I've been a really rubbish blogger this year, largely because, without the rolling drama of deadlines and new books to start every 4 months there's not much to write about. The book I'm writing is slowly taking shape into something that I could just about imagine submitting, though it's not finished yet. In writing terms, 2012 has been such a steep learning curve I've needed crampons and a grappling hook, and although I've mostly enjoyed the climb I can't help hoping that 2013 lies on more even terrain. (Paved. With benches placed at regular intervals along it. And nice shops.) Anyway, thank you everyone for loyally checking in to read my sporadic and less than scintillating posts (many of which seemed to centre around not posting much.) If I could send you all chocolate I would, but as that's not possible I'm going to give you the emergency recipe for brownie in a mug that's got me through many a day when the words aren't flowing. Give a girl a brownie and she'll eat for a day. Give her a recipe for brownie in a mug and she has a failsafe fix for a lifetime of chocolateless afternoons.
Chuck 2 tablespoons of plain flour, 2 of sugar (I like to use 1 caster, 1 soft brown) 1 of cocoa powder, 1 of vegetable oil and 1 of water into a mug. Add a drop of vanilla essence and mix it into a revolting-looking paste. Put in the microwave for a minute or so, depending on your microwave. (You might have to experiment a bit here, which is no bad thing.)
When it comes out it will still look revolting, but as you're not serving it to your mother-in-law that doesn't matter. Eat it standing up in the kitchen, with the addition of Amaretto cream if it's Christmas.
This has been our first Christmas for 13 years without nativity plays, carol concerts, the need to make 50 mini sausage rolls (or cheese and pineapple on sticks) for the class party or write a poem for the talent show, so thus far the run up to festivities for me has been marked solely by... shopping. Oh, and cleaning the oven. However, now I have declared myself officially on holiday am going to spend the rest of the afternoon watching low-budget, made-for-TV tearjerkers and eat the Quality Street I bought for the bin men and forgot to leave out yesterday.
Happy Christmas to all of you. Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, I'm wishing you love, laughter, hot baths and good books. And for the phone not to ring during the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey.