Monday, 23 March 2015

Ten things I hate and love because it will make me feel better to put them down here.

Like the film which is great but I hate

1. Those dreadful cheery letters people send you to tell you how wonderful their lives are. Liars.

2. Evenings. After Eggheads there is this big scary nothingness which I fill with work, wine and food. For some reason summers are worse than dark nights.

3. Quiz shows where I can never answer anything. Television, sport, personalities, popular songs. With the exception of football ( I wrote a book about it ), tennis and snooker both of which I really like. One other exception I love Eggheads.

4. Television generally, all those dreadful food programmes, reality programmes, dancing, morning news, the people who go around escaping to the country thinking they can keep a couple of sheep in the garden!!  And can afford an Aga but don't know how to use one.

5.  The country anyway, cyclists, tractors, caravans and weekend drivers. I love to go to Weardale but I couldn't bear not to live in the town.

6. People who use fuck instead of breathing or as an adjective.

7. People who think northern accents mean people are stupid or below them.

8. Sweets in general. Cakes, biscuits and cheese flavoured crisps.

9. Religion. It denigrates women.

10. People who tell those with depression to pull themselves together.

I love

1.The Champagne Bar and red wine and white wine.

2. Good homemade food, in particular soup, bread and Indian meals. This varies depending on how I feel.

3. My caravan, which of course is in the country, see number 5 on hating the country.

4. My lovely little town house which has original fireplaces and stained glass windows and is ten minutes walk from my beloved cathedral See 9 above, I love psalms, choirs singing, the dean who seems such a lovely bloke. I also love St Cuth's which is near and where I go to classical concerts, St Oswald's because it's so beautiful and I go to university orchestral concerts there and oh, yes thousands of other churches and graveyards and so on.For history and music.  And I love to write about religion because it's so complex and offers all manner of opportunities to slag off vicars. In the book which comes out in the summer the vicar is killed. Sorry but I really enjoyed this.

5. The herbs in my garden and all the other lovely things which Howard sorts out for me. I grow  basil on the window ledge and in the garden bay leaves, lemon balm, rosemary thyme, curly parsley. I adore lavender .

6. My friends of course. Whatever would I do without them. I can't name them, it wouldn't be polite.

7. Music, opera, ballet, anything by Chopin and the rest of the gang.

8. Anthony Trollope and everything he ever wrote.  Books, books, books. Fiction and non. Anything. I once read a book on sewage systems of Northumberland. Fascinating.

9. Audio books on Amazon which save my nights from despair.

10. Ceylon tea, Assam Tea, Darjeeling tea, Earl Grey tea.

Most of all of course I love my wonderful daughter and my writing in that order which of should go first and goes last and first and every other  number.

I feel a lot better now. Eggheads is on any second so I must go.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Elizabeth Gill, Author

I was talking on the phone to Trisha Ashley the other day and moaning about the fact that my books aren't selling as well as I would like them to  - do they ever? - and she said why don't you have an author page, what used to be called 'Facebook Fan Page'. No, honestly, I am not Madonna, I do not have fans, I have readers, at least I hope that somebody besides me is reading my books.
Now I took a test on Facebook three weeks ago to find out how techie I really am and it told me that I was first class. Either it tells everybody they are first class or I lied through my teeth and it  believed me. I set up this blog myself. This would account for the fact that since I went into Apple products I cannot upload photographs so all there is is the text and there are no bobbly bits around the edges like pictures of me or dates of whatever or, I don't know.
Stormfront guys set up official things, and my lovely techie man, George, set up everything else so what gave me the idea I could do an official page about my books I'm not quite sure.
I read about it, I wrote down about it and then I attempted it. At first it seemed easy and then I tried to  upload ( that is right isn't it?  I find it hard to tell the difference between up and down  except on stairs and very often these days I go up and down trying to remember what the hell I was doing there in the first place. Things are bad on my ageing planet. Yesterday I tried to reverse the car and couldn't find the clutch pedal and my mouth has a nasty habit of going into alien territory when I'm on the phone, trying to remember somebody's name or when I'm doing a crossword. I will not give up, I have a very reliable Crossword finding book or whatever you call it.
However, back to the Elizabeth Gill, Author problem. I did upload a pic of me, sitting there grinning Cheshire cat style. Unfortunately it uploaded the pic five times and could I hell get rid of it. There I am grinning from ear to ear everywhere you look with nothing and nobody in sight. I spent two hours uploading and getting rid of this pic and uploading and getting rid of the pic of my latest effort book wise but nothing happened. Every time I tried to delete one there was nothing but white space and so now there are five grinning pics of me on my would be Author page.
My friends know how bad I am at this. I can however type three times as fast anybody else I know and as my daughter pointed out last week I am a nice person. She has to say that, she's my only child and knows where the silver is.
Worst of all people seemed to notice, though I hadn't meant to inform anybody, that there I am alone except for myself on my Author page and people found out and have liked it. Are they secretly worrying about me, sitting there in all my glory, or do they just think 'Liz is being daft again' and the nicer ones forgive me. They know that I have no skill once I'm on a screen but hey I can't even remember how to tell people from Facebook and Twitter that I have written another blogpost so perhaps nobody will read it. I do like writing this though, I believe I'm funny. I don't believe I'm clever, I'm just trying to remember what I came upstairs for in the first place.
I shall now go tentatively to try and upload another pic of me so that when the odd person does politely want to view the page she may seen dozens of pics of little old me and thereafter have to go downstairs for some tea.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Mrs Gill's Book of Household Management ( or hints for merry widows)

