Wednesday, November 09, 2011

New temporary blog

For a long long time I have wanted to write down the story of aged mil's life, and I haven't been able to work out how to do it. After my post yesterday I suddenly had the inspiration, that I could do it in a series of vignettes, and tell her story in snapshots, the way she's told me. I may in private also right some of the stuff going on at the moment alongside, I may not, but for now, I'm putting her stories here:

I hope you like them.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

When my mother in law met Louis Armstrong

My life is a bit surreal at the moment to say the least. A bit of me wants to write about what is going on, and more of me wants to keep it private, so instead, I thought I'd share with you some of my mother in law's amazing stories from the war.

Rosemarie grew up on an estate called Isenschnibbe on the outskirts of a small mediaeval town called Gardelegen, about two hours drive west of Berlin. Her father was an estate manager who ran Isenschnibbe for the Prince of Lippot Detmolt, who thanks to the war, never came to visit. So her father, Walter was a man of great importance in the town, being in charge of all the estate workers.

At the end of the war, Gardelegen was eventually handed over to the Russians, but first of all the Americans took over Isenschnibbe. And the two Major Generals in charge got on famously with Rosemarie's family. As she had learnt English at school, Rosemarie was often required to translate.

One day, one of the Major Generals came to Rosemarie's parents to invite them to a concert. Louis Armstrong and his band were going to entertain the troops. I'm not sure how long they stayed, but Rosemarie couldn't believe the lavishness of the event- Louis Armstrong was flown over from the States, roses were flown up from Rome, for a family who lived off the land and wasted nothing, it seemed the height of waste, luxury and extravagance.

What was Louis Armstrong like I ask? Nice, says mil - but that's what she always says, everyone is nice to mil - they all were. And we enjoyed listening to him play. For several Christmases afterwards, he wrote to Rosemarie's mother. We still have copies of those cards.

So you liked him? I say. Oh yes, says mil, shutting her eyes and going back to sleep. He was tip top, very nice. It was lovely.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh the shame...

This blog is beginning to be the least written in the world. I am sorry. But life has just been exceptionally manic of late. Aged mil has been in hospital (again ugh). I won't go into grisly details, suffice to say that the latest report on care of the elderly in NHS hospitals chimed totally in with our experience. And this time I did write to complain... There was one health care assistant who was very very lucky not to get thumped, but somehow I restrained myself...

Having said that, not all the staff were bad, and the ones who were good stood out like beacons of luminosity. I was particularly grateful to a health care assistant who actually offered me a cup of tea, which is pretty much unheard of. The junior doctors on the ward she ended up on were delightful, as were the sisters in charge. It was just a shame she had to endure five days of misery in the wretched Clinical Assessment Unit, aka the dumping ground for people in A&E to stop them blocking up the corridors. There is no consistency of care there, and precious little evidence that anyone actually cares. The best people we met there were two young trainees, and they weren't even training to be nurses, but paramedics:-)

Having managed to get her out of there (my mother in law has the strongest will of anyone I have ever met, and made herself practise walking so much that her mobility improved immensely quickly), she hasn't been that great since, and as a result of one weekend where we were away (Bruges, for a belated 20 wedding anniversary treat, two years late. And yes, very nice thank you, I may even get round to blogging it some day.), and she was very poorly, and last week when she succumbed to an infection and was so ill she could barely stand, we made the decision to move her in with us. So yesterday, bil, sil and I packed her stuff up and then bil manfully carried mattresses etc down the road, while we settled her in, and then with Spouse got the rest of the bedframe on top of the car roofrack. This morning she was most surprised by her bed. "Oh, it's like the one I have in the flat," she said, Er, yes... that's because it is the one you have in the flat.

We don't know how much longer she's got, we don't know if we will be able to manage, and it may be eventually we have to let her go into a hospice, but for now, it's a great relief to have her under our roof and know she is safe.

But net result is, I am a tad busy, and probably won't be posting much. But will do my best to at least get some pictures of Bruges up here anyway...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

And two months later...

... and she still hasn't posted. Not even about Dr Who. Shame on me....

I don't really have any excuses, just a general lack of focus/time. Will try and do better.

And the news from my summer was, that we had a lovely lazy time in Spain, and then came back and had a slightly less lovely, less lazy time thanks to teens testing boundaries. But all is well nowish...

Also had a very lovely time at the end of the holidays climbing the Shropshire hills in readiness for writing the next oeuvre, in which I return to Hope Christmas. I've cheesily entitled it This Christmas, and yes, I think there is going to be Next Christmas too. Couldn't resist.

It's taking me a while to get my Hope Christmas mojo back, but thanks to an eureka moment in the swimming pool earlier in the week, I think I'm getting there.

Which is just as well as I have a deadline of just before Christmas.

Better get on then, hadn't I?

In other news we are now officially in exam land and will be for the next decade ish as no 1 takes GSCEs this year (how did that happen, exactly? She was a baby a minute ago), no 2 chooses GSCEs, and I am trying to make sure that no 3 doesn't feel left out as her important Year 7 settling in period gets overhshadowed by her big sisters. I feel like a whirligig. Where's Hermione's time turning machine when you need it?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh dear...

Have been terribly remiss and not posted for ages, because life has been end of term manic, and there just isn't enough time in the day...

So in the first window of opportunity I've had all week, I just wanted to say, that I have had so much fun at all the events I've been doing. The Bromley Literary Festival was a hoot, and I met lots of lovely other writers, plus having the added bonus of popping in for a coffee with the lovely Medium Rob and his wife, whose brilliantTV blog The Medium Is Not Enough, which I read avidly.

I also had an hilarious time signing books in Redhill and Sutton on one of the rainiest days of the year. This was an advantage in Redhill Waterstone's which is in a shopping mall, but less of one in Sutton, which isn't. At Redhill I shamelessly bribed small children with chocolate so their mums felt obliged to buy copies of The Summer Season, but the good folk of Sutton were seemingly unbribable. Some of the responses I had include: No: I only read non fiction; my wife doesn't read and I don't like those kinds of books; and, my favourite: I don't buy books.

Despite their best attempts to thwart me and no 4 (who'd joined me doling out choccies), I did amazingly manage to sell some books, and was hugely supported by the lovely staff in both shops.

I wound up with the event at Cadogan Hall, which turned out to be an intimate gathering, but hugely enjoyable nonetheless. People were either being tremendously polite, or were genuinely interested, and so asked lots of fascinating questions. I also had the opportunity to meet a couple of Twitter/blogging friends, Sarah Salway and Sara Sheridan (who gave a fascinating talk about adventurers in the nineteenth century and researching historical fiction.)

All in all it's been a lot of fun. But now I have to disappear into my other job, as oh yes, the children are home. It's going to be a long long summer....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Out to Lunch at Cadogan Hall...

If perchance, you would like to come and see me talk at Cadogan Hall, next Thursday, 21 July at 11.15am, followed by the lovely Sara Sheridan at 1pm, could you possibly email: to confirm, as they need to know numbers. It's free, you know, and I'm scooting off from daughter's leaving assembly especially to be there, so how can you resist?

Friday, July 08, 2011


Finally got my lovely shiny new website up and running. Well, I haven't the lovely Aimee Fry at The AuthorWorks did all the hard work and was very patient in the face of much technical difficulty.

Here it is.

You can listen to all my soundtracks AND everything...

Also while I'm here, anyone in the Redhill/Sutton area, am signing copies of The Summer Season at Redhill Waterstone's on 16th July at 11am and Sutton Waterstone's on 16th July at 1.30pm. If you're in the area, do come and call!

And a reminder that I will be at Cadogan Hall on 21 July talking about writing and editing from 11.15am -12pm. Do come if you can!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Squeeing all the way to Hollywood...

Rather late in the day, am squeeing loudly for my lovely friend Marie Phillips, whose, fabulous book Gods Behaving Badly (and if you haven't read it, WHY NOT?) is going to be made into a film. With an awesome cast. Tremendously exciting. Although I don't think I could be as excited about it as Marie obviously:

Couldn't have happened to a nicer person. And can't wait to see the film. Christopher Walken as ZEUS. My gods... GENIUS casting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bromley Literary Festival

Just a reminder that I will be on the Ladies Who Love Panel at the Bromley Literary Festival on Saturday, 2-3.30pm, Bromley Library Hall, along with Dorothy Koomson, Juliet Archer and Victoria Fox.

You can also attend a fabulous workshop by my brilliant RNA chums, Sue Moorcroft and Christina Courtenay, all about Romantic Heroes. Well worth it!

For more details, go here:

(Tediously links don't seem to work on my blog and I can't figure out why, sorry about that!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Summer Season

Look what I got in the post on Saturday? Doesn't it look lovely?

