Monthly Chat: October 2015

What I did

October came in like a lion and went out like a lamb – or whatever the phrase is. In the first week the winter onesie had to be washed and prepared, the hot water bottle fetched out of summer hiatus, the heating slipped on for an hour or two just to keep the edge off.

This time last year – the fortnight of the Cheltenham Literature Festival – it was quite mild. I was a bit here, there and everywhere this year, so I didn’t get to go to as many events or talks as I would have liked to, but we did get a chance to see Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman talk Pointless. We brought my sister along – she was staying with us for a week or so in between getting back from her volunteering abroad and starting job hunting. She had only the vaguest idea of what Pointless was and had certainly never seen an episode (still not one hundred percent sure how this has been accomplished) but she enjoyed it nonetheless!

I had a bit of a Shakespearey October. I dragged my friends to see the Fassbender Macbeth, which definitely split opinion. I was really startled to realise that some people in the screen hadn’t realised that the film was going to be in the “original” language. Apparently there have been instances across the country of people walking out! I know that Shakespeare isn’t for everyone, and I know that I am biased – I love Shakespeare so much I dedicated my Masters’ degree to him – but I wish that we could tackle this culture where people grow up assuming they won’t understand. My father had me reciting sonnets by memory from the age of about eight – and I can only think it did me credit! Something from my writing bucket list is to one day write a modern Shakespeare adaptation (think 10 Things I Hate About You, or She’s The Man).

Whereas the Fass and his tighty-whiteys (and flipfloppy Scots accent) failed to hit the mark, the livestream of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet was quite literally breathtaking. The cinematography was so wonderful I completely forgot I was sat in the local Cineworld – my heart really was at the Barbican! I’m hoping they do more of the livestream nights – I wouldn’t mind seeing it again myself, and I really, really recommend that everyone else does too.

We finally had our garden sorted out – having a tree surgeon in the family is very useful. I assisted by making cups of tea and coffee, chocolately snacks and building said tree surgeon a website (if you’re in the Bournemouth/Christchurch/Poole area and you have unruly trees, HIT ME UP). The morning after the drastic tree haircut we almost couldn’t stand in the rooms at the back of the house, the change in the light levels was so startling. Also, how grown up does that make me feel, nattering on about garden landscaping and light levels. It still doesn’t feel real!

Brief weekend jaunt to Manchester to see my cousin and her lovely family. I basically slobbed around drinking tea, drinking wine, eating good food and watching 3D movies on her 3D TV (The Great Gatsby was good… but then I absolutely adore Leo DiC in all things, so I am biased). Another weekend jaunt planned for November – to see lovely friends in Lincolnshire and celebrate their little lady’s second birthday. It seems like five minutes ago I was poking at my friend’s bump, and now said bump is two years old? Madness.

Speaking of bumps, there will be a Special Delivery at the end of November. One of my oldest friends – who is married to one of my husband’s oldest friends (isn’t that nice when that happens) is having her first child. I’m very exited. I’ve rather slacked off though – my husband and I got married three weeks after they did, so the joke was that I would get pregnant too and have a due date three weeks after theirs. Needless to say, I’m a little behind on that. Maybe I’ll get ovary-organised for their second kid.

October ended in fine style – beautiful, border-line warm autumnal days and a big party weekend. We held our Hallowe’en themed housewarming party with our nearest and dearest and everyone was in fantastic form. We had some genuinely scary costumes – and a genuinely scary Sunday morning when I saw the state of my house (I still don’t understand why the Lea & Perrins bottle was out?). I imagine I’ll be de-stickyifying for the remainder of November.

On 24th November, I will be rambling in person at The Sun’s “Under The Mistletoe” Christmas reading event in London. It’s £5 a ticket but you get SO MUCH SWAG, and it’s going to be a fantastic evening. Click here for more information or here if you want to buy a ticket without registering for Sun Perks. 

What I read

Dream A Little Dream, Giovanna Fletcher (☆☆☆☆)
After I Do, Taylor Jenkins Reid (☆☆☆☆)
My Heart and Other Black Holes, Jasmine Warga (☆☆)
The Boy In The Bookshop, Katey Lovell (☆☆☆☆☆)
The Boy At The Beach, Katey Lovell (☆☆☆☆☆)
Court of Fives, Kate Elliott (☆☆☆)
The Impossible Knife of Memory, Laurie Halse Anderson (☆☆☆)
A Madness So Discreet, Mindy McGinnis (☆☆☆)
Lost Girls, Angela Marsons (☆☆☆☆☆)
Every Time A Bell Rings, Carmel Harrington (☆☆☆☆☆)
Asking For It, Louise O’Neill (☆☆☆)
How I Lost You, Jenny Blackhurst (☆☆☆)
The Dead House, Dawn Kurtagich (☆☆)

What I wrote

I may have news soon on something writery. Watch this space.

In the interim, I still haven’t finished Deck The Halls, this year’s Christmas short story from me. D’oh. Must do better.


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