Friday 24 February 2012

Winging it at Waterstone's

I had "An Evening with Emily Barroso," as Waterstone's Hampstead billed it, last night. I was so tired having been kept awake all night the night before by mini-sprog, that I might have been someone else. My new friend from over the road did my make-up, so I looked like someone else. I was forced through the Northern Line after many delays, and with so many people, that I felt like an inside member of a clogged artery and not myself at all. When I arrived, my out of body experience continued, I was ushered upstairs by a bookish fellow into a room, where I was seated and given a large glass of wine (good for de-clogging arteries) which I necked as I was feeling rather nervy at this point, as everything, apart from me, had come over all professional. I was briefed on what I needed to do: discuss 'After the Rains,' take questions from the audience and then answer them (presumably in a way that made sense). Had they mistaken me for someone else? I thought I was going to read from my book, have a few laughs at my own expense and then whizz off to the pub sharpish.

As I waited for the audience to be seated downstairs and the evening with myself to begin, I eyed the books on the bookshelf. 'Winging it,' and 'Disgrace,' were at the top of the pile. Soon, the booky Waterstone's man returned and I was taken downstairs clutching my glass of wine. I was warned the alarms might go off unless he went through the downstairs door first. I made a quip about Bob Mugabe and the Wailer's and then had to explain it. He made a joke about the Queen (clean) and didn't have to explain his. Before long I found myself seated in front of the audience and reading (in regional accents) from my book. Who was I kidding? Emily Barroso. I discussed the birth of the novel (painful) the labour (elephantine) and so on, I discussed Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and managed to plug the Zimbabwe projects of, the charity I support through my books, and generally made sense in a rambling rather than a sprint sort of a way, after which I signed books with my spider scrawl, and the kind folk who had bought them pretended to comprehend what I had written - just as well I used a word processor for the rest of the book. The evening with myself ended as it had begun, with a glass of red wine at the pub across the road, where I settled back into my body for a spell before squeezing myself back up the Northern Line to come home to my frazzled husband and three children all still awake. And it was only half past ten.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Indiscriminate mirrors

“You blinking thing Mummy!”
“Get me out of this flipping high-chair.” Don’t speak like that Darling. “OK, get me out of here, baa baa black sheep.”
“Yes, I know, Mummy, this is not a good idea.”
“Stop that nonsense, man, Mummy.”
“I’m freaking out alright? I’m freaking out now!”
You may be wondering why I have listed the above quotes. They have issued forth from the mouth of my daughter in the last ten days. It is astonishing, and in some cases, downright alarming, how one’s two year old can hold up a linguistic mirror to oneself and thereby reveal one’s state of mind. Children are indiscriminate as to when they hold up the mirror. My girl likes to hold mine up to me in shopping centres for the amusement of the general populace, or in church, or in the packed confines of a doctor’s surgery. I suppose I should be grateful that I no longer use the kind of language that would make an army sergeant blush. Having observed my daughter waving her arms around like a maniac while uttering the final quote above, I realised I have indeed been ‘freaking out’ due to a flat move (sort of) an extensive work load and the usual lack of sleep. Last Sunday, I decided that a week-long sabbatical to Wales was in order, from whence I write these words. Has it been a sabbatical so far? Put it this way, I almost revisited the expletives, but for fear of public humiliation. More to follow.