With thanks as ever to the marvellous Avon team who miraculously pulled this out of the bag given the author's by the skin-of-your-teeth deadlining. Especially the designer whom I think you'll agree has done a lovely job.

Books will be available in the shops on 23 June I believe, but I expect you can buy them in Amazon already.

And I will be taking part in a panel discussing Chick Lit at The Bromley Literary Festival on 25 June at 3pm, 4th Floor Bromley Central Library and on 21 July you can hear me talk about being an author/editor at Cadogan Hall as part of their Out to Lunch free lunchtime concerts. Details here:

Do come along and say hi if you're in the area!

Friday, May 27, 2011

And a rider, to my previous post...

I had meant to link it to this excellent article by Dr Max Pemberton who writes a column in the Daily Telegraph, which I think sums up the problems at the heart of the NHS.

I am in favour of reform, and it is not all about cost cutting. Some of the things I talked about in my blog post can be done without spending money. For a start, patient b who was sent home from hospital before Christmas would have possibly saved the NHS a considerable amount of money if the patient had been kept there till better, and not wasted two ambulances coming out needlessly. I agree with Max Pemberton that the business model is a flawed one. (I have similar feelings about education). I have always worked in the commercial sector and while aghast occasionally at some of the ways the public sector seems to work, I don't think business and health are a happy mix. A wealthy nation is also a healthy and educated nation. If we keep people well and educate them properly, business can flourish. That shouldn't mean an open cheque book, but neither should it mean health and education are shoe horned into adopting business practices that don't make any sense and don't promote the needs of the patients/pupils.

I am also deeply aware that the majority of the staff working in the NHS are overworked, often underpaid and dedicated to what they do. But to give you one small example of where things are going wrong, let me tell you this story, which happened to us only last week.

Mil has recently needed to go to hospital on a regular basis for blood transfusions. Last week we were told she had to be ready for 8am (entailing a carer coming in at 7 to help her get ready), as she needed to be in the hospital by 9am for a blood test prior to having the transfusion. I would have taken her, but had the school run to do. I was slightly anxious about how the transport people would cope with her, so I dropped the kids off and got back to her flat at 8.45 to discover no sign of the transport. They eventually turned up at 9.45 and seemed surprised to learn they needed to push mil onto the ambulance in her wheelchair (this is a private company outsourced by the hospital, NOT the brilliant ambulance crews we have met on several occasions). The person pushing her seemed never to have used a wheelchair before and kept getting it stuck over the threshold of her doorway. We eventually arrived at the hospital at 10 am, so it was 12.30 before mil could have any blood (it takes time to make the blood up). She required two units of blood, which take 2 hours per unit. The earliest was getting away was 4.30pm. I had to shoot off for the school run so bil stayed with her. He reported that transport turned up at 3.40, twenty minutes before they were booked, and the attitude pretty much was if she doesn't go now, she doesn't get a lift home. Apparently if you are booked one way, you have to be booked the other, so bil wasn't allowed to do it himself. The result was she didn't have the second bag of blood. HOW can it be that transport dictate the treatment patients receive? This is a clear case of the tale wagging the dog.

On a more positive note the staff at the haemotology unit where she is being seen are uniformly excellent, but they agree with me that dragging an 86 year old, very infirm lady in in this manner once a week is not ideal. Nobody it appears is looking at the whole picture. And I am sure this is not unique to mil's situation.

I am reminded somehow of a powerful piece of thundering rhetoric in one of my favourite Dicken's novels, Bleak House. When the road sweeper, Jo dies in poverty, in shocking circumstances and Dickens launches into a rant about the inherent wrongness of his death.

Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, right reverends and wrong reverends of every order. Dead, men and women, born with heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us every day.

I think, if Dickens were alive today, he'd be tempted to say the same about the elderly dying in our hospitals, don't you?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Care of the Elderly

This is a post I have wanted to write for a very long time. It's something I care about passionately.

I have always been fond of the elderly. As a teenager, I used to visit a local old people's home at school. Having no grandparents of my own, I was endlessly fascinated with the stories they had to tell of lives lived in a world that seemed so different from my own. The downside was the inevitable (it seemed) mental decline of people in care homes. Ladies (they were mainly ladies) who started off relatively sparky and witty ended up demented and forgetful. At fourteen I was unable to cope with this and remember making a vow never to end up old.

At eighteen I spent four months as a volunteer caring for an elderly lady called Janey. She was 87 when I knew her, confined to a wheelchair and needed help with pretty much everything. She was sharp as anything though, and despite our age gap we formed a firm friendship, so much so that I was absolutely devastated when she died 18 months later. It was the first proper experience of loss I felt, and I think I felt it more keenly because, I'd met her so late in her life, she was such a vibrant person, and I would love to have known her better.

Those experiences were a great grounding did I but know for the way my life has panned out in recent years. I have spoken frequently here about my mother in law, now herself approaching 87. She too, is a remarkable woman, with a list of care needs as long as your arm, but a bright and optimistic approach to life which means she copes with every bit of crap that gets thrown at her. Her mind though it wanders occasionally, is pretty much all there, and I am currently in the process of writing down the remarkable story of her youth, which she recalls with vivid clarity.

Up until two years ago, mil had never been to hospital. Ever. But after a succession of falls we found ourselves in a situation where she was in and out of hospital for several months. Today the The Healthcare Ombudsman have published a damning report about care of the elderly in our hospitals. Everything they have reported: lack of help feeding elderly patients, loss of dignity, inability to communicate adequately with the family, chimed in with our hideous hideous experience of having an elderly relative in hospital. On top of that I have been chatting to a friend, whose elderly mother has experienced similar, and another relative on my side of the family was also dismally failed by the system.

In order to protect the identity of the people I am writing about, I am therefore going to give you three case scenarios. All of which have happened in OUR hospitals.

Case 1) An elderly person suffering from life threatening cancer admitted to hospital with renal failure. Remarkably the drugs this person was given pulled them round enough so they were well enough to go home. The patient was delivered home to the spouse, with inadequate provision for their considerable personal needs, in the middle of the heavy snow last winter. Subsequently the patient's 75 yr old spouse & another older relative sat up in the middle of the night caring/cleaning the patient. The District Nurses were "too posh to wash", and decided the snowy conditions rendered it too hazardous to come over, the GP didn't come near the patient and the spouse was at the end of her tether. The patient should NEVER have been sent home without adequate care provision being in place. But it happened.

Case 2) An elderly person was in and out of hospital for many weeks. During the time spent in the local hospital it was nigh on impossible for the family to speak to a consultant to discuss any aspect of care. Information about the patient's needs were repeated endlessly and fruitlessly to staff, and ignored. Often the patient was sitting without a blanket when visitors arrived, usually on a continence mat as little care was taken about toiletting the patient. In time the patient was moved to a community hospital where at least the nurses had time to care properly, but before Christmas there was a clearout and the patient was sent home with a catheter without discussion with the family. Pleas from the family that the patient was simply too ill to come home, as the correct care package wasn't in place were swept aside. As a result the patient was seen by the GP on Christmas Eve, emergency doctor Christmas Day, the District Nurse a few days later, and was readmitted to hospital on January 2.

Case 3) An elderly patient with alzheimers was admitted to a hospital a considerable distance from where they lived. The family tried discuss the care package with the social care team in the hospital and found it impossible. The patient also spent time in a care home before coming home, and wasn't being seen by her own GP, so continuity of care was very difficult. When the patient eventually came home, to the 80+ year old spouse, it was with 20 different medications. None of which the patient or spouse were capable of administering. The carers who were looking after the patient are unable to administer ANY drugs without a dosset box provided by the local chemist's. The system doesn't allow time for those kind of procedures to be in place, when people are sent home, leading to all kinds of difficulties for the family.

On top of those case studies, these are things I have witnessed for myself with other elderly patients, who have been in the same ward as mil at different times.

1) when she was in the first ward where people are sent to be assessed before being placed on a general ward, I saw an elderly man who had had a fall and was in considerable pain, being sent home, where he clearly lived alone, even though he looked in no fit state to care for himself. Not only that he asked the nurse for pain relief, which never seemed to appear. He was groaning so loudly as he got dressed I wanted to go and help him. Perhaps I should have done. No one else did.

2) A lady with cancer shared a ward with her. She was thin as a pin, and also in considerable pain. I talked at length with her daughter, who ironically was a nurse. Do you think she looks ready to go home? she asked me. No, I really really didn't.

3) All the elderly women in the ward mil was in sat on continence mats. A lot of attention was paid to weighing them, measuring their blood pressure and taking their temperature. Ticking boxes in other words. Very little was paid to making sure they had time to go to the toilet/were reminded to do so, and as a consequence many had accidents. That is a basic care need. I was appalled to see the lack of consideration for people. If it was your mum would you want that for her? I longed to ask.

