Good with words

Fear... distractions.... the efforts of a self-employed writer to pay the mortgage.... all that jazz.

Monday, January 30, 2006


I love these shaggy-haired moo-cows. They live at the top of the hill and they don't like Holly. They are better than the short-haired sort, but maybe I would think that.

Speaking of hair, it dawned on me that Holly and I are quite alike with our curly chocolate locks and wide, blueish eyes. And round tummies. There is a man who walks a puppy in the church yard at the same times as we go there; his is a bulldog puppy, and you've never seen a man who looks more like a bulldog. He wears a shinyish puffer-ish jacket. And he has a square, bulldog sort of face. The dog you choose definitely says a lot about you.

View from the hills

The view from the hills... we live by the church.

From fashion advice to Francis Drake

I've got some brilliant work on at the moment (and in the pipeline, I hope). Apart from just having started my Fashion Guru Residency on a trendy website, and merrily dishing out advice about the latest shoes (pretty flats, if you care) and Keira Knightley's efforts to look curvy (not a problem I've ever had) - apart from that, I also have some great new work in the upping. (Is that a word?)

One is a company who are creating a series of tourist websites for Devon -,, etc; needless to say this sounds like a marvellous job. Train and lunch expenses, a fun day trip checking out museums and then home to write it all up. Did you know Francis Drake sailed from Plymouth? And other stuff about the Pilgrims and something about the founding fathers of America, courtesy of Google. All very interesting. I might take Holly, if dogs are allowed on trains?

The only problem is that she might wee. But I understand wee is okay on trains these days. At least, if you travel on the mid-wales lines it is. (BLEEEURGH!)

She only wees on her own bed at the moment, which is puzzling. Surely our expensive rug would be the place most puppies would choose? But apparently she prefers to sleep in wee. Fine by me - haven't got any hot water to wash her bed, anyway, so she can jolly well sleep in it.

Ah yes, work. Another prospective new project involves writing features about properties around Devon (presumably ones that are for sale, but we'll see). I am meeting a man on Thursday to talk about it. But so far it sounds good to me, as long as the owners aren't too posh. I made a fool of myself, once (well, actually, a lot more times than that), when I was commissioned to interview a woman who lived in a MANSION. No, not just a mansion - it was a jaw-dropping, pop-star type mansion. She had her own Olympic-sized pool, and friends who regularly helicoptered in from London (so much quicker than road, don't you know). I was totally awe-struck and had no idea what to ask her. She used to run the fashion company behind Dorothy Perkins. Completely different world.

I am getting distracted again. At the moment I am writing up some copy for a brand new skincare range which is developed by a lovely man who used to work for Clinique and Crabtree+Evelyn. He is promising samples soon.... mmm, no more wrinkles, I hope.

So anyway, in all I am feeling utterly blessed and privileged.

I am barely earning enough to pay the mortgage, but heck, am I having a ball. I feel really very happy and am wondering what I have done to deserve it, quite frankly.

And it's sunny. It doesn't get any better...

Tax Return

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a h h h h h h h h h h h h h . . . .

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Right of Way My Ass

I studied the Ordnance Survey map very carefully this morning to figure out where to take the dog. There are three or four routes marked as 'Public Footpaths' leading out from the village, so we picked one and set out.

So you start up in this field; there is a green signpost saying 'Public Footpath' with a pointer; and you carry on up a (V.Steep) hill, and at the top is a lovely sign explaining how the hill used to be part of a cherry orchard and is now a New Footpath. You carry on, past some of the shaggy moo-cows, and then you come to another gate and a stile.

This is when it begins to come clear that someone really doesn't want you to use this 'Public' Footpath. The gates are tied up very tightly with lots of rope. The stile has barbed wire across the bottom half of it, and the mud on either side has been churned up by tractors. The next part of the so-called 'Footpath' is actually just a very muddy field with a few rows of crops in it. Still, we continued - Holly squeezed through a gap in the gate - and went on down the field, getting mooed at and frightened by scarecrows.

At the bottom is where it really all falls apart. Despite a lovely, shiny green 'Footpath' sign pointing in three directions, there is really no passable route. Apart from the fact that the gates are, again, festooned with barbed wire and tied with ropes, there are trenches of mud on one side; crops on another side; a big pile of rusty iron junk (humph) blocking the path towards the village. The only thing to do, after stopping and thinking while the dog barks at the cows, is turn back.

We walked all round their stupid field and I stood on as many young crops as possible. In my wellies.

I am going to write a complaining letter as soon as I work out who to send it to.....

Scheduled outrage?

Apparently Blogger is having some kind of anger attack at 4pm today. I wonder if I should hang about and watch? It's either that, or they have invented a new word (probably stupid Americans destroying our language like usual).

