Monday, November 30, 2009

I very muchly love this song and it makes me smile

Viva la Diva

One of this things I admire most about Mariah Carey is that she is, unashamedly, mad as a box of frogs.

The singer has been in the news this week and last for her extraordinary Diva-style behaviour while in the UK for TV appearances to promote her new single ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’. (And for the record I actually quite liked it until the final high notes made my ears bleed. Mariah - less is more love, less is more...).
She kept the crew of ‘This Morning’ waiting for more than two hours for an interview with her, prompting host Philip Schofield to post on Twitter about her behaviour. When she appeared on the X-factor, one of the requirements on her rider (the list of requirements made by celebs before public appearances) was that butterfly shaped confetti be supplied in her dressing room. When she appeared with Lorraine Kelly on GMTV she had two assistants lower her onto the famous sofa - just in case she creased her dress.
This is the same woman who, if reports are to be believed, wears her Manolo Blahnik shoes while exercising on her treadmill at home as she “doesn’t do flat shoes”. Apparantly her feet “repel them”.
While there is a big part of me that tends to think “Who the hell does she think she is?” there is a smaller - but equally vocal - part of me that is really quite jealous of her brazenness.
Yes, she might not live in the real world but you know, sometimes the real world is a little overrated these days. What I wouldn’t give for a day or two of some full on ego pampering - not to mention the actual really, really pampering.
I’ve made a few TV appearances in my time. I can assure you that I have never had a rider and if I even tried to submit one I would be laughed out of the TV studio.
When I’ve done TV it hasn’t exactly been high glam - although I’m willing to accept the studios of UTV or TV3 may just not have the same budget thrown behind them as the X-Factor. Forget butterfly confetti and bottled water - I’ve had to content myself with a glass of the tap variety. I was offered a chocolate Muffin when i went to TV3 - but with my slot in front of the camera still to come I didn’t want to risk the muffin-stuck-in-your-teeth-country-bumpkin look.
I have had my make up done by proper make up artist people but when the hosts of the show came in looking for some pressed powder, my needs were pushed aside. Martin King, I’m pointing my finger at you. (Lovely and all as you were).
There were no chaffeur driven limousines sent to pick me up from a plush hotel. It was me, my battered car and my nerves of steal barrelling around the M50 in Dublin with not a notion as to where I was going. And when the show was over, were there post production drinkies complete with canapes? No. I barrelled back up to Derry in my trusty car stopping only at Monaghan for a quick sandwich and a top up of petrol.
But if I could demand my heart’s desires - what would I ask for? It is one of my guilty pleasures to think about this. Forget all that bowl of M&Ms with all the yellow ones taken out nonsense - I would be more sophisticated than that.
I would opt for opulant white candles glowing on ever surface and a chaise longue drapped with cool silks and satins for me to swoon on while sipping my cold Pinot Grigio and being fed grapes by a George Clooney lookalike (or Martin King, he’ll do...).
I’d have another minion/ man slave/ lacky to sit by me with my laptop while I dictate whatever passage of my latest novel springs to mind. He can deal with the fact the keys need properly battered to register almost every letter - I wouldn’t want to risk a broken nail.
I’d have a masseuse to do one of those Indian Head thingies and then a hairdresser to rescue my mop afterwards. I would have a make up artist who saw to my needs and only my needs and I’d have Gok Wan onside to be my personal wardrobe consultant. However he would be banned from making any reference to bangers - mine or anyone elses.
A string quartet would be playing music softly in the background, lulling me into a deep state of relaxation and I would have my very own cinematographer on hand to make sure no unflattering camera angles were filmed. (I believe Mariah Carey does indeed have such a person in her entourage - which is genius if you ask me).
As it stands though I think I’ll have to lump it with my tap water and the only soothing music I’ll get to listen to is Today FM on the long drive to Dublin.
In honesty I don’t really mind. I’m still at the stage were I spend my time in any TV studio thinking “Oh flip me. I’m going to be on the telly” and hyperventilating with excitement every time any vaguely recognisable TV presenter or newsreader walks past. You should have see the cut of me the first time I had a chat with Julian “off of UTV”. I almost asked him to do one of those Corrie intros.
But still, maybe one day I’ll get my butterfly confetti and when I do I’m sure I wont mind at all if anyone thinks I’m mad as a box of frogs.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dear Marian.... (a review)

