Tuesday, 30 November 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...(dare I say it?) Christmas.

Oh yes. Not only is it snowing, in a charming, fluffy, Pinewood studios way but, dear blog readers, I can smugly reveal that I have survived my first assault on the shops, and even have a stash of carrier bags under the bed to show for it. Yesterday* saw the annual concert of the Young Voices Choir (not to be confused with New Voices, which I have constantly done over the past couple of months, much to the irritation of my daughters and no doubt editors and other writers to whom I've conversed on the subject of the recent M&B contest) at the MEN arena in Manchester in which the daughters’ primary school always take part. Over the years this event has become a sort of seasonal starter’s whistle in my mind; the children are whisked away to warm up their vocal chords and us mums are deposited in the centre of Manchester with an entire day and a whole lot of extremely yummy shops at our disposal. As a campaign veteran (the t-shirt worn by daughter #3 yesterday says Young Voices 2003 on it and has been worn by both sisters) I now know that it’s a mistake to slip into Harvey Nichols champagne bar too early, so held off until we had more bags than we could comfortably carry and had spent more money than we could comfortably afford (and had tried on more perfume in Selfridges than was perhaps quite sociable. But at least it meant we could spread all our shopping out nicely.)

After the shopping and champagne comes the squeezing carrier bags into the narrow tiered seats of the arena and watching 6000 children sing their socks off. I have actually used the little circling device on my computer to show you where daughter #3 was, but you can't even see the circle. She's in the last section lit by white light, next to the blue-lit one. See her? Yes, there! Isn't she gorgeous?

There's always a moment when the children start to sing and the hairs on the back of your neck rise. This year it was their version of Cyndi Lauper's True Colours that set me off. Sniff. I knew that second glass of wine was a mistake.

(I was too busy reaching for the tissues to record that bit, but did remember to whip my phone out and find the camcorder function a little later. Here's one minute of World in Union. In the corner of the screen you can see the fabulous light up balloons we took so the children could spot us!)

Anyway, after getting back at midnight last night and waking up to thick snow this morning, today has had a funny kind of suspended-reality feeling that has been most un-conducive to getting stuck into the next book, and most conducive to getting stuck into the stash of posh Harvey Nicks mince pies I bought as presents. Oh dear. (Am clearly very closely in touch with my inner cavewoman and compelled by a primitive instinct to lay down winter fat to keep out savage cold. However, since cavewomen were not burdened with the task of buying three thousand Christmas presents or fitting into jeans, I probably should pay more attention to my outer 21st century writer-with-a-deadline-and-half-a-stone-to-lose and step away from the HN foodhall bags.)

On a positive note, I have managed to do a bit of light packaging up, so books will be on their way to Kristy, Ruth, Joanne, Denise, Janette, Kelly, Joanna, Mary, Amanda and Amanda. I don’t have as many copies of Her Last Night of Innocence as I’d thought, since on closer examination the box that I thought was filled with them contained a number of translation copies too Japanese Spanish Aristocrat anyone? Or Greek Powerful Italian? If you'd like a book in any other language let me know and I'd be delighted to send you one if I have it.

Right, had better pile on a few more layers and brave Siberian conditions to go to the post office. Am already looking like a cross between a teletubby and an extra in Dr Zhivago, however. Hope I don't meet anyone I know. How's the weather with you?

*was, in fact, Monday, but since I have the kind of goldfish brain that can't retain information like how to upload stuff from phone to blog this didn't get posted yesterday. Sorry!


Brigitte said...

We're having snow as well, although not as bad as you lot. Snow was announced for today, but have only seen the odd snowflake so far. It's much worse in other parts of France.
When I see the pictures on the telly all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with hot chocolate and a book by you-know-who. Wait a minute, I actually did - this morning!
BTW the voices are amazing.
Stay warm.

Brussel sprout said...

I just finished reading Her Last Night of Innocence and then read your blog and I can't believe how you were tussling with Cristiano and Kate - the story was utterly readable and fun.

Joanna St. James said...

I am going to assume that Joanna is me and start yelling thank you! thank you! if its not me then maybe awkward silence will ensue.
Cyndi Lauper got my hubs to watch The Apprentice she is truly crazy and sweet.
Enjoy the snow all we've had is rain in Corsica.

India said...

Hello Brigitte!! Lovely to hear from you. Our snow has thawed and re-frozen now, so it's no longer pretty but just dirty-looking and utterly deadly. Ho hum. Glad you enjoyed the book, and the hot chocolate! xxx

Ahhh, Brussel Sprout (it's a bad time of year for you - no?) thank you so, so much for that. I was looking back at some of the blog posts I did when I was writing Cristiano and Kate, and although I probably kept most of the despair to myself, it did keep creeping through! (see http://indiagrey.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-would-you-do.html )Anyway, it's fab to hear that you liked the finished result.

Joanna, it IS you! Book is on its way. And I bet Corsica is beautiful in any weather...

Trenda said...

Not even a whisper of snow here, but that's Mississippi for you. Lovely daughter is wishing like mad for it. Son is more realistic. :-)

Loved the video you posted. Such sweet and gorgeous voices!



Amanda Gardner said...

It's rather cold here in Florida, 49 degrees Fahrenheit as the high right now(2:15 pm EST). It is supposed to drop to the thirties or high twenties later tonight. So everyone has to bundle up with this weather.

India said...

Trenda and Amanda, do you ever get snow? Here it's pretty rare. My brother, on the Eastern side of the country, gets it much more often and in far greater quantities, much to my children's disappointment. I've got to say, it is a disruption when it comes, although this winter has been absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The greatest hazard I face on the way to school is being so busy looking over the frozen fields that I don't look where I'm going!

Take care and keep warm xxx

Amanda Gardner said...

The most northern part of Florida might get snow but the area that I live in(about an hour from Disney)doesn't get snow.

I have been to California and Washington state when it was winter and snowing so I know what you mean about the snow being beautiful and distracting.

Trenda said...

India, snow is truly a rarity here. When we do have it, it's only an inch or so deep and melts so quickly we're left to wonder if it was ever there to begin with. Have dropped you a line via email. Hope you are feeling oodles better.


xx Trenda