Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm off, but before I go...

... I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the new bloggy friends I've made over the past few months. It's been a blast, and I've really enjoyed "meeting you" as well as the people who've been faithfully reading my witterings for longer than that.

I'm off to Menorca in the morning (trying not to stress about the flight - I wish I could take valium to get me through it, but who'd look after the children??), but I did promise someone that I would shout long and loudly about her book which is coming out next week (annoying just to late for me to buy it for a holiday read).

Last year I read one of those magical stories you read occasionally in the papers about a young struggling author who had had her first manuscript accepted overnight, was offered a fabulous advance, had agents fighting over her etc etc. I might not have taken much notice, except the book in question sounded such fun, and for once well worth the hype.

The book in question is called Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Philips, and is published on August 2 by Jonathan Cape for £12.99.

If by some amazing chance you HAVEN'T heard about Marie (and if you haven't, where oh where have you been?), the story revolves around the Greek gods having lost their powers and knocking about in a house in North London. Aphrodite sells telephone sex and Apollo has an unfortunate habit of turning young women who reject his advances into trees. I've read the first two chapters, and laughed out loud. Marie is both witty, clever and fun to be around, and I can't wait to read the rest of it.

I am absolutely certain this is going to be the Big Thing of the summer (or as certain as you can be in this business).

I am still slightly gobsmacked that thanks to the nice bookarazzi crowd I have been able to meet Marie online - it isn't every day you encounter people you read about in the papers - and it has really been a privilege. I am sure that this is just the beginning of a long and illustrious career.

You heard it here first...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

That Boy Wizard (no spoilers here though)

My one claim to fame from the residues of my career in children's publishing (ok actually I have two. The other one was rejecting Jacqueline Wilson), is that but for a quirk of fate (called failing a job interview) I might have been JK Rowling's editor.

Ten years ago I had just returned to work after a period of maternity leave. For all sorts of reasons I won't go into here, it wasn't at all a happy time. I found it hard to slot back in after six months away, I was missing my baby hugely but didn't feel able to say so (let's just say for a children's company it was at the time remarkably family unfriendly), and the job I loved was becoming more political by the minute, so I was starting to hate it.

Publishing's a funny sort of career to have. There's no formal structure or career progress. To get to be a commissioning editor often requires huge doses of luck, and the term "editor" can vary hugely from company to company in terms of the job spec and the responsibilities. It is in short the sort of career where to some degree you make your own luck.

I started my work life in academic publishing, took a variety of different jobs to broaden my experience, then, when I realised a) I was never going to get promoted where I was and b) I wasn't actually all that keen to stay in academia I jumped ship over to children's book - a decision I never regretted.

I had a huge huge dose of luck at this point because the company I joined was expanding and I arrived just at the moment when we were launching a series which was to be its first great success. I ended up running the series and commissioning other related series, and was happy as a sandboy until the company grew so much that from being a cosy happy smallish team we became more and more facelessly corporate. It wasn't a change I relished and I felt increasingly restricted.

Hence my decision to go looking for another job. And lo and behold there was an ad in The Bookseller for Bloomsbury, a publisher I chiefly knew from having had a pal there at that atrocious Princess in Love book came out (but it WAS fun visiting the offices the next day and hearing all the gossip about it) and for being the home of my favourite living author (aside from Terry Pratchett that is), Margaret Atwood. Did I want a job there in those pre Harry Potter days? Did I ever. Apart from the fact that I'd be able to escape the misery of the situation I was in, the thought of working in a place I thought of with awe definitely appealed.

Alas, it wasn't to be. Though I had a very jolly and positive meeting with the then new head of publishing, I think perhaps I wasn't keen enough to work full time, and well, ok, she didn't like me probably. Anyway I didn't get the job. So my near brush with the most amazing publishing phenomenon of recent times is just that a near brush...

It's going to sound a bit daft, but it did take a long time to connect that job interview with the fact that had I got the job I'd have been editing Harry - I might even have given up writing my own stuff for the chance to do that - mainly because at the time, just prior to publication of the first book he wasn't exactly the main topic of conversation at the interview. If I remember rightly my putative employee spent more of the interview talking about Louis Sachar's Holes then Harry Potter. Though I do think the boy wizard may have come up in passing.

