" from Flame Books ( this week as promised by them? Did I heck! I'm almost beginning to wonder if I did actually sign a contract with them last spring at all, or whether it's a figment of my overactive imagination. If the latter, this would explain their slight air of confusion when I call. Hmm. To be honest, if it is real, I don't mind the delay so much as the lack of communication. Even something saying: "we're sorry for the delay, there's no news but we thought you'd like to hear from us anyway to let you know we're still working on it" would be nice. And it can't cost much. Or am I asking the impossible from a small press? How I wish there was someone out there who could tell me. Till then, I'm stumbling on in the dark.

Today's nice things:

1. Haircut
2. Dinner tonight
3. Star Trek.

Anne Brooke

Friday, December 15, 2006

Shopping and writing

Not quite as snappy a title as the good old "sex and shopping" line, but there you go. Things I bought in Godalming (where I had to be up with the larks to do battle with the Christmas shoppers once more): 2 packets of Epsom salts (for the bath - Grandma was right after all ...); 1 Surrey Advertiser (don't bother - nothing in it); 1 eye test (for next week). Hmm, give a fictional character that combination and they're either a serial killer with an eye problem, or an optician with a gardening fetish. Both of whom would live in Surrey. So no change there then.

Spent most of the morning and the early part of the afternoon sorting out the beginning of the fire element section of "The Gifting". A thousand words later (82,000 now in total) and I have some clues as to where it's going. Phew. And I've started to write the death of one of the characters. How I do so love doing that - the ultimate power: it's mine, all mine, aha! And it sparks up the balance with the remaining characters too, which is also great. Double aha!

Popped into see Gladys late afternoon - summary: talkative but frail. But at least the hearing aid problems seem to have solved themselves. Which is a relief on all sides.

Have just finished the latest edition of "Tears in the Fence" magazine. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the poems and poets - though as usual others left me cold - and there were also two particularly rivetting prose pieces included this time, both of which seized me by the guts and wouldn't let me go. Funny how it wasn't the one about the sex worker and all her many and various activities - a little too obvious for my liking. The ones that had me captive from the first sentence were far more subtle. Punchy too. And yes, that combination can happen.

I've been thinking about communication recently. Had a great time with Jane W last night - we had a good talk about some pretty deep stuff, but then again she's always someone I find I can do that with. Funny how there are only two or three people I feel I could actually talk honestly to, and the rest of the time talking is actually a way (for me) of keeping people at bay. Ha! They're the enemy, don't you know?! On the other hand, writing stuff down enables me to be far more honest and open on a more consistent basis than the voice allows; I always prefer email to the dreaded phone, and certainly prefer writing a blog to seeing people. Hmm. Maybe I am a hermit after all. Parties? Bah, humbug!

Tonight, Lord H is out at his office Christmas party (which has never extended to partners, thank goodness) - he's dreading it, so here's hoping it's not as terrifying as expected. However, the weekend of social interaction for both of us is fast approaching indeed - argh!

Today's nice things:

1. Writing
2. An evening in.

Anne Brooke

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Counselling and a London jaunt

Up at the crack of dawn today in order to avoid the car parking crisis of Guildford. Which meant I was there with an hour to spare before my Counselling appointment and with more spaces than you could shake a complex at. But this was actually good news as it meant I could scour the shops for those essential Christmas staples - such as a pack of 5 videos to record the numerous goodies on TV which we can't watch as we'll be out and which we'll never watch later. Ever. I am ashamed to say that we have some marvellous films on tape which we recorded about 7 Christmases ago and which we still haven't got round to watching. Ah well. Oh, and I also bought a box of chocolate biscuits from M&S - those one with extra thick chocolate and added chocolate bits with, um, chocolate, just in case there isn't enough chocolate in the first place. Well, we've got to have some comfort food in the flat for the season.

So onto my last counselling appointment with Kunu before Christmas. We talked about my conversation with Michael which I'd written down, so that was useful. To all three of us. I think I've worked out that actually having the conversation made me feel incredibly energetic and alive for about two or three days, but then comes the slump. Which I think I'm probably still in now, and will probably go some way towards explaining my current jittery exhaustion. (Query: can you actually have jittery exhaustion? Hell, you know what I mean ...). Kunu thinks I should go on having conversations with Michael where I (we?) feel it's right and see what comes out of it. I'm not sure I'll write them down again though - it's too tiring, m'dear - but maybe I'll go with the flow. Gosh, how girly that sounds - there's hope for me after all! Michael, of course, would make an instant decision as to what to do and stick with it. Lucky bastard. Oh, and during the session we also talked about my early family life, which was quite enlightening. Perhaps it's true after all that there's nowt wrong with me and it is the rest of the buggers. Hmm, dream on.

This afternoon, I've typed up the Goldenford ( minutes and done my outstanding actions, so I have the halo of secretarial sainthood even now glowing about my temples. I might do a bit of writing or I might just sod the whole thing and have a quick nap. The latter seems the better option right now. And tonight, I'm out in London with Jane W - we've booked a curry at 7pm in Waterloo and a catch-up, so that'll be good. I'll have to remember not to breathe when I return home though - how Lord H hates the smell of secondary curry!

