It's been raining all day and the garden has had a moving show of squirrels, pigeons, jays and thrushes, in addition to very noisy foxes last night, which makes a pleasant change from the view of the Wormwood Scrubs playing fields from the Hammersmith Hospital which has been my view for the past week.
So, on the mend now, and blasting instructions by phone to the hapless Rebecca, Kit and Alice, but we have books to get to press very shortly and every tiny details matters.
So, what did I read over eight long days in my ward prison? Kate Atkinson's One Good Turn, Stephen Clarke's A Year in the Merde, On Chesil Beach (do I need to tell you who it is by?) and a good chunk of Affluenza by Oliver James. The quiz at the start of Affluenza is interesting - and you will have to go find a copy to be enlightened, but I ticked YES to the first five boxes and then NO to all the rest. I think I can honestly say I have never had envy of anyone else's material possessions which I did not have the ability to obtain if I really wanted to. Lucinda Bruce's Aga photos in our new book, Victoria and Lucinda's Flavour of the Month is the closest I've got to it. So I do not think I am affected by the affluenza virus, but I love reading about it.
A Year in the Merde did make me laugh even though Stephen Clarke deserved to get some come uppance for his attitude to les femmes, and if this is how the French see us and how we see the French, then goodness knows how we have managed to co exist in this part of the world for so long. Do I see a battle of tea bags being lopped from Hastings at the French coast, only to have a volley of Cantal cheeses come back at us? Who knows.
I kept the Waterstone's 3/2 stickers on my books through my stay, so the huge amount of people passing my bed could see a) what good value books are and b) how unbored I was compared to the blank, head nodding people in most of the other beds. What a strange world! Books are the only way to fully engage your brain, relax your mind and body and survive, I think, and no screen, kindle or gadget comes close. We need a really, really good publicity campaign to encourage reading - all positive and full of bright colours and interesting thoughts and quotes. Come on Arts Council, government, whoever, it's all there for the taking! Publishers would co operate, and everyone would benefit.