Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I’m taking a blog break.

I’m tired and a bit bored with myself.

I’m struggling with my book and need to concentrate on that for a bit. I shall continue to read blogs but I'm not sure about commenting. I will update my wordmeter and reading material.

Blogging has become more of a pressure than fun, which is no good at all.

I don’t know if it’ll be three days or three weeks that I am away for. I will be in the UK for the last two weeks in April. I suspect that it will be so exciting to be there again that I’ll have lots to say.

I hope to see you back here soon.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The truth is...

Big thanks to Jane Smith at How Publishing Really Works for her Pitch Party yesterday. It was a tremendous idea and discovering some new blogs cheered up my otherwise dreary (and somewhat bad-tempered) Sunday.

Thank you to everyone who came by to Tea Stains. My apologies for not acknowledging your comments instantly but I was straight off to the hospital this morning with no time for niceties! I will get on with it soon.

It’s not my favourite appointment of the year. No, no it’s nothing really nasty *whispers: not gruesome or anything yucky* but a fasting blood test. That’s all it is. It’s not the needle that bothers me or the lack of eating (fast for 8-10 hours) or even the waiting around in the hospital for the results so I can see the doc with up to date information. No, what I hate about the fasting blood test is the fact that I can’t have a cup of tea until the blood has been taken.

So today I’ve spent from 9am until 2pm at the hospital. (From 9.10 – 1.50 I was pretty much non-stop consuming tea.) In between being drained of blood (do they really need so much? Is it any wonder that I’m chronically anaemic?) and seeing the doc, I tried to write.

All the while, I was worrying. Worrying, not just about the results of my sugar test but also about promising Doc faithfully three months ago, that I would try to lose weight. And I haven’t. Well, I’ve thought about it… you know, for three months…)

And when a Thai wants to tell you that you need to lose weight, they just tell you: “you’re fat.” It’s a fact so they tell you and that’s okay here. In Thailand, there are all sorts of subjects that we westerners are coy about (commenting on weight is just one.) It’s absolutely fine to ask people (strangers!) how much they earn; how much do they pay for the apartment; why they haven’t got children; how old they are? I could go on and on.

Here’s the catch, if someone in the UK called another person fat, they would be offended. It’s rude; we just don’t do it. In Thailand there’s no intent to hurt and while I flinch inwardly, I can't take away my own cultural responses. HOW can it not be offensive? I know it’s simply one of those cultural differences that I can’t get my head around. I don't like it, but there's no point in showing my displeasure.

The thing I quoted to my children when we came here was about the Asian habit of spitting. We think that’s disgusting and yet they think our blowing the contents of our noses into a tissue/hankie that we return to our pocket to use again later, absolutely repulsive. And you can see why, can’t you?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The King and I

I was out of sorts yesterday so I went out to the cinema. I went to Siam Paragon, one of the big flashy malls here.

I got in the lift at the basement level.

Two ‘bomb squad’ men got out on the ground floor.

On the mezzanine floor, two firemen got in. It was only then that I started to wonder if I should abort my plans to go to the cinema. (Though you might not see it on the news, we are still having political demos here – this time, it’s the other side, the red shirts.) The firemen travelled up to the 5th floor with me.

The cinema lobby didn’t look immediately different from normal, though looking back it was busy for a weekday. It took me some time to realise that most of the people were in an assortment of uniforms.

I queued for my ticket. I’m used to living my life in a certain ignorance or maybe it's oblivion; remember this is a foreign country. The subliminal messages don’t always get through because my spoken Thai is pitiful (my reading Thai is non existent) and I can’t perceive the subtle differences that we take for granted in our home country.

There were securities everywhere: security staff, naval uniforms with gold epaulets, army soldiers, (mostly) men in dark suits, police, Paragon security staff and more cinema staff than normal.

I asked the boy on the ticket office 'is someone special here?' He leant forward conspiratorially, motioned with his hand and says ‘the King is over there.’

OMG! Only a few feet away. Only a white sheet and several hundred security staff separated us.

There's an excellent article here from Jonathan Head, the BBC correspondent for this region, who explains why the Thai King is so revered here.

