annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Feb 20th

I was all set to write last night and the bloody internet was down, just on my laptop, which makes me livid, breaking my run of continuous entries. But there you go, best laid plans of mice and men, and all that.

So. Yesterday me and M - I have two M's, both with the same name, maybe I'll call them BigM and LittleM as one is indeed tall and the other is not - so me and BigM went to London to be part of BBC Radio 4's bookclub with the author Marian Keyes, discussing her novel Rachel's Holiday. It'll be broadcast on March 1st and I'll post a link if I can. It was great - in the old BBC centre, wood panelled room, just a few of us, about 20, chaired by James Naughtie, whose voice I've been hearing for 30 years, and Marian herself answering our questions about the book. She's a total delight, giving really honest responses to questions on her novel about addiction and rehab, drawn from her own experience (though all characters invented). I might get edited out as my very long question got a very short answer, though they made me ask it again as someone's phone had buzzed and the mike picked it up. This was the question I submitted in advance, which I was asked to put forward in the prog, though I did try to make it shorter:

 I first read Rachel's Holiday when it was first published. At that time I considered myself a bit of a "player", not an addict (luckily for me) but a keen part-time user of drugs and alcohol. I loved Rachel and thought her friends and family needed to back off and leave her alone. As the book progressed I had to acknowledge that she had problems and was an addict. I loved the book and have recommended it all over the place, but on re-reading, twenty years later, older and tireder, barely drinking let alone anything else, I am amazed at how differently I view her. I can see at once how she deludes herself, how needy and desperate she is, what a pain she must be to have as a friend. Suddenly I find I'm all judgmental, about her, but about me, I suppose. My question to Marian is,  "Do your feelings about your characters, such as Rachel. change over the years? As you get further away from your own break with addictive substances?  Did you find it hard to be honest about Rachel's behaviour and thoughts while using or was it helpful to you to write it down. I speak as someone with family members who attend NA (12 years) and CA (just completed one year).

She said no, she always knew Rachel was terrible, addicts are.  They recorded 45 minutes which they'll edit to thirty. This is after, during the book signing which I didn't have a book for as I forgot so she signed my notebook:


We walked from Victoria station, bloody miles as it turned out, five, in the rain with our big rain macs on (had to put the word 'rain' in there as big macs has a different meaning these days), which was knackering but fab, walking round central London, amongst all those great big fuck off buildings. We'd meant to go to an art gallery or something but didn't leave ourselves enough time so popped into Liberty's instead, where I treated myself to a remnant of their very expensive but lush fabric. I got a piece of this:


fine lawn cotton, big enough to make a sleeveless dress, for a tenner. I'm going to try and do it slowly and properly rather than bish bash bosh. It's the finishing round the neck and the armholes that I'm liable to fuck up, but I won't, I tell you, I won't.

So that was yesterday and today I got up bright and early, packed my bags and drove west for five hours. I know you lot in the US think nothing of driving such distances but it was huuuuge for me. My anxiety turned itself up to 11 but I kept going and going and here I am:


That's my little room, with my comfort bedspread from home, which daughter gave me and which smells of Shirley. This is the view from the window:


Just a tiny village. I had to have a walk when I arrived, after all that time in the car:


out in the countryside after two minutes. I still feel sick as a parrot with anxiety, though I have made it through dinner with the other guests and managed not to tell them my daughter died, which is mega-good going for me in anxious mode. Then I came up to my room and played with my stupid phone for an hour or so and now it's late enough for me to go to bed.

Tomorrow there might be a drop-in yoga class in a nearby village and I also hope to do a beach-clean on a sandy beach about 40 minutes away. On Saturday the literary agents are coming. Oh fuck.

Good night, dear friends. Thanks for reading.

Today I am grateful for: J recommending this place; A treating me to a holiday; driving safely through endless storms; having a chat with daughter who is fine; bedtime now


11:03 p.m. - 20.02.20


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