I very often have a hellbeast at my feet here at my computer. This sounds like a perfectly normal situation for a person who works from home and has hellbeasts of one sort or another,* but as I have already mentioned a few dozen times in the last fortnight this is not merely a small house it’s a very small crowded kitchen, and my only remotely sensible stretch of counter bears a laptop computer and a very tall, weavy pile of books, magazines, newspapers and print-outs of Story in Progress. This leaves the sink and its drainboard and the Aga, and the corner between the two which is jammed with decorative tins containing kibble and jugs of chopsticks and various utensils. Add a hellbeast on this little square-cornered ‘u’ of floor and AAAAAAAUGH. Tonight it’s been Chaos who takes up an EXTRAORDINARY amount of space, starting with the fact that he drags all the bedding from the corner between my stool and the Aga, where, when a person is lying there, he/she is only blocking the cupboard that contains all the non-refrigerated food items** including the several gallons of organic extra-virgin olive oil which I get through every few weeks and am therefore constantly referring to***, to the CENTRE of the ‘u’ . . . and then stretches his unnecessarily long limbs in all directions. Since I can’t do the washing up because I can’t get to the sink I might as well write a blog entry.
. . . But, oops. I was going to write a first ‘ask me a question’ answer round up tonight and seem to have been . . . distracted. Some things don’t change. So let me crank up the suspense a little. Tomorrow . . . or maybe the next day . . . or maybe the day after that . . . I will answer THE FOUR MOST ASKED QUESTIONS. Don’t tell me you can’t guess what they are.
* * *
* I passed on seeing the Met’s new Cosi fan tutte^ because I hate the blasted opera. For all of my worship of Mozart’s music, with the exception of Marriage of Figaro I dislike almost all the characters in all the operas^^, and prefer to cherish my ignorance of the language so I can listen to the ravishing music on CD untroubled by knowing what’s going on.^^^ And Cosi is the worst. It’s disgusting. And I was saying the men were every bit as bad as the women^^^^ long before it was fashionable to say that. But I digress. I listened to it on Radio 3 however, here in my kitchen at my computer with hellbeasts at foot, and was suddenly sorry I hadn’t paid real money to go see it, when I found out it was laid in Coney Island in the ‘60s with all the carny acts live on stage including a BOA CONSTRICTOR. The snake charmer was interviewed during the interval and said, go on, you can pet her, she’s very friendly. I would totally pet her, but someone tell me how you know if a boa constrictor is friendly or just still full of rodent/small elephant? Or in shock from stage lights and loud noise?
^ In the cinema, I hasten to add
^^ I usually loathe the plots as well
^^^ I didn’t like AMADEUS much either because Mozart is such a jerk.+ I had some sympathy for Salieri even if he took it maybe a little too far. Except, of course, he didn’t, and at least some of his music is rather good.++
+ But, you know, considering the libretti he chose to set . . . maybe I’d better take him off my ‘who I’d invite to dinner’ list. The problem is that almost everybody who’d be on it I wouldn’t get along with#: Tolkien, for example. Hands down my single most important literary influence. Of course I want to meet him. Shudder. Pushy American woman with opinions, including that there aren’t enough women in LOTR? I don’t think so. My career is arguably one long effort to rewrite that bit of history. But as I keep saying I grew up in the frelling Dark Ages. I’m eternally grateful to Tolkien. I have to be.
# One or two I’d enjoy the company of. Peter Dickinson would be on that dinner party list. Siiiiiiigh. . . .
+ Speaking of taking historical figures in vain to make a more saleable story, is anyone following Olivia de Havilland trying to sue Hollywood for this series about her and her sister’s feud? She’s lost the first round, according to Google, but can appeal. I admit I don’t know enough about it but all my instincts are on de Havilland’s side. I’m not hugely impressed by the industry’s argument that the people need bread, circuses, and Christians being eaten by lions. I don’t even like it when they mess dead people around.
^^^^ The title translates, roughly, as ‘All Women Are Evil Cows’.
** Some bozo on Twitter is starting a series of ‘writer’s refrigerators’. ::falls down laughing:: You open my refrigerator at your peril: you will be immediately assaulted by a picked regiment of kohlrabi, supported by bristling broccoli, speared asparagus and fat carrot clubs. You may also drown in vats of home-made stock. It’s scary in there.
*** You know the more or less current theory about Good Fats? I’m not walking proof, but I’m certainly walking evidence, that you can glug down olive oil like you glug down pots of tea^, and yet maintain your broomstick-like figure without a moment’s consternation.^^ All calories are not equal. Just like those goofball extreme diet people on line keep telling you.
^ Olive oil is also a crucial part of what passes for my cough cough skin beautifying treatment cough cough. I use coconut oil or shea butter, both of which are solid at room temperature and are in fact like granite in the winter. But they melt really easily. I put them on a cake rack over the Aga till they go liquid, stir in a little olive oil, take the resulting so-good-for-you-it-hurts goo off the Aga and let it cool, and hey presto. Skin cream. If you want to get carried away you can add a few drops of rose oil, but then I start feeling like one of those And Live Green! goofball extreme-diet people on line, so I don’t.
^^ Although I suppose all that olive oil might be contributing to the mattress-factory-explosion hair. I don’t care. I like having hair, which, as I said recently, has been an issue twice in the last decade. Although the curly thing . . . Merrilee has been trying to explain to me that you don’t brush it madly like normal hair, because that just makes it frizz. Oh really. I think maybe I already knew that. But she uses products, and I’m not going to use products because there’s sure to be something in them I’m allergic to. And I don’t think applied olive oil is the answer here. But the other morning, attempting to not-brush brush I discovered a frelling dreadlock starting. No. Arrrgh.