Thursday, November 30, 2006

Writing diaries and other things

I never could stick to a daily diary. My first diary was often filled in after the event, with me consulting my school timetable and inserting, items such as ‘French in the afternoon.’ ‘PE in the morning and it was freezing. I started writing a proper diary when I bought a plain lined book with hard covers and filled it out only when I was in the mood. Sometimes there was nothing to say and at other times, I would recall events from weeks before and write from memory. Diary writing was very therapeutic and helped me through many bad times. It also meant that after many years, I found it very easy to describe my feelings. Probably when I first started writing in it, it was rather self-conscious, but I grew out of that. I stopped keeping a diary when I got married but I still have them, stashed away in the corner of a cupboard.. Probably, my children will find them one day and throw them out.

I’ve just come back from Barclays Bank, where we Goldenford girls did readings of our work for their Christmas party. It was quite a successful event – and enjoyable too. We joined in the party spirit and had drinks and nibbles and received boxes of chocolates too, at the end of the evening. Irene and I also had a table selling Goldenford books at a craft fair last Sunday.

Unfortunately, my article on Goldenford books was rejected by Writers’ Forum, who have in the past published six of my articles. The editor once took the trouble to return a couple of articles to me with suggestions all over them on tightening them up and reducing them to one article, which they eventually accepted. It is sad that this latest rejection was completely impersonal. Is there a regime change, I wonder?

I got an order for The Fruit of the Tree this morning, from Gardners, via Bookdata. This was so out of the blue that I wonder if it was triggered off by my recent talk at Sutton Writers.

I still have a story to send off, but haven’t thought of a title for it yet. And I must conjure something up for next Tuesday – Guildford Writers.

Friday, November 24, 2006


We went to Guys and Dolls last night at the New Victoria Theatre. We were over on one side of the stalls and it was terribly draughty to begin with. A girl in front of me put the hood up on her jacket/sweater and two or three people put their coats back on. I’d left mine in the car, so had to suffer. I also had problems with double vision, but that subsided too, in the second half, as my brain began to adjust.

M wasn’t enthusiastic at first. I think he was put off by the dull sets. There were some good ones, but some of the action takes place in a downmarket district of New York in the 30s with gamblers roaming the streets and putting on illicit bets on the side. M was disappointed because there was nothing as exciting as the helicopter in Miss Saigon, but there was a good dance routine in Havana. The second part was better than the first, I think, with the well-known number Sit down you’re rocking the boat almost a show stopper – certainly a scene stealer. (It was performed by a Welsh singer, with a really good voice.) But they didn’t do an encore, which the audience would have liked.

I suppose I wouldn’t describe Guys and Dolls as my favourite musical. Some very good tunes, but it suffers from its simplistic storyline. Gambler reformed and married to Salvation Army lady in three days. I don’t think so. The first musical I loved was South Pacific. When my friend Ruth and I saw it (the film) in the mid-fifties, we were in tears at the ill-fated romance and the death of the hero. But though people look back sometimes and describe such things as ‘patronising’, the film, at that time, was a brave attempt to look at mixed relationships. West Side Story in the sixties remains in my mind a wonderful musical with fantastic music and an important theme. Two other musicals which I have appreciated more, as time has gone on, are Cabaret and Fiddler on the Roof. I was horrified by the former, when I first saw it. I have become somewhat less prim, as I have grown older. And the latter also hides some serious themes behind its light-hearted exterior.

Jennifer telephoned me this morning to tell me that I’d been awarded a Very Highly Commended in the H E Bates short story competition. I would have been happier, had I not known in the first place that I was in the finalists, because then I wouldn’t have had my hopes raised that I might have achieved a better place. Ah well. C’est la vie. Still writing-wise, it’s quite nice to have been commended, to have a story in the process of being tidied up (Park Keeper) to have just sent off an article, and to have received (this morning) the CD of my radio story.

I’m going to get on with tonight’s chicken dinner and concentrate on some ironing after that. I’ve left it for several days.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Complete story

A bleak and cold day yesterday. I was glad to stay in. I finished my three months’ worth of bookkeeping and the VAT, so that feels very satisfactory.

