It’s been a busy time, what with one thing and another. First of all, during half-term week, I was roped in to helping with the Front of House duties for the local am-dram group again, this time for their pantomime. It was considerably less arduous than that sounds and there were lots of happy audience members on the way out of each of the six performances. Apparently it’s likely to raise at least £3000, all for charity, according to our FoH coordinator, who has been doing it for over twenty years and can tell to the nearest pound how much the ice-cream sales will have made. He’s a fairly fearsome chap, former deputy head now retired, who rejoices in the name Basil. I know there’s nothing wrong with the name, but I can’t hear it without thinking of Prunella Scales and imminent disaster. He probably used to terrify the kids at the inner-city school he taught at but now he’s a popular choice for Father Christmas at the local primary school. Running the FoH affairs, however, you sense he would have made a good sergeant-major. Smooth as clockwork we were, most of the time.
So that was half-term week. Then one of my fellow FoH ice-cream ladies, Isabelle, called me on the Sunday evening to ask if I could possibly help out at the village school for a couple of hours as both the usual volunteer helpers in the Year Three class had come down with a tummy bug. Probably the one I acquired after Valentine’s Day. It was quite enjoyable, mostly hearing children read and making sure they hung their coats up after playtime, but a couple of hours turned into four and a half days. The OH started making comments about the state of the laundry basket and the accumulating dirt – he like the house cleaned more than once a week – so I couldn’t spend all week at the school. Fortunately one of the two regulars was back on the Friday so I was able to leave at lunchtime. One little group of children made a ‘Sory your leving’ card which was immaculately coloured in so I couldn’t possibly complain about the spelling.
Then yesterday I had an unexpected trip to London. Verity had two tickets for the RNA annual awards presentation and the Mills and Boon enthusiast she had been planning to go with was bitten by one of her goats in the morning and needed stitches.
“I can’t waste the ticket,” Verity told me, “and you seem all excited about there being a writer in the village, so why don’t you come with me.”
Hoping that the OH wouldn’t mind eating a solo shepherd’s pie which I left in the oven on timer, I accepted. I won’t bore you with the details of an event that most definitely did not take place in my small village, but it was good fun and I got the chance to congratulate Elizabeth Chadwick personally on winning Historical Novel of the Year. I haven’t read her novel yet, but if I ever get enough time at home, I shall certainly include it on my list.
More significantly, Verity introduced me to a lot of people – goodness only knows how she knew them all because I don’t think she’s a member of the RNA – and when I said I wasn’t a writer, Verity immediately contradicted me.
“Yes you are,” she told me. “What’s that blog thingy if it’s not writing?”
I couldn’t disagree with her exactly but it meant the conversation moved on to types of blog and one lovely writerly lady, Helen Hollick, whose books will also soon be adorning my bedside table because I am nothing if not loyal and completely celebrity-struck, asked if it was a weather blog. I had no idea what she meant and asked for clarification.
And it’s simpler than it sounds. You blog each day about the weather. Apparently it’s useful for writers as a sample of different kinds of weather instead of the usual cloudy/sunny/pouring with rain.
So I am going to attempt to include a weather blog in my village notes. It should certainly be specific to the village, even if some people elsewhere have similar weather. Today is sunny with blue skies that necessitate using sun glasses when walking to the village shop for something for dinner. I saw one person drive through the village in a convertible with the roof down, but they had at least wrapped up very warmly to do so. I checked the thermometer when I got home again and it’s only 7°C. Warm enough that you can no longer see your breath but I can’t see myself sun-bathing in it.