If you are newly widowed you will be feeling anything but bloody merry. It took me twenty years to be glad I didn't have to iron shirts, produce homemade cakes or buy groceries for two. Actually the second part of that sentence is a lie. I never did produce homemade cakes and if his lordship tried to insist, I baked stuff that would have driven any decent man to a dentist. He was a lovely lad, my husband and had beautiful teeth so it was all a bit difficult really.
Firstly, seriously, don't try to do everything. If you can afford help get it. I have my lovely Howard to sort the garden, a window cleaner who needs nothing but a cup of tea, (two sugars), and recently a smashing lady to do my house. When she comes I go out and work and do research and eat lots of chocolate.
Last week I took myself to the Fat Buddha and had honey chilli chicken and a large glass of Chardonnay.
The other thing is and it took me a long time to sort this one out as well - don't try to be the perfect parent. Your kids will never work out that there is only one of you and that you are not there to solve their problems, prop up their bank accounts and listen to their moans when you have a) work to do, b) an excellent meal getting cold, or c) a glass of champagne which is rapidly warming. Train the little buggers not to phone in the middle of a decent film or a good conversation. When you die they will inherit everything unless you are peeing your knickers in a nursing home by then and in that case they put you there so don't deserve anything.
Secondly, or thirdly if you read the last paragraph, don't expect to marry Brad Pitt. Angelina Jolie was there before you.  I have just recently accepted this. To be fair nobody ever wanted to marry me and although I blamed God at the time I am quite relieved now. I won't be looking after any man in his dotage, won't ever have to watch sport, can lie in bed all day if I want to and have made a habit of chatting up young men in supermarkets. They don't seem to mind, since I am wearing a purple fur coat and a purple hat they know I'm dotty anyway.
I have recently gone back to cooking. It has taken me twenty six years. My kitchen now is full of the smells of good bread and chillies and ginger and garlic. My evenings are spent stirring things in pans and wondering where I put my second best wooden spoon. In between, I drink wine and do bits on my current book which I either think is the best thing since Anthony Trollope - yes, I do go on a lot about him, I know, but he is my favourite author - or is the biggest load of garbage in the history of writing and is too bad even to inhabit my bin.
Being widowed means you don't have to live in the country. I do love the country and spend a lot of time there but it can be very boring. There are no theatres, no cinemas, no cathedral. Awful really. Shops sell lemon yellow cardigans and have never heard of a chocolate croissant.The country roads are not just full of tractors, I can deal with the odd tractor, it's the bloody cyclists and I don't mean motor. Farmers spread muck on the fields and I can always find the odd sheep with a limp. The bends in the roads have spattered dead pheasants and run over moggies.
Nextly try not to drink coke. It's undignified at our age. Some people think it's better for you than alcohol. If you want to ruin your teeth with fizzy stuff go to Majestic wine and buy Chandon from Argentina. It's made by Moet and is the nearest thing you can get to champagne for thirteen quid. You have to buy two bottles of course but that's never been a problem for me.
Lastly, please don't talk about your grandchildren to people who don't have any. Either they wish they had or they are bored witless. It's bad enough them having to listen to me going on about how intelligent and charming and about to take on the whole world is my only child. She is, you know.
And lastly again, being widowed is awful, it's lonely, it's painful and nobody understands. Someone once described a widow as 'a bird with a broken wing'. Well, all I can say is 'up yours, mate!' Get out there, people and fly!!!