With all the office work behind me, I did a bit of work on my story about a park-keeper, and I continued it and finished a first draft this morning - or second in the case of the first 600 words, already read out to Guildford Writers. I’ve emailed it to them for comments. I heard from Wendy Lloyd who organised the competition with Radio Southern Counties to say that a CD is in the post. I assume this will have all the stories on it, and, as I missed hearing some of them on the radio, it will be interesting to listen to them. I will probably put the CD in the car and listen to the stories there, as I assume the player there is the most technically up to date.

In contrast to yesterday, it has been a beautiful day – once again the type of view you would wish to capture in a painting – the sun shining through the trees, the sky blue, contrasting with the still multi-coloured leaves. I collected up a few apples – this surely is the last of them – and my cleaning lady took a couple of pounds of the smaller ones as a treat for her horse. He has been sampling them for the past four or five weeks and they seem to go down well.

At lunch-time, I heard that The World at One presenter, Nick Clarke, had died of cancer. The whole programme was devoted to him, as he had been its main presenter for twelve years. It was very sad and very moving. I didn’t know his face, but his voice was a familiar one, as I listen much of the time to Radio Four. I remembered how I heard his journal on the radio one morning, as he described his apprehension when he faced chemotherapy after the amputation of his leg. I was taking M to the station, and I was quite tearful as I listened. I imagine that, faced with an amputation, one might be tempted to say – is this going to prolong my life? If not, perhaps I won’t bother – just make me comfortable for time that’s left. He obviously wanted very much to live and it is so sad that that terrible ordeal did not gain him more than a year of life.

Four thirty and it’s almost dark. I must make an early meal, as we’re going to see Guys and Dolls in Woking.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Efficiency (almost) personified

I tried to be efficient today and almost achieved it. I prepared my manuscript, together with biography for Writers’ Forum and packaged it up, so that I could go to the post office. I had some telephone calls to make before leaving home, but managed to get to the PO before it closed for lunch. Because of the thickness of it, (SAE enclosed) it nearly qualified for the next postal rate. [It’s a bit of a pain this ‘large letter’ stuff. I used to be able to throw things on the kitchen scales; now they have to be measured in all sorts of other ways.] Then I bought some eggs; then petrol and Sainsbury’s, followed by dropping off a few plastic bottles at the recycling centre in the village.

Only when I got home did I realise I’d missed out on one of the fruit aisles and had to go back, thus wasting half an hour. By this time M was back from the garage, where he went to do a job for them. He took his car there, with bicycle on board; left the car there, cycled back and arrived home puffed out. Tomorrow, he will take my car and bring his home. Apparently my ‘new’ car door has arrived. Once tied to the house, I will get back to the bookkeeping, but at least I am now very up to date with invoices. All except one or two pending have been typed, entered and sent.

I managed to throw together a brief piece ready for tonight’s Guildford Writers’ meeting. Only 600 words but I’ll try to keep going with it. It’s intended to go to the Writers’ News ‘Park-keeper’ competition. Not many people there tonight, so we all had ample time to read. All good stuff, as usual.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Non events

Not a lot happening at the moment. Office work still continuing and as usual, chatted with the children during the weekend. Made plans for post Christmas.

Got my missing filling attended to today. It was one of those doubles right at the back and I think the dentist had his arm down my throat. Still at least I wasn't subjected to the drill, nor an injection. And he checked my other teeth and all was OK. I've been eating very delicately since then. I don't want to have to return too quickly.

I've been attending to my article on Goldenford, which I will try out on Writers' Forum. Received a rejection of the story I sent to Writers' News. Disappointing - not even a short-listed this time. Though I comfort myself with the fact that A Glimpse of the Sky wasn't shortlisted by WN, but was by the Guildford short story competition and now the HE Bates comp.

Tomorrow, my car door should arrive at the garage. So, providing it's OK, I'll be losing it for three days. So I'll be shopping tomorrow, as I'll be marooned here until the weekend.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Office work

A really boring evening yesterday. A full two hours spent taking dictation - more invoices to be done - customer requires them for the end of their financial year. So this morning, I spent some time unwinding - probably a bit too much. Did the codewords puzzle in the Evening Standard and then played several computer games. Guilt overcame me around lunch time and I sorted out the invoices, printed them out, filed the copies, etc., etc.

