Monday, April 23, 2007

V-Cs, wasps and saints days

St George’s Day today – so happy St George’s Day to all. I gather that Guildford is making a big thing of this, but as I’m not able to go to town in the lunch-hour (in any sense), then I can’t confirm anything. Lord H and I were wondering if we should re-enact the traditional slaying of the dragon by the good saint himself, but were unable to agree on which of us should take which part. So this mini-drama has, I’m afraid, had to be shelved for now. However, at work I have taken out my red, white and blue fluffy pen and given her (or possibly him, but it’s hard to say) pride of place. The saint will be smiling, I’m sure.

And of course it’s Shakespeare’s birthday, so great cause for rejoicing. And … um … his death day, so something more of a bummer really. My though, what a party that must have been. (Happy birthday, Will! Hope you like the present … Oh. Obviously you didn’t. Ah well …). But it does give a nice sense of completion, I have to say.

Oh, and I was cheered yesterday by realising that A Dangerous Man ( is actually on someone’s Wish List on Amazon – and can be seen at the Number Two position on “Jem’s” list here: - thanks, Jem! I’ve never been on anyone’s wish list before, and it’s a great honour. Talking of which, I find that ADM and I are not only in the University summer arts calendar today – advertising the forthcoming Book Circle discussion on 30 April – but are also on the University intranet news page - which I'm afraid you can't see, but bearing in mind the pic that may be a good thing!

This morning, I have finished off my updates to the Mentoring Handbook and have given it to Carol once more to check. We’ve decided that it will be best housed in A5 files, so we can easily update stuff on an ongoing basis – but you wouldn’t believe how few options the office supply people give on A5 paper or files. Hobson’s choice really. But it does give me a secretarial buzz to be looking at paper and wondering which I like best – almost makes me feel useful.

And I’ve decided to cancel next week’s Kinesiology ( appointment in Petersfield and not book any more at the moment, as I’m not sure that I’m learning anything else in my occasional visits - though Jane Phillips is a lovely woman and very good at what she does. It seemed like the right thing to do – and if I do want any further advice I can always make an appointment in Guildford, which is in any case much closer to home. So, I’ve written her a letter to thank her, as that seemed the right thing to do too.

This lunchtime, we had another talk from the Vice-Chancellor about the restructuring. Groan. Mind you, his super-fast delivery meant that I took very little in – which once again may indeed have been his purpose. We were all talked-at into submission by the time the questions slot came round. So I popped out for my lunchtime walk later than usual in order to get my brain functioning again – and saw that we have two baby coots on the lake. Or possibly moorhens, but I can’t tell. The mother had a white beak and the babies red beaks, so perhaps it’s our first cross-breeding? Who knows?

However, it’s not all good news and caviare, I’m afraid – an online friend of mine emailed me today to say she hadn’t really enjoyed poor old ADM at all, the reasons being because it just didn’t gel for her and because she thought I’d left too much of Michael’s traumas until the end. In addition she felt he had much more to say than I’d allowed, and it should have been far darker and more violent. This came as quite a punch (which probably only goes to show what a pathetically sensitive sad git I am, I’m sure …), partly because it’s my first bad review and partly because it was someone I was utterly convinced would like it. A lot. I also felt gutted at the comment that I hadn’t given Michael enough of a voice, especially when I’d felt I’d really gone to the depths with him, and back again. I know she’s being nice and is obviously perfectly entitled to a reaction, but I must admit it hurts. However, a wry smile (of sorts) was raised when I read the comment that she hoped this wouldn’t upset me. Um, I’m only human! Still one very stiff gin later and I’m slowly unfurling. A little.

Tonight, Lord H is out at theology, and I’m going to attempt to start my last scene in The Gifting, even though I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing and am scared to death by it. It really feels like I’ve bitten off far, far more than I can actually chew and, however I write the ending, it’s going to be pants. I simply don’t feel that I can end Simon’s story in the way he deserves and that any of the cats I can pull out of the bag now won’t be any bigger or any fluffier than the cats I’ve pulled out before, as the story’s gone along. Bummer. Again. In all of my other novels (well, most of them anyway …), I’ve known as I approached it what the ending would be – but I’m going to be spitting into a vacuum for this one, I fear. Boy, does this writer have cold feet about it – my toes are barely hanging on. Still, this isn’t the spirit that won (or indeed lost) the empire, so I’ll just have to grit my teeth and slog on. Grinning wildly …

And my 55 word fiction, “When the phone rang” has won the Bird and Moon ( Readers’ Choice award for February (hurrah!) and can be found here: - so that’s cheered me greatly.

Oh, and I’ve had my first real battle with a wasp. I was doing the recycling when that terrible humming began in the hallway and I realised I was trapped outside the flat with no phone and no means of alerting Lord H who was having a quick bath prior to theology. I did try the neighbours but they weren’t in, so I couldn’t ring from theirs. So I had to wait 15 minutes for Lord H to finish his bath and wonder where I was. Lucky he noticed, eh! Still, he despatched the evil striped beast with his usual finesse and I could come home again. Phew. Damn lucky it wasn’t raining either …

And thank goodness there’s “New Tricks” on TV later – just the light relief I need, I suspect.

Today’s nice things:

1. Being on an Amazon wish list
2. The double University advertising splash
3. The 55 word award.

Anne Brooke


Peter said...

Don't worry about one sightly negative review. Everyone has there critics. You've can't please all the people all the time.

Nik Perring said...

Peter's right. Your work can't be loved by all!

And on another note...I was told yesterday (by a father who'd been watching documentaries) that St George was, apparently, a Norman.

So now you know.


Anne Brooke said...

Very true, Peter & Nik - I will try to remember!! Thank you!

And, ooh, I like Normans - hurrah!



Irene Black said...

Look at it this way, Anne - a negative review? Wow! You've arrived! Congrats!