The residents of 66 Star Street in Dublin are all being watched… but by what? Maeve and Matt seem happy enough to anybody looking in, but behind the facade is a truth that neither of them wants to be made public. Katie and Conall have a love/hate relationship, but how will the arrival of TVgardener Fionn affect their relationship? Lydia lives with Polish men Andrei and Jan, but can’t stand either of them… not to mention the problems Lydia is having with her own mother as well. And Jemima lives with her lovely dog Gurudge, but is sure she feels the presence of something hanging around the house of 66 Star Street. Just what, or who, is watching these people? And will the secrets that bind them ever come out?

Dear Queen Marian of Keyes,
I write this with blood shot eyes and a thumping headache. I didn't get to sleep until very, very late last night you see. Because I was reading your book - that one, there in the picture.
I had bought it as soon as it was released, just as I have done every time one of your books has been published since I discovered you when Rachel's Holiday was out. That was a long time ago Marian. A lot has happened since then. I've grown up into proper adulthood reading your books. I have been inspired by you. I even started to write books myself because of you.
And now well, I have my very own publishing deal and books of my own. In a completely non-stalkerish way, I feel like I know you.
So I feel we can sit down and talk - woman to woman, author to author.
The thing that I loved so much about your books in the past is that they could make me laugh out loud and not give a damn. Sitting on a ferry to Holyhead? Didn't care. It was too funny to hold in.
Sitting in a room at a party where I was being very unsociable? Didn't care. Needed to find out what happened next.
I loved your books. When I grew up I wanted to write like you. I almost wet my knickers with excitement when it was rumoured Rachel's Holiday was going to be made into a film. Jimmy Nesbitt, for the record, would make an excellent Luke.
But you see, a couple of books back you changed. And it kind of threw me. How could you change Marian? After all we had been through? How you start writing about more serious things (not that addiction and depression and all aren't serious but you wrote about them in a way that didn't feel serious... Brilliant, educational but not dark..)
I devoured This Charming Man - loved it. (Had a few reservations about the diary style writing) but declared it your best book ever. And then I sat back and it troubled me a little because it didn't feel like it was a Marian book. Yes - it was perceptive as always. Yes - it was witty and near the knuckle and not afraid to  deal with dodgy subjects.
I liked that. (Although, between us, there was a fair amount of gnashing of teeth because I was just putting the finishing touches to a book that had a domestic violence storyline weaved into it and well, ya know people will insist on trying to say I'm the new you and accuse me of being a copycat and all. For the record I'm not. I'm the first me. You are the only you.)
But it was definitely grittier, and that damn serious word.
So anyway, I waited with baited breath for 'The Brightest Star in the Sky' - and it intrigued me. From the outset I wondered who these people were and was I supposed to care for them? I liked Maeve and Matt - just so as you know. And Katie too. Lydia I liked, but she would scare the shite out of me if I ever met her in real life.
By about page 200 I was hooked (sorry to say it did take me a while) but I had a sinking feeling, Marian because I knew something big and, well, serious, was going to happen.
And it did.
And it was perhaps the most powerful piece of writing I have ever read.
I felt physically sick. I felt shocked me to my core. I felt I wanted to make it better. I felt I wanted a glimmer of hope and then, you see, you did it. It gave us that hope - that new beginning.
And this is perhaps the crux of the matter. Your writing, the last few books, have been a sort of new beginning - an evolvement of your writing. You grew up - as did I and it was unfair of me to expect otherwise.
I'm glad you did. I loved the book - and it's one that will stay with me for a very, very long time.
My verdict to any of your readers who just aren't sure about whether or not to read this? Go for it. Just expect more than you have before and open your eyes to the power of a story which will touch your heart beyond words.
Marian, I am sorry I ever doubted you.


