Thought de jour is my love-hate relationship with tomatoes. I lurch from adoring them as little, round, red pockets of deliciousness (this really only applies to the cherry variety) to detesting them unless they are somehow disguised, i.e. cooked/pureed/combined with vodka.
But anyway, back to dirty old London. Except I was wrong to fear the weather for it is summer. Twenty-three degrees, I'll have you know. No more wearing of the hated tights or socks - it's sandals forever. Which does mean, unfortunately, that my awful toes must be bared. I've tried to brighten them up/disguise them with nail polish, only there's always one nail that never goes according to plan. I was, actually, feeling a bit better about my icky toes recently. Usually when someone spies them for the first time, as a Pen toe virgin, the comment goes something along the lines of:
'Look. At. Your. Revolting/Scary/Incredibly Unattractive. Really. Long. Toes.'
I have been known to mutter something that rhymes with 'luck off' at this point. But in Sydney, Nic's flatmate Dave uttered the words, 'Wow. You have long toes.' I was waiting for the inevitable 'And they are so revolting, how can you live with yourself' comment but it never came. I think it made my year. Admittedly, Dave was hungover and sleep deprived and might not have even been seeing straight but the point is that for the first time in years I felt okay about my toes. Even the one with the possibly rotten nail. Which I have covered in polish and plan to ignore. I was so chuffed with Dave that I let him try on my pink suit as a reward. I wasn't quite so pleased when this resulted in him looking better in it than me. Stupid men and their skinny little girly hips. Try pushing a baby through those.
My 27-hour flight/stopover/flight was non-stop fun. The passenger next to me did not enjoy his trip quite so much as I had to wake him up several times so that me and my bladder of unhelpfulness could traipse to the bathroom. Also, I caught him eyeing up my music selection in the in-house entertainment selection - going by his facial expression he is not a fan of Prince. Or Dolly Parton. Philistine.
On the second leg I got an actual knife to eat with. A steely knife. I looked for a beast to stab but none were forthcoming.
And then customs and ages on the tube and then home and I just threw everything in my pack in the washing machine - books like water, surely - and then fell into bed and had utterly stupid dreams of the kind where you think you're awake and cannot sleep even though you are asleep and when you do wake you're even more exhausted than when you got into bed in the first place.
And then work. I like my job so this wasn't as bad as it could have been and only one book is truly screwed up and it's not my fault although I'm pretty sure I could have prevented the all-out rotten situation that has developed had I only been here. It's the sort of situation that has me wanting to rant about the office with pencils in my nose and ears shrieking 'Amateurs!' whilst tearing up 600-page manuscripts with my bare hands. But this will pass.
I also got to have a five-minute phone conversation with an author of one of my books, only when he introduced himself I had no idea who he was or what he'd written and consequently had to spend the whole five minutes faking it. We both seemed quite pleased with ourselves at the end of it so I must have faked it well.
My workmates were not nearly grateful enough for their Pineapple Lumps/Whittaker's/marshmellow easter eggs/Tim-Tams/Cherry Ripes - in fact, the Pineapple Lumps were universally loathed. I even caught one workmate taking a bite of one and then throwing the other half away when she thought I wasn't looking. The fact that I don't actually like them much myself is, of course, beside the point. Why is the concept of faux-pineapple (4.5% fruit juice, even) and chocolate so hard to accept? It was as though I'd produced a bag of faeces. Chocolate covered faeces.