Good with words

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

Monday, May 22, 2006

Master of none

One of my favourite Bridget Jones moments is when her news editor asks her to report on the judgement on a political case that has been dragging on for months. Bridget looks vacant. He sighs and fills her in on the details of the case, and she raises her eyebrows. "Well, that's exciting!" says Bridget.

It is difficult acting as though I keep up with everything. I do my best to stay on top of organic and ethical issues, identity fraud, fashion and all the home interior companies on the market, but people still topple me with references to new companies/stories/issues that they know very well, being immersed in their subject, but that I have never even heard of. I have to keep the look of interest and surprise off my face or out of my tone. "M-hm, m-hm," I agree, solemnly, as though I am perfectly aware what biometrics and puffballs are. Sure I am going to get caught out one day.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Novel no2

Have momentarily dropped the first novel to concentrate on my new bright idea!! Novel No2 has a full, chapter-by-chapter plan and I have now written... drum roll... 6,441 words! It is a Nancy Drew for the noughties. And far cooler than it sounds.

I did put my opening chapter on a blog entry but took it off when I realised that you should probably take more care with the content of future blockbusters.

I'll finish it this month, and sell it to fund a Costa Rican holiday. Then start the next one. Now, back to work - trying to race through my client work so I can get on with some more of it.

Ben Harper

Have just discovered this new singer called Ben Harper. Well, he is new to me, but old on the touring circuit. He's supporting the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on their new tour and has just released a double album like they have.... except without any swearing I expect.

His is called 'Both Sides of the Gun' and features 2 discs with different perspectives on war. His last album was recorded with a gospel choir but he is a funky, afro'd guitar player and reminds me of Hendrix and Stevie Wonder.

Marvellous stuff and FAB Friday music!!!
Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama
Ben Harper Site with Audio Samples

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

flaky, girly, dreamy

My catalogue copy is all of these things, according to a team of branding experts who have been hired to analyse one of them. I am not allowed to talk about hearts, love or dreams.

I can cope with girly but..... FLAKY?

To add insult to injury, the final conclusion is:

"Overall tone is in line with our brand model...... but perhaps not 'grown up' enough."


For heaven's sake, how I am supposed to get more grown-up? I have a feeling opaque tights aren't going to cut it here.


I have upset the postwoman, I think, by refusing to get out of bed one too many times. I always get those red cards saying my parcel is in the PO, but that's better than getting up at 7am (which is when she likes to arrive, when there is no important mail). I have only noticed this week because I am waiting for three cheques and two parcels.

But since Monday I have only had ONE letter, which is not right. Somewhere the postlady is crouched over a shredder, giggling.

Specs and grey hair

I am off to Southampton to visit NC and see all their new things for the catalogue on Tuesday. All well and good, but my main problem is figuring out how to make myself look a bit older. I know, I know -I'm quite old enough for my liking, but you wouldn't believe how many people gasp "You sound young," when I answer the phone.

I'm not sure quite how young I sound, but clearly people want a 40-something writer rather than a 20-something writer working on their sole marketing mailshot for all their million customers. And so to the age-increasing techniques.

The first one is glasses, but these tend to make me look googly-eyed, although they do have the advantage of emphasising my eye wrinkles. My second stroke of genius is to have my hair straightened, which means you can see the grey hair. After that I am a bit stuck, but toying with the idea of opaque black tights? And dorothy mary-jane type heels? That might be going a bit far. It is summer.

I wore flip-flops to my Peacock Blue meeting last week but they have known me for a long time, and not been put off. Unlike one client, for whom I worked every week until we met. It was my youth.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Here are some bits from my eco-news feature for NT.

Labels for Veggies
A big cheer to the Food Standards Agency, which is currently drawing up official guidelines about what constitutes a ‘vegetarian’ or a ‘vegan’ product. There are currently no formal rules, but that’s about to change. “Vegans have had to become accustomed to reading long lists of ingredients to see whether a product’s suitable for them,” says George Rodger, Chair of the Vegan Society. “The new food-labelling guidance will make things much easier.” Great news for the UK’s 3.75m vegans and vegetarians – hurrah!
Source: Food Standards Agency

Eco-friendly driving

It could be something to do with the rising petrol prices, but the DTi has announced that driving tests will incorporate ‘eco-driving’ strategies from 2008. Learners will be taught to accelerate and brake gently, change gear sooner, and maximise fuel efficiency. Speaking of which, the Honda Hybrid has been causing a stir. Honda’s newest version of their ‘green’ Civic model features a number of dashboard dials designed to improve the driver’s fuel-consumption awareness. How? It shows how much electricity you are generating/guzzling, and – rather wonderfully – it also shows your typical mpg over a number of miles. It’s a big step in the right direction.
Source: The Observer
Read the Honda Hybrid Review in The Times

Organic Farming – Making more people smile
Organic farms employ more, younger, happier workers, according to the Soil Association. Organic farms typically employ 32% more workers than non-organic. Organic farmers are 7 years younger, more active in the community, and more likely to pass their farms on to family members than their non-organic counterparts. It’s no wonder the organic industry is booming. This month WALMART also announced it is increasing its organic offering and reducing prices too. The future’s bright… and organic.
Source: Soil Association

Is it easy being green?
We’re glued to the BBC’s new documentary on environmentally-friendly living, It’s Not Easy Being Green. It features the loveable Strawbridge family, led by the lavishly-moustached Dick, who have moved to Cornwall on an eco-friendly mission. Turning used chip-fat into bio-diesel, drawing water from their own spring, and constructing wood-fired heating systems – their many challenges are tackled with bravado and humour. It’s still showing on Tuesdays at 8.30, and you can watch some of the Strawbridges’ best bits online.
Source: BBC

Chocolate Finger Fine

A biscuit company in Cambridge was fined £7,000 last week by a horrified magistrate who discovered they were selling 4.5inch chocolate fingers in.... gasp.... 6.7inch tins. The horror!

Imagine the poor schoolboy or homeworker who eagerly pulls a tin of chocolate fingers from the cupboard (labelled GIANT CHOCOLATE FINGERS, in fact) and opens the lid to reveal....... horribly miniaturised fingers... as if they have somehow shrunk in the packing process... oh, the criminality of it!

They deserved that £7,000 fine.... just think of all the disappointment they have caused country-wide. Tch.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Yesterday someone tried to open our front door. As I sit right beside the front door, it was quite disturbing. Holly went crazy. At first I thought it was some extra post that the post-lady had forgotten, but there was nothing on the mat and I remembered it was more of a door-handle sound.

It wasn't until the evening that our neighbours said "Did Grandad try to get into your house yesterday?" and I tried not to look too relieved.

Although, if it had been unlocked, Grandad would have had a cheese plate over his head and a crazy dog licking him to death.