So it is done and I'm reading through

And dealing with a few minor inconsistencies here and there until - 50 pages from the end - I discover an extra Friday.
There we have it, my characters enjoy one perfectly fine Friday and then wake up the next day and do Friday all over again.
So much happens in those last few chapters that I don't know how I'm going to rework it to make it work and my head hurts a lot.
Oh I realise I've given another character just two weeks to fall in love. TWO WEEKS? Maybe because I wrote the fecking book over the course 14 long and painful months it felt like a helluva lot longer than two weeks.
Does anyone fall in love in two weeks anymore?
If you did - lemme know!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oh Happy Day....

I did it. I typed those magical words.

And Jumping in Puddles got a corking review in Ulster Tatler. Hurrah!! x 1000000000000

Monday, November 23, 2009

No no...

It's not finished.
I've written 112,000 words.
That's 2000 in excess of targetted word count.
But it seems my characters don't want to give up just yet.
I'm hoping it will be finished tonight or tomorrow. I cannot describe how much I need to type the words "The End". I have loved writing this book. I have been more daring with it, and had more fun with it than any of my other three. I have lived in my characters' lives for a year - I have spent more time with them than with my new baby daughter. I am more excited about this book than any other - but I NEED for it to be done now.
Madzers R Us.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Save Our Friends... shameless plugging!

I've recently heard about a very fabulous organisation who  make big cuddly toys (really big, the blue Whale is mahoosive) and well, everyone loves cuddly toys - don't they? Especially at this time of the year and all.
Even better everything is produced under Fair Trade conditions, which is fab because child labour (outside of me getting boy to tidy his own room) is a Very Bad Thing.
They have four sub-categories of toys - Polar Friends, African Friends, Rainforest Friends and Ocean Friends. (Sadly they don't have "Mammy's favourite drink Friends... cuddly bottle of wine anyone?)
 Everytime one is sold, Save Our Friends makes a donation to a wildlife conservation charity, these being The World Land Trust, The Marine Conservation Society and Born Free, so it's really a charity gift that you can cuddle. Champion.
The big deal at the moment is that they are giving away one toy a week for the next four weeks.  So what's the catch, I hear you scream? Well, it's only wee you know - all you have to do to be entered into the draw is to become a fan  on Facebook, and then get yours friends to become fans. And then the new fan posts a message on the wall saying 'Hi, I became a fan, Claire Allan referred me' (Or indeed they use your name, otherwise I'll be entered in the draw a jillion times).
Both referrer and referree are then entered into a draw and one lucky bugger wins a toy. As the very annoying Meerkat says in the ad "Simples".

So here is linkage for easier use

Merci beaucoup (although officially I'm now very against speaking 'en francais' because of that incident)

The disgrace that is Rebecca Stevenson

I have never claimed to be a perfect mother. In fact I doubt such a thing exists. Most of us are just chugging along trying our damndest to get through the day.

I sometimes lose the head. I have been known to let a roar on the odd occasion. On other occasions I have praised the Lord when bedtime has rolled around and I have been able to sit down, head in my hands and sob quietly into a glass of wine - grateful that we have all made it through another day.

I have surveyed the destruction in my house and remembered the days pre-children when the floors were clean and the sofa was not held together with toast crumbs and yoghurt.

There have been long darks nights when I have contemplated leaving the husband to it and walking out so that I could check myself into a nice hotel for just one night’s uninterrupted sleep. Oh the thought of no five year climbing on top of me to tell me his dreams at five in the morning or a baby deciding to wake me with her dulcet babbling at three. Bliss!

Long gone are my day dreams of a romantic dinner a deux with George Clooney in a quaint Parisian cafe. My biggest dream these days is being able to go to the toilet without an audience of inquisitive children who do not understand the concept of personal space.

Let’s face it, being a mother may bring untold joy but it is also hard work. We all know that going into it. But when we decide to be parents we must also decide, on some level, to take our oil.

Sure we can whinge if we wish about the lack of privacy and lack of sleep we must endure but when we choose to become parents we choose to take on certain responsibilities and there is no excuse for neglecting them - no matter how stressful the day or how worn out we are.

I write this in a fit of rage after reading about mum-of-four Rebecca Stevenson who left her children - all under the age of four - while she went out on a 24 hour drink and drugs binge.

Police were only alerted to the children’s predicament when a neighbour saw the eldest child (just four years old) shouting from a window “Where’s mummy?”.