While taking and collecting M from the station, I had another marvellous view of autumn colours. I tried to describe them in my head - the golden browns set against the red brick of our mainly Victorian village, but how do you describe autumn leaves; golden browns, warm browns, yellowy browns? Can a writer ever do justice to scenery in the way an artist can? I asked this in a poem I composed some time ago. One keeps trying, probably, in the same way that some artists repeatedly choose the same subject and try to reproduce it over and over again, each time aiming for perfection, or perhaps something better than last time.

Shortly after we got in, there was a downpour, so just as well I wasn't driving then. It was torrential. As it was, on my journey out, I noticed quite a few fallen branches. Autumn is very late this year. The leaves are only just falling, but the high winds and heavy rain will soon bring them all down.

I heard the other day from Wendy Lloyd with the names of the first three short stories in the Radio Southern Counties competition. I wasn't one of them, but was still very happy to have been featured on their website and paid for my story, Damaged Goods.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I just noticed on my Home Page, BBC Radio 4 that Ed Reardon is on tonight. That's one of the best comedy programmes in the 6.30 p.m. slot, in my opinion - and not just mine, because it won some sort of award. It appeals to me at two levels, because he's an impecunious writer and gives creative writing classes to supplement his income and does book signings where no-one turns up. Although I've never done a creative writing class, I do empathise with this very true view of the writer, rather than the one who earns hundreds of thousands of pounds.

I've been very industrious today and made inroads into the bookkeeping. I did a couple of hours last night too, after watching Bramwell on satellite. This is a very good, intelligent series about a woman doctor at the end (I think) of the 19th century. Somehow I never watched it, other than a few episodes when it was out first time around, so I'm enjoying it as fresh TV.

I'm one of those few people who doesn't mind book-keeping. I find it soothing. You don't have to think too hard, and it must be almost like meditation, where you allow your mind to drift. It mustn't drift too much, or you put things in the wrong columns. When I have been very, very upset, it's something I can do and not think about the problem. Unlike some other jobs, you get a feeling of having completed something at the end of it. I have four different books to deal with, and completing each one gives me a sense of satisfaction. I carry out the book-keeping quarterly and do the VAT at the same time. I am old fashioned enough not to do it on the computer.

At 4.00 p.m. I looked out and the sky was still light - bright in fact, as it sometimes is on these late autumn days. I debated whether to take a couple of letters to the post, but decided to plough on. A half an hour later and it's now completely dark.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Good news/bad news

Today has been a day devoted almost entirely to domesticity.

With the gardener expected, I spent much time in the garden collecting up the best of the Bramleys. People are in such a rush to harvest their fruit, but in fact the apples falling now are the best of the crop - very often completely undamaged by insects; ripened by the sun and as sweet as can be when cooked - no sugar needed. I have put bags of the them in the shed and though some will go bad, I hope to have a supply for some time. I am boring on this subject, I know, but they are so much better than apples bought from the shops.

Then I did my weekly shop - I managed to go at lunch time when it was quite empty. I took the precaution of having a crispbread and cheese, as it's a bad idea to go shopping when hungry. Alas, this particular crispbread, having lots of seeds in it, seems to have attacked a filling, as I felt a piece of metal in my mouth. I've booked up the dentist for next week. Fortunately, I got back in time for a dramatic scene on the Archers (dramatic enough to be listened to twice.) But once home, having unloaded my shopping and had lunch, I've hardly had time for anything else.

Yesterday afternoon, the phone rang and it was the organiser from the HE Bates short story competition. He rang to tell me I was one of the four finalists with my story A Glimpse of the Sky. (I shall put it on my website very soon.) I was delighted, though on further reflection, there's no point in getting too excited as I might be in fourth place earning myself a certificate saying Highly Commended. Jennifer is going to the award ceremony and will collect my prize/certificate. I in the meantime will be at Guys and Dolls.

That was the good news. The bad news was that M came back from the body shop to tell me that the little bump would cost £700 to fix.

The people at the garage gave us a number to ring to try and get a new door, and tonight, we 've tried that out and lo and behold four calls came through with doors on offer. One is now being sent to our garage and is a lot cheaper option than them mending my door, which some anonymous person biffed, without my knowledge.

Tonight the VAT beckons.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Autumn rain

After several very bright days, it's raining today. It doesn't change the fact that there are still wonderful views to be seen. This is not my favourite time of year - I hate the way the nights lengthen and the days shorten, but it is very beautiful.