Today's nice things:

1. Counselling
2. Buying chocolate biscuits
3. Seeing Jane W.

Anne Brooke

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Collation city and Scalectrix mysteries

A day spent collating mounds of paper into smaller mounds, stapling them into even smaller bundles and then paper-clipping them back into larger ones. Ooh, and then redoing it because two of the appendices were wrong. Groan. Actually though, I had a great time! – which just shows in truth how sad I am. I really enjoy doing mindless tasks with paper – much better than grappling with over-my-head strategy or PR stuff. I still hanker after the deep, deep joys of the typing pool …

I had a wind-swept but exhilarating stroll round campus at lunchtime, and sat by the smaller lake for ten minutes watching the coots and the University water feature. Must be nice to be a lake – very calming.

Back in the office, Carol and I hand-delivered the documents we’d spent the morning producing. You can’t trust the internal mail, you know - it’s a dark and dangerous vacuum. Paper delivery involved being loud and raucous in the V-C’s corridor, but hell they must be used to us by now. I never was particularly good at lowering my gaze at the sight of a Professor. Or two. Good job I’m not an academic then, eh?...

This evening, I’m hoping to slump like a 1950s housewife in front of Oz & James’ Wine Adventure, and the increasingly obscure delights of Torchwood. Which begs the question: just what were Ianto and Captain Jack going to do in the office last week with a stop-watch after the hours of daylight and with all those pseudo-significant gazes? Hmm. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me, guv’nor! Lord H’s theory is that the good Captain has a couple of Scalectrix tracks under the table and they were going to play racing demons. Then again, Lord H has always held to the more innocent-hearted view of life! But, heck, somebody has to.

Today’s nice things:

1. Collating paper
2. Watching the lake
3. TV.

Anne Brooke

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

UniSWriters, Goldenford and questions of insanity

A strange day today: nothing much happened but I got more and more hyperactive. This afternoon I was really on edge – I suspect it’s the fear of my rather too sociable weekend coming up, and I’m now neck-deep in the fight-or-flight scenario. Heck, and it’s only Tuesday. Maybe it’s time for another calming pill?... And last weekend was just so wonderfully hermit-like or simply filled with good one-to-one conversations too. I’m going to have to learn to spread multi-type social engagements around so they don’t all come at once if I’m to maintain any sort of sanity. Or cancel Christmas. One of the two.

Talking of sanity (or not), UniSWriters was very lively today, in spite of the fact that there were only four of us there. 90% of this was due to me being on a manic roll and only 10% of it was due to Jennifer from the Library giggling. Still, in spite of all the obstacles, we managed to get some writing done and talk about current projects, which was good. I did wonder however if, in the knowledge that two of our writers are psychologists, I should have been talking about hearing my characters speak and having conversations with them. Hmm. Sometimes though the group works even when their quasi-leader is hitting the walls and rebounding. Thank God. By the way, I’d like to get 90,000 words of “The Gifting” done by the end of the year, but I’m not hopeful. I gave the group homework too – to write something about what they might like to do in their “dream year”, either for themselves, or as a poem or even from the point of view of one of their characters. If anything comes back, it should be interesting.

This evening, I’m off to do the Goldenford ( minutes, so I hope they’re not too onerous. Or I shall be so far up towards the ceiling that I’ll never come down. It will be good to discuss our next book though, which will be Jay Margrave’s “The Gawain Quest” – a humdinger of an historical fantasy and an all-round great read. Buy early, buy often, people! I’d like to have a definite publication date for that one decided upon at the meeting, but we’ll have to wait and see. Time to get our publication act together, Goldenford gals, I think …

Today’s nice things:

1. UniSWriters
2. Goldenford stuff
3. Talking about writing.

Anne Brooke

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lunch with Julia and gay fiction writing

Quite a nice day at work today. For a Monday. Managed to look like a professional for most of the time and even get a few emails sorted. The good news is that I won’t have to come in on Friday after all, as the meeting scheduled for then has been postponed till after Christmas. Hurrah. Suits me, sir. And I looked like a young, cool person by taking in my new iPod and dropping it into the conversation every five minutes. Any conversation. At last! - I have a gadget that nobody else in the office has got. The sad thing of course is that any vestiges of coolness I might have been able to snatch at are washed away by the sort of music I actually downloaded onto the damn thing: um, that will be The Seekers, Tony Christie, the Monkees and a bit of Mozart. Ah well, I never was a rock chick. Even when young … Anyone want to know the way to Amarillo?

Lunch with Julia was grand, although Chancellor’s was packed with exam-demob happy students, so we were crushed into a corner on the bar facing the crowds. I had the same food I always have, but h. there’s a comfort in familiarity, you know. Actually, it’s been one wild social whirl this afternoon – I also popped into the Advice Centre’s Christmas do for a mince pie and a coke. Last of the great party animals, eh? In spite of being a social coward, I had a good conversation with the Deputy Dean of Students about writing and novels, and how the h. one does it all. I think I’m more of an organic writer than a high-powered planner to be honest; when I’m at the top of a page, I never know quite what’s going to happen at the end of it. What a contrast to my usual timetabled-to-the-point-of-obsession daily life indeed …