Her youngest child - just three months old - was lying in a soiled nappy, covered in his own sick in a urine soaked travel cot with not even a blanket around him. His four year old sister had tried to mix a bottle of baby formula to feed him to stop his cries.

This scene absolutely breaks my heart. And it’s not from any sense of smugness that I’m a better mammy than she is, or from any failure on my part to understand how difficult being a parent can be.

I know it can be tough, and exhausting and stressful. I know what post natal depressions feels like. I know what it is like to experience full on panic attacks at the responsibility of it all. I know what it feels like to forget just that little bit who you are any more and long, just that wee bit, for life outside of mammyhood.

But what I don’t understand is how any mother can walk away and leave four babies (because in my book four is still a baby in the grand scheme of things) to fend for themselves. My five year old goes into mad hysterics if he hasn’t noticed I’ve gone up the stairs and he can’t find me for all of 30 seconds (hence me always having an audience in the loo) - never mind if me and his daddy were to bugger off for 24 hours leaving him to tend to his own needs and the needs of his baby sister.

I don’t even want to think about how scared those children must have been. The thought of a three month old crying in hunger and distress for hours on end with no comfort makes me feel physically sick.

What sickens me most of all however is that for this crime Stevenson received only a 20 week suspended prison sentence. Loathe as I am to come over all Daily Mail, that sentence is simply not strong enough.

Regardless of what may have been going on in Stevenson’s life at that time there was no excuse for her actions. There is never an excuse for a wilful neglect of children so that a parent can drink themselves into a stupour - knocking back shots of Sambucca - while their children scream out for attention.

When she left those innocent children to fend for themselves, she forfeited her right to freedom and she should have been locked up - and yes of course given the appropriate support to rebuild her life. But her rehabilitation seems to have been given more weight than her punishment and in a case where four young childrens’ lives were put at risk this is beyond acceptable.

Her children, like all children, deserve to be loved and looked after. They deserve to feel safe and secure. They deserve to have their basic needs of food on the table and clean clothes on their backs met. How dare Stevenson shirk this responsibility?

Tonight when I go home I’ll probably still be thankful when it is bedtime and I can have some me time with the husband and a glass of wine but I’ll be even more thankful for the fact that my children have parents and extended family who love and care for them so deeply.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How did this happen so fast?

No, it's not finished yet

You know how every now and again I go a little mad. And that, true to the name of this blog sometimes I am a bit of a madzer. (Which is my new favourite word thanks to Marian Keyes’ ‘Brighest Star in the Sky’ gdansk...)
Well some days I’m more mad than others. And sometimes that madness is simply just feeling a bit hopeless and down and wanting to crawl into a wee ball until the prozac starts working again.

Other days this involves wanting to drink a substantial quantity of white wine while talking random shite on Twitter.
On other days I get into a whole “what’s the effing point?” frame of mind. And by that I don’t mean I’m for the bridge (as we would say in Derry) or the like just more that I think I could quite happily live out my days in a wee two roomed hut (one general living area, one toilet facility) in the wilds of Donegal with no internet access, no phone and not a single mention of a deadline or a novel.
I would happily go properly nutso. I wouldn’t cut my hair or shave my legs. I probably wouldn’t even wash. I’d lie in my pit all day and stare at the sky and count the clouds or something equally untaxing. I’d eat nothing but toast and drinking nothing but the aforementioned wine, which the boldest child in the village will have to bring to the mad woman in the woods as his punishment. He or she would quake in their wellies as I proferred a gnarled hand out of my hut towards him or her.
I’d uncork the fecker with my teeth and drink it through a straw to be cosmopolitan.

I’d only venture to the big smoke once a year to buy a new cardigan and some Jimmy Choos (see, proper madzer) during which outing I would speak only in an Italian accent.

Everyone who would listen would be told of the time I wrote books - and people actually bought them and my children would deny they ever knew me.

Ah, good times.

Can you tell this book is getting to me?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anyone for a bestseller?

