"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, November 30, 2007


We're back in the land of freezing temperatures, way too many Presidential aspirants, and free wi-fi.

On collecting the girls at the kennel, we heard the usual excellent report of their behaviour. The kennel keeper observed that Ruth is "the perfect dog"--something our vet has also noted. We're inclined to agree yet strive to keep her grounded. Can't let all these compliments go to her head.

The girls are overjoyed at our return. As I sit on the sofa, reading my way through the boxes (yes, boxes!) of accumulated mail (mostly Xmas catalogs), Jewel slumbers on my chest and Ruth snoozes on her cushion and Lola sprawls upon her downstairs bed.

I concluded my London activities with more shopping. For myself, the usual thrilling items--black tights! bar soap! For family Christmas, things far more splendid.

Given the current rate of currency exchange, in the Thanksgiving season we were espcially thankful for our ability to conduct all financial transactions in pounds sterling. Because during his many years of working in the UK, the Chap earned--and banked--British pounds, which sit there patiently waiting for us to come over and spend them. Which we did, on hotels, meals, socks and tights, small luxuries, lavish presents, tickets to palaces, train fares, Oyster cards...you name it.

Thus, when I queue in Hatchards to buy a book that costs twelve pounds, it really does cost twelve pounds, cash money--rather than 24+ dollars on my credit card.

Speaking of books, on the plane I read the most awesome Carpool Confidential by my friend Jessica. Love love love it. Added it to my sidebar. I've been awaiting this book for what seems like--actually was--years. It far exceeded my expectations, which were astronomically high.

At the aforementioned Hatchards I acquired a nifty nonfic book, The Sickly Stuarts, a medical exposé of how lousy-to-nonexistent the health (and fertility) of the royal family was, resulting in an influx of Hanoverians, who in time morphed into Saxe-Coburgs who later morphed into Windsor-Mountbattens. It was useful for research purposes, but also entertaining. And revealing.

Often when we're Over There, scandals arise or governments fall. Margaret Thatcher. John Major. We never quite managed to see off Tony Blair--though several times it was a near-run thing. Ditto for Gordon Brown, whose his troubles mounted astronomically as the days of our London stay increased. Perhaps it's only Tory governments that we do in?

The phone at the Lodge is constantly shrieking, a sign that the NH Primary approacheth--along with the start of the next legislative session. I'm now shamelessly screening calls. Pollsters, lobbyists, campaign workers--leave a message!

I've already scored what I assume must be a coveted invitation to the Oprah-Obama (yes, in that order) Event.

Today I'm learning to play Silent Night on my mandolin. And doing laundry. And baking cookies for the church's St. Nicholas Fair.

Damn, it's cold outside!

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