I’ve also been thinking today about why I write gay fiction – it’s a question posed by Clayton on MySpace ( and it’s certainly a good one. I can’t give a logical reason (sorry, Clayton …) but it’s simply where I feel most at home. I don’t actually know what girls think (query: did I miss that lesson at school?...) but the man in my head (ah hello, Michael – I wondered where you’d got to) knows what he thinks all the time, and why, and I feel most fully alive when I’m plugged into him and his concerns. I suppose that, once again, it’s something organic and instinctual. I’ve been asked many a time why I don’t write from the point of view of a straight girl – and I’ve tried to fit in with what people seem to want (believe me, I’ve tried!) – but I’m never really happy with it for myself, although “Pink Champagne and Apple Juice” has been well received in the small circles it’s found itself in. But, hell, even there I gave that novel a strong secondary gay male character to make myself happier. I just don’t feel comfortable doing “straight” as a genre; it’s simply not “me”. I hope that makes some kind of weird sense. And, yes, I do realise (I’ve been told often enough!) that the fact that in my everyday life I’m a straight female makes it almost impossible to sell the books I produce. But, in the end I’m writing for me first and foremost, and for self-expression, and the rest of the game will have to play itself out as it may. Brave words, eh?...

Tonight (back to the mundane here), it’s shopping at Tesco, and a TV slump. Thank goodness for a night in.

Today’s nice things:

1. Lunch with Julia
2. Thinking more deeply about why I write
3. Showing off my iPod!

Anne Brooke

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas wrapping and novel request

No church today - hurrah! And we're not going to this evening's carol service and party either. Double hurrah! We are indeed to be numbered amongst the lost ... Instead, Lord H and I had a lazy lie-in, followed by porridge (goodness, it must be winter) and our annual session of Christmas present wrapping. Not that it was that onerous, as we've cut out present-buying for most of those above the ages of 8 yrs. Seems reasonable to me. This session usually consists of me looking at the gifts and the wrapping paper, waving my hands in the air frantically whilst sobbing and then retreating to the safety of the spare room. Upon which desertion, Lord H wraps his cloak of capability round him and wraps them all up himself. There were no changes this year. Though, cunningly, I did furnish him with a pen and a pile of post-it notes so he could put what each present was on the top after he'd wrapped it. This saved the agony we had last year of having to unwrap everything to work out what it was before rewrapping it with a label, accompanied by a stiff brandy. Or two.

And hell's bells, we (that's the marital "we" here) now have them all wrapped and in bags to go. Somewhere. If only we could find a post office still open to take them after the government's last cull. Do we still actually have a postal service in this country?

Further deep joy - Two Ravens Press ( have actually emailed me to request the full MS of "Maloney's Law". Ye gods and little fishes! General rejoicing and astonishment abound in the house. So I've spent most of the afternoon printing it out, stroking it, kissing the pages and putting them in an envelope. Which is now ready to go - at which point the last para applies once more.

Oh, and to cap all the festivity, I forgot to say that Lord H got his first theology essay back from his new course - they gave him an "A" which corresponded to 72%. Double hurrah! Again. Naturally, I spent the next ten minutes after finding this out shrieking with joy and pounding him on the head. Well, I'm from Essex - this is how we express approval. And all Lord H could say was that he thought 72% was a bit low. Honestly, these intellectuals are never satisfied ...!

I've also done a job-lot of other submissions for other stuff, including non-fiction, so never let it be said that I have wasted my day of rest. I might even do some more to "The Gifting" later. You never know.

So this week's haiku is:

That afternoon, crisp.
In winter skies, a swan flew,
telling us of snow.

Today's nice things:

1. Lord H taking command of the wrapping strategy
2. Two Ravens Press requesting "Maloney's Law"
3. Not going to church.

Anne Brooke

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Lunch at The Friary

Drove to Aylesford today to have lunch with Pauline at The Friary - it's halfway between our homes and I thought it would be great (especially after the hell of a year we've both had) to have the chance for a girly chat rather than having our husbands in tow as well (when you can't really talk as openly - as they'd probably both be shocked. Men are so sensitive ...). It was good. Very good. Best idea I've had for a long time in fact. We talked - about really deep stuff - for ages. It's so refreshing to be with someone you can be the most honest you're able to be with (if that makes sense) and know they're not going to run away screaming. Anyway, three hours, two lunches, two decaff coffees and one orange juice later and we were done. Must do it again sometime. Thanks, Pauline.

Got home to discover Lord H has bought an I-pod. Welcome to the 21st century! Ye gods, but those things are small. As we both tend to mislay our mobiles and glasses on a regular basis, I don't hold out much hope for its long-term survival in the house. Now all we have to do is work out how to use it. And when. Still, it does mean that I can listen to music while on the exercise bike if I'm not in the mood for a book. And at last I can look like a modern woman.

Tonight, it's the excitement of "Strictly Come Dancing". Will Mark and Karen survive? How many times can I vote for them before the phone explodes? Ah, the tension, the pain of it all. How on earth did we all manage before TV was invented?

Today's nice things:

1. Talking with Pauline
2. Talking with Pauline
3. Talking with Pauline. 'Nuff said.

Anne Brooke

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wing mirrors and strange conversations

Got up at a totally ungodly hour today to get to the garage early so I could get my wing mirror fixed. And they actually managed to do it - hurrah! I whiled away the time flicking through the new copy of "Retreat" magazine - there's a new focus on "bio-spiritual" weekends, which sounds interesting to me, as I don't want all that airy-fairy up-in-the-air stuff, so once I got home in my now two-winged car, I emailed them for more info. We'll see. I'm already going on one retreat anyway next year, so I don't want to be too damn holy. You've got to leave some kind of space for sin.

