Sunday, 6 January 2019

My slightly exciting but not really for you news

Many many apologies for the huge gap in writing this blog only because I keep a proper diary as well - although Chloe says a blog is a proper diary - it means I'd be spending most of my time writing and I still have to work, yes, even though ... oh wait, let's stop and start again.

Deep breath, Aliss. There, that's better. I have some exciting news!

I've decided to publish the next volume of my diary! As a book I mean. Like This Time Next Year. How exciting is that?

Bev nearly wet herself when I told her. (A problem we all have these days truth be told.) And good old Dad said, 'I'm delighted, Alison. I can't wait to find out what happens to me next.'
Mum gave him a strange look and then said, 'You shouldn't encourage her, Bill. You know I couldn't look Monica from the golf club in the eye after the last one.'
Dad and I exchanged looks. I could tell we were both thinking the same thing i.e. with her nose stuck up in the air it was almost impossible to look Monica in the eye at any time. But we kept quiet.

David thinks it's a wonderful idea. His exact words were: oh good, it'll keep you out of trouble for a bit. When he saw my face he quickly changed it to, 'I mean it'll keep you busy though, won't it?'
'Yes,' I agreed. 'But I can't let my fans down.'
'Your fans?'
'All the people who've asked me, nay, begged me, to write more.'
'Oh,' David said, 'I didn't realise, I'm sorry.'
I hoped he'd leave it at that but he had to go on. 'Exactly how many?'
I shrugged. 'Oh you know, lots.'
'More than one hundred?'
'Now you're just being silly,' I said. 
'Well, how many is it then?' he persisted.
'At least ... three. If you include Dad and Bev.'
David tried very hard to keep a straight face as he pulled me towards him and hugged me. 'You can't let them down then.'
'No, quite, and I've a story to tell. Not just our love story but the universal story of ageing women and the difficulties they encounter as they weave their way through the modern world.'
'Have you been in the Self Help section in the library again?'
'No, it was something I heard someone on Woman's Hour say.'
We both laughed and then I said, 'But seriously, you're okay with me doing this?'
'Of course. I want to know where our story goes too.'

And that dear reader is what you will find out. Eventually. This is very early notice of publication as I haven't actually written the book yet. My diaries will take quite a bit of editing. But I'll try to keep you up-dated here.

So laters, folks. As the young people say these days.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

You'll want to see the ring!

Mum phoned me at 11 this morning. She said, 'Wonderful news, Alison! The vicar has agreed to marry you.'
'That's kind of him, Mum, but I don't think we've met and anyway, I'm an engaged woman.'
Mum sighed deeply. 'I've told you before, Alison, about being facetious. It's not becoming. You know quite well what I mean.'
'Yes, Mum, I'm sorry,' I smiled into the phone. Not even my mother could upset me today. 'But we haven't discu...'
Before I could finish my mother interrupted, 'He doesn't really approve of marrying divorcees but I explained that it wasn't entirely your fault and he said that, as I was such a faithful member of the Ladies' Guild, he was sure he could make an exception.'
'First of all, Mother, it wasn't my fault at all that Brian left me for a bimbo,' I could hear my mother sniff on the other end of the phone, 'and, secondly, as I was trying to say before you interrupted me, David and I haven't discussed what sort of wedding we want yet.'
'What do you mean what sort of wedding? You're not going to go all hippy on us, are you? Your father's too old to go off to some beach at sunset. And the mosquitoes always bite him.'
'No, but it'll probably be a quiet affair in a registry office with just close family and friends.'
'You're not pregnant, are you?'
'I'm fifty-five, Mother!'
'Well, these days they can do anything with a test tube and a turkey baster. So I'll tell the vicar you'll pop in to see him, shall I?'

I will not let her upset me! Instead I'll show you my ring! 

David found it in an antique shop. He said he saw it and instantly thought of me! How romantic is that! It's a purple sapphire between two little diamonds. So dainty and elegant! Why it reminded David of me I can't imagine.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Some very exciting news!

Well, dear readers, I have some exciting news!

