The Greenhouse



The Literary Festival, The Dripping Tap, and “Priapic”

I have recently performed in a literary festival, I had a lovely audience all of who were serious writers and particularly wanted to talk about historical faction which as you all know !!!! is my genre. They made notes and one of them drew my picture. It was all very humbling and I found it rewarding and I hope it was for them. However there is ever what they call a snake in the fruit bowl This was a heckler who came noisily into the back when I was in full flow and began to interrupt with fatuous questions. I was very impressed with my audience who all swivelled their chairs and gave her the death stare for which I will always love them. The offender had the last word though , those sorts always do , she left noisily did not close the door and her voice could be heard like a clarion call echoing down the long marble corridor.. “that woman talks pure bollocks,” there was more but it is too hurtful to repeat. However the outrage caused was very gratifying and it does not bode well for her.

We have a dripping tap in the kitchen , relatively easy to sort out one might think but no! I think more women should qualify as plumbers and world would be a far better place. Women just do not have the sort of barmy conversations about these kind of things, I have spent many hours now on this, men love talking smut about ball cocks, fossets nuts and as per, the foreign gentleman, cock stops, they have a funny look on their faces when they do this, and I will not be sent mad by it no I will not.

“It is the duty of the nobleman to provide employment for the artisan” we are told by Hilaire Bellock, well I think I may become a plumber so noble men watch your backs.I can talk bollocks as well.

In the same mode I recently remarked to the Sainted One that men were very priapic and as the sad recurrence of sex crimes flashes (this is a pun) on our screens and in the papers men were obsessed with that part of their anatomy, and a lot of them seem to want show it to people. The response was instant and visceral “You women are just as bad he said, always thinking about their…..” I thought quickly about how difficult it was for women to expose themselves if they had the urge which none of them do , I mean you would have to lie down or something and that would be so difficult on the school run in midwinter we are not designed for it, I have never heard of fanny flashing but it sets one thinking.

Naim Attallah, Cancer is My Teacher and the Mail on Sunday.

Naim Attallah is an old fashioned gentleman , he is the kind of man who represents a generation where decisions were based on inspiration rather than balance sheets, and he makes things happen with universal charm. He has published three of my novels and there is another in the pipe line. It has been a lesson in how things can be done, everyone who works with him adores him. Believe me I have had a great deal of experience with publishers and it is seldom thus. I once heard a publisher say that he liked his life, if it wasn’t for the authors which is rather like saying love France but hate the French.

When my daughter “Lucie” Lucy O Donnell, produced a book about cancer and her experiences, ( Cancer is My Teacher) she showed it to him and he published it in the same seamless way he had published my own. Of course the book is a runaway success, it is now on a third printing and read by people all over the world. This weekend it is to be serialized in The Mail on Sunday. It was only published two weeks ago. Above you will see pictures which show him with his two authors at the launch. If there were publishing Oscars he deserves one.

The Miniaturist, Escape, and Vest Sowing.

Really I have had enough with people who start on about e books and tell me I am a waste of space because I write books which are made of paper and along with others sit around on nice shelves until someone picks them up and reads them and then maybe passes them on. Books are, apart from the wheel and penicillin the greatest of mans’ achievements, imagine reading the bible as an e book, or in future years inviting people into your fabulous library floating around somewhere in the ether obtainable on a health hazard key pad. Most peoples by the way are literally crawling with every known bug plus samples of wee, semen, naval cheese, and big jobs. I have just left cleansing antiseptic wipes and cotton buds on the sainted one’s “console” which is a curious grey colour, and as for the so called mouse it is more like an plague carrying rat , in fact I think it is stuck to the desk.

Now back to the pristine joy of books, I have nearly finished the Miniaturist a first novel by Jessie Burton of quite astonishing genius , so good that I read the last bit very slowly because I don’t want it to end. This book has taken a great deal of research and if the authors pleasure in writing it was as wonderful as the readers she must be a happy girl. I too am happy because finally I am really back into the second half of my novel Summers Grace, the characters have been patiently waiting as if for a guest who was rather late but nevertheless welcome. They were still there , eager to get on with their lives, they want to take me to some marvellous places, the north Atlantic , a farm house in Clapham, Mr Handel’s house in London where he is about to write the Messiah, a perfect Elizabethan house in Chichester, the court of George 2nd , and maybe ????? well they haven’t told me yet , but there is a fearful villain I will not divulge his name, but he is a low cunning person and Grace must watch out. Oh the joy of it!

On darker note the S O is coming up for the vest sowing in and also the sealing up of all the windows with grey chewing gum, he is not allowed to do the rooms I sleep and work in, angry geusts get covered in the stuff when they need to open the guest bedroom windows, this always makes me a bit upset I get the blame of course and then the notes start horrible sticky paper which has to be scraped off the recently cleaned windows with hot water. Dave the window cleaner came this week and now I can see out which is nice. But there was a bad atmosphere after that though, as apparently due to the economy drive windows can only be done twice a year and Dave came a month early he just said “Yeh Yeh I get that all the time.” Enough already !