Monday, December 15, 2008

The end of an era, well, the end of several actually

The last few weeks have seen a lot of changes; whilst banks and businesses have been collapsing around the world for some time now it's only recently that they've become personal. First to affect me was the demise of Speed Ferries; not just our favoured means of crossing the channel with it's low prices and speedy crossings but the last remaining fast cross channel ferry. My first trip abroad was on a hovercraft so it's sad to think we'll never travel that speedily across the waters again......

Woolworths is another institution I've known all my life. I still recall my excitement as a child poring over the pick 'n' mix, the hours spent looking at records and magazines as a teenager and Christmas shopping as an adult for toys and cookware for friends and family. I'd love to be picking up the bargains at the closing down sale but then again, the faces of the staff who are about to lose their jobs would no doubt dampen any excitement induced at finding half price items......

A business collapse which represents the end of a more recent part of my life is that of the newspaper, French News, the paper on which I first started working as a journalist. It went into liquidation at the beginning of the month. To be honest, I'd sort of seen the way the wind was blowing a few months back and jumped ship but it was still sad to see it disappear with so many staff, correspondents and subscribers left high and dry. France only has one national English language newspaper now - The Connexion and I'm pleased to say I work for them now so my journalistic endeavours in France live on but my thoughts go out to all those who have lost out as a result of it's collapse.............

Finally, this blog wouldn't be complete without paying tribute to the late great Oliver Postgate whose children's programmes so greatly influenced my life and the lives of a generation of British now thirty and forty somethings. From the Clangers to Ivor the Engine, Bagpuss to Noggin the Nog, his programmes provided a gentle and kind view of the world and their production - created in sheds using hand knitted props makes me smile as it is so British. The importance of sheds should never be underestimated...................

Friday, October 31, 2008

From ryan air to private jet

With Britain sliding into recession and house prices tumbling it felt quite strange to be heading for the Jet Centre. No one asked to look at my plastic bag of liquids nor was I required to remove my shoes. Needless to say I didn't have to arrive hours in advance or queue either. Even my luggage was spirited from me. The plane was luxurious; my feet actually sank into the carpet as I climbed aboard. Even the seat-belts were gold plated and everything was covered in a shiny wood veneer. "This must be what it's like for Victoria Beckham," one of our party mused. One thing I hadn't counted on was that the seating would be so different. Of course I expected more space than on Ryanair ; I'm 5 foot one and find it a bit cramped, but I hadn't anticipated sitting sideways on a sofa (white leather and yes, supremely comfortable). As we took off I had a fabulous view out of the opposite window but I was also aware of the sharp climb of our ascent! Slightly hair raising but not as peculiar, a fellow journalist reliably informed me, as her seating position - sitting backwards. There were eight of us on board including an air stewardess who, once we were comfortably cruising, pressed a button to reveal a large dining table. She covered it with a white linen table cloth and breakfast was served. Not just any breakfast either. As well as croissants, pain aux raisins and jams, we each had a curious plateful of exotic fruit which we ate with heavy silver cutlery. It was a promising start to a fascinating press trip - I can't say more about it, I'm busy writing up the interview for a newspaper - but, I must say I fear Ryanair will no longer hold the same appeal for me. Ho hum.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy days spent with aliens

I spent yesterday preparing for a forth -coming press trip. I'm flying so have been busy ensuring my luggage is the right size and that my toiletries are in a clear resealable bag ready for inspection at the airport! I've dug out my Dictaphone, typed out my interview questions, gathered together a clutch of biros and recharged the batteries in my camera. I wanted to get everything sorted out in good time so I could spend the rest of this week engaged in the very serious business of finishing my book. It's called The day of the Slorb and is the follow on from Attack of the Animated Aliens (which you can download for FREE on my website). The Slorb, as you've no doubt surmised are aliens. I'm having a wonderful time writing about them; whilst human characters have to conform to certain parameters, aliens can do and say, well, anything. I'm particularly enjoying creating a whole new language for them. I guess the only downside is that I occasionally find myself speaking Slorb out-loud resulting in very strange looks from friends and strangers alike. Ah,well, it's a small price to pay.............

Friday, October 17, 2008

Website is ready

Much of this week has been swallowed up by French Bureaucracy. Before moving to France, I'd always thought people were exaggerating about the endless form filling and visits to myriad government departments. The penny dropped soon after we moved however, when I asked one of our French neighbours how to register a car. "Go to the Prefecture," she said. "But don't forget to take a packed lunch and a sleeping bag." Ah, well - c'est la vie as they say in these parts.
Anyway, despite all this, my husband Richard has finished constructing my website and my books are now on sale. Watch this space. I've got my fingers firmly crossed for success .......................

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Welcome to my world

Hello and welcome to my blog. When I embarked on my quest to become a published Children's author, I knew it wouldn't be easy; even JK Rowling had trouble at first but, naively, I hadn't anticipated quite so many highs and lows. It's hard to stay positive when the rejection letters keep coming but perseverance is the name of the game if you're going to succeed.
Join me as I continue on my quest. If you're an aspiring author I hope you'll find some inspiration from following my journey!