Am feeling rather nervous about writing anything again in case I am exposed as a big fat fraud who should never have been allowed to write a book. Anyway, here goes - the last fortnight has been a ride.
At any number of points, it would not have surprised me if my husband had shaken me awake and said: "You're snoring again and it's half past eight."
Weird moment number 7: travelling to the launch party on a double decker London bus. This particular bus normally ferries golfers up and down the Northumberland coast, and is called Kenny after the former London mayor who sold him. I clambered up the steep stairs and collapsed into the seat. The bus was full of friends and family; oh yes, and we weren't going to Trafalgar Square despite what it said on the front, we were heading to the local market town and my book launch.
Weird moment number 13: wore the plain black silk frock.(Not weird in itself.) I meant to wear high heeled vintage(that is to say my very oldest, worn-down-to-the-nap) black velvet and glitter rose shoes with it, but forgot to change. Consequently wore beaten up, buckled biker boots that smell if you get too close. We ate haggis balls and ham and pease pudding sandwiches, and I had to keep telling my 80-year-old mother to sit down because I was worried she might keel over with excitement. I said some thankyou's and signed my first books. The whole party was like a cheese and cracker dream where your kindergarten teacher appears with your first acne-smacked boyfriend, and the woman down the road who never liked you, and your driving instructor who had the drink problem. That is to say, the party was a mix of my family, my old London life and my new Northumberland life. Oh yes, along with a smattering of customers from the second-hand bookshop where the party was being held, who stayed on past closing time. These people smiled incredibly warmly at me across the room, then very sweetly bought four copies of the book and asked me to sign them. It took me fully 20 minutes to realise the chap in the waterproof coat had not taught me geography when I was a teenager and come to wish me well.
Weird moment number 26: lying like a lady and her crusader in our marital bed with my husband late last Monday night. Obviously, we were not having sex because we were listening to Radio 4's Book of the Week, and they stop reading if you do that. The episode we were listening to involves my husband and I standing at the window in the self-same bedroom. In it, he wraps his arms around me and says "Don't worry. This is not the thin end of the wedge. I'm not going to ask you to live here." I turned to him in the bed and said: "You heard that right?" The actress reading out my diary is also not me. That is to say there is a woman reading out my diary on national radio. And it's not me. And it's my diary. This Radio Wifey is also much nicer than me, infinitely sweeter and more patient. In fact, if I had ever spoken to my real children the way she spoke to her radio children, they would accuse me of being a green-blooded clone of their bad-tempered, infinitely grumpy and dark-spirited real mother.
Weird moment 39: now this one was straight out of the sitcom pilot loosely entitled "My world has a ragged tear in its space-time continuum and my life is now lived in real time and in an alternative universe which is both the same and not the same at all". Otherwise known as "My appearance on Richard and Judy". An invitation to appear on Richard and Judy when you have a book to promote is huge. So huge that you might be slightly reluctant to admit you have a bad case of laryngitis when "the call" comes from "their people". "Your people" then keep calling you to talk about the fact that it is critically important you stop talking and rest your voice. You think: "Well if you stop calling me, I'll do that." The Richard and Judy cameraman who travelled up the night before for some local filming, warned the very nice Richard and Judy producer about the bad throat. When she rang me, I asked her what Richard and Judy did when they had laryngitis. "Polly" said she believed Judy gargled with salt water. That night I gargled with salt water. It made me vomit. I thought: "Thanks Polly." I suspect I was the guest from hell. Not only was I flirting with the idea of doing my half of the interview with a combination of mime, jazz hands and charcoal sketches, I also missed my flight down courtesy of the fact my husband confiscated my passport a week and a half before. He took it from me saying "I'll put this with the others so you can't lose it." I realised in the taxi due to drive me to the airport that I did not have the passport after the nice cabdriver said: "Have you got everything - got the passport?" (Needless to say, I do not have a photocard driving licence.) I tore out of the cab, ran into the house and ransacked the study and the bedroom. Nothing. I called my husband's mobile several times to no avail. (It turned out he was asleep on the train down to London). After 25 minutes of CID standard searching, I decided it had to be a dash to the train station for the last possible train which would just get me into London in time providing there were no delays. I rang the production team on the mobile. I said: "Slight crisis." It was poor reception and I still had a really bad throat - all she caught was "shhhhhh..crisis." I said: "I couldn't find my passport so I can't get the plane." (I am not sure this has ever happened to the Richard and Judy production team before judging by the intense listening silence on the other end of the phone.) I said: "But the good news is I am on the way to the train station and we think there's a train."