Oof, and I haven’t posted on here in ages.

So, what have I been doing?

Same old, same old, really. Finishing book three, writing a short story, and that sort of thing. There have been a couple of moments when I thought I might just pass away. Nothing serious, you understand. I am built for drama.

But – and I’ll say it myself, it’s quite a big but – a friend of mine told me she was struggling to get to sleep one night, so she reached for my book. (I know, I’m struggling to see the positive there, too) Anywho, she told me about this because she wanted to say, she thought my book was “really well-written”.

Now, that’s a compliment. I know that. And I shouldn’t have pushed my luck.

And yet… I asked her how far she had got into the book.

This was an error.

Because she told me.

She’d only read the last five pages. The LAST five pages.

It’s a murder-mystery, among other things. Frankly, at the moment, I’m leaning towards calling it Devon Noir – because it’s set in Devon, very dark humour, and kind of dangerous throughout, but – the last five pages? If you’re writing a murder-mystery, you’re best off starting at the end because then you know where you’re going, but not if you’re reading it!

Honestly, I threw my hands up in horror, and nearly dropped the phone.

Most of the time, I only hear two phrases.

  1. I’ve received your book.
  2. I’ve started reading your book.

And then, I don’t hear a thing. It’s quite scary. Because I might have scandalised everyone I know.

I will say, there are one or two delightful human beings in my life, who’ve read something of mine, liked it, and bothered to tell me. It means the blasted world.

Anyway, last week, I had a slightly traumatic trip to the dog groomers. Usually, I’m not left to wrangle four overexcited dogs on my own, but Aimée had work. The groomer, a wonderful lady of five foot tall, if that, had two other dogs in the room when we got there.

Herewith, a list of problems:

Poppy: miniature dachshund, 3 years old, enormous diva, total princess, wants all the attention. Doesn’t much care for other dogs taking the spotlight from her.

Pumpkin: miniature dachshund, 2 years old, absolute sweetheart, terrified of noise of any kind. Scared of people, especially children, the smaller the scarier. Quite barky.

Doobie: jack russell terrier, 7 years old. Boisterous boy, small but outgoing, waggy, very scared of other dogs, very loud when confronted by the sight of another dog, was attacked by a husky when he was a pup.

Tara: labrador, proper lady, 13 years old. Won’t have anyone near her feet. Really quite bored of the other three making so much noise.

The other dogs in the room: a spaniel of some sort whose owners included two small children, and a husky.

The solution in the room: squeezy cheese. Pretty much, drip-fed to the dog on the table to distract them from a) whoever else is there, b) whatever is going on around their feet, and c) my apologising for them. Constantly.

Poppy was first on the table. Pumpkin, her little sister, was put in a crate, with a towel covering her view of the most of the room. Pumpkin developed a full-body jazzman shake, which turned into crying when the children appeared. The husky sniffed up towards Doobie, in another crate, because he wanted to be friends. If his bark was anything to go by, Doobie wanted him dead. At this stage, Tara was still in my car, or I would have had a breakdown of some sort.

Poppy made a fuss on the table, as if she was being put through a shredder, which led to her eating about half a tube of squeezy cheese, and scaring the eyebrows almost off my face.

Pumpkin was next up. She was good, but anything except major abdominal surgery would have been good after that.

Doobie is an absolute tart for the women, so he’s great for the groomer, but we had to wait for the husky to go before he could be let out of the crate. He was done in seconds’ flat and enjoyed dancing around the groomer’s feet for a little while.

By the time we got to Tara, we were very close to the end of the squeezy cheese. Still, Tara’s much better than she used to be, so her nails were trimmed quite quickly. She then finished the last teaspoon of squeezy cheese as we got her off the table.

I was about to pay, and put the dogs back in my car, quite certain that I had earned a good coffee (made from beans) when I got home, when the groomer turned to me and said, “I read your book.”

My heart nearly stopped, but I waited.

“I liked it,” she said.

I should just wait, in future, rather than jump in with apologies.