4) A friend reported visiting an elderly lady in our local hospital over the Christmas period. They were short staffed and using agency nurses, who clearly didn't care at all. My friend wasn't given any information about this lady as she wasn't a relative. Repeatedly she requested that this lady was cleaned after she had soiled herself. Such help wasn't forthcoming. In a modern hospital in a civilised country such lack of care is shocking, and makes me fume.

These are not isolated incidents. They happen all the time, to our grandparents, our parents, and eventually, they will happen to us.

The NHS needs serious reform in this area. I'm glad the Healthcare Ombudsman has issued this report. It's long overdue. Please God someone takes notice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

That article - again

Oh and here is what a few of my other Romantic Novelist buddies have to say about THAT article.

This is what Romantic Novelists are REALLY like.

Cross? Us?

And here's what we look like. Not a blue rinse in sight.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Following on from my earlier post...

My lovely gorgeous young Romantic Novelist friend, Kate Johnson has come up with a witty internet response to the Daily Fail. Using the hashtag #thisiswhataromanticnovelistlookslike, several us have put our faces on Twitter, FB and our blogs.

So here's mine. I'm sorry to report that I neither have a blue rinse, a twinset, or wear support stockings. I do occasionally wear pearls that my brother gave me, but I think that's allowed.

If you want to see a really lovely young RN, go to Kate's blog and see what she looks like too.

A tale of two parties

I went out last week. I know. Rare occurrence, getting away to the Big Smoke. And the reason I went? It was the RNA's Summer Party. Now I have banged on boringly here often enough about how much I love the RNA (Romantic Novelist's Association in case you don't know). Not only is it THE most supportive writing group I belong to, its members are warm, funny, clever, brilliant and I have enjoyed every RNA event I've ever attended. From my very first summer party, which I dragged myself up to, heavily pregnant with no3. That time I knew one person & felt pretty nervous entering a room where clearly everyone knew everyone else. But by the end of the evening thanks to the warmth and friendliness of the people I met, including the amazingly kind Katie Fforde, (already a major seller, taking time out to be nice to a newbie wannabe) I felt really at home. Since then I've got to know most of my RNA chums online, meeting them in the flesh on the all too rare occasions when I can get to a function, and I have a blast every time I do.

So, I set off on Wednesday expecting to: meet friends new and old (check); have a great time (check); network (uncheck, was too busy yacking); have scintillating & sparkling conversations (check); be dazzled by the glamour on display (check); and see the best shoe collection in London (double check).

As expected, I had a really fun night and though I was too busy to take any pics, you can see the full glamour on display(complete with a few shoes)

So it was some disappointment that I read this ridiculous article in the Daily Mail
OK it's the Daily Mail. We all know what to expect, right? But talk about giving a wrong picture of the event. I didn't spot a single twinset or blue rinse - (though Katie Fforde our outgoing chairman and incoming President has admitted to wearing pearls) - and I find the whole thing so bleedin' patronising towards our older members, many of whom could win a glamorous granny contest hands down. Not only that, she's missed the point about the RNA, which is a hugely broad church - there are people writing chick lit, sagas, historical, M&B - you name it the RNA probably produces it. The old fashioned image of Barbara Cartland dictating steamy scenes to her adoring secretary (hilariously parodied by Matt Lucas in Little Britain) is so far removed from the truth as to be laughable.

The RNA isn't full of batty old ladies writing rude stories, it encompasses women from their twenties, up to their eighties, who write stories about human relationships in all their forms, it provides pleasure to millions of readers and it is very tiresome of the Daily Mail and their ilk to still sneer at us, when frankly romantic fiction is selling in its droves at a time of considerable economic hardship. I have never understood why romantic fiction is sneered at when romantic films are not (the majority of them are written by women, anyone?), but such is sadly the case. But it would be nice for once, if a journalist, who was invited to our party could have for once put away her preconceived ideas and actually looked and listened to the people who were there.

Personally I think she travelled to another dimension where Barbara Cartland has cloned herself and has us all chained to our desks writing books in her honour. She certainly didn't attend the fabulous party I went to. Which is a pity, as she might have learnt something if she had.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Doctor's Wife

Ok, so I didn't blog last week's Doctor Who, because it was frankly, a bit crap and a terrible waste of Lily Cole I thought. Oh well. You can't win 'em all.

However, as a long time fan of Neil Gaiman (a friend who used to run a comic shop introduced me to The Sandman series years ago & I was totally blown away by his imagination & storytelling abilities. If there was ever a writer I would love to be like, it would definitely be Neil Gaiman. And yes, I know I don't write fantasy - yet...) I was beyond excited when I discovered he was going to be writing for Dr Who. My favourite fantasy writer and my favourite TV programme? How good could that be???

Of course there's always the worry that it couldn't be good at all ... but thankfully that didn't happen.

So here, with all the Spoilers in the world is my take on one of the most gloriously batty, weird, and wonderful Dr Who episodes of recent times.

It was a great tease to give the title of this episode the Doctor's Wife, but even better when we realised why. The story begins with four strange, typically Neil Gaiman characters: a rather mad looking woman called Idris, a spooky couple called Uncle and Auntie, who appeared to be sewn together with bits of other people and a rather scary looking Ood with green eyes, known as nephew. We're in a junkyard at the end of the Universe and Idris is about to be sacrificed by an unknown entity called House.

Meanwhile on the Tardis, the Doctor hears a knocking at the door - in the deepest of deep space he's got mail (Oh lordy lord, how I just loved Neil Gaiman's script, it was witty and elegant & goddamned beautiful). And it seems to be from a Time Lord. There's a possibility that they're not all dead, so how can the Doc resist. Even when Amy says, You just want their forgiveness - Doesn't everyone says the Doc. How much pathos can you get into that line, Matt, hmm, hmm? The episode was full of such moments. Matt Smith really excelled himself, but Suranne Jones as Idris was complete revelation. As it turns out, of course there aren't any Time Lords in the junkyard at the end of the universe, the malevolent House has been tricking them all AND stealing the soul of their Tardises into the bargain. So Idris has taken on the persona of the Tardis and the first time in their joint history the Doctor and the Tardis can actually speak to one another. What do you call me? You sexy thing. / Are humans bigger on the inside? And a whole brilliant riff on who stole whom... Seeing the Doctor and Tardis interact in this way was one of the most joyous Doctor Who moments I think I've ever seen. It was brilliant, and Suranne Jones was mad and wonderful and sad (her body was dying the minute the Tardis went into her - we KNOW how the story will end right from the get go) & also wonderfully funny and the dynamic between her and the Doctor was fabulous.

Not only that, Gaiman piled in a whole lot of scary stuff - Uncle and Auntie are stitched together from bits of Time Lord bodies, eurgh, and once House realises this is the last Tardis, he no longer needs them and they drop down dead in front of the Doctor and Idris. In the meantime House has taken over the Tardis with Rory and Amy trapped inside, and then starts playing some very very messy mind games (My ONLY gripe would be, why the fuck did Amy and Rory keep letting go hands, when every time they did they got separated), which ended with Rory apparently dying thinking Amy had left him and the words, HATE AMY scrawled everywhere. Taking aside the fact that Rory apparently died AGAIN (maybe there's a point to that people?) it was a chilling moment. Rory, lovely amiable Rory (whom my children now love more then they loved Mickey, which is saying something) being so full of vitriolic hate for Amy - ouch. I thought the thing about him keeping the memories of waiting 2000 years for her locked up was important, I'm guessing it really really is now....

And I also loved the bit when the Doctor watches the Tardis disappear and says I really don't know what to do, that's new (not quite he had a moment of that with Donna when he got trapped in the Medusa wotsit didn't he?) - but still that's scary. The Doctor ALWAYS knows what to do...

The solution to escaping was of course cobbling together all the bits of the old Tardises (again the pathos of Idris, they are all my sisters and brothers - The Doc is not the only last of his kind), and another witty exchange - You never read the manual/I know what I'm doing - the argument about Ikea flatpacks beloved by couples everywhere, genius. The dialogue was so sparkling and swift, I didn't catch it all, but as well as all the weirdness, Neil Gaiman has delivered a rom com in the tradition of Cary Grant movies. OH I SO WANT TO BE ABLE TO WRITE LIKE THAT!!!
Even to the moment when the Doctor is scratching his head unable to work out why he can't get it moving and Idris tells him how dumb he is - he needs her and he can't work it out.