I only mention this because having just read HP7 it struck me anew what an incredible journey it's been for JK Rowling.

Being in the industry I probably knew about Harry Potter before most people had even heard of him - we had an editorial assistant who came from Bloomsbury raving about him. To my eternal shame I rather smugly thought, It can't be as good as all that (in my not very good defence we were the no 1 children's publishers at the time!). But when it came out, I couldn't resist reading it. I love fantasy so much and it is exactly the sort of thing I would have eagerly published, if I hadn't had my fingers burnt with a fantasy list a few years earlier (and been told, don't laugh by someone at Smiths that fantasy doesn't sell). For years after HP became successful our MD spent a lot of time accusing us all of having missed and rejected him, but I know for a fact if Harry had landed on my desk I'd have given him full attention, and ditto my colleagues - and especially my boss who edited Philip Pullman's Northern Lights.

What I will say is this though. I'm actually rather glad Harry didn't come my way, not because I wouldn't have relished the opportunity to work with such a brilliant author, I would have, but because I know my company at the time wouldn't have made the most of the marketing in the way that Bloomsbury did. I watched in awe as they came up with genius promotion after genius promotion. We'd have never have done that, and I doubt Harry would have had the success he's had if we'd published him.

So I'm not bitter about missing out (well, not much) and have really enjoyed the experience of reading his story along with the rest of the world.

But you know the thing that makes me the gladdest about the Harry Potter phenomenon?

It's the fact that thanks to JK Rowling people now take children's books seriously.

During the ten years I was working in the children's book industry, time and time again I found myself having to defend why I wasn't in the serious, more important bit of publishing - namely the adult section. Apart from stating the bleedin' obvious, I LOVE children's books and really enjoy what I do, it used to really nark me that people really missed the point. Where, pray dear reader, do the readers of tomorrow come from if we don't create them today. I have actually met twenty year olds (in fact I met one on Saturday) whose enjoyment of series I edited thirteen years ago has stayed with them into adulthood, and on Friday night when we walked back home from a party (via Waterstones natch) it was full of twenty somethings who've grown up with Harry Potter. Not all of them will read something else, but some of them might.

And now it is definitely ok to be seen reading a kids' book.

So I raise my glass to JKR. She and Harry have done my industry (and the children of the world) a great service. And I for one am very grateful - even if I'll never get to be her editor now.

No spoilers here - I promised - but the last book?

It's fan - bloody - tastic.

So there.

One More Step Along the Road I Go...

I appreciate I am rather late in writing this, as the children broke up last week, but I'm busy getting ready for our (I hope) rainfree holiday on Friday...

The end of term was rather fraught in our house. I had two children leaving schools. No 1 was leaving primary school forever and no 3 is moving up from the infants to the juniors.

Cue, lots and lots - and far too fucking many to cope with for this poor stressed mum - of leaving activities.

In the final fortnight of term we had:

One Leaver's Disco (no1)
Two Leaver's Plays (over two nights, no 1, over one night the following week, no 3)
One Leaver's Trip to local cathedral (also no 1, and happily without parental involvement)
Two Leaver's Assemblies (nos 1&3)

Unhappily the assemblies were orginally booked for the same day (no one but no one in the schools my children attend seems to understand the art of communication), but after a poke from yours truly, the infants kindly agreed to move theirs backward by a day.

No 3 in the main isn't too fussed about the big change in her life. She's pretty much outgrown the infants, has been desperate all term to join her big sister in the field next door to her school (this represents the highlight of life in the juniors apparently) and though she moaned about beng anxious about her play she was really very happy to stand up and be the narrator. Me, I was of course bursting with maternal pride, as AT LAST, after three attempts at it, I finally have a child who is the teacher's favourite.