My deduction (the man dressed as an elephant gave it away) was that The King was attending a function to do with a Thai animation film, Khan Kluay 2. The blurb at Movieseer says: ‘Khan Kluay 2 is set after the victory of Ayudhya against the invasion of the powerful Burmese Empire when Khan Kluay is appointed as King Naresuan's royal elephant and services the king in many battles.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Space-Time Tour"

Thanks so much for coming all the way to Bangkok, Sue.

I absolutely loved Tangled Roots, particularly Grace with whom I really identified. To give people an idea of what it's about, here's a short description:
Tangled Roots interweaves two first person narratives of John and his mother, Grace.

We meet John first. He is forty, single, and a physics professor at an American University. He’s good looking, has hobbies, good friends and plenty of money, despite all this, he is in a mess. John is furious with his mother. He’s angry at the emotional scars she has left him with and the physical scar she caused his sister, Lizzie.

We meet Grace as an old woman who is telling stories to people John never knows (and when he meets them at her funeral, he resents.) Her stories tell painful truths about her life and herself.

Both John and Grace’s narratives reveal the stories of their past, as each believe it happened. John has to reconcile his past in order to move onto his future, moving the story from Boston to London to Moscow and back.

So, on with the questions?

I’ve always been interested in the notion of science and art going hand in hand. There’s an assumption that these are two separate concepts. I’m married to a material scientist and I am struck by the creativity needed by scientists to make successful research. In Tangled Roots, physics isn’t just John’s career; it runs through the story at all kinds of levels. Can you tell me how and when you made the decision that John would be a physicist? This was one of those decisions that was just obviously made, an idea obviously there that hardly needed any thinking about at all. I was starting from the assumption that John is actually very much like his mother, and although he professed to reject all of the spirituality that her later life embraced, he was actually just as drawn by those ideas as Grace was — who are we? Where do we come from? How are we connected? And that quickly drew me to physics, and specifically, cosmology. Then the more I read and researched the clearer it became and the more I was eventually drawn to the very new science of holography and its connection to string theory.

I very much enjoyed the strong sense of place (Boston, Manhattan, London and Moscow) that you painted throughout the story. You and I have in common that neither of us live in the countries of our birth and formative years. We’re different in that you’ve chosen Britain as the place to live and bring up your children whereas my home – Bangkok - is most definitely a temporary place. I know that you don’t consider yourself an expatriate but do you think that that ‘dislocation’ is what makes place in your fiction so important? Yes, that is very much one of the reasons. I have had to think very consciously about the meaning of “home,” especially as I was raising my children outside of what would have ordinarily been seen to be my own home. I talked about this idea very specifically in the chapter, “Sliding into Home,” about John’s little league baseball game. But I also find that, although I am not a very visual person, I am very strongly affected by my surroundings. There have been specific places that have become immediately important to me and I carry the impressions of those places around inside me. Those impressions inevitably become key in my writing. My new novel is very much growing out of this sense of place in that after just a 10 day visit to Cambodia I am now writing a novel set there, a novel in which the country is as much a “character” as the people who inhabit it. It’s also interesting that you used the word “dislocation.” I don’t think of myself as dislocated, but then again, I have written a play which I hope to be producing soon called “The Bistro Down the Road.” After a week-long workshop on it, the actors and director agreed that it is a play about “dislocation.” I hadn’t been aware of that, but once they said it it became obvious to me that they were right. Hmmm......

I think one of the most exciting aspects of telling a story in fiction is perspective. You do this beautifully in Tangled Roots; you could wonder if John and Grace were talking about the same events because their viewpoints were so dramatically different. As I daughter, I could understand John’s anger toward his mother but as a mother myself, I felt John was both old enough and intelligent enough that he should have considered his mother’s humanity and fallibility. You’re a mother of sons but was there ever any temptation to have John’s sister Lizzie, telling her perspective? Wow. This is fascinating because, to be honest, I never once thought about telling the story from Lizzie’s perspective. When I read this question it really stopped me in my tracks. Why hadn’t I thought about doing that? Is it because I’m a mother of sons and so I was especially drawn to the character of the teenage John as someone whom I wanted to raise to maturity, just like I have tried to raise my own sons? Maybe. But also maybe because although Lizzie doesn’t get her own voice, her needs and feelings are still strongly communicated via the voices of her mother and brother. And isn’t that so much like girls vs boys — girls often have less trouble expressing their emotions (especially to their mothers!). Boys, like John, often turn those emotions inward and become sullen and distant. Perhaps I had to force John’s voice to be heard whereas Lizzie had no trouble doing that for herself. I know that after I wrote Grace’s set of stories I felt very strongly that Lizzie had found her own way towards being a whole, developed adult, despite her having to take on a physical disability (I don’t want to give too much away!). But John was left emotionally stunted. I had to write the 2nd half of the book to make him whole.

