Thursday 26 April 2007

Blog as catharsis

January 2007

What would I do without you all? I really never thought a blog could be so therapeutic. Firstly there’s a sort of catharsis in hanging one’s dirty washing out in public (though it never really feels that public oddly – more like writing to a dear circle of friends). But I would imagine there are lurkers out there (c’mon you lurkers – tell us who you are. Join the gang. We don’t bite!). But secondly I hadn’t counted on the sheer level of support and caring. Being a rather over-emotional person (Moon in Pisces, what do you do?) I found myself close to tears (again) over the fact that you all took the time to send thoughts and hugs and wise advice. You’re quite right, all of you, and we have decided to stick it out and keep the house on the market.
Yesterday I was like a six year old – totally irrational and utterly ridiculous. Actually that is brutally unfair to six year olds. It was more in line with a fractious toddler, chucking all my toys out of the pram in a frenzy of frustration.

I couldn’t do a scrap of work. Somehow got through the radio interview but could hear myself getting faster and faster, like some kind of rabid electronic toy in hyperdrive. The poor chap on the other end gave up all pretence of interviewing and just let me rabbit on incoherently until I finally ran out of battery power and drizzled to a halt.
Then, when that dose of ritual humiliation was over, I went trawling on the Net, determined to find a back-up home option. I seem to need to have something to focus on, some dream house. And I found it! The most bizarre yet beautiful cottage, hidden away in the Devon hills, overlooking a vast valley. It was within our price range, within kicking distance of James’ school, and – while not in our beloved town of choice – in a very stunning position. It got me thinking that maybe we would go crazy living in a town (albeit a very small, deeply rural) one. Maybe I’m not yet ready to give up on wild living, free from neighbours, free to do our own thing, with the buzzards wheeling overhead. But then, the oddest thing happened. I had saved the details and was showing them to Adrian. He asked how much it was and I couldn’t remember the exact figure (and it wasn’t on the details) so I went back on to rightmove to check – and it had gone! Vanished. In the hour between me looking at it, and showing it to Adrian, it had been taken off. Not gone under offer – just vamoosed altogether. Isn’t that weird?

Anyhow, today I’m feeling much better, though I think I might have caught toady’s cold. This wasn’t remotely helped by standing outside in nearly zero degrees having my photo taken in a skimpy summer blouse. I know it sounds like I’ve lost my marbles but really I had no choice. The Express (or as my husband calls it, the Princess Diana Express) is going to run a piece on my latest book (hurrah! Bless their hearts! I take it all back - Princess Diana’s death WAS a conspiracy!). The photos I sent them (all about ten years old – I’m no mug) weren’t good enough so they said they wanted to send someone over to take some especially. That was unpleasant enough but even worse was the stipulation that I mustn’t wear black. Well, I don’t know about you but I live in black. Black is kind, black somehow makes the outline of one’s overweight body a bit fuzzy and less obvious (to my desperate imagination anyhow). Black doesn’t show up the dirt quite so badly. I don’t possess any non-black clothes – other than a turquoise beach kaftan (which might have looked a bit odd) and three orange summer blouses (don’t ask why – every summer I get a ‘heck, I must buy something that isn’t black’ panic and grab something orange from Per Una). So I chucked on a ton of make-up (making note to self: buy new makeup, for heaven’s sake). But then who wears makeup in the countryside? And then flung on the blouse (wincing at the chill factor) and shoved a huge fleece over the top.

The photographer was actually a very nice chap from Exeter (who used to live on Dartmoor so we had a few moments of competitive ‘who has the most rain’ chat. Asbo Jack took a liking to his bag (‘cats’ he explained and I had a horrid moment when I thought AJ was going to cock his leg over it). Anyhow, I had to take off the fleece and shiver (even though I’d put the heating on in his honour) while he took pictures in the living room – all with that horrible cheesy smile they insist upon, and sucking in my stomach as far as possible, and trying not to show any hint of a double chin. Then the moment of horror. ‘It’s a lovely day – let’s take some outside. We can do a full-length shot.’ What??? Not sure if it was the thought of freezing in a cheesecloth blouse or showing my entire length that was more terrifying. Heck, the things one does for the sake of a spread in the Express. I’ve probably given myself pneumonia or frostbite and will look about ninety with a blouse that – belatedly I have realised – clashes vehemently with my new hair colour. So there you have it – exmoorjane as media slut. Shameful eh?

PS. Jo – of course I’ve voted for Monty! He wasn’t there when I last looked at the Gallery. He is totally gorgeous, bless his big shaggy legs.

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