It is a standing joke in the school that the teacher's favourites always get to be the narrator in all the school plays, and none of mine have achieved such glory so far. At least, not until no 3 came along. No 3 from the time she tottered into preschool seems to have the knack of making teachers like her. They raved about her so much and so embarrassingly often at nursery I used to refer to her as my child genius. Well, the child genius is all grown up and turned into teacher's pet. I was laying bets on her getting the narrator slot, and lo and behold I was right. The embarrassing thing about this of course, is that everyone else notices, and you have to protest loudly, look it's REALLY not my fault the teacher chose her, I haven't been bombarding her with promises of free dental treatment and a copy of my book, HONEST I haven't...

So despite a little wobble the day of the performance, and being rather exhausted afterwards as we had to have a disco post performance (this took place inside this year as the rain had caused the following danger: Wet Grass Is Hazardous was the reason giving for coming indoors), no 3 is dealing with the change in circumstances quite well. And I managed to get through hearing, One More Step Along The Road I Go without cracking up. Which is quite good for an old softie like me.

No 1, however was another matter.

Readers of this blog may have picked up that no 1 has had a bit of a rough year 6. It started right at the beginning when she came home with the forms for secondary school (Why oh why they saw fit to give the blasted things to the kids I don't know. It's caused me no end of trouble). She became very anxious about losing her friends and moving on to the new school, which was compounded by the stress of sitting for grammar school despite my best efforts to make things laid back and easy. This was followed in March by the discovery that not only had she failed to get into grammar school but she'd failed spectacularly badly. In the midst of her misery about this it became quite apparent that her wretched teacher had been piling the pressure on about how scary secondary school was.

Never mind, says Mum, at least you're going to the school you wanted to now.

Ha. Bloody Ha.

Three weeks ago no 1 went for a day at her new school. She was full of excitement and looking forward to it. But when I went to pick her up she burst into tears and said she'd had a miserable day. Turns out she's not with any of her friends bar one which was her main reason for wanting to go to that school and not the one she failed to get into. Never before have I truly wanted to bang my head against a brick wall, but really I very nearly went and did it. I HAD said over and over again till I was BLUE in the face, that she might not be with her friends at the school she's going to, so she may as well go for the grammar school as more then likely she'll make new friends anyway.

No 1 doesn't normally do crying, so it was something of a shock to spend not just the next two hours comforting her but for her to burst into tears at the slightest provocation nearly every day up until the end of term. If it was my drama queen no 2 I wouldn't bat an eyelid, but no 1 is such a bite your top lip kind of girl it came as real shock I can tell you. And of course, being the softie mum I have become - I used to have this hard Cancerian outershell till motherhood ripped it off me - the weepier she became the weepier I became. I tell you we've been drowning in this house without any help from the rain thank you very much.

Spouse meanwhile has been retreating into the garage to play with his new toy - a kit car Catheram 7 , which I PROMISE to blog about because I find the whole thing so funny, but it may have to wait till I'm back - and looking on bemused. As well he might. Unlike me he grew up in an exclusively male household. Poor lamb has NO idea what is about to hit him. Because without a doubt on top of the stress, hormones have been playing a big part. When I tentatively suggested to no 1 that her being this weepy might have something to do with All That, she looked absolutely horrified and said Oh no! Not that too....

Poor kid. I'd forgotten quite how lousy it is dealing with all this stuff.

But as a parent I can tell you it's damned wearing.

We had tears because she was ill and insisted on going in as it was her dress rehearsal (the school called me in and she missed it anyway.)
Tears because I suggested she miss the first performance of the play as she'd been ill. I relented in the end as her teacher said it was ok.
Tears because she was chosen to be in the novelty race (AKA the Race Where They Dump the Crap Ones and she knows it) for Sports Day.
Tears because she didn't want to do Sports Day.
Tears during Sports Day because she lost her race (she didn't even try, I was watching)
Tears at the end of the day because she'd lost everything on Sports Day.
Tears because she was the only one (of course) upset about leaving school, two of her friends are going to grammar school and she's not, she is devastated she got such a bad mark, she thinks her life is over etc etc.

I was like worn out rag by the end of the week.

