18 Jul 2007

The Wine, the Chocolate and the Warm Runny Cheese

Most mornings I stop off at a local newsagents on my way to work to pick up the paper. The person behind the counter is a lovely lady; friendly, chatty and very practiced at dropping in the occasional compliment.

I love compliments. Who doesn't? When somebody tells the bleary-eyed, mascara-smudged, frizzy-haired person I last saw half an hour ago in the mirror that they like the shade of purple she's wearing then I'm quite prepared to go the extra mile and buy a couple of Cadbury's Flakes along with the paper.

Which neatly brings me to the subject of chocolate. I am, obviously, partial to a Cadbury's Flake and even a Galaxy Ripple. But the absolute top of my chocolate heaven list is Green & Black's. I especially love their milk chocolate (whoops - drooled on keyboard) although I know (because I read it in the paper!) that a truly dark chocolate is not only better for me but actually GOOD FOR ME. Along with RED WINE. Now there's a migraine waiting to happen. Just chuck in a good sized wedge of nicely matured (no - not in the fridge - warm & runny is the only way) Camembert and you have the hat trick.

Aah - happy days...

12 Jul 2007

The Puppy, the Gate and the Paper Round

I have two Irish Wolfhounds, one of which is a seven month old puppy called Alfie (because he doesn't know what it's all about). I also have an 80 year old paper lady called Doris who delivers the local paper down my road once a week. She loves my Irish Wolfhounds and always brings them some biscuits which she feeds to them over the side gate. My Irish Wolfhounds love Doris.

Yesterday I'm just settling down in front of the computer to try and finish chapter one of my novel when an uproar of epic proportions starts up outside. I rush out of the kitchen and there's Alfie, his foot caught in between a couple of bars of the gate, yelling blue murder, with Doris looking on (worriedly).

I get Alfie disconnected from the gate but not without getting bitten (this is an 'I'm panicking' bite, not an 'I'm cross' bite).

Doris looks at the blood running down my arm and says 'I think he bit me too when I tried to get him off'. She rolls up her coat sleeve to reveal a cut on her forearm. So I take her into the kitchen, sit her down and got out the Dettol and the plasters to dress it for her. When I get back to her she's slumped in her seat, completely out of it.

'Speak to me, Doris,' I beg. I squeeze her hand looking for a reaction and get none. I refrain from slapping her around the face because it isn't polite. Her eyes are open but there's nobody in.

I'm frantic. I'm sure she's having a heart attack so I ring 999 for an ambulance.

There are road works a little way from us - this is a permanent fixture on my road. The water board come and dig it up to lay new pipes and then close it all up. Then the gas people come and dig it up again. When they've finished the BT people come along and lay communication cables, and so on... So the traffic's backed up as usual!

By the time I hear the ambulance siren Doris is beginning to come round. Her eyes come into focus and she speaks. Oh, joy!

Ambulance, lights and siren go streaking past my house eastbound. Two seconds later ambulance, lights and siren go streaking past my house westbound. I prop Doris up against the counter with strict instructions not to move and go and stood in the middle of the traffic jam in my best novel writing gear (furry slippers, torn T-shirt, tracksuit bottoms - you know the look) frantically waving as the ambulance rushes towards me again. At great personal risk I get them safely into the driveway, past the dogs and into the kitchen.

Alfie's really good at opening the kitchen door from the outside so I throw the bolt, pretending not to notice the worried looks of the ambulance men. Of course, that doesn't stop him bashing away at the door trying to get in (he's over 6 foot standing on his hind legs) but we all politely pretend not to notice.

By this time Doris is fully recovered and regaling the ambulance men with her stories of Mr So-and-So at number 147, how she's been delivering papers for fifteen years etc., etc. The paramedics get her wound dressed (not too bad after all that), take her blood pressure - low, hence the fainting fit - and tell her to go visit her doctor the next morning. During all of this they studiously avoid looking at the blood running down my arm. I look as if I can take care of myself.

Eventually they all stand behind me while I unbolt the door (cowards!) and we negotiate dogs and gates (yes, that gate!) and I get them out of there.

By the time I've driven Doris home and finish off the paper round for her I am, understandably, completely unable to write even a sentence.

Oh well - tomorrow...

11 Jul 2007

No more Alistair Campbell - PLEASE

I am SO sick of hearing AC's voice every time I turn on the radio or television. We all know how wonderful it is that he should share his secrets with us and, honest Alistair, we know you wouldn't have published these if it wasn't for our own good.

I'm sure you accepted a modest fee for part one and I'm absolutely sure there will be more sequels than there are Harry Potter movies but, hey, we really are grateful.

But purleeese stop trying to sound as if you give a damn!