Oh dear, first I suppose I should apologise for the huge time lapse since my last post but life has been most awfully busy.  So, anyway, yesterday was my 55th birthday and, guess what? David asked me to marry him!

He'd taken me to La Brasseria for my birthday meal: it's become a sort of tradition to go there and, apart from last year, when I tripped and bumped into a waiter who then poured the contents of a bottle of red wine over customer, it's been uneventful. Until last night. 

We'd had our main courses and I was just wondering whether I should have ordered panna cotta like the woman at the next table instead of the tiramisu when David reached across the table and took my hand. It startled me making me knock over my glass of wine but it was white so didn't show much. Unlike David's red wine that spilled when I bumped the table as I tried to catch my falling glass. 

David burst out laughing. He shoo-ed away the waiter who'd appeared with a cloth to mop up the mess. 'It's okay, just leave it.'

'Oh dear,' I said. 'I thought I'd broken the jinx on this place.'
David shook his head. He was still laughing. 'What am I going to do with you, Aliss?'
I bit my lip. 'I don't know.'
He shook his head again. 'I think there's only one thing I can do.' He reached into his inside jacket pocket and brought out a small box. Opening it he said, 'Alison, will you do me the great honour of marrying me?'
'Oh lumme!'
'Is that a yes?'
'Oh, yes, yes, yes, a million times yes!' I stood up and leaned across the candle-lit table to kiss him. Our lips had barely met when I was soaked to the skin as a jug of water was thrown over me.
'Sorry, madam,' said the waiter as he mopped me with his already wine-stained cloth. 'You were on fire!'
'Oh dear,' I sat down again amidst the ruins of our table. 'Are you sure you want to marry me?'
David took my hand again. 'I'm absolutely positive. Anyway you're not safe out on your own. I'll be doing community care a favour.'

It was late when we finally got home so I waited until this morning to phone everyone to tell them the good news. I began with Chloe.
'Hello darling, Mum here.'
'Urgh, what time is it?'
'About, oh, half past seven.'
'Oh Mum! I've only just got to sleep. You know I've been on night shifts.'
'I'm sorry, darling, but I do have some exciting news.'
'What? Has David finally proposed?'
'Oh. Yes.'
'Great, Mum,' she yawned loudly. 'I'll call you back later, okay.'
'Er, yes, darling. Love you.'
'Love you too. Bye.'

Thought she might have been a little bit more excited. But she's never been good in the mornings. With that in mind I decided not to phone Adam until later. After all he's still student, albeit a post-graduate one. So I moved onto Mum. Unlike my children she would be up early.
'Morning, Mum,' I said cheerfully.
'Good heavens, is that you, Alison?'
'I would think so unless you've suddenly discovered a long-lost daughter?'
'Don't be facetious, Alison. It's not becoming.'
I bit my tongue and tried again. 'I'm calling early because I have some news.'
'Oh no! What's happened? Is it Chloe? Has she been attacked by one of those wife beaters?'
'No, Mum, it's not Chloe.'
'Adam then? He's been arrested hasn't he?'
'Why would he be arrested, Mum?'
'Well, I don't know, drugs, dogging.'
I spluttered into the phone. 'Dogging?'
'Isn't that what they call it when you're caught smoking mariejuanna?'
'No, Mum. And, anyway, Adam doesn't use drugs. And why do you assume it's bad news?'
'Why else would you be calling this time in the morning?'
'I'm calling to tell you that David and I are getting married.'
'Oh. Wouldn't have thought you'd bother at your age. Seems a bit of a fuss for nothing.'
'Mother, when David first began spending the night here you were apoplectic in case the ladies at the golf club found out. I thought you'd be pleased we were making it legal.'
'Yes, well, times change. One has to keep up with the times.'
I shook my head. 'Is Dad there? I'd like to tell him myself.'
'No, he's popped out to the newsagent.'
'At half past seven in the morning.'
'Well, if he doesn't get there early they sell out of the Telegraph. I'll tell him to phone you when he gets back.'
'Okay, and you won't tell him first?'
'No, no, you can do that.'