And it got worse, when I went to her assembly and watched her grumpily read a poem out (she didn't want to do it), trying not to cry in between the moments when she laughed, shooting filthy looks at me every time I tried to take a photo and generally doing a grand job of making me feel as miserable as she did. I was ripe for a good bawl before I'd even started, and it only took one other mum to go for me to be wiping the tears away, along with half my row.

Luckily no 1 didn't spot me crying otherwise that would have REALLY lost her her street cred.

I have to fess up here to having been taken aback by the strength of my emotion. I have three kids still to go through the school, so it's not like I'm saying goodbye to it.


My little girl is about to take a very big step along the road. And it seems like minutes since she took her first one.

I am conscious of time's winged chariot more and more as she gets older. The last seven years have sped by. Give it another seven and I'll be waving her off to uni (I hope)...

The years pass in our adulthood and make very few changes. We get older, gain a few grey hairs, pile on the pounds. But essentially we change little. But our children change beyond recognition with each passing year. And it is only now that I realise how brief their time in childhood is.

No 1's time in childhood is very nearly up. I hope it's been fun for her.

But what I really really hope is that the step she takes next is even better.

Oh. And that she stops crying...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pastures New

Woooo! Well as you can see I finally have a cover for my book, Pastures New which is going to be published on 3 September, price £6.99.
First off, I have to say a big thank you to the lovely people at Avon for providing me with sucha fab cover and for all their support.
My last post elicited a response from a Ms I Want To Be Anonymous who I apparently went to school with. Whoever you are, please do email me as I'd like to say hello properly!! And yes you can tell all of our old school pals about the book....
I will I hope be blogging shortly over at Bookarazzi about my journey to publication. Suffice to say it was a long one, and there were many points along the way when I nearly gave up. Had it not been for my many lovely friends in the RNA who have been so supportive, my agent, my family (Mad Twin especially) and Spouse I think I might have...
But it's all come good now and I feel ever so slightly overwhelmed.
Mil is thrilled to pieces as it's going to be published in German (as I am), but I would have been happy just with England...
I must dash as have less then 24 hours till there will be no time for anything for six weeks, and I have to polish the first ten chapters of the next one so I can send it off to my agent for scrutiny.
Was feeling it was a pile of rubbish, but MT has made me feel better about it again.
The current book is about a dentist being sued, and I hope is a slightly tongue in cheek look at the madly obsessed with celebrity Looking Glass World we currently seem to inhabit.
I am utterly in love with my hero.
But then I should be.
He's a combination of Spouse and David Tennant. with a little bit extra thrown in.
It doesn't get much better then that....
It's sooo much fun being a writer!
I may be absent from the blogosphere for a bit as I am going to curtail my internet habits till I've read the new Harry Potter as I don't want any spoilers. So please if you too are an HP fan and you read it before the end of the weekend, DON'T TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS!!!! And I promise there will be no spoilers here.
I have a five pound bet on with no 1 that Snape is a goodie. No doubt if she wins, she'll spoil that one for me....

Monday, July 16, 2007


Is, as every Douglas Adams fan knows, of course the answer to life, the universe and everything.

It is also the name of one of the best episodes in the current series of Dr Who. (I just put that in so I could think about David Tennant for a few minutes...)

And - ahem.

It apparently is the age I reached at the weekend. Though of course in my head I am still 21.

My eldest daughter very kindly made sure that I hadn't forgotten this fact by drawing my a card which said Happy Birthday Mum - 42. Wow!

Yes, like SUPER WOW.... thanks so much for reminding me.

She'd gone to all the trouble of drawing 42 candles on the cake, though she evidently ran out of enthusiasm for the kisses (she drew 5 kisses x 42 instead).

In her enthusiasm to do the card, she and her sisters also forgot about the breakfast they had prepared earlier - much earlier. So I got congealed porridge, rubbery toast and a cold cup of tea. But the thought was there, so that's the main thing.

Spouse meanwhile proved that he is definitely the man for me, by buying me a tardis shaped birthday cake complete with David Tennant. Sadly DT didn't jump out of it (as one of my friends suggested he might), but another friend pointed out the usefulness of a tardis for someone who is still 21 at heart.