I spent the rest of the morning typing out a conversation with Michael (aka man in my head). Weird, but I kind of enjoyed it. It's not long - just a page-and-a-half - but it'll be something to spark off from at next week's counselling session. Ye gods, but the bloke has some strongly-held views. Wonder if they're mine too? Hmm ... Either way, how I love talking to him - which is of course even weirder.

Played a really quite classy game of golf with Marian at lunchtime (I had my normal head on by then - just) - even managed to get a par on the last hole. Pause for shock. But we were both much happier as there was hardly anyone else out playing but us - due to the weather/water-logged course I imagine - and it's nicer when there's no macho boy golfers breathing down our necks and indulging in psychic tutting. Dashed into Godalming afterwards to get extra Christmas presents and generic girly stuff. As you do. Then dashed back home as Lord H decided to take the afternoon off - an event rather spoiled by the fact that he had a puncture on the way home and was forced to call out the RAC man again to sort the tyre out. We are indeed cursed when it comes to cars this year - let's hope 2007 is incident-free. Please?

Oh, and one of my poems - "Keith in the Bath" - was published in Roundyhouse magazine today, Gawd bless 'em. Which is interesting on two counts - (1) being that they ignored all my deep angst-ridden stuff I thought was bound to get in and took the comic "filler" poem I sent them, and (2) you finally get to know Lord H's real name. Ha!

Today's nice things:

1. A new wing mirror
2. Getting a poem published
3. Talking to Michael.

Anne Brooke

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Counselling and Clarins

Got to town early today to avoid the mad rush for spaces, but weirdly the car-park that's never full was full, and the one that's always full was empty. Will the excitement of the year never end? So I managed to rush round town like a dervish and get suitable gifts for Lord H before going to my counselling appointment. This was really good this week - I feel I'm getting to a deeper level with stuff than I was able to do with Zoe, partly because I was new at the game then and partly because there was so much other crap going on that I couldn't concentrate on the core stuff. Bloody hell, but Kunu the counsellor (which sounds suspiciously like Vlad the Impaler, but she smiles more) is good. She made me think seriously about having a real conversation with Michael (the man who's always in my head and whom the non-funny books I write are always, always about in some way or other - hey somebody pass me the strait-jacket, won't you?...) so we can see what he actually has to say. Scary but interesting. I think I'll do it - next time maybe - but I also think I'll do some free association writing on it and see what comes up. After all, writing it as a first pass through might make it easier. But hey - counselling homework. Who'd have thought it?

I spent the next two hours post-counselling in the Library writing out the Christmas cards and inserting our sad couple's Christmas letter in the cards of those people I actually want to communicate with. Hmm, says it all really. I was also shocked to discover that Guildford Library has no loo. Honestly, what a rubbish (I would prefer to say "crap" here but the pun is too much even for me) place! It hardly has any books either - just staff who look as if they've been there for 150 years, died and never been buried.

Then, it was another two glorious hours in the hands of my Clarins therapist. Ah, the bliss of a facial and massage combined. Almost makes me feel female. Now, there's a novelty. What would Michael think? Oh sorry, I'm not supposed to be doing my homework yet. Bugger.

Today's nice things:

1. Counselling
2. Clarins treatments
3. Coming home and realising I don't have to speak to anyone else but Lord H for a whole evening - hurrah!

Anne Brooke

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Reflexology and the publishing game

Another quiet day. Still, I decided to ring the changes and make graphs out of some of my Excel info. Rediscovering old skills was quite jolly, and it means I’m now the expert should anyone ever ask how many students emailed our helpdesk in any particular month and for what purpose. I’ve even done a comparison graph! Hey, I’m just rocking.

Had another reflexology session at lunchtime – I probably needed it more today as I was feeling quite tense and I think I’ve the beginnings of yet another cold. Hurrah. Nobody told me when I married Lord H thirteen years ago that I would be agreeing to have all the illnesses for the both of us for evermore. Bummer, eh? … No wonder he’s so damn healthy – it’s like Dorian Grey (Gray?) all over again except with sickness rather than looks. Hmm.

In the afternoon, and as there was no-one in the office but me for a couple of hours, I finally cracked and rang (yes, rang – and I soooo hate the ruddy phone!) Flame Books ( to try to find out if anything at all is happening to poor old “A Dangerous Man”. My editor seemed very preoccupied and not best pleased to have me squeaking desperately on the phone like a mouse on speed. Help! I’m obviously so low in the scale of things that I don’t even count as pond life. Still, I managed to ascertain that they hope that thirty copies will be available next week (as previews, I assume?) and they’ll let me know more later. Does the number thirty have some strange mystic significance of which I am sadly unaware? In any case, I was too terrified by then to ask anything else. Lord let it not be that they think there’s absolutely no market for it under any circumstances. Surely someone out there enjoys gay crime, art, sex and murder and will order vast quantities of the book from the safety of their PCs? One can only hope!! Either way, it’s all rather depressing and I am actually not enjoying this part of the process. I’d been thinking of arranging some kind of low-key launch party with the lovely Ottakar’s in Godalming (especially as no way am I going to darken the doors of the wretched “Surrey Bookshop” again …) but have rather lost heart for it at the moment …

However, the good new is that my agent ( has sent “Thorn in the Flesh” out to lots of different publishers (what a hero!), so here’s hoping someone out there likes it. Please?...

