Well, that's it, I'm 40.
Funnily enough it feels pretty much like 39 did, only slightly better cos I had a brilliant weekend away camping in the countryside and am feeling the benefits. Loads of people turned up, I went swimming in the river, and I have discovered the definitive answer to the question, How To Do Camping With Kids? The secret is to choose somewhere reasonably close, and (crucially) accessible by train. Then one parent (the one who is a bit weird and gets untold satisfaction from packing bags and cars, unpacking bags and cars, pitching tents, dismantling tents, packing, etc) (ie ME) goes down in a car jam-packed full of STUFF in the morning, spends all day chilling out in the countryside, drinking champagne, putting up tents, blowing up beds, making everything organised and tidy. Then the kids and the other parent arrive by train. Everyone has fun for a few days. Then the kids go home by train and the anal parent packs everything away at her leisure and plays a live Stone Roses CD very loud all the way home. Sorted!
Of course, on our return we discovered that one of the happy campers now has swine flu. I spent yesterday afternoon with my older son in a rammed health centre, queueing for tamiflu for the stricken friend, who is under house arrest. It was weird. Giant signage everywhere directing people with flu symptoms to another part of the building where some poor soul sat behind a desk with a face mask on. We, on the other hand, were peered at before being granted admission to bored-looking staff who herded us all under a "Flu Friends" sign. I am a friend of the flu. There were sandbags too, but they looked a bit abandoned. I suspect somebody picked up the wrong URGENT SITUATION guidelines and panicked in the wrong direction for a while before coming to their senses.
I'm assuming we'll all get it some time this week, but it makes a change to anticipate family illness instead of being taken by surprise. I'm just not making any plans for the next few weeks, and working on the basis that those already made will probably come undone.
In other news, I dreamt last night that I had a new agent, which was very exciting, except that she insisted my book should be called Memento Ravia, even though neither of us knew what it meant - or even how to spell it - and she hadn't actually read the damn thing. Still, it was exciting for about five minutes. She was blonde, flighty, posh, young, and called Jemima. Or maybe Felicity. There's a surprising number of them in publishing.
Oh, and a couple of Russian speakers have emailed me and duly had signed copies of the book posted off to them. Fuck knows what they'll make of it, but it's kinda nice.
Right, I need to get my third novel into some kind of abandonable shape before the swine flu gets me.
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