Monthly Archives: January 2010

and something else

An unexpected joy this week has been reading a very good book about a very bad place. I recommend The Badness of Ballydog by a glorious Irishman called Garrett Carr. Mr. Carr knows a thing or two about fish finger factories, taxidermy and the quare ways of folk. I’d like to meet him one day. I think he is a man possessed of secret things, with whom it would be good to share a bottle of something smooth and peaty.

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Well, my dears, said old Mrs. Rabbit

Thank you to Camille and Lois, for your comments. It’s hard to believe there’s snow in Texas, but then it’s hard to believe that even I, who am pretty hardy, am this winter conducting a secret love affair with a new electric blanket. Sometimes I don’t even switch it on. Just lying on top if it, knowing I could, is enough of a joy. It has an automatic turn off, too, so you don’t even have to worry about falling asleep and being fried, like bacon.

Now – Twitter. It’s so kind when people say they would follow me if I tweeted. But I’m concerned about being a bore. On a minute by minute basis, my life is just a life. If I have any great thoughts, I try and keep them for my books and I don’t think you’d really want to know about my laundry or shopping. I mean, even I don’t want to know about them. And when I do want to shout something for all the world to hear, it’s usually rude – like ‘what’s with people who feed other people’s dogs in the park? They should be walloped!’ or ‘why don’t people waiting in queues to pay GET THEIR BEASTLY PURSES OUT BEFORE THEY REACH THE TILL?’ So, until I can be sure I won’t tweet in rabid capitals, I’m resisting.

Off into the town now, to pick up my poor MacBook pro. It produced the dreaded screen of death last Saturday. My rejected iBook G4 was very smug. ‘That’ll teach you,’ it said, as it sturdily cranked into action. I’ve been very nice to it. Porridge for both of us for lunch today.

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

the northern front

What a joy this frizzen frozen weather is for those of us who live in a town and don’t have to get anywhere. I haven’t even looked at the car since the week before Christmas. Outside activity is walking the dogs either in the sparkly fog, greeting other dog-walkers looming ghostly through the gloam, or shuffling up to Waitrose under the momentary magic of a ice-blue sky. Waitrose, by the way, is itself still magic in Glasgow. It probably costs more, but it’s a bit of a joy! Having spent much of my childhood waiting outside the greengrocer for my mother (several obligatory tons of conversation before the purchase of several tons of vegetables), only to hear her say ‘I’ve just got to nip into the chemist’ (for a medicine cabinet of chitter-chatter before emerging with small bottle of Milk of Magnesia) I’m a fan of supermarkets. In my view, shopping in the UK should be quick and painless, as opposed to shopping in France, which should be lengthy and leave all British people feeling faintly inadequate.

I’ve been deep into Victorian fashion for my new book. I love all those chemisettes of snowy lace and tippets of swansdown. I also learned, from the introduction to Nancy Bradfield’s lovely costume book (1968), that in the undercroft of Westminster Abbey, there are wax effigies of dead grandees, life-sized and fully dressed in their own clothes. She writes: ‘For hundreds of years it was customary for these life-sized, fully robed figures of wood or wax to be borne through the streets, on the coffin, at the funeral of kings or queens or other great persons … The last effigy to be actually so carried was that of Catherine, Duchess of Buckingham, in 1743’. I suppose it was to reassure the dead blue-bloods that heaven wasn’t entirely full of riff-raff …

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
Belle's Song Cover

Belle’s Song

Coming in spring, 2011 When Belle meets Luke, son of an alchemist and Scribe to the famous poet Chaucer, she is determined to travel with him to Canterbury on a pilgrimage. She hopes for a miracle: that her father will walk again. She also hopes to atone for her own part in his accident. It is a time of unrest across the country and the young King Richard II is just hanging on to his throne. A malign character on … Continue reading