Half an hour later Dad phoned. 'Wonderful news, sweetheart! I'm so pleased for you.'
'Mum told you then?'
'Yes, soon as I walked through the door. We're both delighted for you and David.'
'Thanks, Dad.'
'Hang on, your mother's saying something ... yes, yes, she says we must all go out for a meal to celebrate. She'll phone you later to arrange it.'

Couldn't wait any longer to phone Adam so called and let it ring until he finally picked up.
Hello, darling, it's Mum.'
Adam, I'm phoning because I have some news for you.' I waited for a response. When none came I carried on. 'Last night David asked me to marry him!'
'Did you hear what I said, Adam? David asked me to marry him!'
'Yeargh, what did you say?'
'I said yes of course!'
'Cool. Bye, Mum.'

Bev was next to know. 'Yay! And I'm just the woman to organise the Hen party!'
And Pippa was genuinely delighted. 'I am so pleased for you, Alison. You deserve this. Love you loads.'

Do I deserve it? Don't think I'll think too much about that. Might come to the wrong answer. Instead I'll just allow myself to wallow in being a newly engaged woman.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Paperback Writer

It's a couple of days late but it feels like another birthday present: my agent brought the first paperback copy of my novel around to my house today. Here she is sitting on the patio reading it.
She is very pleased with it and I have to say that I'm delighted. I wasn't sure what it would look like when printed but it's better than I could have expected. Bless those lovely Lulu publishing people. 

My agent tells me that the really hard work begins now. I think she means the promoting and selling and stuff but I'm not going to worry about that today. I phoned David and told him it's arrived and he said we'd have to go out for dinner to celebrate. I did protest  - a little - that I'm supposed to be dieting but he pointed out that there's no food in the house and that he thought the chances of me going shopping in my euphoric state were low. 

He's right of course. I have so many people to phone ...

A little later
I called Adam and greeted him by singing Paperback Writer down the phone. There was a long silence at the other end and then he said, 'You all right, Mum?' in a very concerned tone.
I said, 'It's the Beatles.'
'The Beatles?'
'Their song.'
Adam said, 'Do you want to put the phone down and start again, Mum?'

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The best birthday ever!

I have had the best birthday ever! Probably in the history of birthdays!

It began with breakfast in bed. (No, actually it began a bit before that but I'm not telling you about that!) Let's just say that it wasn't an early breakfast in bed. Warm croissants, butter and jam, with a steaming hot mug of tea. Last year David tried to make it special by using a cup and saucer. I soon put him right on that: I need a large mug full of tea to get me going in the morning. 

I tried to protest and only eat one croissant because 'I'm supposed to be on diet,' but David told me I was perfect just as I am. Ahhhh.

Adam stuck his head around the door briefly to say happy birthday and that his dad had just arrived to take him back to university. I started to panic. 'Oh but I haven't checked if you've got everything! Did you remember to pack the clothes still in the airing cupboard? Oh and what about the ones I haven't ironed yet? Can your dad wait a minute while I ...' David put his hands on my shoulders, which by now were halfway out of bed. 
'You're not going anywhere. Adam is quite capable of doing his own packing and even his own ironing if he is that bothered.'
'That's right, Mum,' Adam came across and gave me a big hug. 'I've taken all the clothes I can find and if I've forgotten anything, well, you can always send it to me.'
David frowned at him, and he hurriedly rephrased his sentence, 'Or I can do without. You have a great day, Mum. Relax and enjoy yourself.'

Which is what I've been doing ever since. We took Leidy, David's dog who seems to be spending more time in my house than her own, for a walk by the river and stopped off at the pub for a drink and a packet of crisps. (And a muffin in my case.) (Well, it is my birthday and I am 'perfect as I am'!) We picked up the Observer in the newsagents' and then lolled around for the rest of the afternoon, David reading the paper and me alternately flicking through it for any bits that sounded vaguely celebrity-focussed or gossipy, and napping. 

And now David is in the kitchen cooking my birthday dinner. He won't let me go through the door so I've no idea what he's making but there are some lovely smells wafting out. Every now and again he pops out and checks that I'm okay for drinks and if I'm warm enough or if I'd like the television on. It's like being a goddess.