Then it was so much fun, watching them escape, with Idris doing a telepathic link to Rory - the pretty one - The pretty one? queries the Doc - showing him how to find his way into the archived Tardis console (hurray, a lovely shout back to DT days) - which cleverly allowed them (sorry can't quite remember how need to watch it again) get back control of the console proper to allow Idris and the Doctor back into the Tardis, where it was a matter of moments to despatch House before the episode wrapped up the only way it could with Idris dying and releasing the Tardis back into the bluebox again. You knew it was coming all the way through, but oh god, didn't Matt Smith play it well - the joy of having finally spoken to his lifelong companion - the one who's always there when everyone else has gone and then losing her again was just terrible. Of all the losses he's faced, I'm not sure if this one is the worst, even perhaps worse then losing River (though of course there was a neat nod to her in the last words Idris spoke to Rory, which I'm sure will be terribly significant). And the ending with the Doctor talking to the Tardis and stroking the console, You sexy thing, was very very sweet.

Fabulous, fabulous episode. I do hope Gaiman gets to write for Doctor Who again. Even better, can he take over as show runner when Steven Moffat gives up. Please, pretty please....

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I wear a stetson now...













Time wimey stuff, Matt Smith in a stetson, aliens you forget as soon as you look at them, Amy Pond in danger, River Song kicking ass, Rory doing his Rory thing, and a dead cool FBI agent called Canton Delaware... It can only be the return of my favourite TV programme.

I was going to blog the first episode last week, but what with all these HOLIDAYS, I ran out of time, so I thought I'd try and get my head together and see if I can make any coherent sense out of the first two episodes. Both of which I've seen twice now. And do you know... I still can't.

Which is why I love Steven Moffat's writing so much. Cos he raised more questions then he answered, and by the end of episode two we were no further forward in knowing who a) the little girl was b) who River Song is and c) what happened to Amy's pregnancy.

But I really really don't care, because from the moment Amy, Rory, River and the Doctor met and had what turned out to (apparently - I don't trust you on this one, Mr Moffat, the Doctor can't possibly be dead) be a last supper of sorts, we were on a roller coaster ride, and I for one didn't want to get off.

There had been much teasing beforehand about who was going to die in episode one, and my money had been on Amy, because I really didn't think anyone would dare kill the Doctor - not properly, in the middle of his regeneration - but that's exactly what Steven Moffat did. Wow. I was totally blown away by that, and felt pretty much like Amy did, thinking SURELY someone can do something... when of course it turned out that the Doctor wasn't dead at all. Well not yet... it was a 200 year older self who died, and who'd known he was going to his death, so he sent his younger self an invitation to meet up with Amy & co to solve whatever mystery had to be solved in 1969. And bingo. We're back in Steven Moffat timey wimey hurty head land. And from here on in, I haven't got a CLUE what's going on.

Well, that's not quite true... thanks to the fourth mysterious guest (the aforementioned Canton Delaware) pitching up with some handy petrol to send the dead Doctor off in a blaze of glory, our intrepid heroes end up at the White House where a very puzzled President Nixon has been receiving mysterious phone calls from a young girl. In the meantime, Amy keeps seeing scary aliens - or doesn't. When she turns round she forgets they are there... I have to say I wasn't particularly spooked by the appearance of the much trumpeted Silence, but as ever Steven Moffat's special genius is making you afraid of your own shadow. The idea of an enemy hidden in time, all around us, only we forget them the minute we turn away is brilliant, and very very scary. AND the scene in the second episode where Amy walks into an empty room, and then looks up and sees a whole bunch of aliens, sleeping upside down like bats was properly spooky. EEK.

Episode one ended with the reappearance of the astronaut who apparently shot the Doctor at the start, causing Amy to react by shooting the astronaut, before she raised her visor and we realised that it was the mysterious little girl. Eek, and double eek. THAT was horrific...

Jump forward to episode two and it was as if the previous week's episode almost hadn't happened. We've fast forwarded three months, the Doctor is being held prisoner, Amy is chased to the edge of a cliff by Canton, and shot, Rory to the edge of a dam to meet the same fate, and River (oh River, you are so bloody marvellous!!! I could hug Steven Moffat for introducing an older actress into my favourite tv show) throws herself backwards out of a tower block to escape...

Of course, there are going to be people who bitch about this (in fact I've already read a couple of online reviews griping about it), as nothing from episode one was resolved and we didn't actually discover how they found out who the Silence were considering they are so easily forgotten. Except... I can't help thinking based on our previous experience of watching series 5, Steven Moffat is playing with us. There is going to turn out to be a reason for those missing three months you mark my words. And I bet it has something to do with Amy's on/off pregnancy. Why for example did Amy HAVE to tell the Doctor about the pregnancy in the middle of a stressful situation? I suspect timey wimey stuff will be at the heart of it, and she had to tell him before she forgot again/or it was a future version of Amy who told him.

As to who the baby is - I'm convinced it's got to be River Song, who may also be the little girl. Although this theory got kicked to touch when the little girl started apparently regenerating right at the end of episode two. BUT... the Doctor KNEW who she was when she shot him, and River Song is in prison for killing a good man... And I've thought from the off there must be some connection between River and Amy... And I'll probably be proved wrong in six months, time but what the hell, it's fun speculating. And I feel sure that Rory' s ability to compartmentalise his memory is also going to be important somehow...

Anyway, I digress. Once we'd established that Amy & Rory had only been shot to bamboozle the Silence, we were back to business as usual, with the Doctor going to rescue River as she fell out of the tower block - Open the doors to the swimming pool - hilarious; and a plan to discover who the missing little girl was, which led Amy and Canton to a really scary orphanage, where Amy discovers a room with pictures of the girl, including one of her holding a baby, before being taken prisoner by the Silence, while the Doctor breaks into the Apollo mission to do something clever as part of his scheme to defeat the Silence. Now here again, I'd say time went a bit wibbly wobbly. We had an AWFUL lot of time concentrating on Canton and Amy, and very little about what River, Rory and the Doctor were up to. Deliberate I'll bet. And I'm sure we'll find out why in Episode 13...

And time was very wibbly wobbly for Amy - given that she can't remember the Silence, nor how long she's been held prisoner, is it just possible that they have stolen her baby, and she doesn't remember? They certainly seem to be using the little girl for reasons unknown...

And weren't they defeated a little too easily? After all that time being invested in earth, would they really have given up without a fight. Surely, having created the Silence, Steven Moffat's not going to leave it there?

That said, those are questions which may or may not be answered by the series story arc - I decided to forget all that and simply enjoy the spectacle of the Doctor and River flirting (how Matt Smith acts so old/young is brilliant & makes their relationship utterly believable) and River taking out all of the Silence (only don't tell the old man how many, he doesn't like it.) I also loved the Doctor's line about her shooting people, I shouldn't like it, but I do a bit... Yes, sweetie, she's got the measure of you.

It all ended in a dazzling shootout, earth being saved, Canton accepting his inability to be the first married gay FBI agent (hilarious dialogue again between him and the President which left all my children, even the older two who think they know it all, going Duh?), River being dropped back at her cell door (but oh, the poignancy of the it's his first/her last kiss moment) and the Doctor, Amy and Rory off for another adventure. But being Steven Moffat, he can't just leave it there. We not only have the conundrum of Amy's is she/isn't she pregnant? , but also inexplicably the Doctor decides not to pursue the little girl. Why? Particularly as she appears to be a Time Lord (or does she? I am hazarding a guess she absorbed his regenerative powers when she killed the Doctor). And is there a significance to her regenerating nine months after the beginning of the story or am I overcomplicating things? I am sure there is an answer, and it will become clear. Only probably not till episode 13...

PS. Ooh, ooh, just had another thought. WHY didn't River realise the Doctor hadn't kissed her before? Once she'd established that this version is 200 years younger then dead version with whom she happily compared notes, she must have known they hadn't snogged yet. Soooo.... more timey wimey stuff? Did something happen to the doc those three months when he was in prison? Is it one of those apparent continuity errors which turn out not to be anything of the sort? Answers on a postcard please. Preferably, Tardis blue.

PPS OH, and another thing. Y'know the beginning, where I thought it started oddly with Amy & Rory at home just mooching about waiting for the Doctor, and Amy says, trying to attract their attention is the sort of thing the Doctor would do? - WELL, if eldest child is to be believed and this two parter is in fact the beginning of this series finale, which would be typically mind bending time changing nuttiness from Steven Moffat, perhaps she's right. Perhaps this series is all about adventures which have ALREADY HAPPENED, and Amy and Rory have to go back to the beginning to change it all, so it doesn't end with the Doctor getting shot by a psychotic child in a space suit. Now my head is REALLY hurting...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Germany or bust

I have, as you may or may not have noticed, been rather quiet of late. This is mainly because I have been up to my ears in rewrites on The Summer Season (which deserves a whole post of its own, frankly). I finished going through the proofs last Thursday, just in time for us to embark on an epic trip to Germany on Friday.

We haven't managed a trip to Germany with mil for four years. Two years ago, we had a big 85th birthday party for her, so lots of friends and family came to that, and then she was ill, so last year was a right off. Quite frankly, I'd have said we'd never do it again, because mil's now so infirm, it is an immense undertaking.

