First things first: the winner of the fancy Robin McKinley prize pack is… drum roll please… smartie1685 . Please email me with your address at firstname.lastname@example.org!
So, Halloween: how did you spend yours?
I spent mine moving house. Yes indeed, while everyone else was parading around wearing Saucy Pippi Longstocking costumes, I was pitching face forward into a box full of hangers. (Little bit like falling into a tank of piranhas who love you. Hangers grab hold. Also a little bit like ducking for apples, if the apples were hooks.)
Ah, the endless glamour of a writer’s life!
So how did this come about? Well, my tale begins on a night in September. I called out ‘Bye, ladies, I am off to see Inception!’ Jennet Wilde, my DJ housemate, said ‘Could you come in for a minute?’
JENNET: I must give notice. I wish to pursue a life of adventure in London.
DURHAM LASS, MY OTHER HOUSEMATE: London, lovely! I hope you’ll have a great time! Sarah and I will just find a two-person house.
SARAH: Er but no, but yes, yay for Jennet and adventure, but I am going to America for a month.
JENNET: Well, I could stay an extra-
SARAH: And then it’s Children’s Book Month in Ireland and I’m going down to Cork and-
DURHAM LASS: We’re going to have to live in a gutter.
SARAH: I can build a house out of books. We’ll be safe there. Until it starts to rain. Which in Ireland, okay, will be about five minutes.
We ended up with literally four evenings in which to find someplace to live. It was a panicky time, especially since I also had Work Things I Will Tell You About Someday Soon. We saw some dark things.
PROSPECTIVE LANDLORD: Let me just check if the lights are working.
SARAH AND DURHAM LASS: Oh…
PROSPECTIVE LANDLORD: Nope, they’re not!
SARAH AND DURHAM LASS: … dear.
SARAH: Well, this house is in a slightly dodgy neighbourhood, but it’s quite big inside, and maybe-
DURHAM LASS: Let’s go.
SARAH: What’s happened? Why are you twitching?
DURHAM LASS: I WILL NOT LIVE HERE.
SARAH: There’s a wild look in your eye…
DURHAM LASS: I will not speak of what I saw outside.
SARAH: What did you see outside?
DURHAM LASS: I SAID I WILL NOT SPEAK OF IT.
Readers, to this day I do not know what she saw.
At one point we had a mutual nervous breakdown in a pizza parlor. We were approached by a gentleman who was concerned about our well-being, and startled when we asked him for the bill.
Then we found a fabulous new house. It is a little red-brick house near two famous cathedrals in Dublin, St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch, and so in the tradition of me giving my homes names for the blog, I am calling it Shadowchurch-on-the-Corner.
Our new house does have a drawback, however. It has no bath. Do not worry. I am not about to embrace uncleanliness as a lifestyle. There is a power shower, but alas no bath. I love a bath. I like to sit swathed in bubbles, like a very foamy mummy, and read.
This meant I took a bath every day for the last week in our previous residence the Cherry Bomb, to the great detriment of my hair. At one point our friend June dropped by to have dinner.
SARAH: I know.
JUNE: Uh. You just look – a little fluffy.
SARAH: I am aware I currently bear a striking resemblance to Aslan, yes.
There was also the problem of moving. Now, the Durham Lass, I have spoken of her before. She looks like Snow White, but with added ruthless efficiency. She keeps me to deadlines, wakes me up with tea in the mornings, and is generally the ideal housemate. I did become a bit scared of her while we were packing, though. I feared I would wake up in a box labelled ‘ROOMMATE.’
I am certain that the package would have been delivered to the correct address, though, and I would have missed the expression on the face of the Durham Lass’s father. (Both our fathers kindly agreed to help us move.)
The poor man arrived, and saw the boxes piled up in the hall.
DURHAM DAD: I have never seen so many books.
SARAH: There are a few more in my room.
DURHAM DAD: Er, books?
SARAH: Um. Boxes.
His day only got worse. Because we were moving on Hallowe’en. At one point, carrying endless rounds of books to the truck, someone let off a firework down the street.
ROCKETS: Whizz by!
SARAH: AHHHHH! It is the end times! Are we all doomed?
DURHAM DAD: Excitable, the young lady with the book army.
SARAH’S DAD: AHHHHHH! It is the end times! Are we all doomed?
I come by being excitable honestly.
Installed in Shadowchurch, then came The Unpacking: The Book-Shelving, Unpacking 2: Appropriating Cabinets For Further Book-Shelving, and the long-awaited follow-up, Unpacking 3: Any Flat Surface Will Do If I Can Find Objects To Use As Book-Ends.
Now I am sitting writing this, about to make enchiladas, with a fire burning in our floating stone-carving and brickwork fireplace, and my framed picture of the moon and the crooked tree leading to the Goblin Market on top of the Secret Book Cabinet.
And it is November, so it is almost time for the first Book Cookie for The Demon’s Surrender. Hence, I have made a POLL.
IMPORTANT NOTE: PLEASE ONLY VOTE FOR ONE CHARACTER. VOTING FOR MORE THAN ONE MEANS I DON’T COUNT YOU. AND I DO NOT LIKE TO DO MATHS. DO NOT FORCE ME TO DO MATHS!