Monday, 27 October 2008

Town mouse, country mouse.

The very first present i ever bought for Sy was a pair of wellies.
He'd never needed any before.
But i knew he would never cope with the cowshit and the floods if i didn't deck him out with the proper kit.
More recently i have invested in;
A garden fork.
Organic slug traps.
Thermal pants.
All for the writer, who actually does seem to like gardening.

Weirdly, it would seem that he prefers to work in the garden barefoot.
That will soon stop seeing as the temperature is now dropping below zero.
At least i hope so- i don't want to be looking in the garden every morning for frost bitten toes- i've got enough to do as it is.

I can safely say that Sy has adapted to country life as much as i can hope for.

Which is more than i can say for me, if he takes me to london.

I am totally thrown if we go there.
The first visit, i didn't even know how to open the train door.
Fancy that..not even being able to get out of the bloody train.
Several things attract my attention every time i go there (with Sy- I would NEVER venture there on my own, EVER).

1. The lack of bins at the train stations.

Sy informs me this is because people can and have hidden bombs in them.
Can't get my head round the fact there are no bins.

2. The amount of 'adverts' ( i use the term loosely) for escorts in phone boxes.
We don't have that sort of thing around here.
Phone boxes, that is.

3. The fact that you can turn from any busy main road in london, into a side street, and you would believe that you were in a different area can really be quiet.

4. The fact that you can eat out after 9.00pm at night.
Everything here is shut by then apart from the kebab shop that shuts by 11.00.

5.The Underground.

Ye Gods.

The first time i put my ticket in the machine, i stood there like a bloody idiot waiting for it to come out the other side.
It didn't, and i almost brought Paddington station to it's knees.
I think the whole train thing is going to be an ongoing problem.

6. The whole sky at night is orange.
I'm not sure how many Londoners look upwards, but i couldn't get to grips with the sky being the wrong colour.

7. Everyone walks so fast-why?

I have promised to take a home-made chocolate cake to Sy's agent next time we go to London.

But i think it might be better to send it by Parcelforce.

Till next time,

Shakespeare's Housekeeper x

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

A question and answer session.

From time to time, i think about how Sy and i met.

It's funny how fate deals us a hand that we may not understand at the time, but i believe everything happens for a reason.

Meeting Sy has catapulted me into a world that i knew nothing about, and have had to learn about as best i can, as fast as i can. I previously wrote a blog entitled 'Things i have learned about my writer.'

That was a couple of months ago now, and it's time to add to it, although the thoughts are a bit random.

1; When Sy writes a script, It is not finished after one draft.

2; No matter how good his work is, he still has to have an editor on board, even though he also does critiques on other writers' work.

3; Publishers are a very picky bunch.

4; Agents, if you get the right one (or should that be write one) are fab. But be watchful that they are working with you. ( A tale to tell on another occasion.)

5; Waiting for the phone to ring, or an e-mail to come in about a particular project that Sy has high hopes for, is just as agonising for me, as it is him.

I have a couple of questions i still need answering- can anybody shed any light on the following please?

1; Why do writers continually look out of the window?

2; Where do they hide their pens? There are never any when they need one, even though you have put half a dozen on their desk an hour previously.

3; What are writers really thinking about when you are trying to talk to them about something?

And one final really random question, that has been bugging me for some time.

Why is the 'living' television channel full of programmes about the dead?

Till next time,

Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The times they are a changin'...

Darling Daughter is studying Romeo and Juliet at school.
The conversation around the kitchen table last night, while i was cooking tea, went like this.

'I don't like Shakespeare mum. It's really boring for someone of my age.'
'But wasn't Juliet the same age as you? That's something you can relate to.'
' Yeah, but, like, she had those god-awful in-laws to be to cope with. I don't have to worry about all out war if i bring a boy home, do I?'

Sy, who was reading at the table (terrible manners, these writers) raised an eyebrow, and i carried on stirring, while thinking it all depends on who she brings home as to whether there is all out war or not.

' I take it this conversation is leading to some sort of homework issue.'
'I've got to, like, write an essay about why I think Romeo and Juliet fell in love.'
'And what do you think?'
'Well, it's obvious. Their hormones were running riot. Nobody knows what they want from a relationship at that age...apart from knowing that you want to go to the pictures, or go for a bike-ride. They certainly didn't know what love was.'

Sy piped up.
' You do realise, don't you, that Romeo and Juliet didn't have mobile phones, the internet, cinemas or pushbikes. None of these things had been invented then.'

Darling Daughter thought about this for a moment or two.
'Well shakespeare shouldn't have bothered writing a play about two teenagers falling in love, if they had nothing to do. If the play had been written today, it would have been far more interesting.'
'Do you want me to help you with this essay?' Sy sighs.
'You can write it for me if you like. You know all there is to know about it.'
'Can I help at at all?' says I.
'No mum- you know nothing about shakespeare and his plays, lets face facts here. Why don't you carry on with what you're good at. Making tea, cakes and lovely chutney.'

And with that, her mobile buzzed, and she was off, yapping twenty to the dozen to some unseen mate, Romeo and Juliet completely forgotton for the time being.

