Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Beautiful Blogger!

Ages ago, during the dark period of The Book That Would Not Die, Francine nominated me for a Beautiful Blogger award. Well, now I’ve been to the hairdressers and had my grey roots touched up and have slapped some lovely peony pink nail varnish on my toes (mostly on the nails, but a bit on my actual toes as well) I’m ready to accept it. Here are the five questions I have to answer to qualify. (And my answers, of course.)

1. Where were you five years ago?

  • In May 2005 we were still - just - living in our old house and I was feeling nostalgic and wistful about packing up to move here in mid-June. Daughter #3 was about to start Big School, so the packing inevitably involved getting rid of vast quantities of small pink items of clothing and baby toys.
  • Hovering around the computer (ancient hunk of beige space junk that was finally consigned to the skip in the council tip in January) to check emails 58 times a day and see if an editor at Richmond had got back to me about my partial submission (the one that grew up to become The Italian’s Defiant Mistress a year later)
  • Working, on a very part-time and reluctant basis, at Laura Ashley.Camping out in the new house while we ripped out the kitchen and knocked down walls.
    Writing in bed on a laptop with Ruby the Airhead Cat while builders trooped in and out downstairs.

2. What is/was on your things to do list?

Back then my things to do list would have looked something like this…

  • Finish packing
  • Finish unpacking
  • Finish decorating (just one room would be an achievement, but I don’t think I’ve ever managed it. When I decorate there’s always a length of skirting board or a bit of doorframe that retains its yellowing gloss paint as I always lose interest before the end.)
  • Finish working at Laura Ashley
  • Finish book

3. What 5 snacks do you enjoy?

  • Toast and honey
  • Tunnocks Tea cakes – not just because they’re utterly delicious and surely that marshmallowy stuff inside consists mainly of air and is therefore virtually calorie-free, but because their retro red and silver striped wrappers add a jaunty air to any teatime table. Although mainly I scoff them straight from the biscuit tin.

  • Dark chocolate ginger biscuits.
  • Chocolate-covered salted pretzels (Trenda, I love you)
  • Carrot sticks*

    (*one of these may not be strictly true, but has been added in the interests of promoting a healthy balanced diet to the readers of this blog.)
4. What 5 places have you lived?
  • This house
  • The big Victorian house with the Minton tiled hallway and the collection of traffic cones in the front garden, at University in Manchester
  • The studio flat He and I shared when we first got together that was so small you could make a cup of tea in the ‘kitchen’ without getting out of bed
  • The 1930s house we bought because we loved its original period features, and could afford it because the estate agent called them ‘scope for modernization.’
  • This house again.

5. What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?

  • Ah. Let me just state from the outset that I would make the world’s worst billionaire. Too much choice and too many important decisions utterly messes with my head, so the first thing I would have to do was offload the vast bulk of my fortune to prevent myself spending it all on Tunnocks tea cakes and dying prematurely of a condition related to excessive marshmallow consumption. Obviously, I’d offload the cash by donating it to friends, family and lots of Very Worthwhile Causes rather than buying hideous coffin-sized designer handbags and status transport (cars, yachts, jets and all that), but I’d have to hire someone to choose the causes from my longlist or I’d go completely mad, lying awake haunted by thoughts of the people I had neglected to help. I’d also…
  • Get one of these...

I’d really love a little cottage in the middle of nowhere (as someone who is incapable of thinking far enough ahead to shop for an entire week I’m not cut out for life too far from civilization long term so a permanent move would be off the cards) but would find it impossible to choose between the wilds of Scotland, the Northumberland coast, or lush green Herefordshire cider-country, so this would be the ideal solution.

  • Pay for Ruby the Airhead Cat to go into an expensive Rehabilitation Facility for Serial Bird Killers.
  • Only ever wear cashmere socks.
  • Still probably become an obsessive, paranoid recluse who would be convinced all my friends only like me for my money and would alienate everyone by forcing embarrassingly large amounts of cash on them all the time. My children would probably turn into despotic divas with unhealthy addictions to plastic surgery and online gambling and I’d end up living alone in my caravan with Ruby the Reformed Serial Bird Killer Cat and my collection of cashmere socks.

    And that’s why I don’t bother with the lottery.
If anyone else fancies doing this let me know because I'd love to read your answers. (The Three Kates? Michelle? You Minxes? Go on!)


Rachel said...

Dear India,

Do the Tunnocks tea cakes have a blob of jam at the bottom?

I need to know.

Lots of love,


Francine said...


OMG,the deck chairs bring back memories of childhood camp fires and toasted marshmallows!

And, how unfair is that to post an image of chocolate tea cake for someone like me who lives in the back of beyond. So cruel!! ;)


India said...

Oooh no Rach, nothing so low rent. And the marshmallowy stuff isn't that rigid, foam-like kind either, but the very, very gooey stuff that you can scoop out with your finger. (ahem) Probably. Not that I've tried it or anything.

Francine, I've been having a bit of a deckchair moment during this recent hot spell - surely they are, actually, the perfect reading-in-the-garden design, so why did they ever go out of fashion?

I reckon that tea cakes are exactly the kind of thing that fusty village corner shops would sell. I can just imagine them side by side on a shelf with a faded box of Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewells. Your challenge is to find some!

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Love the post. Send some tea cakes my way along with your next book! xx

India said...

Marilyn, given what happened to the last book I sent (when the envelope arrived torn and empty) I hate to imagine the marshmallow carnage that could ensue if I put teacakes in with the next one! But I will try...!

(Balfour books haven't landed here yet, but as soon as they do I'll be making a huge fuss about it. The UK covers are gorgeous!)

Kate Hardy said...

Re #5... your friends love you for who you are. Money's not important.

(And I'll do it next week when I've finished this book. Honest.)

India said...

Look forward to reading it!

Acquiring sudden wealth must do weird things to your friendships though, mustn't it? I mean, you'd definitely want to share it with them, but then you risk embarrassing people or looking patronising by being over-generous, or alternatively seeming really mean. Not that I've thought about it too deeply or anything.

(At this point I probably should say, incase any of my friends win the lottery this weekend, that I definitely think it's best to err on the side of being over-generous. I wouldn't be embarrassed, honest...)

Sally Clements said...

Hi India. Did it! you can check my answers out by scrolling down my blog,
x Sally Minx

Maisey said...

India, I've only just discovered your blog! Wonderful stuff. And this post killed me...when asked what she would do if she were a billionaire, one of my CPs said she's seduce her virgin secretary. :D

Now I'm off to spend the evening surfing your's way past evening...oh well...*hums*

India said...

Hey Sally - sorry, I missed your comment. Will very belatedly (even by my standards!) get myself over to your blog!

Hi Maisey - huge welcome, especially because your CP's answer to the billionaire question has had me smirking through an hour of ironing! Hope you'll visit again, honey.