My very lovely and supportive friend Fiona Cassidy (real name Fionnuala McGoldrick) has not only had her first novel publishing by Poolbeg this month she has only gone and secured the number 6 spot in the Irish Mass Market fiction chart!
Go on ya girl ye! As we would say up North.
I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the book before publication when I was asked by the lovely people at Poolbeg to read it and provide a cover quote if I so desired (I did desire, as it happens).
Anyone For Seconds? is a quirky, moving and wickedly funny read about the trials and tribulations of a step family. Very loosely based on Fiona's own unique family set up with the lovely Philip (seriously, he's lovely and tres, tres supportive), it is a MUST READ and while you are it, JUMPING IN PUDDLES  (which I actually just mistyped as HUMPING IN PUDDLES which is a whole different kind of a book) by yours truly is still out there and looking for a home!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

There comes a stage...

... towards the end of every book, when you almost completely lose the will to live.
I liken this stage - when you are a mere coupla thousand words from the end - to transition (that delightful stage in the labouring process when you want to lie on the floor and cry while screaming "I can't do it.... I just CAN'T do it").
Because you know the next bit is tough. You know in the next bit you really have to push yourself. But you can't push yourself too hard. You have to be measured. Rushing the next bit leads to an unhappy ending (in literary terms a disappointing finish/ in childbirthing terms a few tears and the need for a stitch in your fandango).
I'm at that stage with book 4. I am tantalisinglg close to holding my new baby in my arms and marvelling that I made it all my own self and isn't it just the most beautiful book you ever, ever saw?
But in being tantalisingly close I am also at the stage where I want it to just to go away. Whose stupid idea was it to write a book anyway? If I ever, ever mention writing another book you are to kill me. No words are ever allowed near me again. EVER.
If only there was a literary equivalent to an epidural....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Random conversations with The Husband

It's not hard to see where the Boy gets his sense of humour from.
This morning I received the following text:

Have I upset you? Have I done something to annoy you? Please tell me what I have done. Is it really that bad? Do you not love me anymore? Tell me what I can do to make it right again.

I phoned him wondering what on jebus he was on about.
Turns out he thought I hadn't bought him any Ginger Nuts yesterday.
I had. They were just hiding.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Random conversations with the boy

This one came from the boy's Auntie Emma.
The boy's latest obsession is WW1 and WW" following any and all discussion of Remembrance Day etc.

So they were chatting.
"My daddy was telling me all about the big ship which the captain sank to stop it getting captured," Joseph said.
"Which ship was that?" Auntie Emma asked.
"The battleship Primark," Joseph answered