From my window, I can see a copper beech in our neighbour's garden, still retaining its scarlet leaves and in the opposite corner of our garden is a sweet chestnut tree whose green leaves are turning golden. Below it is the dark red of a berberis and alongside that is a grey-green senecio, and a cotoneaster which is bright with red berries. It's a wonderful picture and I appreciate every day when I look out.

I've been to the post office to send off three chapters of my novel to an agent. I'm not a very organised person, but I've gradually trained myself to carry out tasks on certain days. I try to go to the PO, two miles away, only once a week, whereas when it was in our village, I used to go nearly every day. I avoid Mondays, because, on my PO trips, I buy free range eggs from the butcher's and they're not open on a Monday. I go to the bank, if necessary, on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday, as they've now closed it on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Somewhere I fit Sainsbury's into that.

The post office used to be the centre of our village; people met and talked there, but when armed men broke in, it was the last straw for the postmistress. When I have standard size letters to post, I tend to walk to the box five minutes away, and try to extend the walk if I'm feeling energetic. My manuscript had to be weighed, hence the trip to the PO.

M has now taken my car to a garage for them to look at a bump I sustained in a car park. I will apply myself now to VAT.

Monday, November 13, 2006


We had a good day with the family yesterday. M is lucky to have two sisters and a brother. Perhaps I have an idealised view of family life. Philippa cooked a meal vast enought for another 20 people to attend and we played a game in the afternoon. A bit of a disaster when David upset a bottle of wine, which broke a figurine and the bottle itself and sprayed red wine on an armchair and all over the floor. Natasha, our niece cleaned the chair with white wine. At 7.05 we 'girls' trooped into another room and listened to The Archers.

Today I am very tired. I need to get down to the office work, but can't concentrate yet. I went to meet my ex neighbour, Maggie, at the local Sainsbury's (cafe) and we had hot chocolate and chatted for a couple of hours. Other than that not a lot has been done, but I need to get back to work tomorrow.

I thought about my talk and came to the conclusion it wasn't one of my best. I was aware that I was hesitating quite a lot, and saying 'em' in between words. Let's say I felt less sharp than I have on some occasions. Last time I talked at Sutton, I arrived late and was very tense. Once I started, everything seemed to go well. I wonder if a certain amount of tension brings about an andrenoline rush which then helps you to speak better. On this occasion, M took me, which meant we had an uneventful journey. Then he sat in the audience, which was distracting, particularly when I heard him chatting to another member of the audience. Maybe I should dispense with my written spiel and just have a few notes, so that I can ad lib throughout the whole speech. I'll think about it.

Must try to get to bed early tonight.
9.20 p.m. on Monday

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lazy day

Chatted on the phone with the kids this morning. Other than that, nothing much that I can recall.

The talk yesterday went reasonably well. M says the audience enjoyed it, as he was part of it, so perhaps he should know. No book sales, alas, but many of the audience had published their work too. Anyway I was paid for my efforts, so I have no complaint.

Tomorrow, we are going to lunch with Philippa and M's other siblings. Always enjoyable these family visits. Perhaps, as an only child, I appreciate brothers and sisters more than others. I think being an only child is often a lonely experience.

I caught up with Casualty tonight. I'd missed two weeks, but it falls quickly into place. Goodness it's 10.50 p.m. already. How quickly the day has gone.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Achieving some objectives

The only way to clear a desk is one sheet of paper at a time. I have managed to deal with a few things. Some cheques have been sent out; some letters have been filed. And one or two of the other mundane domestic chores have also been dealt with. I meant to deal with some invoices M dictated last night, but somehow they were put on the back burner.

On the writing front, I have completed my rewrite of the article I've written about Goldenford and sent it to my fellow directors, Jennifer, Anne and Irene, for comments. In addition, I've been asked to send the complete ms of my novella A Bottle of Plonk to an on-line publisher of serials, Virtual Tales. I sent that off tonight.

I've also gone through my notes for a talk tomorrow at Sutton Writers. As things stand, it's an article, but I won't just read from it. My method of giving a talk is to write something down in more or less good English, using only half the width of the page, then put in notes and headings summing up what I'm going to say, down the empty half. I try not to read from the article, but it's there if I need it. I like to ramble a bit and face the audience. I'm always nervous in advance, but so far, have recovered once I'm 'on stage'. I hope it will go well tomorrow - M is taking me, as I don't do driving outside my patch.