So if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do a bit of time travel.

(Mad Twin, care to join me???)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

You've been tagged


Darling Bec from Becandcall (who I am soooo glad to see back in bloggyland) tagged me um, a week ago to do a meme.

Somehow I have managed to hang about the internet for nearly two years and never been tagged before. I am not even at all sure I know what a meme is.

Apparently the rules are that I have to give eight random facts about myself (though quite why anyone needs/wants to know eight random facts about me I don't honestly know)... and then tag eight other people. I have to check out with these eight others whether they've done this meme before, cos I haven't a clue what's going on.

So, Bec. Thanks a bunch.

Here goes nothing....

1. I am a fifth daughter of a third daughter. Sadly that doesn't make me a witch.

2. I have no idea where my grandmother came in the family pecking order, so my chances of being a witch have just reduced further.

3. My husband is a third son of an only son. So he isn't a wizard/warlock either.

4. I really wish magic were true. (Can't you tell?).

5. I have never recovered from the disappointment of discovering that Narnia wasn't hidden in the back of my wardrobe.

6. I am looking forward to the last Harry Potter book mainly to prove to my oldest daughter that I am right and she is wrong: namely that Snape is a double agent.

7. I have yet to work out a way of whiling away the time till Dr Who returns. (Watching endless repeats will help).

8. If I can't have magic, I'll settle for David Tennant instead.

Um... so now I have to tag some people apparently.

Is this a bit like chain letters, and will all the people I tag hate me forever?

If they'll let me, I tag the following people:

Lesley Cookman
Bernardine Kennedy
Lucy Diamond
Kate Harrison
Struggling Author
Lisa Rullsenberg
Zinnia Cyclamen.

If you object, I won't mind at all....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

On the hoof

I am frantically busy this week as I've just got back from the Romantic Novelist's Association Conference (amazingly to discover the house hasn't been trashed) and I have a thousand and one things that needed to be done yesterday. Also listening to the astoundingly young but immensely wise Cat Cobain (editor of Headline's Little Black Dress range) talking on Sunday about the need for writers to contain their internet habits, I recognised myself so completely in her words, I have decided her recipe of internet free days is something I really need to do. So I'm literally in and out today.

However. I wanted to just point anyone who reads this blog and is into books and blogging and the link between, to go forthwith to a new site called. which a group of us who hang about online have pulled together to talk about books and blogging and other stuff that interests us. You'll find reviews, news of our latest releases, stuff about the wierd way writers' brains sometimes works and lots more besides. So hope to see some of you there!

I will be back. But possibly not for a few days...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The New " Must Have" Symbol

The New "Must Have" symbol is four children apparently.

Well so I read just now in the Bookseller by way of The Times. The Blairs, the Jaggers, the Gores... and me.

Apparently having four is soooo 21st century, da-ah-ahling.

Somehow methinks the Blairs et al don't share my stress levels.

Let me tell you about my week so far and see if you agree.

As previously mentioned here, was the day of the Race for Life.

Because we have four children, and two of them wanted to run with me, that meant Spouse had to deal with the two others (luckily my wonderful mother was on hand to help this weekend, but this is rare as she lives 200 miles away).

Wonderful mother cooked us lunch, which was just as well as No 1 had volunteered to take part in a Guide's cooking competition, the details of which were only delivered through my letterbox at 5pm (cue frantic recipe decision making/followed by quick lessons in stir frying while trying not to miss any of the last episode of Dr Who).

We got back from RfL at 12.15, no 1 and I were off out again at 1.30, together with lots of bits of paper, some cooking equipment and two guides I didn't know.

Cooking comp starts at 2pm, we arrived to discover that very vital bit of paper containing their menu has been left behind. Can't you go back and get it? asks the guide leader. Between gritted teeth I say, well I'd rather not, as it is an hour round trip. Luckily no 1 produces some paper and pen and rewrites.