I could get used to this.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Pre-birthday nerves

I have been neglecting my blog again! Adam just told me off. 'Honestly, mother,' he said - I could tell I was in trouble when he called me mother - 'books don't just sell themselves you know.'
'No, I know that.'
'So how many have you sold?'
'Um, I don't know.'
'You don't know? Haven't you asked?'
'No. I thought I'd be disappointed if the number wasn't in the thousands or even hundreds.'
Adam sighed. 'It's never going to be in the hundr ...' he corrected himself, 'thousands if you don't publicise it and push it more. And one way of doing that is to blog and network. And use Facebook, and tweet, of course.'
'Of course.' I didn't like to tell him the only tweeting I did was in response to the blackbird that sings from our apple tree.
'So will you?' He looked at me expectantly and it reminded me of when he was eight and convinced we were getting him a snake for his birthday. The way his face dropped when he opened the box containing a Lego jungle set still haunts him whenever I have to choose a present for him. It was my turn to sigh. 'Will I what?'
'Write in your blog?'

I assured him I would. So I am. I'm rather excited as it happens: it's my birthday tomorrow! Adam has to travel back to uni so David's taking us all - Chloe and Greg will be here soon - out for a meal tonight. We're going to La Brasserie. I haven't been there since I went last summer with Pippa and Bev and accidentally stabbed a waiter's hand with my knife and then nearly fainted at the sight of the blood oozing out. 

I hadn't seen any reason to tell David about it so when he suggested La Brasserie I couldn't think of an excuse quickly enough. But it's dark in there so they probably won't recognise me, and, anyway, it was because it was dark that I stuck my knife in his hand rather than in my steak. So it wasn't really my fault. 

So I'm sure it'll be fine.

Monday, 12 March 2012

My launch

My life has been a positive whirl since I last blogged!

On Friday David turned up and said, 'Okay, pack a weekend bag; I'm taking you away.'
I stared at him. 'What do you mean?'
'You're getting stressed over this book launch so I thought a couple of days away would do you good.'
'What's the matter? Don't you want to come?'
'Oh, yes, yes, yes! I'm I I'm I ...' I stuttered to a halt. 'I don't know. It's just no-one's ever whisked me away before.'
'Well, it's time they did.' David kissed me on the nose and said, 'Go and get your bag then.'
'Okay.' I started up the stairs and then went back down. 'What do I need?'
David sighed. 'Toothpaste, clean knickers, I don't know. Whatever women need for a couple of nights away.'
'Do I need a swimming costume?'
'In March in Wales?'
'No, okay.'
I started up the stairs again before returning. 'What about a posh frock?'
'I'm taking you to a nice hotel in Snowdonia. You'll need walking clothes and something a little more respectable to eat in the hotel in the evening. Okay?'
'Oh, yes, that sounds wonderful. I've never been to North Wales. Will we be able to go on the little train? And perhaps see the grave of that dog who died and ...'
'We'll be able to do whatever you want to do,' David interrupted me. 'But we need to get there tonight.'

We had such a fabulous time, walking and eating cake and walking some more and sleeping - well, not too much of that actually! - and eating and just being together. North Wales is a wonderfully romantic place, although I think any place with David would be. Oh, dear, I can hear Adam and Chloe groaning as they read this. Well, Adam anyway. He doesn't have a romantic bone in his body. 

I felt so relaxed when I came back that when my publisher called and said she'd set the book launch for last Thursday I didn't even blink. And I didn't panic when she told me she'd also fixed up an interview for me on local radio. 

I had to have time off work for the interview but Muriel and Young Mr Davies were more excited about it than I was I think. (No, that's probably not true.) Young Mr Davies even postponed one of his appointments so he could listen. 

Later when I got back to the office Mr Davies Senior said, 'Oh you should have been here a few minutes ago, Angela. We were just listening to a fascinating interview on the radio with a young woman talking about ...' he paused. 'What was she talking about?'

I forgave him because he called me a young woman.