Life has been busy since we arrived home from India. We had barely unpacked before Husband set off again, for Germany. I’m sure this was an essential work trip, and not because I am very irritable when I’m jet-lagged. It took me a few days to readjust my clock, which was fine because waking before the rest of the country is not unpleasant, though I did have a tendency to collapse at about 7pm. I was cooking at lunch club on Friday, so the first couple of days were busy with shopping and making ginger sponges for pudding. I cooked my default meal: roast gammon, roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower cheese, and sweetcorn. It went okay, and we served 36 dinners.
The following day, we were organising a church social. Well, to be precise, Husband was organising a church social, as when it was planned way back in October, I told him that after Christmas and new year and a trip to India, I would NOT be helping to then arrange an evening of entertainment for the church family. But he didn’t listen. He arrived home from Frankfurt Friday evening, and spent all day Saturday getting things ready.
Due to my refusal to help, he ordered fish and chips for everyone. This worked really well, and the shop delivered 45 portions, all boxed and ready to eat, with tiny sachets of salt and vinegar. All I had to do was hand them out to people. Everyone had brought puddings, and we had a table of drinks.
It was a fun evening. Everyone was put into teams, and each team was given a box of challenges to complete in 45 minutes. These ranged from drawing a portrait of a team member, to building the highest tower with the paper and tape provided. It was an evening for the whole church family, so we had young children and elderly, but there was something for everyone, and lots of opportunities to chat. Which is probably the main purpose. One of the activities was to complete a jigsaw puzzle, which was probably impossible in 45 minutes, but it was rather pleasant to join puzzle pieces while chatting to other people on the table.
On Sunday, daughter and dbf popped home. We went for lunch at The Bell in Godstone, which is the only pub I know which offers a complete alternative menu for vegans. (I pretended I had known this in advance, and chosen it specially, but actually it was a complete fluke!) Then we went for a very wet dog walk and lazed around watching television.
I found an old book about grammar, and read out interesting snippets to people, which I’m sure added to their enjoyment of Lord of the Rings. For example, did you know that you should use ‘was’ for things that are certain (I was at the cinema) and ‘were’ for things that are uncertain (If I were to go to the cinema…)? Or that Samuel Johnson put together the first English dictionary in 1755, and thereby standardised spelling. But Noah Webster found all the silent letters very annoying, so he produced an alternative, American, dictionary in 1828, which spelt words the way they sound: center not centre, and color not colour. Which is why, even today, American spelling is different to English spelling.
I also made a Kindle paperback of JOANNA. I was hoping it would be listed first on Amazon, above all the annoying secondhand copies. But it’s not, it appears to be listed separately. So, if you live in the UK, don’t buy that version – the first edition version can still be bought, which is a nicer quality book. You just need to check you are buying a new copy when you order one. However, the Kindle paperback version does now mean that people in other countries can order physical copies of the book, so I will leave it there. I’ve sold quite a few other books in the US, Australia, and various parts of Europe, and now JOANNA is available in those countries too.
Today, I will try to catch up with life a little. I feel as if I have been running since November, and I have piles of stuff around the house which need to be sorted. I then need to start planning the launch of CLARA, which I’m very excited about. The manuscript is finally with the printer, and the order placed. I had to decide how many copies to print. I was very tempted to print fewer books than previously. I really find the selling bit difficult – since my operation, I find approaching strangers and telling them about my books, to be really scary. On the other hand, I feel that CLARA is a book that should be read. I know it’s controversial, that some people will find it difficult, but it says so much. It tells the story of the women I met in the slums, and it has layers of messages hidden in the depths of the story. It is a gripping story, but I hope it will be more than that. So, I was brave, and have ordered 500 copies. I need to work out the price, as it’s a fatter (and therefore more expensive) book than JOANNA, but I think £12.99 will be about right. I’ll let you know. If you want to preorder a copy, send me a message via my Facebook page.They sent me a copy of the cover to approve, so I’ll let you have a sneaky preview.