Thanks for asking such great questions, Jenny, and for bringing me over to Thailand! Shall we repair to the balcony for some mango salad and lemon grass tea?

Sue’s website is here and her blog here. Go here to see the incredible book movie that Jamieson Wolf has produced for Tangled Roots. You can buy Tangled Roots from here as well as other good bookshops.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Isn’t the internet wonderful?

Here I am, sitting in my little office – which is actually a dressing area so I’m surrounded by wardrobes and a mirror (euwgh) - in Bangkok. But, but I can still do research. I’ve just watched videos of badgers at night. How brilliant is that? Six thousand miles away and I can study the gait and noises of a badger in the UK.

Don’t forget to look in at Tea Stains tomorrow as I’m hosting one of the dates on Sue Guiney’s blog tour for the launch of the paperback of Tangled Roots. I'm asking Sue some questions and there could even be refreshments!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The cupboard is bare

My sandwich tasted naked.

I opened the new bread and for once it was squashy enough to eat fresh rather than toasted.

(Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but the Thais aren’t very good at baking bread, it not being an important part of their diet… Unless you go to a five star hotel and buy direct from the bakers but then it costs rather a lot.)

Back to the naked sandwich: there’s no Branston Pickle anywhere in Bangkok – I’ve looked. Alright I haven’t looked everywhere… but I’ve checked out a branch of Villa, a Tops, Gourmet in Emporium and Carrefour. None, nada, nilch.

I am very sad.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Photo

This 'caterpillar' was on Sukhumvit Road, near Nana for a while. The pods opened up as permanent storage for vendors.

And then it disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.

I think the road was jollier for it and I rather miss it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wearing other hats

Thursday again already?

For me that means the day off from writing for the other ‘jobs’ in my life, even though I want to write today. First, I’m wearing my ‘web assistant’ hat at the BWG AGM (OMG, will I get re-elected? Oh yes, I forgot, it’s uncontested, in fact the Chairman was on her knees, begging us all to re-stand at the last committee meeting) and then I’m wearing my ‘Mum’ hat at school for Son’s Parents’ Evening.

*Sigh.* Son’s Parents’ Evenings … which are actually Parent’s Evenings as I always have to do them on my own. It’s just like being a pupil again; one that’s been summoned to the Head for a telling off. They’ve never been my favourite meeting with school but there has been a slight improvement over the years as Son has learnt to play the life game. I used to dread them but now, fewer teachers want him to be different… well they want him to be a bit different, just not a different child. And some, the higher up school he goes, actually love the way that he challenges them. So the meetings have improved but I still feel the dread in the pit of my stomach from years of these appointments.

So, I can’t write today even though I have a tender scene to do that I’m looking forward to writing. It’s time to go now, so I’ve picked up my web assistant hat and dusted it off. Hmmm, I’ve got a fair idea what a Mum hat would look like but I wonder what a web assistant hat would consist of.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Life in Bangkok

There are some things about living overseas I’m still not used to.

When I’m on the skytrain, underground or a bus, I’m expected to give up my seat to the usual folk: the elderly and pregnant women; those in need of a seat? Yup that’s eminently reasonable. Buddhist monks are highly revered here so that seems acceptable too.

The weird one, the thing I simply cannot get my head around, is that I am expected to give my seat up to a child. Not big kids, like mine, but sort of toddler through to somewhere around finishing primary school age. I mean it’s not set in stone, and a wibbly wobbly toddler is in danger if the parent can’t keep it still, so I sort of understand that. But a five, six, seven… blah year old? I’m sorry kiddo, but my need is greater than yours.

