Monday, 19 October 2015


We've had another dreadful day trying to negotiate contracts, whilst attempting to write at the kitchen table. I didn't sleep at all last night. In fact, I sat on the sofa, formulating emails and trying to organise my thoughts until about 5am. Boo! 

As a result, all day today, I've been knackered, hungry, and over-wrought like a five year-old. It didn't help that we had a bloke in for most of the morning fixing our sink and the central heating. Nathan and I were having all sorts of heated conversations about the writing we were doing, and the almost endless emails and phone calls we were receiving, and all the time there was a bloke with a tool box wandering around who felt the need to apologise every time I looked at him, which was, you know... disconcerting. We tried to have all of our arguments in a whisper, but it got hugely frustrating in a comic way. Every time I went out of the kitchen he seemed to be standing there, or lying on the floor looking into the fuse box. I tripped over him twice with my giant hobbit feet. And he apologised both times even though it was plainly my fault!

I withdrew to the kitchen and ate more. If in doubt. Eat.

I had a rather profound moment whilst running on the treadmill in the gym today. There was a distressing news report on the TV screens which showed a large group of Syrian refugees on the Serbian-Croatian border. It was raining and they were all shivering in matching blue kagouls which had obviously been provided by a charity. Quite how we as human beings can sit by and watch people suffering like this is beyond me. It makes me angry.

The next shots showed a young man carrying a child on his shoulders through a muddy field. The man kept slipping over and his child kept toppling off his shoulders into the mud. It was a sorry, bitterly sad sight. He'd hoist the child up onto his shoulders again and continue to stagger through the mud. I'm sure he had no idea where he was heading. I guess he simply hoped it was somewhere better...

I was listening to music on my iPod at the time, so the news footage started to resemble some sort of montage sequence from a film. As the upsetting saga of the man falling into the mud unfolded, I was listening to the second verse of the song Happy New Year by ABBA. The words were as follows:

"Sometimes I see how the brave new world arrives
And I see how it thrives in the ashes of our lives
Oh yes, man is a fool but he thinks he'll be okay
Dragging on, feet of clay, never knowing he's astray
Keeps on going anyway..."

And at that point I had to get off the treadmill and have a little weep. If anyone wants to try to tell me that ABBA wrote their lyrics on the backs of cornflakes packets I'll write a stern letter of complaint!

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