At 5pm No 2 has a party five miles in the opposite direction of the cooking comp, so I tootle over the downs with her, and luckily meet a friend who offers to bring her home before going back to get no 1 from her comp. Spouse meanwhile is playing in the garage with his new toy (of which more later. I think it deserves a whole blog to itself), so I am on driving duty.

Cue lots of hanging around to discover no 1 and her chums haven't won the cookery comp, before getting home for 6.30, feeding the Horde and chucking them into bed.

I spend most of the day clearing up from the chaos of the weekend, saying goodbye to my mother, taking mil to an appointment ( I bet the Blairs et al don't have that extra bit of fun either), before scooting to school for pick up. By a hair breadth I managed to remember it was no 4's parents' evening and because I have four children they all ran riot in the playground till I'd done. Then it was off to swimming lessons as per usual. Except it wasn't as barring no 3 they all jacked up and I didn't have the energy to argue. So I got mil to sit with them while I took no 3 to her lesson. Got back, fed everyone (had left no 1 in charge of the dinner, so it burnt), scooted round the house putting washing away before going out to my triathlon swimming session which was a killer one this week. The first Monday of the week involves tee shirts. Sadly for any voyeuristic male fans out there, it isn't a wet tee shirt competition, we have to swim in the bloody things. This week he made us swim 500m. Which was easy.

No 1 had to go to her new secondary school for the day. Because I have four children this would have been a logistical nightmare without a friend helping me out. I dashed back from a quick coffee with the Race for Lifers and spent the day frantically working on the wip, which (mainly because I have four children) I have been sorely neglecting of late.

Go to pick sprogs up in a hail storm. They are all excited as they now know who their new teachers are and no 3 has visited the junior school for the first time.

No 1, alas, is somewhat less then enthusiastic when I get her home. In fact she collapsed into floods of tears which lasted so long she was nearly outdoing the rain. The reason? She's not with any of her close friends. Now, if you were reading my blog some months back when we had the debacle of her not getting into grammar school, you'll know the reason she didn't want to go there was so she could be with her friends (DESPITE me telling her that she might not be.)

So between gritted teeth, I was ever so supportive and neglected dinner, children, getting myself ready for new parents's meeting at said school that evening, just so she could let it all out. Now does Cherie have time to do that I wonder???

I have been for a swim, dashed into town to get some shoes for no 1 who is attending her leaver's disco on Friday. (Some idiot has decided the theme should be Oscars and everyone has gone mad. We have people ordering limousines, kids having their hair done, parents getting the boys and girls together on dates. Sheessh! They're eleven. Why do they need to grow up so fast?They won't thank us when they have.) I also had to buy black tee shirt and leggings for her school play next week.

I have to pick up some extras as its brownie night and I do a swap with a friend. I still have all the camping equipment in the car,and because I have four children, plus an extra two there is now no room in the car, so we shall have to walk. I have to get them to brownies, take the equipment down, and then zip over to school for no 3's new parents meeting. I've been for the other two, so I may skip that one...

no 4 has a school trip (don't get me started about school and money. Because I have four children I am constantly shelling out for this that and the other. I may as well just give them my sodding cheque book), and I have to go and see the sex film that no 1 is watching next week.

It's no 3's school trip (luckily I have got out of helping), no 2 has cookery club, no 1 has dancing and the disco. I am also going on a rare trip away (HOORAY! I am going to the Romantic Novelist's Association Conference where I get to be a grown up for a couple of days as well as meeting some of my wonderful RNA pals). I am feeling terribly guilty about going as no 1 is so fraught and having big friendship problems at the moment, and if the disco is a disaster I won't be around afterwards. The next day she and no 2 also have a piano exam which no 2 is creating about. I am sure they'll be fine, but ooooh, the guilt. Because I have four children, I get four times the guilt.

Somehow, I doubt very much that the Blairs, the Gores and the Jaggers have quite so much to do with their offspring on a daily basis...

But anyone thinking of having four children to boost their status. I'll just say five little words.

Don't even think about it.

(or if you do. Get a live in nanny).

Monday, July 02, 2007

Gotta Run With It...

Well yesterday was the day.

