On Friday we bade goodbye to my line manager Curlywoman; blast. I liked Curlywoman and she was a good boss, but she’s got a “dream job” selling hotel bookings - her idea of a dream job, not mine! – and in the end you can’t blame someone for pursuing their dream job. We all had a good evening at The Botanist, one of the local pubs, and I made the most of feeling okay again after my gyppy tum of earlier in the week. Many jokes were told, a fair number of glasses of wine were drunk, a lot of nachos and chips were eaten, poems were read, I bought a drink for someone I barely know because I thought she looked sad (only to find she looked sad because she was Very Very Drunk and feeling ill) and one of the Press Office suddenly cornered me with a barrage of questions about why-are-you-still-single-Imogen, to which I couldn’t give a satisfactory answer, largely because I don’t have one.
Got home at midnight, slightly tipsy despite having been sensible and had plenty of fruit juice as well as nice Aussie plonk. Dan v amused – “I’ve never seen you drunk before!” – I think he had a picture of me as a sober, wholefood-eating, sketchbook-wielding yoghurt-weaving type who never lets her hair down even a teensy bit...
Saturday – posted a birthday present, sent “Gabriel Yeats” off to the third agent on my list, fixed a problem with my rent payments, bought groceries, ran the washing machine, tidied and weeded in the garden, typed up some more of “Ramundi’s Sisters”, made cauliflower cheese, and watched a lovely sentimental movie.
Sunday – sorted out a lot of stuff, cleaned and tidied my bedside cabinet and my desk, typed up a lot more of “Ramundi’s Sisters” and dealt with a tricky revision, made braised quorn with lemon and herbs, and watched the last part of “Lark Rise to Candleford” (largely to report on it to my mum, who was out and whose video is out of action) and the latest episode of “Being Human”; then to wind down after that I finished another of the "back burner" project summaries, and started yet another. It took a while to wind down, truth to tell, as “Being Human” was a cracking good episode, funny and touching and thoroughly scary. When they get the balance right, they have a lovely little series there...
Typing and revising doesn’t leave anything concrete behind, the way working in the garden does, but it is very satisfying to see the pile of dog-eared manuscript getting smaller, and the size of the typed file getting bigger. I’ve got to the last section of “Ramundi’s Sisters”, I’ve reached 1927, and I’m just five scenes away from the end of the story.
Then I’ll need to re-read the whole thing, clean up typos I’ve missed, decide how much further revision it needs, and finally try sending it to the first agent I sent “Gabriel Yeats” to, since she did say that if I had anything more mainstream she’d like to see it. I’d be a fool if I passed up on an offer like that; as a tyro writer, I’m incredibly lucky to have that chance of further attention.
“Ramundi’s Sisters” is a different kettle of fish from “Gabriel Yeats” in many ways. I guess it is still magical realism, though; but it is at the end of the spectrum that has relatively little magic proportional to realism – “Gabriel Yeats” is right at the magic end, and possibly a little off it - the deep end, that is - as well. The other major thing they have in common is that they are both very romantic. It’s perhaps an embarrassing admission, but clearly I still Believe In Love.
Perhaps an even more embarrassing admission today. This Feb 14th I have had, for the twelfth year in a row, no Valentine cards. The frenzied month-long promotion of Valentine’s Day does get a little grating when one is long-term single; the only good thing about it was seeing the flower stalls I pass on my way into work, all packed with extra flowers today.
Finally, and I know this is a bit of an odd segue, but here’s Mr Orchid Nursery himself, telling you how to trim and repot your Phalaenopsis. A few nice shots of the interior of the Orchid Nursery (& a lot of footage of Mr O. Nursery’s hands – perfectly nice hands, I hasten to add, but the orchids are better).