Except... in January we had the sad news that her only sister was dying, and Spouse and I just felt we should get her there. Our initial idea had been to leave the children here, and just go with her, thinking that we were going to be attending a funeral. But then, mil's sis being the incredibly strong character that she is, pulled round, and managed to get herself home. So... our trip turned into a last chance saloon visit. As it's the Easter hols, and no 1 was going away with the school (coincidentally on a choir trip to the Rhine), we all went. It was just as well no 1 was away, mind you, as we couldn't have fitted our luggage, the zimmer, and wheelchair in, had she been there... (Taking an elderly person away is nearly as bad as travelling with a toddler...)

To say that I have been stressed about this trip is putting it lightly. Particularly as we had an extra little excitement in the form of mil needing a blood transfusion the week before we went. I kid you not. It could only happen to us. The docs at the hospital were all very wary of us taking her away, as her white blood cell count is low which means she's prone to infections (as she has people in and out of her flat all day, plus visits from the children, and Spouse who probably bring loads of germs home, I don't think she's more likely to get ill when she's away, quite frankly). Luckily our very kind and thoughtful GP seemed to think it was no worse then driving her around Epsom, so off we went...

Friday morning, therefore found Spouse dropping no 1 at school for 5.45am while I got mil ready with no 2. We miraculously managed to get on our way by 7am, arriving at the Chunnel (NO WAY were we going to manage the ferry!), early enough to get on an earlier train. So far, so few problems.

The first thing that happened was that I had a panic attack. Damn. That was unexpected. It took me till we got to Holland to calm down, but I had managed to get over it by then, just in time for us to try and organise a loo break. Then it took us ages to find a reasonable loo with disabled facilities. I thought Europe would be better at that kind of thing then we are, but apparently not... On top of which, just as it was getting more and more crucial we find a loo, the sat nav decided to take use the wrong way, so we ended up driving twenty minutes in the wrong direction. Once we'd sorted ourselves out and found somewhere reasonable to stop,we had the fun of getting mil in and out of the car which was a nightmare, as she'd seized up on the journey... Oh joy.

Up until this point we'd been doing very well time wise. I had been merrily sending no 1 texts telling her which country we were in (she was a bit worried that we might all die in a car crash and she'd have to go and live with her uncle), but once we hit Germany and the Ruhr it all went pearshaped. The roads were heavy with traffic, and it took much longer to get to the outskirts of Hannover, then normal. Hannover is still an hour away from Wolfsburg where we were staying, but it took us two hours plus because they seemed to be digging up the road everywhere.

We finally arrived at the hotel around 7pm. I enquired at the desk about the disabled room I had allegedly ordered, and they told me mil could go on the ground floor. Spouse and I inspected the (lovely it has to be said) room, and decided the bed was too low for mil, so we thought it better if she came upstairs in the room next to us. Which was our first mistake...

Having got mil settled, we phoned various people that we needed to, while we waited for dinner. This caused much embarrassment to Spouse as mil is deaf so she was shouting down the phone that we would be meeting her friend Herbert at 6pm the next day. By the time she'd finished, the whole hotel knew, including four young lads in the corner who were having hysterics. Mil of course, is blindly oblivious to such embarrassment, as she has spent her whole life speaking loudly and inappropriately in public (sil had a mortifying experience in M&S with her once when she demanded tights with a large gusset at a thousand decibels), but by the time we went into dinner Spouse was trying to crawl away...

At bedtime, no 2 and I went to the lift to take mil to bed. The lift then decided to play silly buggers, and went up, and down, and up and down, and then... stopped. Five inches below the ground floor. I pressed the emergency button and got a service engineer, who seemed every cross to be disturbed, and no 2 ran off to get the man on reception, who had a heated exchange with the engineer, before asking if Spouse could come and help him. So Spouse arrives, gets in the lift and lifts the bottom of the wheelchair, while Mr Receptionist lifts the handles. As Spouse puts his head up, mil puts her head down and crack! Spouse manages to nut his 86 year old mother. It could only happen to us...

The lift clearly wasn't going to get mended straight away, so we changed our plans and decided to let mil sleep downstairs (much to the kids disgust as she had the better room). Luckily the lowness of the bed wasn't an issue. Though the lowness of the toilet was, and the lack of handholds in the walk in shower meant a shower wasn't an option. We did muddle our way through, and by the end we'd perfected a reasonable system, but really... You'd have thought a chain like Best Western would have at least ONE disabled room. As it was, they advertised one on the website and the staff told me apologetically they didn't have one. I don't suppose many English families bring over 86 year olds in wheelchairs, to there isn't much call for it, I guess...

Fortunately Friday was the most stressful moment of our stay - Spouse and I were practically hysterical in the bar, wondering what on earth we'd done - but by the next morning Mil had perked up, and was able to move around less stiffly. So we were able to take her to visit her sister, which was the point of going, as well as getting her over to see her cousins in the country near the town where she grew up. In the evening we managed to meet the friends who'd caused the lads so much hilarity the previous day. (Said lads turned out to be from Hamburg football team, St Pauli FC, who were playing Wolfsburg in the Bundesleague. To our amusement there were German paparazzi and fans waiting at the entrance as we left in the morning. Had we known, we would have taken lots of pictures...)

Sunday saw us with mil's sister again, plus a trip to her home town of Gardelegen where she met up with some other friends. We were also able to take her on a brief visit to the house where she grew up, and back in Wolfsburg, we took her for a spin round the castle, where her mother grew up. The children were amused to hear that as a child Omi, was only allowed to play with the children of the Count, as the village children were deemed too common!

It was an exhausting trip, possibly one of the hardest we've done, but a real eye opener to see how well Mil rose to the occasion. She is so positive and has such a great ability to put difficulties behind her, it meant that hard as it was, it was a lot easier then I'd imagined. And this is probably the last time she's going to see her sister, and we never thought we'd get her there. Sometimes, you have to do the thing that has to be done, however difficult...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And Another Thing...

I'm really proud to be taking part in the Firestation Book Swap tonight, at Windsor Firestation Art Centre at 7.45pm.

Organised by the inestimable Scott Pack and Marie Phillips, Book Swaps involve a couple of authors (tonight, it's me and Robert McCrum), talking a bit about books, while periodically the audience get to plug a book they've brought along and swap it with another. I'm bringing The Book Thief, which is my favourite book of the year so far, and probably deserves a proper review when I have time...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Authors for Japan

As we all know a devastating earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan last week. The very brilliant Keris Stainton has swiftly put together an author auction which runs until 8pm this Sunday. All manner of people are taking part, and you can not only bid for signed copies, but for critiques on your work, to have your name used as a character in a book, or have a book dedicated to you.

I am very proud to be part of it, and have donated a signed copy of The Bridesmaid's Pact, and will donate one of The Summer Season when it's available. I have also offered to critique the first three chapters and synopsis of a children's book.

You don't have to bid for my stuff, but I do urge you to go to :

and support the auction, as it's something small we can all do.

All proceeds go to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oh woe is me....

... and huge huge spoilers....

BEING HUMAN IS OVER. Now what am I going to watch?

The good news is that series 4 has been announced, YAY!!! Well, frankly the Beeb couldn't let it go after that finale. That would have been nearly as bonkers as recommissioning Outcasts.

Of course,
















It's not going to be the same show without Mitchell, who finally met his wolfshaped bullet, in the shape of George, a stake and a friend saving his soul, in much the same way as Mitchell saved Lauren in Series 1, but I have faith in Toby Whithouse's visionary genius. I also think this series has suffered sometimes from having four main characters to follow, so having three may be better, just so long as they give the girls more to do, and stop having them act so stupidly, which is my major criticism of series 3.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Before I launch into my thoughts on the series finale, I just wanted to do a quick recap on the whole series. There have been faults it's true - Annie needs to get some gumption for a start, and be allowed to be this powerful ghost we've seen hinted at, but frustratingly not used to her full potential, and both she and Nina were soooo stupid at times - but on the whole I think the series has worked brilliantly. And for me, it's possibly been the best series so far. It has been dark - very dark at times - bleak, touching, compassionate, funny, and always unexpected. What I particularly like about it, is the fact that the makers of Being Human don't flinch away from the darker side of the world they've created. Mitchell is appalling at times, and during a lot of this series has been self serving and pathetic, but at other times heroic in his attempts to control the evil within him (such as offering Herrick Nancy, and then thinking better of it). He does do evil. The Box Tunnel Massacre is every bit as horrific as we think it is, and Mitchell has faced the consequences of it throughout the series. George, Nina and Annie are all affected by their relationship with Mitchell, and when Herrick reappears at the end of Episode 4, it is noticeable that George and Annie, so often Mitchell's conscience won't think twice about getting rid of Herrick. It is only Nina, who has no idea of what Herrick is capable of, who treats him with any kind of compassion.