The other thing I haven’t quite got used to is that while minding my own business walking/being driven along the street, I might just chance upon an elephant. That doesn’t really compute either.

Sadly they're here for the tourists. These guys, on seeing me taking a picture, wanted me to buy a bag of food.

We've been told there are laws forbidding them from being in the city, but, if there are, they aren't adhered to. (We've also been told that if they're in the city, they should have lights on their tails at night! It puts a new spin on 'tail lights' doesn't it?)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Film, writing and trotters

Seven of us went to see Milk last night, in one of the old cinemas in Siam. It cost 100 baht (£2). While we were waiting to go in a man rolled the film past us on a reel, a bit under a meter in diameter. I wish I’d been quick enough to take a picture.

I loved the film (thank god everyone liked it because I chose it!) Sean Penn – as well as becoming rather gorgeous as he ages – was brilliant. I’d like to go back in and watch it all over again. I can’t believe I didn’t know any of it. I would’ve been twelve when he was assassinated (not really a spoiler… it’s clear from the start. The story is told in flashback, as he records it ‘in case of assassination.’)

I’ve done well with my writing the last couple of days and caught up after my sick days. I am, as my mentor put it, really getting into the meat of the story. (That’ll be the tofu for you, Daughter.) I just finished a very exciting scene (hopefully) with accusations flying and secrets being hinted at.

And now that I'm back home after a failed attempt to get my trotters painted ... I might even do a bit more!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Knobs and knockers

Despite feeling rotten with a cold since Thursday night (what else could excuse my going to see Bolt at the cinema all on my own?) I’ve had a jam packed weekend.

Daughter’s birthday party was yesterday. Although Husband gave me a ‘get out clause,’ I really didn’t think I could leave him to cope with sixteen thirteen year olds. Put it another way, I’d have been bloomin’ furious to have been left to do it on my own, so I filled myself up with paracetamol and off we went.

After Sunday lunch at the pub, Daughter and I had to go shopping for a dress for the party at school on Friday, because of course, she had ‘nothing to wear.’ Before we left Centralworld (the mall) we made a loo stop.

I couldn’t contain myself… look what all the door knobs, locks, hinges and hooks said:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What to do?

I’ve been holed up at home for days now. I know this, because my purse is still full of Singaporean coins, which we stopped needing on Sunday, and because I’m starting to feel a bit mad. I’ve been writing …although my concentration was not so good yesterday.

Today, being Thursday, means I have the day off; the day off writing. I’m going out to have a life, starting with breakfast with Husband near his office, because afterwards I am due at a board meeting at the library in Silom.

And then I’m free to do what I choose: I am trying to decide whether I shall go to a movie or *whispers* have a pedicure.

If I go to the movies I might get to see all the films I want to see at the cinema (as opposed to on DVD) (Doubt, The Reader, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Slumdog – Friday with Husband, Milk – Monday with the girls.)

But if I get a pedicure, my trotters will look lovely (it’s all relative) and I can read while they do it because I don’t often waste my time with manicures. I’ve never really felt grown up enough to have colour on my fingers. It makes me feel like I’m trying to be someone else.

Anyway… what to do? Ho hum.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In honour of my editing head

Ode to the Spell Check

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It cam with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew!

Taken from here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More on mentoring

I thought it was about time to come back and tell you about the mentoring process as I’m experiencing it with The Literary Consultancy. I'm far enough into the process now to see some of its results.

I can submit up to ten thousand words, six times to my mentor. She (in my case) will report back within two weeks (usually around a week in my experience.) You can find further details of what the mentoring deal includes here.

Someone once said to me that I was brave submitting a first draft to anyone to look over, but the truth is, it’s not a first draft. I write the ten thousand words and then I edit them. They aren’t finished, but not are they as rough as a first draft either.

My first ten thousand words were ready to go as soon as the agreement was made. I had been working on these for such a long time that several friends were concerned I was only ever going to have ten thousand, fully polished, words. While I waited for the first report to come back I worried. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to write another ten thousand words in six weeks; I worried what the report would say. The report came back with a good balance of positive and critical comments.