Super Fast Mum, Fastest Teacher on the Block, Best Improver, Running Girl and I were joined by Virgin Runner and Yoga Queen as well as Nos 1&2 at the start of Race for Life. Every other race I've taken part in, I've been pretty much on my own, so it was really great to be part of a group.

The atmosphere on the race course where we ran was also great. Without wanting to be corny, I guess most of us are there for personal reasons one way or another, and we get a chance of a minute's silence to remember them. More movingly, though I felt was the opportunity just before the start to cheer for a whole minute in celebration of the people we've lost. I liked that, and it's certainly motivating at the start of a race.

Last year it was very hot and no 1 and I made the mistake of going with the walkers, so it took us ages.

This year, we all decided to skip the aerobic warm up and headed straight for the start line.

The weather of course has been slightly tempestuous to say the least (though we have luckily escaped flooding - there are benefits to living on a hill), and yesterday morning looked very gloomy. Luckily just before the start the sun came out and we were able to offload our anoraks on Fastest Teacher's very noble Spouse.

As I had the sprogs, it was never my intention to run a fast race, but being at the front of the pack (let's face it, an unusual experience for me), despite my running chums leaving us behind we amazingly did the first k in 6 mins.

Blimey, I thought we'll be finished in half an hour at this rate.

I had, however reckoned without no 1's capacity for slowing down. Bless her, she really wanted to run all the way having walked it last year but a) physically she is like me not really built for running and b) she does have a huge mind over matter thing going on, where she finds it difficult to keep running. I can sympathise because this was exactly the way I used to be till I started running properly three years ago. To be fair to her, she also was recovering from a nasty cold and had a very painful stitch and had to keep stopping.

So the next kilometre was a bit slower, and then at 2.5 k she stopped running altogether, and we walked pretty much till the 4k mark. From 3-4k there was big hill, so I was pulling her up it at one point.

I tried a variety of motivational techniques on her from, Come on you know you wanted to run it all, which elicited a rather bad tempered response, to all three of us running together holding hands and trying out Mil's mantra: Ich Kann, Ich Will, Ich Muss. It did sort of work, but there were points when I could see she was finding it tough going, and I was thinking, oh god, how much of a meanie should I be?

No 2 meanwhile was going great guns. She is a natural runner, and was impressively speedy. If we'd been going at her pace I think we'd have done it in 35 mins.

As it was we got to 4k at 37 mins and I realised we were going to miss my target of 40 mins, so told the girls we could get in in under 45.

By then we could see the end of the course (which was really great actually. I enjoyed it much more then last year when it was a lot more wiggly. Plus the race course is my favourite place to run, so it felt pretty heavenly to me) , and then Spouse, the littlies and my mother put in a welcome appearance which spurred both girls on.

We ran/walked the last kilometre and no 1 really gave it her all at the end. I had to slow no 2 down so we could cross the finish line together (last year no1 having walked all the way cheekily ran on ahead) at 43 mins.

I would have loved to have run with my pals - but it was so brilliant coming across the line with the girls, I don't care that we didn't do the best of times.

Sorry for being so bossy, I said to no 1 as we left the racecourse. I couldn't have done it without you she said, giving me a hug (which if you knew no 1 you'd know was a fairly rare occurrence). I wanted to cry at the beginning said no 2, because I thought I couldn't do it. And now I want to cry because I have.

They were both as pleased as punch with themselves, as well they might be. It's a fantastic achievement for a nine and eleven year old and I am soooooo proud of them.

And the mums who run did brilliantly too.

I haven't got everyone's times, but Super Fast Mum came in first in 30 mins and the others weren't very far behind. Congrats to all of them too, because apart from me and SFM, none of them have done much running before.

So far we've raised nearly £100 on the website but I don't know what we've done between us. Thanks so much to everyone who's sponsored us.

It was a great race to be part of. And even better cause.

All power to Cancer Research and the people who work so hard tirelessly to try to find a cure for this wretched disease.

It was a privilege to take part again.

And like Arnie....

I intend to be back.

In the meantime, girlies if you're reading... anyone on for that 10k in September????