I blogged at length about episode 1, but episode 2, which introduced teen vampire Adam (a means of sending people off to the spinoff series Becoming Human, which I've also been watching online), was a lot of fun. If a little inappropriate when watching with a fourteen year old. It was funny enough (if you are a fan of Gavin & Stacey, that is) that our favourite quartet had decamped to Barry Island, but it was a STROKE OF GENIUS to cast Stacey's mum Gwen as a vampire into S&M. Hilarious. I loved the way Nina and George became all parental (foreshadowing their particular storyline) around Adam, and their realisation that far from sending him to a better life, where his addiction to blood could be "managed", they'd left him in weirdsville, and had to go and rescue him. George confronting a group of vampires with a pot plant was particularly sweet.

Wonderful too, was episode three's introduction to Type 4, a zombie called Sasha, brought back to life thanks to Mitchell's trip to purgatory to save Annie. At first repulsed by her - a being even more monstrous then any of them - the characters all found themselves ultimately showing compassion, as Sasha dies a slow and tragic death. It is also the catalyst for Nina to accept the pregnancy she has threatened George she will abort (patter of furry feet, people, oh yes!!!), and for Mitchell and Annie to reveal their true feelings for one another. (George and Mitchell's exchange about Annie fancying Mitchell was a hoot. I do love their conversations, and shall certainly miss that aspect of the show next time around.)

Episode 4 was quite possibly my favourite episode. First we had Annie and Mitchell trying to cement their new found relationship by a weird kind of threesome, as the only way Annie can "feel" anything is if she is touching someone touching Mitchell (the scene when the three of them encounter George in the landing was hilarious, as was Annie's goody two shoes attempts to talk dirty). Unfortunately, Mitchell's predilection for blood/sex rather gets in the way, so it's a more chaste relationship for our undead duo. Meanwhile, George and Nina go on the hunt for McNair and Tom, believing them to hold the secret to giving birth to a werewolf baby. McNair, it turns out is not too keen to be tracked down, and not at all keen to befriend werewolves who shack up with vampires. Plus, turns out he's not really Tom's dad at all, having adopted him after killing Tom's real parents.

Mitchell's hostility to McNair, thanks to a worry about that wolf shaped bullet (which of course he can't tell anyone - that was an aspect of this series that did annoy me. I get that Mitchell has a peculiar set of problems, but FFS TELL the people closest to you, why don't you, man? Except of course, there would be no series if he did that), leads him to betray McNair to the vampires who are planning another cage fight. And this was the bit of the programme that had me hyperventilating, because of course, Mitchell's plan goes horribly wrong, and it's NOT McNair who ends up in the cage, but Tom, Nina and George. Eek. I was literally on the edge of my seat for the finale of this episode, with Mitchell and McNair forming an unlikely alliance to rescue the trio, and if that wasn't enough, the episode ends with our first sight of Herrick, in a straitjacket, in a mental ward, apparently not knowing who he is. I could barely speak. Spouse and no 1 thought I'd finally lost it, but really. What a way for an episode to end...

Episode 5 was a very different beast, but teasing, subtle, dark and clever, it totally messed with our minds. Had Herrick (or Mr Herrick as Nina insists on calling him) really forgotten who he is? Are George and Nina, right to give him another chance, and not let Mitchell stake him (I think we know the answer to that one), and if he doesn't know what's going on, how come he's so keen to show Nina the scrap book about the Box Tunnel 20 that Mitchell's hiding in the attic. This episode for me was dominated by Jason Watkins' awesome and restrained performance as Herrick, playing him as a mild mannered slightly confused man, who really doesn't know who or what he is, and even appears to be frightened of the dreams that torment him, and yet, and yet.... Annie's comment when he asks, Who are you? , On to you, is spot on. Herrick, even an amnesiac Herrick, is dangerous...

My least favourite episode was episode 6, where George encounters his dad again, first of all thinking that he's dead and a ghost. It was quite sweet I suppose, and amusing at times, but overall, I felt it was just a bit dull, and although the Box Tunnel stuff was bubbling away in the background with the arrival of Nancy, a very nosy cop, the menace present in the rest of the series was lacking here. Plus Annie was irritating the fuck out of me. HOW could she not guess that Mitchell was responsible for the Box Tunnel 20? Particularly after what she says to him when they get together and he tries to confess - she claims to know what he's done in the past, but knows what kind of a man he can be. Right. Mind you, as she also tells McNair, this is the girl who's first boyfriend put a video of her on the internet, second suggested a threesome with her mum, and third killed her. Mitchell would seem like marriageable material by comparison. But she knows what he is, surely she must have an idea of what he could be capable of? I know love is blind, but...

So moving swiftly on... episode 7 picked the action up again nicely. With Nancy getting closer to the truth, Mitchell's desperation to discover how to dodge the wolf shaped bullet, leads him to try and offer her to Herrick to help restore him to his former self; Herrick being the only one who can give him the secret of escaping death. Luckily for Nancy, Mitchell's conscience gets the better of him, and she's reprieved ... for now.

Discovering that Mitchell's prints are not only all over the Box Tunnel 20 murders, but a murder that took place in the 60s, Nancy realises she's run into something weird, but how weird, she doesn't discover till confronted by a superior back at the office, who turns out to be a vampire, just waiting to recruit her to the cause. Luckily this time, Annie (in her self imposed - deeply irritating - role as avenger of the Box Tunnel 20) saves the day. Annie of course then discovers the truth about the massacre, and decides to dob Mitchell in...

And then in classic Being Human style, everything kicks off, and nothing turns out the way you might have imagined. It's full moon so the werewolves (McNair has been injured, so they turn up to join the party) are out in the woods, but McNair has smelt Herrick (responsible, it turns out for putting him in the fighting cage in the first place) and is intent on revenge. The house is empty apart from Herrick and McNair and it's showdown time...

Nancy turns up to arrest Mitchell and Annie reveals what she knows, leading Mitchell to give himself up for her. Nancy triumphant, thinks she's got her man, not realising quite what's waiting for her in the attic. Oh dear, oh dear, just when you thought she couldn't possibly be a victim now, it's time for her to meet a resurgent Herrick, who's stabbed McNair and is beginning to remember himself.

But THAT wasn't the worst... Nina and George return to find Mitchell has been taken away, George, furious with Nina for having tipped off the police in the first place, rushes off to help his friend, and then Nina meets Herrick...

OH GOD. The scene when Herrick stabbed Nina has to be one of the most shocking BH moments I can think of. I really thought he wasn't going to do it... and then he did... BLOODY HELL....

Which takes us finally to the final episode.

Things I didn't like: Annie was still being stupid. I see her need for justice, but I don't see how she can think what she is doing can help.
I really hated the fact that Lia's wolf shaped bullet was all made up to mess with Mitchell's head. I'd have rather seen Annie having been let in on what was really going on when in purgatory and being part of the plot to teach Mitchell a lesson.
And I'm now a bit confused about what happens when you die. What about the men with sticks and ropes we kept hearing about in Series 1? Where did they all end up? Lia can only have been manipulating stuff this series, as she died at the end of the last, so who were the people trying to get Annie to cross over?

That aside. BLIMEY. What an episode....

Just as it looks really bad for Mitchell (who FINALLY tells Annie about the wolf shaped bullet) , up pops Herrick in his policeman's outfit to rescue Mitchell, casually revealing what he's done to Nina. As Annie gets to the hospital, she's in time to see one of the policeman at the scene die, so she can follow him through to purgatory, and discover what Lia has been up to.

Meanwhile, Herrick's plan is to get Mitchell together for a little tete a tete in the cage. Oh yes, the wolf shaped bullet. It will be George after all. Oh no. It won't, because George is not going to fight Mitchell as he has suspected all along that he is responsible for the Box Tunnel 20. Oh yes, he will because Herrick's killed Nina, and it's all Mitchell's fault... Oh no, he won't because here's Tom, having found out what happened to Daddy (Oh what a touching fatherly farewell from McNair - nice one Robson Green), intent on revenge. In a stand off, the two vampires leave together, Mitchell now forever bound with Herrick (You're dead to me, says George bitterly. Noooo George, you can't do that to Mitchell!), George desperate to find Nina....

... and he does, in time for Annie to be back from purgatory and be there to wake Nina up. And breathe. Nina is still alive... and yes, so apparently is the hairy baby. I was convinced it was going to be a goner...

So Mitchell is back to his bad old ways with Herrick. Apparently. Except, before they go and find a nice quiet village to destroy, Mitchell takes Herrick on a trip to the seaside. And there having confessed he doesn't want to come back anymore, and discovering that once you're staked, you stay dead, quietly stakes him.... ANOTHER disappointment I had hoped we'd get to see more of Herrick, but I do get that maybe their story has played itself out now.