Once I auditioned for the WI. The parking was terrible; I was a bage of nerves when I arrived, and I had miscalculated the number of words I needed, so my talk - which should have been 20 minutes - turned into about five. I was relieved to fail the audition. I came to the conclusion I really didn't want to travel the countryside getting tense about parking situations.

I still have a lot to do tomorrow. I must assemble my 'props' and some cash, in case anyone wants to buy one of my books.

Time: 11.30 p.m.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I like activities - having the family for the weekend; going out to Goldenford meetings and Guildford Writers' meetings, but then I find that lots of trivial things have piled up and I feel stressed. That's happening at the moment. I'm not going out today or this evening and am contemplating not going to the reading circle, to which I also belong, tomorrow. (I will not miss discussing the book, which I read several years ago - The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I found it Dickension but without the humour. I was bored and wouldn't read it a second time.)

A friend of mine says that when you have too many branches on the tree, you should prune them down to about five. Not, mind you, that she takes much notice of this good advice herself. At the moment I feel there are a lot of branches and twigs (that's what makes the difference) on the tree. There is post on the desk that requires dealing with; the talk still needs to be sorted; an article I'm writing on Goldenford needs to be rewritten. Then there's washing and ironing - I did a batch of that yesterday and there's more today. Borrrrrring! There's apples too, still crying out to be cooked/frozen/stored in some way. I will appreciate them when I have someone to dinner and can produce a quick dessert.

Last night I went to GW. A good evening with lots of really good stuff being read out. I had hardly a comment to make, because it was all so good. Of course I've brought back my own piece with lots of scribbles on it - so that's another job.

Also last night, I listened to the 15,000th episode of The Archers. I haven't looked at the website. Think I'll try to restrain myself - that really is a way of wasting time. But my own verdict was Anti-Climax. Firewords at Ambridge, they said. More like a damp squib.

Now to work. On top of the above mentioned, I haven't even started the VAT. I think I'll postpone that till next week.

11.35 a.m.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Birthday blog

Another birthday. Let's disregard the actual year and move swiftly on.

Apart from dropping M at the station this morning, I stayed in all day. Much to do after the weekend visit. Lots of domestic chores and I haven't finished yet - more tomorrow. But I did manage to spend some time updating the talk I'm giving on Friday to Sutton Writers' circle.

I will print it out tomorrow and put some notes in that I can easily spot, so that I'm not just reading without looking at my audience.

Although it felt as if the birthday was yesterday, I got a card from K and family this morning and some flowers from R & J. Lovely surprise after yesterday.

In the evening, we had a Goldenford meeting. On arriving I was presented with a 'Bottle of Plonk' and Anne crowned me with a tiara, saying 'Birthday girl' or similar. This object which was stabbed into my head, proceeded to play 'Happy birthday, etc.' Jennifer took a photo, which, no doubt, will stay around to haunt me for years to come.

Got through lots of stuff, as usual. Jennifer has reported that following our presentation to Barclays' Bank, they want us to come back to entertain with readings at their Christmas party.

11.35 p.m - And so to bed, as another diarist said.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Early birthday celebrations

We've just returned from lunch at the Chinese restaurant. Very successful. It was self service and my two granddaughters, seven and four respectively (both with birthdays in December) were able to go backwards and forwards to the food table choosing a bit of this and a bit of that. As they are both active and like being up and down all the time anyway, this was right up their street. There was a huge party in the restaurant when we arrived and we were ushered upstairs. This was also good, because, apart from the serving table there were only another four or five tables up there, so very few people to annoy. This was Rob and Jayne's birthday treat for me, but before we left home I opened my cards, including the ones which the girls had made specially; I opened the present which Ella had given me - a brooch, which I wore on my trouser suit and also the family present - some chocs and a copy of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - which I had already decided to read.

The family has gone home now, and OH and I are unwinding in our respective ways - me in front of the screen and he in front of the other screen, on which I understand, some rugby will soon take place.

Yesterday was also very successful. The family arrived at lunch time and in the afternoon, we collected up dead wood and branches to add to the huge bonfire already built. Naturally, the girls loved wheeling the barrow and adding their contribution to the wood pile. Harriet, the girl next door, had made an impressive Guy and he was stuck on top.

