Archives for April 2010

Wonderful Weather

I give English lessons twice a week to Marcella, a lovely Italian lady. It's more of a labour of love really, I keep my hand in as I used to be an EFL teacher and we chat about all manner of things. She's a big animal lover like me as well as being a passionate gardener, so we always have lots to discuss.

At the end of our last lesson, I asked her in English if she had seen the weather forecast. "Saturday it will rain," she said and we both immediately made glum faces. "But Sunday," she added, "will be wonderful!" Now as a teacher I knew she had used the wrong adjective, that to describe a sunny day it is more appropriate to use "beautiful"  rather than the more effusive "wonderful."  I was about to correct her when I thought, you know what? I rather like the idea that Sunday will be wonderful! Who knows what could happen if I have a wonderful Sunday? Suddenly everything opened up – anything was possible.

Saturday rained, as predicted, although fortunately not on the dog kennels where I was doing my volunteering stint. And Sunday? Well I woke in a good mood, because I knew I was going to have a wonderful day! And that made all the difference. It was sunny and although nothing really extraordinary happened, it really was wonderful.

Not My Type

A writer has to write, or in my case, type. I know many writers swear by notebooks and coloured pens but I am not one of them. I can easily be transported into another world while sitting at the keyboard and find it harder when I'm using a pen because I find my hand hurts when I write that way.

There is just one problem. I have never learned to touch type, or to type in any recognisable way, in fact. This is a big handicap – or 'bif handicat' as I have just typed! This undoubtedly stems the creative flow and I get very annoyed as my fingers find their way onto the wrong keys as if to deliberately trip me up.       

I know I should find a good touch typing program online and I do seem to remember once finding one that was very creative and intuitive and used colours. I just don't have the patience to practise, that's the trouble. My mind whirls on to the next topic before I have finished typing the first. I find it incredibly frustrating. I swear out loud whenever I see someone's hands flying effortlessly across the keyboard while conducting a conversation in those US tv movies (it always seems to be in US movies!)

Perhaps voice recognition software is the answer. But then I would still have to go through it and correct it with my rubbish typing. I read once that Barbara Cartland, pink-clad doyenne of the romantic novel, never wrote anything down but just dictated her stories at breakneck speed to secretaries who struggled to keep up with her torrential output. So maybe that is the answer. Get a secretary!

Animal Magic

Well I had heard a rumour, but a glance around the local WH Smith bookshop while back in the UK has confirmed it. Animals are the new hot publishing sensation. 'Misery memoirs' are being nudged off the shelves (thank God – if ever there was genre I really dislike it's that one!) by cold noses and warm muzzles as all creatures great and small start invading publishers up and down the land.

I read a couple while travelling. Heart to Heart by Pea Horsley had me sniffing my way through the Meridiana flight from Florence to Gatwick and surreptitiously dabbing at my eyes with a hankie. Pea is an animal communicator and describes how she changed from sceptic to gifted psychic after getting a mind message from a rabbit of all things. Sounds unlikely and smaltzy, but it isn't at all.

The second volume having me grab the Kleenex was Twenty Wagging Tails by Barrie Hawkins, describing a year of rescuing and rehoming big (and not so big) dogs in Norfolk. I thought I was daft about dogs but Barrie and his wife Dorothy are quite amazing.

As a big animal lover myself with more than a tale or two of my own, (read about my crow rescue here) I am working on my own book to add to the shelves as well as ghosting two others on the topic. Watch this space!