Sssh! It's only 6 weeks 'til Christmas

Much as I want to bury my head in the sand and deny it, the evidence is there for all to see.
The decorations are going up in the shops. The jingly jangly exceptionally annoying music is starting to blast out from instore speakers. The queue to get into Smyths car park is not for the faint hearted and the television is filled with a thousand and one ads about making this Christmas extra special.
Bah humbug - I guess I’m going to have to try and get in the spirit of the festive season then.
The thing is, in my head it is still June or July. My brain refuses to acknowledge that we are actually in mid-November and that the big date with Santa is hurtling ever closer.
Joseph repeatedly asks me how many days are left to Christmas, or how long it will be til we go and see Santa in the Richmond Centre and i wave him away. Sure, we have ages yet. There is no way we are on a six week countdown. No way at all. The schools have only gone back for the love of God.
When a friend told me in early September that she had all her presents bought and wrapped and even the wains’ Christmas clothes in I scoffed. I thought she was perhaps off her rocker and come December when the children inevitably changed their mind about their Santa lists she would left with a mountain of useless toys and headache the like of which would render her unable to function on any level other than crying in a corner and mainlining gin and tonic.
Now I’m a little bit jealous of her forward planning.
The season of goodwill? No, I don’t think so. For the majority of us mere mortals out there the next six weeks will be a manic, headspinningly busy series of disasters and stressful situations.
It’s a rare woman who can keep her head while all around are losing their’s - especially when that losing it occurs in Smyths over the last Ben 10 Alien Force Voice Changer. or in Sainsbury’s over the last turkey in the deep freezer.
We will spend the next few weeks trying to eek out from our children what they want from Santa while issuing a loop of “If you don’t behave you’ll get a bag of ashes” warnings as they work themselves up into an increasing frenzy of excitement.
We will then spend the following weeks trying to remind them of what they asked for and assure them that they do actually still want it and no they don’t actually want the shiny new toy which has just caught their eye. We will come up with elaborate reasons as to why they absolutely can’t change their mind. (Mine is that Santa took pre-orders this year so had everything in mega early).
Then we will try and clean the house so that it is fit to house a sparkly tree which will drive us demented within three days of going up.
We will try and make it to school Christmas shows, parent teacher meetings and Christmas parties all the while looking interested and trying to not at all look harassed. (Last year I mucked that one up entirely and showed up for the parent teacher meeting a whole week early. The teacher must have thought there wasn’t a chance for the boy after that).
And we’ll organise presents for kith and kin - spending money on things no one actually wants or needs for the sake of handing something over on the big day and not looking like a stingy fecker.
The more organised out there will home-bake some Christmas treats - maybe mince pies and Christmas cake. Me? I’ll buy some in Tesco, but not too early. I don’t want to make the annual mistake of getting the Mince Pies and the Celebrations in at the end of November and then having to buy a whole new set come the middle of December.
And believe my my most hated tasks of all the Christmas tasks is the pre-Christmas grocery shop. It is never pleasant. In fact, in most cases it is down right ugly. It might be a little cliched to talk about fighting over the last stalk of broccoli or the last bag of potatoes but I have seen it happen. The world goes mad with gluttony and greed and the whole peace and goodwill to all men notion goes flying out of the window. People forget year in and year out that the shops no longer close for a few days. There are shops open on Christmas day itself. There is no need for anyone to assault anyone else with a carrot and a bag of brussels.
It is worth it though, I suppose. I have to tell myself that. And when, in six weeks time, I’m sat in front of the fire, glass of wine in hand and enjoying the quiet after the storm, I’ll feel content and pleased with myself. Then I’ll promise to be just like my friend and have it all done and dusted by next September.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm an auntie (again)

Hopefully I'll post a picture later but the latest addition to our extended family arrived at 10am this morning.
Darcy Georgia Bo - pure gorgeousness - was delivered at home by her very brave mummy this morning.
I cannot say how emotional I feel. I knew going out this morning that the baby was most likely on the way and I was like a cat on a hot tin roof in work - so much so that I had to leave. Every fibre of my being was telling me I needed to be with my sister so I drove home, opened her front door and just at that very moment Miss Bo was born.
She is precious. So very precious. And now my own girlchild looks like a gigantic monster.
But I'm delighted to welcome beautiful Darcy to our family.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Who Wants it all? Not me!

