Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Curry and frits - Anne Rooney
I took the bus to Oxford and had a lovely long tea and bookish chat with another children's writer, Susie Day. She is outgoing sys admin for the Girls Heart Books joint blog and I am incoming sys admin. That was the excuse.
But really we just had a good natter in the upstairs of the Turl Street Kitchen. It's a great place for writers who want to lounge around. The downstairs is all smart and full of people who own jumpers without holes in. The upstairs is shabby chic with emphasis on the shabby - disintegrating mismatched sofas, scattered around a high-ceilinged Georgian sitting room. It's occupied mostly by students (and children's writers).
Occasionally a real member of the public wanders in and perches nervously on the edge of a sofa, drinks their tea quickly and leaves. They don't know how to lounge properly. They probably have shopping to do or important meetings to go to. Susie and I discussed the merits of writing teen Neanderthal romance and stretched one cup of tea/coffee to an indecently long stay.
Refreshed and ready for the next bus, I went off to stay with another children's writer, Mary Hoffman. She makes a fine dinner, and is an excellent hostess. We drank prosecco and talked all evening to a lovely man whose name I can't spell who used to be a literature professor. More bookish chat, but no Neanderthals this time.
The next day I had lunch with my Big Bint in another favourite Oxford haunt, the Jericho Cafe - and discovered yet again that if I type Jericho into my phone it defaults to Lesbian. That cafe is quickly becoming known as the Lesbian Cafe and they will never know why... Then BB's partner showed me his wonderful college library (Lincoln College), with its chandeliers and stunning arched windows. He wins the 'I have the best library' contest. Big dose of library-envy. (Follow the link to that photo and you will immediately feel compelled to apply to Lincoln College, Oxford.) The library trip might have been revenge, as I had just shown BB my Natural History Museum Library card, a recent acquistion of which I am inordinately proud. To deal with the library-envy I had to spend lots of time and money in Blackwell's buying books.
Back at Mary's we had curry and beer and bookish chat and gossip, messed about with her website, and poked in an editorial fashion at the anthology she's editing.
... and home. Working on the bus to and from Oxford is a total of seven hours' work. Add the writerly chat and the desultory editorial and website-poking and I did more than a full day's work over that so-called weekend off. But at least it felt like a holiday.
I guess writers don't really do holidays. We just do the same things in a different place and with a holiday attitude. So, what did *you* do on your holiday?
Anne Rooney (aka Stroppy Author)
PS - I don't mean to imply that Susie doesn't own any jumpers without holes in. But I don't.