As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realised that I’d been tactless. The last thing Tom needed, being, as he was, in the grip of dyskinesia (linked to Parkinson’s drugs; makes you move uncontrollably; just awful) and also having a conference-ful of important people to talk with; I’m sure the very last thing he needed was for some fool of a woman asking for his autograph on her copy of his book.
But Tom Isaacs had been a hero of mine, ever since I’d read “Shake Well Before Use” a couple of months earlier, and it was the first time I’d met him, and he couldn’t have been more warm and welcoming. Basically, I was starstruck. Still am, really. He even apologised for the writing being shaky! Him. Apologising to me. Good grief.
“I was just wondering – do you think it would be completely bonkers for me to take my Grade One?”
When I started having piano lessons, a couple of years ago now, I told Holly that I wasn’t even considering taking any exams. Why would I? Particularly with a tremor which, though generally mild and well-behaved, has been known to have the Mother of all Temper Tantrums in times of stress. Exams are stressful; piano exams need obedient hands; stress leads to disobedient hands; disobedient hands would make exams even more stressful. Even considering this would be illogical, Captain.Continue reading →
Heading for Euston Station … TFL app … will my train journey home be any easier than the one up?
Coming into town, the combination of an unexpected chill with totally unforeseen leaf fall (in Autumn – who knew?) led to both local lines grinding to a halt. Fortunately ActorLaddie swung into action and ubered me to a tube station. Lunch with InfantPhenomenon made on time.
As a novelist, says Anna Burns, her job is “to show up and be present and attend. It’s a waiting process.” She “just had to wait for my characters to tell me their stories.”
(Interview by Alison Flood in The Guardian, 16 Oct ’18)
This obviously worked for Anna Burns as she has just bagged the Booker Prize with her novel Milkman.
I, however, have spent a lifetime waiting for characters to turn up and write themselves into a book but they haven’t done so yet and I’m rather starting to fear they never will. I go to bed having put out my finest stationery but masterpieces come there none. Not so much as a shopping list; not so much as a tweet. Perhaps the characters have used up all their best ideas writing other people’s books. They have no more twists.
“There’s a woman who comes to all ‘The Bridge’ related events dressed as Saga – leather trousers and everything. She even has the same car!” (Sofia Helin)
Now, I adore Detective Saga Noren as much as the next person and would love her to end the series living happily with Henrik and his ghost children – though I’m not holding my breath. But there’s fandom and then there’s weird. Reading interviews and blogs is OK; dressing in leather trousers and following the actor who plays her, borders on the obsessive.
Back bruised … probably more comfortable without the dressing…
But I waved aside the lumbar puncture FAQs … this is my third, after all … and now I can’t remember how long you need to keep on the dressing.
It’s probably not very long. I’ve already ripped off the dressings from my arms; bruising up nicely, I see. The back’s just a puncture wound, like my arms, isn’t it? So I probably could take off the dressing now; almost certainly could take off the dressing now.
“At the age of twenty seven, copper-haired Maggie Hope had already foiled a plot to assassinate Churchill and blow up St Paul’s, saved Princess Elizabeth from being kidnapped, rescued a captured pilot from Berlin, taught at a school for Special Agents in Scotland and prevented First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt from being implicated in a lesbian murder scandal which would surely have led to America refusing to join in the War.”
I think it’s the gritty realism of the Maggie Hope novels that most appeals to me.
This time, we said, we are definitely going to take Considerably Smaller Suitcases.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been planning our second Grand Tour. Autumn come she will and we’ll be hopping on and off trains with gay abandon, clutching our trusty Interrail Passes and Considerably Smaller Suitcases.
What with Manchester and London Bridge and elections, I’ve been tiptoeing around social media of late, in an attempt to avoid the slabs of pure venom which are scattered amid the good stuff. So, it was only this morning that I hit upon a post sharing the shattering news that one of my heroes – Tom Isaacs, president and co-founder of the Cure Parkinson’s Trust – died last week. His passing was, apparently, “unexpected and swift”. He was just forty nine.