I did manage to write the second ten thousand words and I sent them off after the six week interval. I worried again. This time I worried that the first section had been a fluke. I thought that my mentor would come back and say ‘Oh, what happened? The first section showed promise … what happened to these words?’ The second report came back and instead of the above, there was a good balance again of positive and critical comments.

I was beginning to believe that I could get the words down. I had written two lots of 10k of words… I could probably write another 10k, couldn’t I?

However, the third ten thousand words were much harder. I really needed the growing belief that I could do it. The novelty had worn away a bit and it was hard slog. I had quite a few personal issues to worry about. It was Christmas and I was going away with my family but I would have to work while on holiday as I was a behind with the words. I sent off the third section with a covering note saying that I had struggled with these words. My mentor wrote back saying that the process is flexible and next time to take a bit longer until I am happier. That way, her comments are extending me rather than correcting things I already know. When the report came back she had included lots of positive and critical comments and told me that in general, it felt underwritten. This was a crucial comment that helped me understand my pattern of work.

Bitterly disappointed that I’d let myself down, I sat down to write the fourth ten thousand words. Somewhere during this writing, I discovered that I had two distinct heads (metaphorical heads, silly!) The reason I hadn’t been able to get the third lot of words into order was because I had creative head on and in order to polish, I needed editing head and I simply hadn’t recognised that. As long as I knew which head I needed to sit down with I was able (mostly) to conjure the right attitude. I also realised that I always need to return and flesh out … hence the underwriting.

So here I am two thousand words into the fifth ten thousand words. I know what’s coming in the story but I have absolutely no clue as to how I am going to get there. BUT, I have a developed a relaxed attitude to this, a faith almost, that it will happen. I hadn't had any idea either how to get from one word to one thousand words, but that had happened and more.

It’s like being an alcoholic, one day at a time or in my case, one scene at a time.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Bits and Bobs again

My posts on Friday and Saturday came courtesy of Blogger scheduling. What was really happening was that the children and I were off, straight from school, to Singapore for Daughter’s gymnastic competition. Husband has been away for almost a week - partly on a corporate jolly (Thailand Open) and partly on a personally jolly (to take his Padi Advanced Scuba diving course.)

Today, we are back to normal. Children are in school and I am back at work on the novel: next stop 50,000. I have a quiet week and I am a bit behind so my head is down, although I have just put the wordmeter up by a further thousand. Ya hoo.

The apartment is strewn with clothes from the mountains of washing that comes from travelling. Clothes are hanging up to dry in every available space. It’s like having lots of very quiet people hanging around, waiting for a party to start. Husband’s wet suit is hanging up in the bath room, and every time I go in there, I think the Milk Tray man has broken in to the apartment. I consider wrestling the chocolate from him before giving him a good shove off the balcony and then I realise it’s just the suit.

I am struggling a bit with Owen Meany. It’s beautiful and the characterisation is wonderful … but I’m waiting for something to grip me and make me desperate to read on. I reckon I’m not quite a third of the way through. I take it you all think I should persevere?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Spotted in Bangkok

Look what I found in Bangkok! In Kinokuniya.

Rowan's book, The Accidental Family. Another Novel Racer's book in Bangkok. Hurrah.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


I was once voted person with the nicest handwriting. To be fair, there were only four of us present. (And we are a group of friends who will derive more fun inventing a complex voting systems to decide which DVD we’re going to watch, than the actual watching of the DVD.) One of us has mad handwriting (HPoP) and you should see the way she holds the pen; one writes like a serial killer (TA) and Husband is left handed. Enough said really; I only won by default.

I used to write long, long letters to pen friends. It was the same as liking the sound of your own voice, only in writing… (Hey, blog readers, you’re free to come and go; my poor pen pal had to read them and answer!) I used to love the way the texture of the paper changed when I’d filled it with writing – particularly biro words. The pressure of a biro does something delectable to the paper and it goes all crinkly. Life just isn’t the same with those modern gel pens.