This evening, Lord H is shopping (what an angel) and I’m out with the gals from my old firm for a Christmas dinner at Bel and the Dragon ( in Godalming. As I’m not drinking at the moment, it’s a shame I don’t live elsewhere as I could have given everyone lifts. Never mind. I’ll make up for it by eating like a pig. Ha! And as Jane H is also going, I can pick up my Nutrimetics ( stuff and start being a new woman. Hurrah indeed.

Today’s nice things:

1. Reflexology
2. Excel graphs
3. Hearing from John Jarrold.

Anne Brooke

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lunch with strangers and Radio 4 photos

Did more to the work website today and eked (eeked?!) out the time. It's been puzzling me recently that I've changed my earring routine (I think I have earrings on the brain at the moment). I usually change them each day and go for the dangly ones, but lately I've been going for studs 'n' pearls. And more lately still just keeping in the same old boring gold hoops I've had since I was 16. Hmm. Is this laziness, old age or depression? Or is it just that I can't be arsed? It's a mystery. Perhaps in the end I'll give up wearing them at all - much like I gave up wearing mascara last year - and my ears will heal over. This will please Lord H who had a Baptist upbringing and thinks any body piercing is the work of the devil.

Anyway, I had lunch with strangers - one of the gals in the Registry got wind of the fact that I used to work (many, many years ago) for Guildford College and organised a get-together for ex-Guildford College survivors at the University. However, I've been stressing for days that I don't actually know any of the names on the list and I would have to walk into the restaurant (packed full of curious students) and look lost and lonely. How I hate walking into anywhere on my own - it reminds me of always being picked last for whatever sport we happened to be doing in the games lesson at school. Hey, look, Billy-No-Mates - honestly, I should have it emblazoned on my t-shirt. Anyway, in the event, I recognised one of my lunch people after all and we had quite a good time. I do so like my social events to be small (there were only 6 of us) and time-constrained (a lunch-hour only). That constitutes my social inclusion fill for the week. Possibly the month.

This afternoon, I took part in the Radio 4 "PM" Window on Your World project - which involved taking a photo of whatever you happened to be looking at at 5pm and sending it to Radio 4 for collation. For me, this was my work collection of fluffy pens (hell, I have to have my soft side somewhere ...) and my Wuthering Heights mug. Hmm. Maybe I need to get a life? Though, actually, I thought the end result was quite charming and does indeed give a snapshot view into my psyche at 5pm on a work day. Swinging somewhere between ditzy and psychotic. Lovely.

Tonight, it's Guildford Writers ( and I'm going to be brave and take something to read out this time. Probably. Oh God. Which means I'll need to go to the loo twice before the meeting starts and will feel sick until my part is over. If anyone out there has a confidence pill, please send a year's supply.

Today's nice things:

1. Lunch (surprisingly)
2. Taking my photo (sadly)
3. Guildford Writers (hopefully).

Anne Brooke

Monday, December 04, 2006

Art and a good Monday

Ye gods. A good Monday. I never thought that would happen. Well, not good, in that I was at work instead of at home, but still it was perfectly acceptable for the start of the working week. So much so that I didn't even stare balefully at the clock during the morning wondering when on earth 12 o'clock would turn up. It was actually 1.30pm before I noticed! Not that I had a great deal of urgent stuff to do, but I did loads of work on the Student Care Services website, and checked the links etc. Hell, but I'm a nerd sometimes.

At lunch, I visited the new art exhibition - it's marvellous! Lots of pictures of gorgeously coloured pots and the sea. I was stunned and inspired by the use of colour and the energy of it all. There was some equally energetic real-live pots too - and a quirky, funny Nativity set which was large, and ugly-beautiful. Great stuff. The woman's a local artist apparently - lives in Compton - Mary Wondrausch is the name, I think (though my spelling is probably up the creek) and she's about 180 years old. Allegedly. But is obviously producing far better stuff than Vaughn Williams could manage at 80. (Bitch, bitch ...)

Tonight, Lord H is at his last theology class of the term, and I'm planning to do a bit more on "The Gifting". Famous last words, eh ... And I've just finished Margaret Gill's book for teenagers - "The Eye of the Mandala". Great plot, lots of action and some good main characters. I enjoyed it.

Today's nice things:

1. The arty pots
2. Writing
3. Having a better Monday than expected (bloody hell!)

Anne Brooke

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas letters, earrings and lying low ...

Whilst Lord H led this morning's advent service (and only apparently got locked out of the church twice whilst attempting to process ... How I wish I'd seen that!), I typed up our Christmas letter. Which means we have finally arrived in the Sad Married Couple with Christmas Letter brigade. Seasonal joy indeed. I decided not to do a spoof in the end - as anything more than 2 sides long and I think the friends you never see (ie those to whom you send the damn thing) tend to lose the will to live after that. I certainly do. But I did try to keep the tone fairly light so everyone won't think we're too much up our own arses. In spite of the fact that I am too much up my own arse - though Lord H of course is not. Oo-err, missus!

I also managed to get to 79,000 words of "The Gifting" (oh for 80,000 by the end of next week - that would be grand ...) and write a poem on emptiness. Hey, my themes are getting more depressed - even though this weekend I'm actually feeling a lot happier. Weird, eh? The secret of contentment is obviously found in (a) speaking to as few people as possible, and (b) not going to church. I accept this route to happiness might not work for everybody.

