Friday, 11 October 2013


I'm having a new ensuite bathroom put in.  The builders have been here 5 weeks. Count them. 1-2-3-4-5. That’s weeks not builders.   

Sometimes they appear dressed as The Invisible Man and strangely no work gets done. They are bringing the marble grain by grain from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in North Dakota and reconstituting it into slabs on site.  At least that’s what they told me but they haven’t started yet as they are drilling for copper beneath the North Sea to forge into pipes for the water supply. 

Luckily I have become quite attached to living on my living-room floor.  And I have another bathroom which we all share though I’ve drawn the line at communal showers.  I now speak fluent Kosovan but they still can’t speak English.  When I asked if the toilet would be wall hung, they thought I wanted to know if Tolek (the plumber) was well hung. 

As I’m now sleeping nearer the front door, when I pass away from old age it won’t be so far for them to carry me out.  And my children will, maybe, one day, have a nice new bathroom which the new owner of my flat - because they’ll sell it before I’ve gone cold - will want to rip out.  
Still, mustn't crumble.  Worse things happen at sea.  And the inconvenience is self-inflicted so I shouldn't complain.  I just wish they'd pack up and p*ss off so I can start to clean the thickening layer of dust and access my winter clothes now the weather's turned...

Sunday, 19 May 2013


Back in the day, 1969 to be precise, there was a 'wacky' road race of a movie of this name starring Tony Curtis, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

I've been to Monte Carlo many times - a fake little fantasy of a place where all is pure and pristine - but I've never been to St. Tropez and that's where I'm headed next Wednesday.

'Lucky beach!' I hear you cry but I am, in fact, dreading it.

Sadly, it's a mercy mission to visit my dear old friend, sometime boss and writing mentor, Dominique Lapierre, prolific author of such tomes as Is Paris Burning? The City of Joy and notably...or I'll Dress you in Mourning from which sprang the inspiration for my first novel Blood on the Sand

(For those who may not know, the redoubtable matador Manuel Benitez, El Cordobes, was the subject matter - and I, in turn, the object of one of his well-aimed sword thrusts... for fuller details, download Blood on the Sand on any e-reader!)

So ... how could one dread a trip to St. Tropez? Simply because my dear Dominique, now 82, suffered a serious crack to the head in a fall last year and is no longer the man he used to be. I have been asked to bring along any photos and recall any stories of what we shared to help trigger his memory's return to full health. No problem there. 

I am eager to help his recovery in any way I can and give his lovely wife a break.  I am happy to shop, cook, chatter and cajole, but I understand he sleeps much of the day but is awake much of the night... This could be harder to deal with...if I don't get my seven + hours, Gawd help us all!

There will be many firsts on this trip:  my first time from Stansted (an airport from where I swore I'd never travel!)  My first journey by Ryanair (an airline on which I swore I'd never fly!) and my first time in St. Tropez. 

I'm trusting it all goes smoothly.  Having written this, I feel a little more positive.  How bad could it be?  The sun might be shining... I'm only staying four nights... and there are other friends nearby who may have a yacht...

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Not my own story but too funny not to share! WS

"I was due an appointment with the gyneacologist later in the week.  Early one morning, I received a call from the doctor’s office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for that morning at 9:30 am. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45am. The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn’t have any time to spare. As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn’t going to be able to make the full effort.

So, I rushed upstairs, threw off my pajamas, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in that area to make sure I was at least presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment.

 I was in the waiting room for only a few minutes when I was called in. Knowing the procedure, as I’m sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended that I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away.

 I was a little surprised when the doctor said, “My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven’t we?” I didn’t respond.

After the appointment, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal -shopping, cleaning, cooking. After school when my 6-year old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, “Mommy, where’s my washcloth?”

I told her to get another one from the cupboard.

She replied, “No, I need the one that was here by the sink, it had all my glitter and sparkles saved inside it.”

Never going back to that doctor again……….. ever."