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May has been a challenging month. I’ve spent most of it enduring chronic back pain, which has involved a great deal of bad language, hobbling around with a stick, and more bad language. It has meant that I have been unable to spend very long at my desk, as sitting for too long resulted in being unable to stand easily. I’ve gone through anti-inflammatories, strong painkillers and a can of Deep Heat. Nice! But I’m much better now, and much happier for being able to move freely and easily. (And happier still for no longer smelling of Deep Heat…)

So while writing has been problematic, I’ve had more time to catch up with reading, generally while propped up against the wall, or the fridge. In no particular order then; A.S. Byatt’s The Matisse Stories, Françoise Sagan’s The Unmade Bed, Muriel Barbery’s The Gourmet, and this afternoon I whizzed through Andrew Losowsky’s The Doorbells of Florence. However, it’s been a long hot day and I have no desire currently to review them. I will say that if you love Françoise Sagan, you will love The Unmade Bed, and The Doorbells of Florence is just delightful.

Also delightful is the wisteria tangling over the front of the house, the aquilegia in pinks and purples in their medieval panoply, and the clematis that I’d forgotten about clambering over the water butt tucked in the corner of the back garden. I love summer, the impossible blue skies, the constant stream of birdsong. I’m not so keen on the heat – it makes me either stupid, cross or both. Oh dear! I can’t spend long in the sun, even with factor 50, as my pale skin frizzles. This year I have resorted to the stuff in a bottle in order to have a skin-coloured skin-tone. So far the effect is not orange…

In other news, since my back stopped trying to beat me up,  I have – at last! – rewritten La Nouvelle Cendrillon. Hooray and other jubilatory noises. It just needs the final polish, and then it goes back to the editor who requested it. One thing intrigues me though – what is in a name. When first I began to draft this story – October 2008 – with the idea of subverting a few fairy-tales with a sci-fi twist, it seemed a logically good idea that the heroine should be named Bella. Since then of course, Christine Meyer has been bent on taking over the world. So is it entirely co-incidental then that the only real editorial interest came after I changed Bella’s name? Or is that doing both my writing and the editor a disservice? And why does the word disservice look wrong? I think that I’d better stop now, or I’ll be going round and round and making myself dizzy. Time to close everything down and go to bed, so I can look forward to leaping out of bed in the morning, something I will never take for granted again.

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