Speaking of people (and vast crowds of them), I have to say that last night's concert wasn't my favourite though of course the choir sang like a dream and the band was great. I liked the first piece, and one note of the last (you can't go wrong with a George Herbert poem), but if this is what Vaughn Williams (spelling? Hell - who cares!) comes up with in his eighties, then maybe he should have stuck to the bedpans and stick. My opinion only, of course. Though I do have to say that I spent most of the second half absolutely fascinated by the dangly earrings of the woman sitting in front of me. A perfectly normal woman in her thirties - as far as one can tell - but every so often her earrings would flicker outwards in unison as if responding to a hidden message. I'm always impressed by people who can wiggle their ears, but synchronised wiggling takes the biscuit. When I told Lord H afterwards, he wondered if the mother ship was calling her home, or if it was a special government way of receiving emails. Now there's a thought for the future ...

This afternoon, I've caught up with the highs and lows of "Strictly Come Dancing". Thank goodness Mark & Karen are still in! But I was sorry Carol had to leave - she performed like a real trouper this time. Shame. Tonight, there's the prospect of comedy repeats on TV and a phone call to mother. Still, at least I feel more capable of performing my normal daughter routine than I did last week. Thank God. Ooh, and there's chocolate squares and baclava (which Lord H thinks is a type of hooded mask) in the fridge. Bliss.

This week's haiku:

Down the winter road
a man carries his mattress.
I too search for sleep.

And today's nice things:

1. Doing the Christmas letter
2. Writing
3. The wiggly earrings (not strictly today, but what the hell ...)

Anne Brooke

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas shopping - the horror of it ...

Lord H and I made a brave decision today and got up early to do our Christmas shopping. God, it's horrific. We've also decided not to buy presents for our friends, but only for children that we know - this has caused some unexpected dissension in the ranks (and also some rather surprising bitchiness from a most unexpected source!), but hell we're sticking to our guns. Christmas is ruddy awful enough as it is. Still, only buying for people under 4 foot tall brings its own hurdles - namely (a) we both hate children anyway, (b) we have none (thank God!) of our own, and (c) no retailer thinks to put helpful stickers on child items saying "this is suitable for an x year old" any more. Cue our two puzzled frowns in Waterstone's today - and my heartfelt admiration at Lord H for somehow making a differentiation between what the average child can read at 5 years old and what they might be able to read at 8 years. So, we've done it - and frankly, m'dears, if they don't like it they'll jolly well have to lump it. Christmas? Bah! Humbug ...

However, I was cheered to find a large and suitably ego-satisfying picture of me in this month's copy of "Writers' Forum" (not a magazine I've ever been that impressed with, I have to say, but it's somehow redeemed itself this month - Page 4 if you're interested ...) - courtesy of the efforts of the generous people at Writers Promote ( - thank you, David Caldo! - who have even managed to get my WP web page ( in the advert. Lord H is having to dissuade me from photocopying it (in colour) six zillion times and putting it in all this year's Christmas cards. After a brief marital tussle (ooh, lovely!) I've managed to get him to agree to a Christmas letter instead - as long as we put spoof items in it too. Which sounds great to me - cue bollocky statements like "Jemima won the pony club awards for the fifth time this year and is now being headhunted for the Olympic horseriding events ..." Hurrah and tally-ho.

This afternoon, I've been glued to Star Trek on TV before falling victim to the siren-song of an hour's nap on the bed while Lord H watched the rugby. A writer's life is just so exhausting, you know ... Tonight, we're out at the Guildford Choral Society concert - a Christmas medley this time, which might be the nearest thing to fulfilling my Christian duties that I manage this year. Hey ho.

Today's nice things:

1. Getting most of Christmas bought
2. Finding a mugshot of me in "Writers' Forum"
3. Star Trek.

Anne Brooke

Friday, December 01, 2006

Shopping, visiting and - ye gods! - some writing ...

A day of recovery, after the mad social whirl of yesterday. I have to say the Goldenford ( evening at the Barclays party was pretty good - and I even sold one copy of "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice". Miracles still happen! Which brings my grand total of November to four copies sold. Hell, it's not JK Rowling, but no complaints so far ... And not only that, but the Golden Gals all managed to sell a copy of our books - and we even got Jennifer to read from "The Gawain Quest", her upcoming novel (which is a really top-class read, but for some reason she doesn't see it - sigh ...). Triple miracles then. And I met James - Lord H's old and very adorable boss - at the do, so it was good to catch up with him. He disappeared before I could bloody well make him buy a book though - bad show, James, damn it.

Today, I did some critiques on the Bewrite ( and WriteWords ( sites, and then actually did a couple of hundred words to "The Gifting". Ye gods, I can still write - of sorts; it was a bit of a struggle, but at least I have some inkling of how I'm going to end the scene I'm on. Phew. This afternoon, I had a wonderful two hours' nap - Lord, how I needed that - then whipped round Godalming, catching up on shopping essentials before visiting Gladys rather later than anticipated. Mind you, this was something of a party, as her neighbour, Maureen, and carer, Bea (or "B"? - I've never got to grips with the spelling ...), were also there, so it was party time for the old folks. Or folk, to be precise.

