It’s all coming back to me now …
I’m a mother of five children, but they’re all grown up now. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to imagine having them all at home, it seems so long ago. It’s easy to forget what an exhausting job looking after youngsters really is.
Recently, though, I spent a whole weekend at the seaside in the company of two of my grandchildren and, I’ll be honest, by the end of it I was wondering how I’d coped with five of my own.
My granddaughter is only five but she’s like a mini tornado, tearing round and making so much noise that you can barely get a word in edgeways. The first night we were away she woke up at – wait for it – 1.19 in the morning. Yes, I can be that specific. Believe me, I checked the time.
It was a bit freaky to wake up upon hearing the bedroom door open and see the silhouette of a little girl standing stock still in the doorway. For a minute I thought I was having some sort of Poltergeist/Exorcist type nightmare. Then there was a giggle and the door shut and off she ran into the living room.
Next thing I heard was the dulcet tones of the Peppa Pig theme tune. Oh, joy! So yes, I was in some sort of horror nightmare after all. She had her grandad wrapped around her little finger. The conversation my daughter and I heard around 7am (when we were both pretending to be asleep) went as follows:
“Grandad, can I have a biscuit please?”
“No, it’s too early, you haven’t had your breakfast yet.”
“I want a biscuit.”
*Sigh*. “All right, you can have a biscuit.”
“I want four biscuits.”
“You’re not having four biscuits.”
“Please! I want four biscuits.”
*Another sigh* “Okay, you can have two.”
“Fine, I’ll have three.”
*Rustling of packet* “Oh, have the four!”
It’s a good job her mum isn’t so daft with her or she’d end up looking like a biscuit.
When I finally dragged myself out of bed and joined my daughter at the table, we both looked like death warmed up. DH often works nights and is used to being up and about in the early hours, but I felt like crying.
“Is she always like this at night?” I asked, trying to keep the desperation from my voice.
My daughter nodded. “She never sleeps,” she promised.
As her chilling words penetrated the thick fog that was surrounding my poor, exhausted brain, I tried to process the implications of her words. The tears began to fall. “I want to go home,” I wailed.
My granddaughter gave me a beaming smile and offered me a biscuit. Not one of hers, obviously. They’d been inhaled ages ago. She waved airily at the cupboard where the packet nestled, frustratingly out of her reach, and gave me a meaningful look. What she really meant was, “Can you get the biscuits down please? It’s been at least twenty minutes since I last had one.” She’s not daft, I’ll give her that.
My grandson is eleven and much easier to live with. He spends most of his time glued to his games console or phone. One thing I did learn about him is that he has the patience of a saint when it comes to his little sister. I was really proud of him actually.
His grandad took him fishing and I worried that he’d get bored, but he seemed to enjoy it and he did better than his grandad. At least he managed to catch a fish!
My granddaughter, meanwhile, had me colouring in pictures with her and I made another discovery. I’m a control freak when it comes to colouring in! Yes, I refused to let her help me colour my picture in and I was gutted when I discovered that she’d stuck stickers all over my precious picture! Who knew? I can now see why adults get so hooked on those colouring books. And at least it took my mind off the television, and the sound of annoying snorting coming from Peppa Pig and her dratted family.
How did I forget how exhausting young children could be? More to the point, how did I manage to entertain five of them and keep my sanity? Now there’s one of life’s mysteries for you. Oh, to be young again …
My to-do list
I’ve been very busy since getting home, having decided to be more professional and organised about my business life.
Being professional and organised to me means new stationery. I bought a weekly planner and a budget book, complete with inserts for receipts. I’ve also got new business cards and bookmarks. It really doesn’t take much to make me happy!
I’ve been studying loads of books about running a business as a writer, and becoming what’s now known as an authorpreneur, which is the current buzzword. It’s quite appropriate for indie authors because we have to do everything for ourselves, so I don’t object to being known as one. In fact, it’s now my ambition to be known as one.
I decided that one of my main priorities was to be more organised with the tasks I should be doing. Instead of thinking each morning, “Right, what should I do today?” I realised I needed to have a proper game plan.
I decided I would make a to-do list – just to start me off. I picked up my phone and opened the memo app and …
Half an hour later I had a to-do list that stretched – and I kid you not – to July 2021! Yikes!