And today, i'm wondering, at what point did i actually become surplus to educational requirements?

Till next time,
Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Back to books...

I have turned my thoughts towards Christmas.
It's not because of the Christmas trees that are already up in half of the shops in town.
It's not because i have heard on the radio it's only about seventy days away.
And it's not because the X-factor has started again, which is always televisions countdown to Christmas.

No, it's because i have had a list from Sy of the books he would like for his presents this year.

You would have thought that books would be an easy option really.
They are - as long as you can comfortably visit WH Smiths, buy the whole of the top shelf, and then smugly wrap them all, knowing you will have something for all your relatives who only read something once a year.
I await Sy's book list with mounting trepidation every year.
Sometimes, i get a nice surprise, and i can get one or two from Smiths ( Bill Bryson's Shakespeare was a Godsend, i can tell you. I did feel it was a bit of a waste of money though, as it told us nothing that we didn't know already- you know, like when you buy a compilation CD and you already have all the songs on it, on lot's of other CD's...)
Mostly though, it will involve me trawling the internet for obscure little book shops that just might have a copy of what he wants.
I breathe a bit easier if the list has 'don't mind if it's second hand' written next to a book.

I've sourced books from Ireland, America, Norway and New Zealand for Sy.
Mainly, they are presents, but there are some that he Just Has To Have.

At least he knows how i feel when I Have To Have Chocolate.

Sometimes, it's easier just to give him an allowance, (You think i'm joking- he would spend every penny we have on books, given half a chance. Bugger eating,) drive him to Hay-on-Wye, dump him in the middle of the town and then come back for him four hours later.

I have done that.

I might just add a CD or two. I might even sponser an animal for him( but i might not- i know you will be reading this Darling Husband.)

So, Christmas pressie shopping for Sy will start tomorrow, as long as ;
1. The obscure book shops are all still in business.
2; I don't lose the list he has given me.
3; I don't run out of money.
4; He doesn't change his mind about the books he wants.

All's well that ends well...hopefully.

Till next time,
Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx

Sunday, 5 October 2008

A first time for everything.

I've done two things this week for the first time ever.

1; I went to see a comedian in a theatre.

2; I visited a Waitrose.

Now, going to see a comedian probably wouldn't have happened if it were not for the generosity of the comedians wife, who got me and Sy comp tickets.

If you haven't had a chance to see Rich Hall outside QI, Never Mind The Buzzcocks or his fishing programme, then find the time to go and see him live.

Very funny and very sweary (that's a word where i live.)

Saying hello to him after the gig, i told him i was a comedy virgin.

I can't print the reply.


Ahh, Waitrose, Waitrose, Waitrose.

I have found Nirvana, and it sits at the top of a multi-storey carpark in Cheltenham.

My pal Caz has a vegetarian hubby. If it were not for the fact that our hubbies are in a band together, we no doubt would have found each other on some 'What do you feed your vegeterian husband' website.

Sy has been veggie for about four years now, and i miss him eating meat. Is that really selfish of me?

When we used to go out for meals, we would dribble over the menus, wondering which steak to have, or did i think he could manage a mixed grill?

I miss that.

Now when we go out, i'm left to dribble on my own, as he peruses pasta dishes and asks the waitresses what they have in the kitchen ''that hasn't got a face.'

I would have thought there wouldn't be a face on anything much by the time it reached the table.

But i digress (word of the day.)

Caz told me, that Waitrose does a fine choice in veggie meals. And indeed it does.

So, yesterday morning, off we went to visit the mother of all food stores, to stock up for our respective men.

Yes, we got the veggie food.

Yes we got a very nice breakfast (served by a woman looking so immaculate that i thought it should be me serving her...very surreal.)

Yes, there was even a car park attendant to keep an eye on your car while you were shopping.

The sign above the doors stated that you had up to three hours parking. I pointed this out to Caz and laughingly said who could possibly take three hours to do their shopping?

But i didn't know about the hardware and home furnishing section.

Oh. My God.

I could live there.

I honestly could. If Sy ever tells me to sling my hook, i won't bother staying on a friends settee, no siree- it's straight of the home furnishing section of Waitrose.

First, we stroked sheepskin rugs. We moved onto curtains and took apart a display, so that Caz could find out if an oversized bedspread would fit on her settee.
It didn't.

We then put the display back together again, much to the amusement of fellow shoppers.

I still think it looked better than the one the staff had done.

We picked up vases, glasses, bowls, plates, teapots, toasters. And put them all down again.

We played with all the touch sensitive lights, and i nearly blinded Caz by switching on a neon light, just as she was staring into it to see how it worked.

We opened and closed all the fridge and feezer doors (because we can, that's why.)

And finished off with a tour of the television section, and complained very loudly about how the pictures were really crap close up.

By the time we got back to the car, we found that we had been in Waitrose for three hours and twenty two minutes.

It must be an age thing. I got the same buzz visiting Waitrose as i did visiting Alton Towers for the first time, twenty-five years ago.

And Sy loved his veggie food.

'When are you going again Sprouty?'

I looked at my watch.

'Give it an hour or so.....'

Till next time,

Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx

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