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Holly can't understand doors. She doesn't realise that if she wants to leave through one, she cannot be sitting in front of it at the same time. She stands at the back door and her feet get trapped when it opens, however slowly you open it; ditto the cupboard doors, except it's her head.

I always thought this was a kind of instinctive knowledge - doors. But obviously not, or we have a very stupid dog.


It's funny how the times when I have most work are the times I choose to shirk. (Did that rhyme?) In my efforts to avoid work today I have been to Londis, looked at photographs of dresses worn to the Golden Globes, made a loaf of olive bread and sellotaped up the boxes of Christmas decorations.

There is a website somewhere by a man who lists all the ways he avoids work. I can't remember what it's called - what's that word for putting things off? Procrastination? no, I have lost my vocabulary. What IS it?

This is what happens when you try to do 60 hours' worth of work in five days. It is a lesson, to be sure.

Friday is a day of cleaning and lying-in and the odd spot of copy and not much else. Hurrah! (PS, I am not really workshy - I worked on Sunday, so this weekend I have earned a three-day break.)

(Who am I kidding? - I am as workshy as they come. :-) )

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Poo Story

I am working on a Sunday, so naturally my thoughts are wandering. So I thought I would share the latest poo escapade, In Which Anna Gets Poo in Her Hair.

Steve and I have fortnightly stand-offs over who is to scoop up the poo in the garden. There is an awful lot, for a small puppy, and we both hate doing it. Actually, Steve has only ever scooped one poo, so he has barely even given it a chance. But I hate it. Still, I always lose. I can never bear the pooey garden for very long, so every so often I go out for a mammoth poo-scooping session.

So there I was, scooping poo.

I was tapping the shovel on a flowerpot to make the poo slide in, then going back to the lawn for the next shovel-full. But this one poo was quite obstinate and wouldn't run down off the shovel, being quite sticky. (Something so sticky, by the way, isn't easy to get off things such as shovels or hair.) It needed quite a bit more tapping before it would slide down into the pot.

Then it happened!

Oh yes. A big glob of poo flew into the air. And simultaneously there was a cold spot on the back of my head.

Please don't let that be poo. Please don't let it be poo. Please don't let it be poo. And guess what it was? Yep. In my hair.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Holly at 14 weeks

Okay, so I don't know why they lined up like this. But here she is.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mash and bread

Our telephone provider won't let me in to view our account, and all because I don't know my favourite food. I don't remember the password, you see, so it asked my security question.

Of course I typed in:


(as would anyone who knows me, if they were trying to hack in to the account.)

But computer said no.

I tried toast, and I tried chocolate. (In that order.) But my favourite food, hands-down, is mash. There isn't even a close contender.

Still, computer says no. I am now trying to puzzle out what it thinks is my favourite food. It could have been whatever I was eating at the time of setting up an account, but the only things I ever seem to eat at the computer are toast and chocolate. Well, and nuts sometimes.

Now - prove to me that someone reads my blog, and post a comment. Tell me your favourite food. I am curious as to whether mash is an odd choice.

But surely not. Just think of it - creamy white potato, whipped into a fluffy mass and swirled with butter (okay, healthy margarine if it's a weekday), salt and pepper. Maybe a trickle of bean juice. Fresh bread and butter on the side. Ooh la la, it gives me a hot flush.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

An Ode to Electricity

So our electric bill is £228. I especially like how Scottish Power have been refusing to tell me how much we owe since November 11th. They told me our next bill would be calculated on February 2nd. So today I registered online, typed in our meter reading, and nearly died.

All electric appliances are now off, apart from the PC and stereo. The ticking meter above my head is tormenting me. As it ticks, it counts away money that I don't have.




Right, the stereo is going off.


Life is less fun without electricity. In a dark, dark house, Holly and I sit at a dark, dark screen as our bottoms gradually freeze. For dinner we will have something that is quickly warmed on the hob. The oven is banned. So are the DVD player and the main lights.

We are very sad and soon will have viral coughs.

I feel sorry for cavemen.

Friday, January 06, 2006


All I seem to be talking about right now is wee and poo: to our new neighbours, husband, kitchen sales rep, editors and clients. This must be what it's like when you're a new mother and totally absorbed by your arrival's toilet and eating habits. But then it would be worse, obviously. At least I don't actually get weed on. (Steve did, but it was his own fault.)

I am even considering some kind of eating/sleeping/pooing wall chart, to enable me to better predict when she needs to go out and when I should be ready with the Dettol. There must be some sort of pattern, or do puppies prefer to keep us on our toes?

And does anybody know why puppies eat poo? I would like to read some scientific research on the matter. Forget the Christmas retail boom and Celebrity Big Brother, I want to read more about poos and wees.

It doesn't even seem to matter whose poo it is.

I don't think our new neighbours must have a very high opinion of me just yet.

Although that implies that one day they might, which is probably hopeful.