I went round to my little old lady friend for tea. I told her and the neighbour who was with her about the shock I felt at my former colleague's suicide. Well, they had their own death toll harvested over the years - the woman who walked up from the village to a particularly pretty, stone bridge across the railway line, cut down a grassy path to the track and threw herself infront of a train, and the young girl who did the same. Two men who shot themselves - one of them "cleaning the gun" and the other with money troubles. A lost soul who tied a plastic bag over his head, and another who walked into a pond. I felt like saying: "I'll have another shortbread, but enough with the dead already."
I might not mention the rural death toll to Northumberland Tourism who are backing my book. They are planning a downloadable map with excerpts which highlight tourist atractions such as Bamburgh Castle or Alnwick Garden. Disturbingly, the map will also include photographs of me. This cyber-map on a proposed "micro-site", required a day trailing round with a photographer and a nice woman from Northumberland Tourism looking for sunshine. Obviously, there was lots - Northumberland and sunshine are synonymous and we certainly did not abandon the shoot several hours early because of the sea fret that came in from the North Sea, nor did we delay the second day of the shoot for a week. Certainly not. (At least though, the photographer did not tell me to "relax your forehead" like the make-up girl did when I had my photograph taken for Marie Claire a few weeks ago when I had to tell her: "My forehead is relaxed.") All in all though, I do not think I was looking at my best what with the corrugated forehead, the extra weight I am carrying at the moment (I so wish I had thought of a gastric band) and "the nit situation". (When my daughter came home from nursery with nits and lovingly shared them with me, I had to abandon plans for the pre-shoot cut and blow-dry.)If tourism goes through the floor in the next year or two, I am moving to Kansas.