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How to be… Bored

how to be good

Phil: I’ll be honest that when you see, “I loved this book” Julie Burchill, Mail on Sunday, in the front of a book, it’s probably not for me. On the other hand, it pretty much sums this book up.

“How to be Good” is a million copy (presumably copies sold, although the odd phrasing makes me wonder) book by Nick Hornby. The plot revolves around London GP Katie Carr who starts the story by telling he husband she wants a divorce. After this, he has an epiphany and transforms from a pain in the backside to over-good. Which annoys Katie.

Well, that’s what the back of the book says. I’ll be honest that I got bored and gave up two chapters in.

This is unusual for me. I can normally stick it out but this time, no.

For a start, I didn’t like or care about any of the characters. Kate is annoyingly smug. Her husband is a wa****r. If they’d died in a head on collision with a rotary snow plough it would have been both a great relief and an excellent opening for an episode of Casualty.

Worse, they exist in that special part of London where media types live in a bubble. Everyone earns loads, lives in nice houses, find as much time as they need to hold down a job yet lunch with a wide variety of cliché friends. The job doesn’t have to be the sort of thing that in the real world pays enough to exist in this special world either. Thus, hubby can knock out a weekly opinion column for the local paper and none of the children are sent out to clean chimneys to keep the family afloat.

The beauty of setting your story in the London bubble is it will garner plenty of good reviews from critics like Birchill (OK, she live in Brighton but that’s London-on-Sea) who exist in the same world. I bet the café bars of Hoxton were full of people reading this on their iKindles. I just hope the pubs of Solihull are as kind when our book appears.

In case you are thinking I should have given the book a bit more of a chance by the way, I did. I read the last 6 pages before abandoning it. With some books you do this and think, I want to know how we got here.”. Not this time.

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Shoehorning it all in

Candice: I’ve jus2014-09-08 13.30.14t had a day off to look after my daughter.  She’s normally looked after by the in laws on a Monday but they had the audacity to decide to go on holiday for a week!  It was actually nice as I don’t get to spend much time with her so I thought we’d have a jolly day doing the kind of things Richard has been doing for the last 6 months.

I had a plan, with a long list of things to get done, shoehorned around her naps and a trip to Leamington to meet Phil.  By the time I left at 11am to meet him I was already behind but got to the cafe in good time.  We had a jolly lunch the three of us and then a wander round the shops.  However, by the time I’d picked up a parcel and driven back to my house I was behind again as the olds had already arrived. 

My parents had indicated they wanted to see Erin as they hadn’t for a week so I said pop round but I have got things to do.  I had a haircut booked for 5pm and then needed to get some company stuff done before Rich got home.

By the time he did get home I was frazzled as I’d been trying to fit this all in.  Then of course I have my blog post to write too.

Its now 9pm on Monday night and I haven’t stopped all day.  I’ll be going back to work tomorrow for a rest.

My problem is I see a day off or a weekend as an opportunity to get a lot of things done.  But then probably plan too much.  Its also been awhile since I’ve looked after the little person and I’ve forgotten how time constraining it is.  With feeds every four hours you’ve got to get the most in in the mean time. I bet K Middy doesn’t feel like this, with a 13 month old and one on the way the army of nannies most definitely helps!

People always say to me, “I don’t know how you manage to do so much”.  With that they mean regular gym sessions, work, writing, socialising.  Well I think today was an example why I do, but I probably didn’t give myself or anyone else a decent amount of time.

I’m off to chill and watch Doctor Who with a glass of wine, I need it!

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Finding happiness in small things.

LollypopPhil: The publishers response (blogged last Thursday) caused some discussion at our airport cafe lunch venue. Rather more than the sandwiches which were, to be honest, a little stale.

Maybe the unseasonably warm weather had something to do with the state of the bread as well as our good spirits. If so, then all is forgiven as sitting outside watching the ‘planes go by was lovely. Both of us felt the same way, even “You can give me criticism and I’ll give you a knuckle sandwich” Nolan who was more concerned with trying to get as much of suntan as you can in 45 minutes while wearing work clothes.

The reply was disappointing but there were hints of promise too. Like a jump lead for our enthusiasm, it has revved up the nolanparker creative engine and some serious fiddling with the manuscript is apparently underway by my co-writer. I await the results with a mix of excitement and trepidation.

WordPress provides another measure of our progress. A week or so ago, we were awarded a badge for breaking the 20 followers barrier. Apparently this is a new feature designed to encourage all of us bloggers to follow each other until no one has time to write anything because we’re all too busy reading blog posts. I suppose that someone in WordPress headquarters has decided we all need little prizes to encourage us to keep hammering the keyboard, hence the new badges which you can read about here. Don’t just look at visitor numbers, although Robin Coyle seems happy doing this, you get a badge. Woo hoo.

They say good things come in threes and as you can see from the photo, and the real reason for this post, it does. Dear reader, feast your eyes upon my first ever prize for a sporting endeavor.

As you might guess from our headline picture, I’m not very good at sport. Look up “Last to be picked at school for any team” in the dictionary, there is a picture of me. In fact I can confidently claim to be utterly useless at any sport. You might laugh at Eddie the Eagle, but he’s Franz Klammer compared to me. Candice has medallions for running – apparently putting one foot in front of another lots of times and traversing a distance without the aid of St Johns ambulance is something to be reward with a medal, even if you’d probably prefer a Mars bar. Me. Nothing. I don’t think I even got a swimming certificate.

Sometimes this isn’t for want of trying. Every month I go Ten Pin bowling (yes, this is a sport, just like darts) with a group of friends. For at least 3 years this has been happening most months. Enough time for some of the practise to bear fruit you might think. No chance. I’m actually getting worse !

Sometimes though, even I get a break. On the score screen last night popped up a promise that if you got a strike on the next throw, a prize would be awarded. No one in our group has won this, not even Dave who is so keen that he has his own ball and shoes. Not until last night, when I lobbed the ball down the alley and knocked every pin down ! Expecting a triumphant presentation, perhaps with some champagne spraying and pretty girls like they get in Formula 1, I waited.

And waited.

For quite a while. Until we’d nearly finished the game in fact. Maybe they were busy setting up the ceremony I thought.

Eventually, I couldn’t bear it any longer and wandered over to the shoe swap counter to ask.

“You get a lollypop.” said the man in charge of shoes and shoe spray, “But I haven’t got any.”

Thwarted. I returned to the game but my heart wasn’t in it. I mean, the Olympics this year had better be more organised. “I’m sorry Mr Bolt, we forgot to order enough medals. You don’t mind do you ?” won’t go down too well.

Eventually they realised that I wasn’t a man to be trifled with and by the end of the evening, the prize had arrived. No champagne or eye candy, but hey ho, it’s not much but I’m proud of it. A plinth is under construction along with a trophy cabinet. At least I don’t have to polish it.

Little things.

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