Oh, and driving back from one of my jaunts out, I saw a man walking down the road carrying a rather large mattress. The plot thickens here - as for the last week or so, there's been a complete bed frame left on our downstairs neighbour's front garden. I almost stopped and asked the mattress-man if he was looking for a bed to put it on, in which case ... but decided this probably wouldn't be a good conversation to hold with a stranger. Under any circumstances! It's also funny how none of our two fellow flat-dwellers are talking about the bed on the lawn. I've assumed it's one of theirs, but perhaps they think it's us, and everyone's being too polite to mention it?? Maybe in ten years' time, when it's still there, someone will crack and we'll discover that it's a total stranger's bed that's been dumped on us, and we can get rid of it after all. Till then, we'll carry the stamp of inner London fly-tipping in the midst of leafy Surrey ...

And I've just given up on Paul Coelho's "The Fifth Mountain" as a bad job. Please, mainstream authors and publishers, when oh when will you bring something on the market that's good enough to finish?? Quality seems to lie only in the small presses' hands at the moment.

Today's nice things:

1. Napping!
2. The man with the mattress - which made me laugh
3. Managing to squeeze out a few words of the novel.

Anne Brooke

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nutrimetics, counselling and party readings

An action-packed day today - my head is spinning! First off was tea & chat with Jane Hide, which was great (see, Jane - I mentioned you!). She's just settling down into her new career as a part-time Nutrimetics ( consultant, so I have ordered some products (all of which smell wonderful) - which will, I hope, make me into a new woman with a perfect look. Will Lord H recognise me is the question? Hmm, I'll come back to you on that one. By the way, if anyone is interested in Nutrimetics (cheaper than Clarins or Clinique, and all natural ingredients - see, Jane, I was listening!) and is in the Guildford area, then I can pass your details on to her. She won't mess you around and won't force you to buy things you don't need or want - and you might even pick something up for Christmas!

Next stop was my counselling appointment with Kunu ( God, it took me fifty minutes - fifty minutes!! - to find a bloody carpark space in bloody Guildford and by the time I found one in the carpark I'd originally looked at, I was just about ready to do myself in, and take a few ruddy town councillors with me to the great beyond at the same time. Would have served them bloody right - but there's only so many people you can run over in a Ford Fiesta. I only just made my appointment on time. Think it was worth it though - I talked about my angry weekend, my "anger box" - which I perhaps need to make bigger - and we discussed how it's okay to see people I enjoy seeing, and not worry about the rest. (Don't worry, Jane H - you're still on my nice people's list, so you haven't got rid of me yet!...).

Back home I'm preparing for tonight's Goldenford ( readings at the Barclays Christmas staff party. Oh God, how I hate doing these things - I've been stressing it all day (well, 2 or 3 days actually), and will be so bloody glad when it's over. Would be nice to sell some books though - but I'm not optimistic. Am I ever?

Today's nice things:

1. Seeing Jane
2. Counselling.

Anne Brooke

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Concert and shopping

Another dull day. At one point late afternoon, I felt like screaming and pushing time to persuade it to go a little faster. I didn't though - which the office are grateful for, I'm sure (if only they knew ...). Went to the lunchtime concert at the Performing Arts centre - haven't been for a while as Counselling used to be on a Wednesday - but I enjoyed it. Great singing, and the piano piece was grand. Always prefer the older, more tuneful stuff though - which probably goes to show what a pleb I am, but what the hell.

Went shopping after work, and actually got some Christmas presents - standard girlie stuff, which I'm sure will find a use for someone! My, how noble I am ... Got home to yet another rejection from bloody Mslexia - honestly, I don't think I'll bother sending to them again. It's a waste of time, and I get the same old condescending standard reply each time. You'd think they'd change the reel at least once in a blue moon. I also wonder if you have to be a 1970s-style faux-lesbian to get accepted these days (with some honourable exceptions of course, amongst those folk I know ...)! And I've sent off another partial of "Maloney's Law" to Two Ravens Press (, courtesy of a Writewords ( tip-off. My, I'm a glutton for punishment.

Tonight, it's Oz & James' marvellous wine journey (very tongue-in-cheek!) and "Torchwood" on TV, so that'll be good. Might do some ironing though - just to show willing.

Today's nice things:

1. The concert
2. Sending out "M's L" - to somewhere, at least!

Anne Brooke

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Reflexology & Kinesiology

Goodness, what an action-packed life I have ... Today was very dull. I read some more about how to be a depressed Christian - and got very pissed off with the author being rather high-handed about things about which he obviously knows nothing. Funny how you can tell a straight, white middle-class Evangelical at 50 paces. Anyway, I now have my doubts about the validity of the bloody book for me, and am significantly less keen about finishing it. Looks like I'll have to make my own ruddy way through the jungle. As per usual.

Still, reflexology ( was wonderful - as ever - and once again I fell asleep in the middle of it. I definitely need the relaxation time. And after work, I had another session with my kinesiologist ( and - very reluctantly - have decided to give up alcohol for 3 weeks and see what happens. Annoying - but it does gel with what I've been thinking recently, and if it improves my health - even if temporarily - then who am I to argue?

Ooh, and Ellie on MySpace ( left me a comment saying she'd enjoyed my website and the short stories on there - huge thanks, Ellie - that's really cheered me!