So it's back to normal at the B&B, except of course it can't be after all this, so here's Mitchell offering himself to George, saying George has to be the one to stake him, to make up for all the stuff he's got involved with thanks to Mitchell. (Vampires, so dramatic, huffs, Nina. Quite.)
But, can George actually do it? They all know Mitchell will kill again - George gears himself up, he's on the brink and oh no, Mitchell escapes again. Because now the Old Ones, led by a mean dude called Wyndham (whose conveniently sorted out all awkward questions with the police) are back, and they want Mitchell as their attack dog...

George picks up the stake, turns to Wyndham, who says, don't be stupid, and oh no, it's not Wyndham he's after, it's Mitchell. Unable to bear the thought of his friend being forced to kill again, George stakes him after all. I'm doing this because I love you ("a bit gay" was the response of the 14 year old), Oh George, we know, we know...

So Mitchell has finally copped it. No way back from that, me thinks, particularly as Aidan Turner is off to be a hobbit. I have to say, though I found it teary, emotional etc, I thought that was a fantastically fitting end for Mitchell, and bold and brave of the BH team to go through with it. Where could they go from there? Mitchell had to die, and did so magnificently.

And if that wasn't enough, George's last lines to the threat of Vampire War, "You've got a fight on your hands" had me cheering. Good old George, what would we do without you? Though quite how Being Human will work without the Mitchell/George dynamic I don't know as it has been so central to the show. Still maybe it will give the girls a bit more of a chance. I do hope so. It would be nice to see Annie behaving like a proper scary ghost, instead of being as limp and wet as she has been this series. We have seen periodically what she can do, it would be great to see her let rip properly...

So all in all, a fabulous end to a brilliant, if sometimes flawed series. On balance I can forgive what's wrong with it, because it's edgy, dark, has me on my toes and makes me laugh out loud more then any other programme I watch. I don't know how I'm going to cope till next year. Time to invest in some Boxsets, methinks...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Being Human...

...Finale tonight. Just sayin'

Am beyond excited of course. Last week's episode was so awesomely jumpy, unnerving and dark, I cannot possibly work out now how it's all going to end, except...

I think Mitchell is going to meet his wolf shaped bullet,

I don't think Nina and George will be hearing the soft padding of tiny feet, after all. Indeed, will Nina even survive...

And I'm not sure that

a) Annie's and Mitchell's

b) George and Mitchell's

c) (supposing she makes it) Nina's and George's

relationships will make it either.


And as to what Herrick will get up to... Yikes! Can he do anything worse then he's already done?

I do hope I'm not disappointed.

And that I will have time to breathe...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

International Women's Day

Ok, though I am at heart a feminist (less of one admittedly then I was in my youth, realism and motherhood have rather impinged on my youthful ideals), I have to confess the idea of International Women's Day makes me cringe. However... there's a rather brilliant YouTube video that's just been released in which James Bond aka Daniel Craig drags up to prove a point about how unequal we still are. Sorry having trouble cutting and pasting links at the moment, but you can find it on You Tube by keying in International Women's Day.

And my blogging/twitter friend Sarah Salway has just written a post about her five female literary role models at, and I felt duty bound to write my own.

Off the top of my head, I tweeted: Jane Eyre, Maggie Tulliver, Beatrice, Joan Foster and Granny Weatherwax, but I've just decided I should have had Antigone in Beatrice's place. And here's why...

Jane Eyre.
I fell in love with this book at the absurdly precocious age of ten. I was lucky enough to grow up in the sort of house where books were always lying around and came across it one day in my bedroom, picked it up and read it (understanding perhaps a third). I immediately identified with Jane. She was so put upon, and had the harsh orphan life I fondly imagined as being somehow romantic in the rather grotesque orphanage games we used to make up. But more then that, she is stoical, and tenacious. She loses everything and is prepared to walk away from the man she loves for the sake of principle. And despite being plain and ordinary, she is anything but. I reread the book recently and was struck by different things then on that first reading: I found Rochester's teaching of her patronising when I reread the book as a young woman, but now I'm inclined to think they learn from one another, and although it is a matter of debate whether they are true equals, by the end of the book the balance is definitely restored in her favour.

Maggie Tulliver
Mill of the Floss was one of my A Level texts. I'd never read George Eliot before, and it was a revelation. I was particularly taken with Maggie as she has dark hair, like me, and struggles with being clever in a man's world (ok, at that point our paths differ). She is passionate and feels things deeply, and her impulsive nature leads her time and time again into trouble. Like Jane, she does the principled thing, by walking away from a relationship with Stephen Guest, which leaves her reputation in tatters, but unlike Jane, she doesn't get the happy ever after. The image of her drowning with her brother Tom at the end of the book is one that I still find haunting after all these years. She's a metaphor for our grandmothers and greatgrandmothers; the ones who weren't lucky enough to get the education we take for granted today, and as such, a perfect choice for International Women's Day.

Joan Foster
Lady Oracle was the second Margaret Atwood novel, I read, in my early twenties. I loved the character of Joan Foster - a fat girl who becomes thin, a famous poetess who hides her hidden career as a gothic novelist from her oh-so-serious communist husband Arthur. She is full of wit, invention and the capacity to recreate herself. A modern heroine for a modern age. Oh and her propensity for writing gothic romance may just have influenced my career choice...

Granny Weatherwax
I might have mentioned before Terry Pratchett (along with Margaret Atwood) is one of my favourite living authors. Apart from writing hilariously bonkers fantasy books which neatly parallel the absurdities of our own world, he has a genius (unparalleled I think, among male fantasy writers) for not only understanding women but capturing them brilliantly. (There is a line in A Monstrous Regiment about ironing, which with no intended disrespect to the men of my acquaintance was so true to a woman's experience, that I wouldn't have believed a man could have written it). Granny Weatherwax is my favourite female character in the Discworld novels. She's cantankerous, difficult, tricksy, ballsy, always funny, and always (usually in a roundabout way) on the side of right. Her spiritual heiress, Tiffany Aching, the teenage witch who features in The Hatful of Sky quartet, also deserves an honourable mention. In Tiffany I recognise a lot of my teen self, and Granny Weatherwax provides a great model for growing old crabbily (for disgraceful growing old you need to look at Granny's partner in crime Nanny Ogg, whom I love, but not quite as much). Her pet phrase "I ent dead yet" is one I intend to use till my dying day...

I first read Antigone (in translation natch, I don't know any ancient Greek), when I was a student. It's the third play in Sophocles' retelling of the Oedipus story (Oedipus the King/Oedipus at Colonus are parts 1&2 though confusingly, I think Antigone was written first), and it tells the story of Antigone, one of Oedipus' two daughters from his incestuous marriage to Jocasta. After the truth is discovered in the first play, Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus blinds himself and is sent into exile. During Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone looks after her blind father in his exile, until his death, but Antigone finds her back in the palace at Thebes. In the meantime her uncle, Creon has become the city's dictator and in the civil war he has had to undertake to gain power, Antigone's two brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices have both been killed. But whereas Eteocles is buried with full burial rights, Polyneices is declared a traitor and his bones left to rot outside the city walls. Antigone defies an order from Creon to give him a proper burial and goes outside the city and performs the rites. For this crime, she is walled up in a cave, where she subsequently hangs herself. What is so wonderful about this play is it demonstrates the disconnect between civil duty and family duty - Creon demands that Antigone puts the state ahead of her family duty, but Antigone cannot do that. Even when given an opportunity to repent her actions, she remains defiant, being prepared to lose Haemon, the man she loves, in order to do what is right. Another principled brave heroine. In a world where daily many women are called on to make sacrifices that I cannot even dream about, Antigone seems to me to be a pretty good role model, her story as relevant today as when it was written over 2000 years ago.

I think all my heroines share a strong sense of principle and self, a ready wit, and the ability to stand up and be counted. All qualities I deeply admire. I'd like to be like them all, but Granny Weatherwax most of all(-:

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Summer Season

Woohoo! Here is the cover for my new book, The Summer Season. ISN'T it lovely? Hats off once again to the wonderful designers at Avon. They really do a fabulous job.

I know Joanna Trollope last year, made a very sensible and rational plea for cover designers not to always go pink and girly on romantic fiction covers, but... there is a disconnect with what the sales team says the market wants, what in an ideal world we'd like to see, and what people will actually go and buy. I know this is a very commercial cover, and I love it, so there.

(Am particularly pleased with the pansies aka heartsease round the borders, as heartsease has an important part to play in the story)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Being Human squee!!

AGAIN, I find myself without sufficient time to blog about Being Human in all its immense glory.
And I really thought last night's episode was a cracker. Totally different from last week's action packed, on the edge of your seat thriller, it was much more subtle, nuanced, and nastily brilliant.

