Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Cymru am byth

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

This is a brilliant opportunity to write and I’m wasting it. One daughter is away and my husband and the other daughter have gone to watch cricket for the day – “I suppose there’s no chance I can persuade you to come with me?” he said hopefully this morning. “Absolutely not,” was my reply. I couldn’t let there be doubt over the issue. Call me a heathen but I just cannot appreciate this extraordinarily timeless game. I don’t understand it at all, there are too many people on the field to keep up with, the scoring is beyond me (as it is for most girls I suspect) and the slang that goes with cricket is impenetrable. And one game goes on for days. Literally. Yesterday my husband  ‘liked’ a facebook page that basically makes fun of girls asking “Who’s winning?” during a cricket match. Well what is wrong with that???? It’s a completely natural question to ask of a competitive game. Someone will win (even though it’s becoming increasingly un-PC to do so). But I think the point is that you don’t know who will win until the last, tense, nail-biting second of a game that’s had you riveted to the seat for the duration. Did anyone spot the sarcasm there? No, there’s only one good thing about cricket and that’s the players in their whites look surprisingly sexy, and that is not enough to sustain me through a game. Anyway, back to me wasting time.

I’m so bedazzled by being alone for this length of time that I can hardly decide what to do first; I can’t apply myself properly to anything. I dream of time like this. I am almost always thinking oh if only I had a few clear hours alone I could do so much housework/ironing/sorting/tidying/writing, and now that I have it do you know what I have done? I have read yesterdays papers and I have eaten a bowl of pasta. Pasta is the devils work but I just cannot stay away from it. My friends are amazed by my ambivalence towards desserts, I don’t care about them at all, it’s bread and pasta that are my vices. You will be able to tell from this that I am the kind of girl who lives life on the edge. I did try Pimms ice-cream last night though. Only because I’d never seen it on a menu before and I was intrigued. It was OK.

So, Wales. Wales was great. It was my first time in the country and I thoroughly enjoyed every second. I survived the surfing! It’s harder than the blond, dreadlocked, very svelte instructor made it look. We ended up exhausted and bruised by flinging ourselves against the boards, ‘catching’ the waves, falling off and dragging the boards back out to waist-high water where we repeated the process. This went on for two hours and honestly we were absolutely shattered. And freezing. The Gower coast is very beautiful but it is not the warmest of climes to be surfing in. Definitely Calfornia next time. But it was fine because afterwards we had the luxury of the outdoor, lukewarm showers that I detest with a passion. I can’t bear my feet on the floor of those places, I will never remove my flip-flops. Even the thought makes me shudder. But it did warm us up and rinse most of the sand off. The rest of the sand was spread liberally around the flat, our beds and the seats of my friend’s husband’s Jaguar that we were borrowing. This last did not go unnoticed, unfortunately. And apart from surfing, we ate in some very nice restaurants, we visited some very beautiful places, we drank a lot of wine and Malibu (not together) and caramalised ten onions. Badly. We had a wonderful, relaxed, ramshackle few days – there were seven of us staying in a two-bedroom flat – but somehow it worked. I think mostly due to the laidback attitude of our lovely host, Gill, my friend’s mother. She didn’t seem to mind her home being overtaken by someone she barely knew (me) and three girls obsessed by first catching and then grooming her petrified cats, sand being sprinkled everywhere and the smell of ten onions lingering for days. I cannot say that my own mother would have been as relaxed….

And disappointingly my review copies have not arrived. I emailed my publishers to check on progress to be told: sorry, we’ve only just sent the book to the printers, the copies will be another 2-3 weeks. It doesn’t really matter, it just means that my carefully planned and rigidly stuck to promotion campaign gets a little behind. Which in turn means working very hard in September. Not a problem. In some ways this is fortunate, I’d be limited in what I could do, practically-speaking, because I shall be away again this week, at my mother’s house in Berkshire. Myself and the girls will bump the household up to ten, which is bound to cause tension around eating and sleeping arrangements so I can report on that next time. It won’t be like Wales, that’s for sure. But on our return, myself, plus husband and a couple of friends are going to a Burlesque night at a local theatre, which should be interesting, so I have that to look forward to.

And now that I have this written, I can return to the dizzy heights of my solitude! The excitement is wearing off now so I might be able to calm down and do something constructive. It won’t involve Twitter though because despite my efforts I still only have five followers. This does not bode well.

Next time: my mother’s house and stockings, I suppose. Not together I am at pains to add.

What happens when you mix choking, Social Media and hamsters? I know.