Sometimes I come over all traditional and get my ink pen out. I’ll start writing and about four lines down, my handwriting will disintegrate into a hideous murdered spider sprawl. Thinking about it, there are three doctors in my family… do you think I could blame the handwriting genes which surely come with the doctoring gene? You've seen those prescriptions, right?

I have a friend who has recently left me handwritten notes as she hands over a job to me. She is from Louisiana and is twenty five odd years older than I am. Despite being from different continents and of different generations, we both write in Roman script and yet I can’t read her writing. I mean, it’s almost illegible to me. Not because she's untidy, or like me has lost the ability, but because of the style she was taught.

So this article, on the death of handwriting, had me hyperventilating. The idea that in a hundred years we might need an expert to decipher early 21st century handwriting actually makes me feel a bit sick. And I can see how that might come true.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

More bits and bobs

This is definitely taking research too far… particularly the penultimate paragraph! So nearly a big ‘ouch’.

Liz has been to the Emirates Airlines International Festival of Literature in Dubai and she is doing some great write ups from her notes – go here to check out some more. This post, following a talk from Kate Mosse (in conversation with Paul Blezard) had me cheering loudly when I read Kate Mosse did not become a writer until she was 43! YAY TO THAT.

• And finally, gorgeous Angie has given me an award. I am very touched by her lovely words and those that come with the award.

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers."

I’d like to pass it on to Leigh, HelenMH and Karen.

• No doubt as a result of my smugness, there’s already a suspicious pile up of paper on my desk. EEEEK. How did that happen? Must deal with it; must deal, now! Breathe! Breathe...

Monday, March 02, 2009

Bits and Bobs

I am smug today because my office and my desk are tidy.

Sorry I should have warned you, shouldn’t I? I should’ve said ‘turn away now if you don’t want to see a flagrant declaration of smugness.’ Sorry about that.

Just in case I was getting above myself, though, I’ve been whacked back down to earth with the news that the TLC writing holiday isn’t going ahead. I was stupidly sad back in Sept/Oct and out of that misery came the mentoring which is going well… This time I am disappointed but, with the mentoring in place, I’m not foolishly miserable as I might be winging a trip to the UK instead… last two weeks in April … watch this space.)

Husband has been very odd these last few days… If you remember, he issued a request, a while ago, that I not buy any more books until I had inflicted a major dent in my TBR pile. He keeps threatening to come here to my comments and tell you all how many books there are on my pile. He even suggested he might not count them – which would take a while – but he’d invent a silly number to the power of ten, or something. Then at the weekend, he said ‘I’ll make you a deal. I’ll stop nagging about the TBR pile if you read ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ next.


That’s so easy. I’ll read it, then. He could’ve said ‘Running With Scissors’ in which case I’d have to have pretended to read it and keep on hiding the books I’d bought since I promised not to buy any more, just in case he finds me out.

Then he said ‘I tell you what, our copy is in England; I’ll even buy it for you.’

What is going on?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Tidy me

Blergh. I’ve spent all day tidying my office. I promised myself I’d get going on it before I start my next 10,000 words which I must be tomorrow. It was disgusting. There were several toppling piles of paper and they were all crucial too; I couldn’t just tip them into a bin bag. I’d got papers from school, travel documents for Singapore next weekend, vital notes about novel one and novel two.

In fact, I had to tidy up before I start writing again, because somewhere there was a graph of which character was what age in what year and I’m starting to get confused. Now I know exactly where it is.

I spent the whole time listening to BBC’s World Book Club podcasts. I’ve listened to David Guterson, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Annie Proulx, David Lodge, Chinua Achebe, John Irving and Khaled Hosseini. Not wasted time at all and my desk and area are looking lovely and tidy.

I haven’t quite finished tidying … I’ve got some piles of books to find a home for (there isn’t a home – every shelf is already full of double stacked books) and some magazines to make decisions about (they’re destined for the recycling bin but I hate throwing magazines away – what if I need the information again?) I’ve also got a gargantuan box of papers to go through but they’re really old so I can ignore them for a bit longer.

Still, I got a bit over excited and prematurely got my Dymo label maker out. I’m sure I’ll be much more organised from now on…