I quite like the cut of Kirstie Allsopp’s jib. In another life I would have quite fancied having her job - and it’s not only because she gets to work alongside the rather handsome Phil Spencer who I have a bit of a crush on.
She’s sensible. She’s successful. She’s really very good at what she does - from selling houses to decorating rooms very nicely indeed. She wears stylish clothes and she’s not a size 8. In short, she is the kind of woman I think I could be friends with without feeling intimidated. We’d go for lunch somewhere fancy with china plates and a distinct lack of straws and paper napkins and she’d tell me where she buys her clothes and then she would help me transform my house into something with an ounce of style.
Of course, the fact that she might introduce me to the lovely Phil Spencer would be but a mere bonus to the equation.
And then we would sit back, all talk of ‘Location, Location, Location’ cast aside, and talk about what we women really want to talk about. How the promise that we women can have it all is a big, fat, stupid lie which is responsible for making a generation of women demented with feelings of inadequacy and depression.
Speaking to Closer magazine this week the mum of two (she has a three year old and a one year old) said that many women struggle to raise children while pursuing a career.
She added: “I resent women in the public eye who look glam, do glamorous jobs and try to pretend they have it all when they don't. You can't have it all without help.'
'It puts pressure on all mums. Even as a 'celebrity mum' myself, there is now a huge expectation that you'll have a natural birth, get your figure back immediately, take naturally to motherhood and continue a successful career. It's rubbish.'
As a woman not in the public eye I have to say it’s not just celeb mums who feel these pressures, Me - and those friends of mine with children - all feel it. There is no sport in this world more competitive than motherhood.
I doubt there is a mother in this world who has not been made to feel as if she has to justify her parenting or lifestyle choices. Stay at Home Mammies immediately get wound up if someone dares to suggest they don’t work for a living. Working mums feel their heckles rise if someone suggests they shouldn’t have had children if they weren’t going to look after them themselves.
Competition starts right from the moment of conception. Morning sickness is these days seen as a sign of weakness. When I was puking my anatomy several time a day while battling hyperemesis with my last pregnancy, I even had it suggested to me that I must have not wanted my baby and my sickness was a reaction to an unwanted pregnancy!
I’ve been told I didn’t have a natural birth because I had a shot of pethidine while in labour. Some women like to boast that they managed to get through the experience without so much as a suck on the gas and air as if it somehow makes them superior to any woman who required more help.
I even saw one eejit argue that taking pain relief in labour was akin to injecting your baby with heroin and that “if it hurt you must be doing it wrong”. No matter how “right” you do labour, I have yet to meet a woman who said it didn’t hurt.
And then we go home - no week spent resting and recuperating in the hospital any more - and we get on with life. We are expected to host visitors, make them tea, have home cooked meals on the table every night and have a house fit for the poshest relations to drop in unexpectedly.
Our children are expected to be seen and not heard - yes, even in these modern days you will get many a disapproving look if your infant lets our a roar in Tesco.
Going back to work (for those of us who do) is a further minefield - one where you have to plan your days with military precision, where you have to keep track of appointments and milestones and plans for birthday parties as well as put on a professional exterior appearance and try not to call anyone “honey” or “sweetpea” down the phone or, worse still speak in a babyish voice.
You become almost schizophrenic with exhaustion - trying to remember if today is a mammy day or a work day and all the while wondering when on earth you are going to find the time to clean the skirting boards this side of Christmas. My wains have nothing to fear from the Swine Flu they have been exposed to more deadly substances just crawling around the living room floor.
Kirstie Allsopp is lucky though - she has employed a nanny and a cleaner. I have a very accommodating aunty for childminding duties and a husband who isn’t too bad with a mop - when pushed. But most of the time I’m just trying to get through the day and thinking that I don’t want it all. What I have, right now, is more than enough for any mere mortal to contend with.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The laptop is dead, long live the laptop

It's official. There will no Lazarus style ressurection. She is dead. Defunct. No more.
How I shall miss her with her unworking up page key and her slow whirring and taking three and a half years to load anything. How I shall miss that well worn mouse pad, the keys which were actually starting to lose their letters.
How I will recall first editing RD&T on it, then writing FLM and JiP and most of book four on it.
But the book was saved, so that's a plus point.

In other news I have just been exceptionally busy. Press and publicity is still the order of the day and I'm been working like a maddun in the background trying to get stuff organised. I even had a photoshoot last night for The Mirror. I had my hair done, fake nails applied and even false eyelashes - which I fear may have creeped up my face at one stage. My children were involved and dutifully dressed in their Sunday best - except the baby is teething again (two teethies and counting!) and had drool all down her top. The boy just flapped around like a seal.
Should be gorgeous. Claire "four lashes" Allan and her children, Drool and Nutcase.

I'm also packaging up books to send out - for review and other things. I'm donating my entire back catalogue to Visit if you can, leave a quid or two even.

And I'm working...
And cleaning my house.
And generally doing a very good impression of a headless chicken.

Four eyelashes are the least of my worries.

Monday, November 02, 2009

They say it comes in threes....

So first my laptop died.
My laptop with the new book on it.
It is still dead. And the book is still on it. And it was supposed to be finished by now - but I can't even remember where I left off to write on, and even if I did I have no computer on which to do so.
So I will write during my lunchbreak in work.

Then my landing window started leaking water - in perhaps the heaviest rain of the year so far. So we have phoned a repair man and are awaiting his call back. I'm not good with waiting. You may have figured that out about me by now.

And then this morning the husband (who does exist) drew my attention to the strange burning aroma coming from our kettle. So, we're gonna have to get a new one of those (which I would do in my lunch break, but ya know, the writing thing gets in the way).

So no more. Thank you. Nothing else is allowed to break for at least a year and longer if at all possible.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

How I knocked the mad mammy into touch!
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