At six, we reassembled and Harriet lit the fire, which, within minutes, was raging. Friends, parents and in-laws of the group of neighbours all turned up to stand around this furnace, which threw out tremendous heat, despite the cold. The teenagers from two houses and their friends made up the main bulk of the participants, and fireworks were contributed by two neighbours and friends; food from others. We moved to a garden for the fireworks and watched the show for at least half an hour. There was a bright moon, and it was cold and crisp as it has been for the past few days.

Then to another house where the barbecue was churning out burgers and sausages, and chicken legs were arriving straight from the oven. The neighbours all did a terrific job. My brownies apparently went down OK and there were enough for the teenagers' lunch today, after a sleepover in two houses.

I'd already fed the girls, as the fireworks was quite late enough for them. They wanted to be part of the continued jollity, and they each had a baked pototo before coming home to bed. I called it a day too. My toes were getting cold. But M (OH) stayed on to consume a few chicken legs; then arrived home and fell asleep for the next two hours - in fact till bedtime.

Tomorrow is my actual birthday and I'll be at a Goldenford meeting in the evening. That's fine. It's quite a social event. I've got things happening almost every night in the coming week. I shall be exhausted at the end of it.

Later: as usual, the time was incorrect and this addition is taking place at 11.15 p.m. In addition, I've looked at my so called profile to be told my birth sign is Gemini. What rubbish. I'm a Scorpio, of course, known for my sting in the tail.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Frosty mornings

Another bright and frosty start to the day and another dozen or so huge apples fallen from the tree. These late fallers are the best ones - ripe and sweet, and not usually infiltrated by worms like the early fallers. Two years ago, when we had a good crop, I stored them in a cold shed, and was still cooking them in the following March. Bramleys in the shops are never rosy like these are, because they pick them all much earlier.

Yesterday was the first frost and the busy lizzies in the garden turned black and limp. Time for them all to go, and the hanging baskets too. They've given us lots of colour through the summer, and the weather we had in October was unbelievable. I remember when I lived in London, the only time I realised it was spring was when I saw the little white flowers on the privet hedges. One is much more aware of seasons in the country.

I have a lot more to do in view of the busy weekend ahead. And a special request for brownies! I may have to do another batch. Can't disappoint my fans.

2.15 p.m. my time. Even though I haven't yet adjusted my watch, or my car clock, I know it's not 6 in the morning.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Some things accomplished

It's been a busy day. I went with OH this morning to have flu jabs. Then he decided not to bother to go to a job and stayed home. It was pretty cold today, though bright and beautiful; I refrained from putting the heating on, until OH said he was cold. I dressed up warmly and went to post some letters in the local box, but didn't stay out long.

I hope it stays bright for the fireworks on Saturday night, but perhaps not quite so cold.

Tonight I've printed out the end of month statements and the few invoices from last night. So I'm feeling virtuous about that. I also spent some time making two large batches of brownies. I've sampled a couple, but the nuts in them have made me feel shaky. Still they seem all right. I don't think I've ever made them before, but I found a recipe in the depths of my old scrap book. I transferred the recipe to the computer. Much easier to do a print out instead of fumbling through old books. I may have to do another batch tomorrow. I want to achieve at least sixty small squares, as there will be a large number of teenagers at our bonfire night do.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Time for a chat

A good day. Irene came over for lunch and I had a chance to unburden myself. I've been feeling depressed since our visit to Hereford.

We've also arranged to have a table at a Christmas Fair locally where hopefully, we might sell some books.

Although I'm trying to write an article at the moment, domesticity and office work are both queuing up for my attention. I've done some invoices tonight - or rather taken dictation, so that I can print them out tomorrow. Also in the queue - more apples to be stewed and filed in the freezer; a cake to be made for Bonfire night; some crumble mix for my famed apple crumble for the family visit. I've booked a Chinese restaurant for Sunday, as my son and family are taking us out for lunch. It's time for end of month statements too and starting on the bookkeeping.

It's all go, isn't it?

However, I just spent ten minutes on the Archers' website. It's good fun to read, particularly some of the outraged comments. Although I have a name, I haven't got anything to say at the moment. I feel surprisingly shy about it.

Time: 11.45 pm