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The year has begun; Christmas is almost over, normality – or at least my version of it –  will resume soon. In the meantime, I continue to cultivate the art of foozling at my desk, and pottering in the kitchen. Once the Not Quite So Small Daughter goes back to school and we regain some sort of routine, then writing can begin again. Chocolate continues to be consumed, as do cranberry and orange muffins, and the by now ubiquitous sloe gin. There is one bottle as yet unopened; I intend it to remain that way until the end of 2011. And in the next few weeks I will branch out and have a go at making Seville gin…

On New Year’s Day I cut my own fringe. Didn’t make too much of a fist of it either, so that’s quite cheer-making. My hair has a tendency towards idiosyncrasy if left too long (in both senses). Perhaps it’s my age? At least my hair does respond to pruning/treating/styling, unlike the wondrous Neil Gaiman‘s. It is a thing he freely, ruefully, admits on his blog at semi regular intervals. Or hang on, perhaps, Samson-like, his talent is connected to his willfully unruly hair? I wonder how many of my other writerly-deities have a similar relationship with their follicles? Margaret Atwood has wondrous hair like a dandelion clock haloing her fine-boned face. Tolkien (born 119 years ago today) had wispy grey bits that blew about. What about Audrey Niffenegger? <having Googled> Hmm. Not exactly wild, but her hair looks as though it could have unruly tendencies when no one’s looking… I might not be utterly wrong you know – consider Coleridge in Kubla Khan, eulogising the creative imperative;

Could I revive within me

Her symphony and song,

To such a deep delight ‘twould win me,

That with music loud and long,

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! Those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

I know I’m right. Or I think I am. It’s a theory, that sort of works, on the highly selective evidence that I’ve presented. Then again, Hilary Mantel has incredibly neat hair. Or she’s just found the perfect style to keep any incipient unruliness in check. I think I’ll leave it there.

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