So, the first thing I did was make an executive decision. I needed a proper to-do list pad! More stationery. Yay! And while I was shopping I also spotted a small whiteboard, so of course I had to have that, too, and I’ve used it to write my to-do list just for October.
It’s scary that, even though we’re halfway through the month, I still have eight things on it. And they’re not minor things either. One of them is “Write 22,000 words of WIP”, and another is “Add and update front and back matter in all my Kindle books.” I’ve already started work on the paperback edition of my Home for Christmas novels. All this while I’m suffering and full of cold. What a trooper! 🙂
Have you been watching Sanditon? Based on Jane Austen’s last, unfinished novel, it’s been on ITV on Sunday nights for the last eight weeks.
I’ll admit I struggled to get into it at first. I didn’t particularly warm to the characters for a while and I actively disliked the hero who, I decided, was insufferably rude and had none of a romantic hero’s charm or redeeming features.
I stuck with it for several reasons:
- It was Jane Austen and, even though she never got to finish it, that meant it had to be good, right?
- It was adapted by Andrew Davies and after Pride and Prejudice, Little Dorrit and loads of other adaptations, I thought he could do no wrong.
- I was intrigued by the character of Esther who, I felt, had something about her even though, initially, she came across as very unlikeable.
- It was interesting that there was a major black character – a young woman with a fortune of her own. I thought that was fascinating in Regency period drama and wanted to know what they would do with her character.
- I took an instant liking to the main protagonist, Charlotte. I was rooting for her from the start, and wanted good things for her.
- Anne Reid and Kris Marshall. I thought if they were in it, it had to be worth sticking with.
It was episode four or five before I realised I’d finally become addicted to the programme. There was enough going on to interest me, I’d started to warm to Sidney, the hero, and I wanted to know what was going to happen to Sanditon itself. Would it become the thriving seaside resort that Tom Parker (Kris Marshall) desperately wanted it to be and Lady Denholm (Anne Reid) demanded of it?
Sunday night brought the final episode and – yes – we got a happy ever after and a wedding. Just not for the main characters! Honestly, right up until the last minute I kept looking at the clock and thinking, “Hurry up! How are they going to resolve this?”
Easy. They didn’t! You should have heard my howls of anguish and rage.
Judging by the furious comments on Twitter and Facebook, I was far from the only one who felt betrayed and let down.
Look, I’m all for writers trying new things, and I totally understand that, since Jane Austen’s contribution to the novel was finished by the end of episode one, it could be argued that this is Andrew Davies’s story, not hers. But the thing is, when you attach the name Jane Austen to something, there are certain expectations. And chief among those expectations is that we get a happy ever after.
It’s a romance novel trope. Readers who devour love stories don’t want to be left sobbing with their heroine and cursing the hero. They want to sigh with pleasure as the happy couple head off into the sunset, all problems resolved and nothing but good times ahead. It may not be realistic, but it’s what we WANT. So, the way Sanditon ended was dreadfully disappointing.
It’s clear that the makers are angling for a second series, but ITV have not confirmed that there’ll be one, so we’re faced with the very real possibility that Charlotte will never have her happy ending. Even if they do get the go ahead, can we really forgive Sidney for putting her through so much? Especially since he had the same thing done to him so should know how devastating it feels!
Anyway, deep breaths, Sharon. I’ll just have to write my own happy ever after for Charlotte in my mind. I might just have her marry Mr Stringer and to hell with Sidney flipping Parker!
That’s my news for the week. Do you like the new look of my website? Click on the home tab to see the front page! It took me absolutely ages to sort out but I think it’s worth it. All part of my new “Be a proper, professional authorpreneur” attitude. Did you notice the newsletter sign up? I’m currently collecting subscribers and anyone who signs up for my monthly newsletter will be the first to hear about my book news: release dates, works in progress, cover reveals, titles etc. I’ll also be giving away prizes every month – sometimes it will be signed copies of my books, other times it will be stationery or some other nice little goodies. Sometimes it will be lots of things! So it’s worth signing up for and I’m hoping at some point to write an exclusive story for all newsletter subscribers which won’t be available anywhere else. I may just finish off the Skimmerdale series that way … Anyway, have a think and if it appeals please do sign up.
Now I must dash. I’m off to the supermarket to stock up on biscuits – just in case a certain little lady comes to visit. 🙂
Have a great week!