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

So I didn’t do too well on the looking after children front. Barely a week after Alice was out of hospital following the coin-swallowing episode (bit like sword-swallowing but less interesting and more dramatic) I had to dial 999 because she was choking again. I couldn’t believe it. Neither of my children have ever choked in their lives before and now that the youngest is nearly three and a half she does it twice in a week. Fortunately the issue was resolved without medical attention but it has made me very twitchy about Alice and small objects. Which is a shame because she’s now missing out on things. For example, the lady who does my nails was – er – doing my nails yesterday morning and in between doing my fingers and toes she decided, apropos of nothing, that she would take Alice next door to buy her some sweets. It wasn’t a successful trip in any sense because there was a fair queue of people waiting to be seen who looked thoroughly hacked off, and when she and Alice returned it was with a handful of lollipops which I promptly confiscated, and an ice lolly which Alice licked once and then said “I don’t like it,” in that charmingly grateful way that children do. So I had to eat it. Out of politeness, you understand.

I haven’t been especially productive on the book front either; shame on me. I have a couple of separate projects on the go at the moment. The first is writing my new book, which I am approximately 20,000 words into, but it seems to have staggered to a bit of a halt. Although, to be absolutely fair, I didn’t do nothing towards it over the weekend. By any means. What I did was indulge in some fairly intensive socialising, which is usually where I pick up the best anecdotes that I can adapt into a less recognisable form for my new manuscript. I will generally come away with two to three new stories from an average event. Perhaps up to five if I’m lucky. And very occasionally they drop into my lap during the week. They don’t have to be long-winded stories, sometimes it’s just a name, or a comment someone’s made. Or most recently an absurd new treatment that’s all the rage on the dinner party circuit. Well it sounded absurd to me – ear candles. So you put the candle into your ear and set fire to it. I kid you not. I think the aim is to smoke out your ear and clear the tubes, etc., etc. whilst cleverly leaving the ear intact. But in this day and age of modern, 21st century medical miracles and marvels, and taking into account the latest, greatest advances for cancer research and the spectacular things that can be done on the operating table (e.g. coin removal) I am a little suspicious of something that you simply put into your ear and set fire to. I have actually seen this advertised as well and the model was smiling – this doesn’t ring true either. I wouldn’t be smiling if my ear was on fire. Anyway, enough of the idiosyncrasies of the wealthy.

My second project is obviously to promote my forthcoming novel (Things He Never Knew, released 24th September 2010 in case anyone’s missed that bit) and build up a bit of an internet presence. This is very important, and I know that because today I had an email from the novelist Adele Parks whose advice on marketing was definitely centred around the internet. She said – and I quote – “…..with novels I think the most effective marketing is word of mouth, which nowadays is word of internet.” So there we have it. A foray into the more complicated side of the internet is definitely called for. By this I mean more complicated than Hotmail and Facebook, which is where I am usually to be found. Youtube, at a push. But no, this is where Social Media will come into its own I am told. But I’m struggling a bit. First off, I had no idea how to set up a website and now that there is one I have no idea how to maintain it nicely. I am entirely dependent on others. Then there’s this blog which I’ve just about got the hang of (though I admit to having written instructions on how to post a blog which I refer to every so often). And then there’s Twitter…….which isn’t going so well for me. I think I have two, maybe three followers? If it wasn’t so important I would be laughing. Because it’s quite funny. But it isn’t the done thing to laugh at your own ineptitude when others are working hard on your behalf. You must be seen to take it seriously. So therefore I must work out how to attract more followers – I mean how hard can it be? I manage it very well in real life. But to continue, once you have: a website, a blog, a facebook page, a Twitter account, it isn’t enough just to maintain them and coax people into looking at them. They must be all be discreetly linked together so if one is updated the others must magically follow, like the children and Pied Piper of Hamelin. This I find quite tricky also. My children never follow me anywhere.

So you see I have a lot to be getting on with and many new things to be mastered. All of the above, plus general childcare which today has involved dealing with a weeks worth of faeces in one go. I’ll leave that bit there because her father was horrified enough for all of you when he learned the details. And then there’s packing and preparing for my forthcoming trip to Wales this weekend. Which is where my wetsuit comes in for surfing. I think packing my camera must be a priority. Also, I need to keep on top of the publication preparations, ensuring that I receive my advance copies in a timely manner; that should be this week. AND my laptop broke today which nearly caused a meltdown from me because that is just about the worst thing I can imagine at this point. Oh and I forgot – book launch plans must be clarified and set into motion very soon as well. So I really do have a lot of things to do. In addition to which my eldest daughter has just said to me, in all seriousness and in relation to her hamster: “Also Mummy, if you have some spare time, he really does like to be hand fed through the bars.” All right darling, tell you what, you peel the grapes and I’ll push them through, shall I?

Next time: some questions will have been answered – did I survive the surfing? Did I manage to get the wetsuit off? Have I received my advance copies? Are the launch party plans running smoothly? And last but not least – is the hamster deigning to eat from his bowl??