Thursday, October 25, 2012
Fact versus fiction: Real life is always more mental...
Hurrah, today's the day. A Merry Little Christmas is finally published. Some books have easy births and some more traumatic ones. This one, my friends, as you've probably gathered from my other posts on the subject has had a particularly traumatic birth as this time last year when I was writing it (or supposed to be, I was in fact getting bugger all writing done) my lovely mil was dying of leukaemia and had just moved in with us. A Merry Little Christmas being very much a book about families, some of that experience has inevitably found it's way into the book. In fact, when no 4 read the blurb, she wanted to know if it was about us. You'll no doubt be relieved to know that, no it isn't about us, because the truth is however much I make things up, real life is way more mental then anything I could put on the page. And to demonstrate I'd show you a snippet from the book about the craziness of life in Cat's household. (Cat if you have read Last Christmas is a mother of four, and has a mother with alzheimer's who becomes seriously ill in the course of the new book).
Cat and her husband Noel have just come back from visiting Cat's mother, and this is the scene which they encounter when they get home...
Having established there was no more they could do for Louise, and encountering Alfie in the corridor with a bunch of flowers heading her way, Cat and Noel headed home, where they found World War III raging, as Paige had accidentally ‘borrowed’ Mel’s straighteners, and Mel was letting her have it in no uncertain terms. Meanwhile Ruby was wailing because she’d caught her finger in the mousetrap, and James was teasing her that there was a rat living under the stairs. It took a while to quieten Ruby’s wails, and get James to apologise to her, and Paige to Mel, but eventually things calmed down. Mel meanwhile had disappeared grumpily into her bedroom, so Cat gave it ten minutes before deciding to risk a chat. It was unlike Mel to be so mean to Paige. She usually reserved her fury for Cat and Noel.
In my real world, this was the kind of thing that was happening on a near daily basis, last year...
Rosemarie had been suffering badly from constipation, so the district nurse came out to give her an enema. The moment she arrived, the engineers arrived to set up Rosemarie's emergency alarm . Just as they left, and long after the nurse had gone, and before a carer was due to arrive there was a yelp from the front room and the inevitable was occurring...
A little while later I had to go out to an appointment. As I came out, I realised I'd missed an urgent an important call from school. I spent the next half an hour unsuccessfully trying to reach the teacher, and was feeling fairly stressed by the time I got to school. While I was standing in the playground, a kind friend pointed out that I didn't in fact, need to be there, as no 4 had an after school club.
I dashed back home to discover Rosemarie needed the loo. We could still just about manage to get her there, but she had difficulty standing and her feet kept slipping on the floor. She was also rather large, so managing her alone was pretty tricky. I'd just got her sat on the loo, when the doorbell rang and one of children came home and our decorator announced he was packing up for the evening. Said child was desperate for the loo, so I shooed her upstairs, and sent the decorator discreetly away. Ten minutes later, when I had got her sat down a new carer arrived. At that point all hell broke loose as there was an almighty yell from the back garden. No 2 had been holding the guinea pig when it jumped out of her hands and got lost in the garden. No 3 ran round to the neighbour's to see if it had gone next door, and was wailing loudly when said neighbour was out.
Ignoring the carer and mil I was trying to calm two hysterical children down, when I looked at my watch and realised now I really did have to go and fetch no 4...
As luck would have it, the GP turned out to be hiding under a nearby bush, so amazingly is still with us, but needless to say that night I was a gibbering wreck.
I have tried to put some of that chaos into Cat's life,but I don't really think I could throw as much as her as happened to me, because quite frankly I don't think anyone would believe it!
But like I say, A Merry Little Christmas isn't all about me and my family, but it is about friendship,family, marriage, motherhood and more besides. If you are kind enough to pick it up, I do hope you enjoy it!
And if you're a fan of Christmas stories, may I point you to the very lovely Carole Matthews, Milly Johnson and Scarlett Bailey who also have Christmas books out today? It's a privilege and a pleasure to be in their illustrious company!
And if you missed it last week, I did this on google hangout. Isn't the interweb marvellous?
And me talking about A Merry Little Christmas!