Today's nice things:

1. Reflexology
2. Kinesiology
3. Ellie's kind comments.

Anne Brooke

Monday, November 27, 2006

The minute queen

Spent the whole day typing up the minutes of last week's Student Affairs Committee meeting. I'm now the expert in whatever is going on which involves students. Hell. Can't see that lasting for long. It was a disaster of a morning - felt bloody depressed, so much so that I think I even managed to irritate my colleague, who is normally very cheery. Ah well.

Escaped from the drudgery at lunchtime and took a walk to the cathedral - where I bought myself a Childrens' Good News bible on the grounds that even if I don't like the words at least the pictures are nice. Also bought a gift book for myself called "356 blessings for women" - which gives me a paragraph and a brief bible quote for each day. That has pictures too, which is also nice. Bloody hell, that might be all I can cope with right now - we'll see.

The afternoon flowed much more smoothly - how I hate Monday mornings! I have decided to take things slowly and do fewer things involving parties and people. I think those just upset me, so why put myself through it?

This evening, Lord H is out at his theology class, at which the Bishop of Dorking (nice bloke, average sermons) will be presenting a talk on the Eucharist. Cue much joking about whether one has to kiss the bishop's ring or not. I advised not - either way! Tee hee. I'm hoping to get an odd line or two done on "The Gifting" sometime this evening, but I'm not pushing it. And I've had my fix of the "Strictly Come Dancing" update, hurrah! So I feel a little better - but for how long?

Today's nice things:

1. Buying a picture bible & gift book
2. TV
3. Getting the first draft of the minutes done.

Anne Brooke

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Church hell - again

Decided to be noble and actually go to church today. Big mistake. I would have been better off staying at home and not wasting my morning. Still, with Lord H doing his head server duties, it did mean I was able to skulk at the back and not go up to Communion. Or pretend to sing any of the hymns or say any of the words. So I suppose it wasn't all bad news, eh? And I know everyone's very well-meaning, but was it really necessary to crowd round me post-service like children exclaiming over a sick animal?? Hmm, I think not, people! It's enough to send me screaming for normality to the Buddhists ... Though, that said, Hilary was nice, and did say some sensible things about useful drugs - so thanks for that, Hilary. However, the way things are at the moment, I doubt I'll be going again for a while.

And none of this was helped by the struggle of getting through yesterday's dinner with my old university friends. Nice food though, Jane M - but I'm not really up to it right now. At one point, I felt very railroaded into agreeing to have yet another (oh God, no!!) pre-Christmas gals' social event shoved into a week where I actually want to be (a) at home with my loved one on our own and (b) quiet. It made me feel incredibly angry that they assume I'll want to do things I would have wanted to do twenty years ago. Well, frankly, I can't be arsed to have yet another social evening when I pretend to be something I'm not (which is how they seem to prefer me to be) and make them laugh a lot. Hell, find your own jokes, gals! Actually, I think the way forward is to back out at the last minute. It's what everyone else does after all. That said, I am looking forward to the dancing classes Keith W and I have decided to book for next year. And I think I've managed to get us out of going out on New Year - hurrah!

All this made my dreams last night very, very angry ones. In fact I woke up, shaking with it. It felt way too big to fit into my "anger box" - Lord H said I could always squash it into the corners, but will I be able to close the lid? It's a mystery! At one point in the dream, I remember I was a man at work who had suddenly flipped and was beating up someone I know, and then having to bring it all back under control again and think how to apologise and explain it. Hell, wouldn't it be good if you could beat people up in real life? Without the bloody repercussions. Bliss!

This afternoon, I've been cheering myself up by watching the video of "Strictly Come Dancing". Hurrah - Mark & Matt are still in! I was sorry to lose Claire & Brendan though - I really liked them. I soooo wish that ruddy tosser, Vincent, and his no-brain partner, Louisa, would go. I really can't stand them. And I'm not convinced their dancing is all that good either - and neither is Baby Bunton's, to my mind.

This week's haiku:

Spaces in my heart
let the poems through. They bleed.
Sunlight destroys them.

(Hell - on a day like today , what did you expect - sweetness and light??!!)

Today's nice things:

1. Getting out of bloody church - at last!
2. Strictly Come Dancing
3. Being at home with Lord H.

Anne Brooke

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Visiting, cleaning & napping

Goodness, what a wide variety of exciting activities makes up my day! Finally managed to pop in to see Gladys this morning - but didn't stay long as she was very confused, and I think my answers weren't making anything clearer. To either of us. We also had fun trying to change the battery in her hearing aid - why do the manufacturers make these things so damn complicated? You'd think they'd have more sense!!

Came home to help Lord H do the cleaning - finally! It's my most hated task, but I have to admit the flat does look less like a war zone now. Still got the hoovering to do though - hell, it's a man's job, ha! Spent the rest of the afternoon lapping up old Star Trek episodes before giving in to the overwhelming desire to nap. Have to catch up on my sleep somehow, y'know. Oh, and I also wrote a poem about spaces - which I think I'm fairly happy with. I'll type it up later.

Tonight, Lord H & I are off for dinner with some of my old university friends. It's funny how I used to feel they were the ones I was closest to, and now I don't. I think things have moved on for us all, to be honest. It'll be a pleasant enough evening, I'm sure, but the thought of making the 1.5-2hr journey down south just for food is a little exhausting. Still, at least we've decided not to stay overnight - I always find that prospect awkward, no matter who I'm staying with. My prime desire is to be home at all times!

Today's nice things:

1. Napping
2. Star Trek
3. Writing a poem.

Anne Brooke