What I will say,








Nina, This is my Uncle Billy.

Genius. I LOVE the way Nina thinks on her feet.

George, turning back into the gibbering wreck of series 1, though possibly gibbering a bit more then that. I LOVE you George. But we all know that...

Mitchell, having to choose between what is necessary and his friendship with George.

I CHOOSE YOU. What a fab fab moment.

Herrick, What are you Little Lady.
Annie: On to you...

Sent shivers up my spine. Annie is great when she gets tough. They don't let her often enough. They ought too.

Hats off to to Ruth from Spooks turning up as a stressed and overworked psychiatric nurse. She was BRILLIANT. I don't know if she's going to be in it again -BH has a great tradition of twisting people, so she may not be all she seems, but if she was playing it straight, oh lordy, lord, wasn't Nina's response to her CRUEL. Again, I love that about BH, they have to behave monstrously to keep their secret - or to do what is necessary as Mitchell puts it.

IS Mitchell going to be killed by Nina? My money is on it, except that.... Maybe George will do it if he feels his family is threatened enough. Hmmm.... Or maybe it will be McNair after all.

And what IS Herrick up to? Does he really not remember? And is his evil innate or learnt?? Because if he DOESN'T remember he's still being the manipulative charming devilish character we remember from series 1.

LOVED LOVED LOVED what they did with Herrick. Looking forward to seeing more of him....

Oh I seem to have posted quite a lot more then I meant to, but it was sooooo good. And scary, and dark, and nasty, and still managed to be a bit funny in between.

Hats off to Toby Whithouse, this series he's got me even more hooked then ever...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Have mentioned this before, but...

Today is youngest's ninth birthday. She hasn't been excited... much. We've already had some of her presents, and she helped make her birthday cake last night. Rest of presents are going to be unwrapped with mil after school, but we're celebrating properly tomorrow as everyone is out tonight.

Today, is also the eighth anniversary of fil's death. The year he died, the first daffodil bloomed the day after the funeral. A year later, it bloomed on no 4's birthday. Today, I spotted the daffs at the front of the house, straining to pop out.

Hello, Fil. And Happy Birthday, no 4xxxx

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Summer Season

To celebrate finishing the revises of my latest oeuvre(and to prove there is more to me then being a Being Human fan), which quite frankly has been a sod, I thought I'd let you know a bit about what I've been scribbling about for the last year.

The new book is called The Summer Season, and will be coming out in June. I don't have a cover to show you yet, but I have had a sneak peek of the design, and it will look fab .

This book is a slight departure for me, as I have for the first time (and not without a little trepidation) strayed into the realms of historical fiction, by devising a story that starts in the 1890s and weaving it in with my more usual contemporary story.

As usual, my original starting place for this story (four divorcees living on a road they jokingly call Divorce Alley) has metamorphosed into something else entirely. My editor felt my original idea was a little too harsh, and wanted my characters to have something other then singledom bringing them together. She was right. She is very wise.

I was scratching around for a linking idea, and for some reason, started to think about gardens. I was a little worried about this to begin with, given my first novel, Pastures New was big on gardening, but I do love gardening as a theme: all that new birth and renewal is good for a romantic novel, and I figured if I made it sufficiently different, I could possibly do something new.

My inspiration came eventually from thinking about the garden in the house my husband grew up in. My parents in law were only the second people to own the house, and it had a beautiful garden, lovingly tended by my green fingered father in law. At the bottom of the garden, there was the remnants of a rose garden, made by the original owner of the house for his wife when they married. Fil told me that, when as a very old man, he lay dying in the house upstairs, in a room which didn't overlook the garden, he would ask about the rose garden, and be told it was looking beautiful, when in fact it had fallen into rack and ruin. I always thought that was spectacularly sad, and touching, and from there the germ of an idea was born...

So the premise of this book, is that in the nineteenth century, a Botanist, Edward Handford, designs a Knot Garden for his wife, Lily, as a wedding present. (Knot gardens are a Tudor invention, comprising usually of box hedges, forming interwoven geometric patterns with other herbs, but the Victorians were really big on them). Over the course of time, and through the ups and downs of their married life, the garden falls into a state of disrepair. Fast forward to our own time, and the house is now owned by Edward's great great grandson, Joel Lyle. Joel has moved in with his wife Claire, intending to restore the house and gardens to their former glory, but when his wife dies suddenly, all such plans are put on hold. At the start of the book, Joel is in stasis, unable to move on from his grief, until Kezzie, a self styled guerrilla gardener, bursts into his life and persuades him to start work on the restoration of the garden...

There's a bit more to it then that, as Kezzie, Joel, and Lauren (Joel's childminder) also get involved in the organisation of the Heartsease Summer Fest, which is raising money to restore another of Edward's works, the Memorial Gardens he created for the people of Heartsease. But the garden, and the mysteries they uncover during the restoration of it, are at the heart of this book.

I have to say, though at times, this one has been a REAL bugger (am coming to the doleful conclusion that each book I write is harder then the previous one), I have on the whole enjoyed writing it. I've learnt all about flower meanings (the Victorians were keen on symbolism in flowers, so naturally, Edward plants his garden with care), been fascinated by Knot Gardens (and accidentally found myself visiting one when attending a recent funeral), and realised how deep the subconscious is.

As part of my research, I have been rereading The Secret Garden (a much loved book from childhood), to give myself a flavour of the period. I waited till after I'd written the first draft to do so, and was most amused to discover that Kezzie has an encounter with a curious robin. Fans of the SG will know, of course, the robin is a very important character... I think the whole notion of a secret garden is such a charming one, it's hard to resist.

I also realised, as I was finishing off this draft, that in my head at least, the garden is reminiscent of a magnificent garden I played in as a child. We only had a small patch of scrub to play on - living in a suburban London street where space was at a premium - but this garden (which belonged to a friend of my parents) was magnifcent. It seemed vast to me, aged, I suppose 6 0r 7. There were miles of green to run around in, bushes to disappear behind, and logan berries to fill your face with. But the memory that has struck me most, was of a redbrick wall, that surrounded the garden, and it's that detail, particularly which has snuck its way in. Which also reminds me of another favourite childhood book: Tom's Midnight Garden, which features a boy who lives in a drab flat by day with a tiny yard, only for it to be transformed at night into a magnificent garden. Somehow that garden I visited in my childhood, and the one from the book, have become conflated in my mind, and have partly inspired the garden in The Summer Season.

Funny where your subconscious takes you, innit?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh. My. God.

To quote Annie in tonight's episode of my favourite TV show. (Being Human. Keep Up.)




HERRICK'S BACK. In a strait jacket


Eldest daughter thought I was hyperventilating. I wasn't. ... MUCH....

Will do proper review shortly, but I really really do have a book to finish...

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Werewolf babes

George. Nina. Little hairy baby.

Just sayin'...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

OH YAY! The Return of Being Human...

Readers of this blog may be aware that Being Human is one of my all time favourite TV shows, so please indulge me while I do a huge self indulgent SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! of a post to celebrate its return. I fell in love with show when the pilot episode was aired, and then was devastated to discover there wasn't a series at the time, but my patience was rewarded two years ago with Series One, during which I fell head over heels in love with a werewolf called George. I know most people fancy Mitchell, but George is just so - George - and I adore him. Series Two was fantastic, though not quite as good as the first, but still good enough to leave me gagging for more. Particularly as it ended on such a brilliant cliffhanger with Annie having been spirited away to purgatory and Daisy and Cara reviving Herrick who I have to say I really really missed last time.

Because I am a saddo obsessee fan I frequently visit the Being Human blog where they have been teasing us with Annie's Broadcasts from Purgatory (tho I do think they missed a trick in not showing more of that in episode 1 cos they were proper scary as my 12 year old would say), so was very very excited about the new series coming back on Sunday. For the first time we let no 1 watch (she has been infuriated with me for the last two years because I keep telling her how good it is but that she's not allowed to watch it) because otherwise we'd have either had to send her to bed at an unacceptably early hour, or we'd have watched it unacceptably late. (Oh teenage children, how they force you into difficult choices). Actually, I gather Misfits is ruder, and I KNOW she's watched that, so I don't feel I can censor BH any longer.

Anyway, we all sat down to watch with great anticipation (and also a lot of nervousness on my part, because I soooo want it to stay good), and hurrah hurrah, Toby Whithouse delivered once more. And with such style...

So we see Mitchell, Nina and George moving into a new home in Barry Island - an ex b&b which is perfect as it has a convenient basement for Nina & George to change in, a bar, and a Hawaiian picture on the wall. Perfect. I thought I couldn't love their new home as much as I loved the Bristol flat, but I was wrong. Particularly as I've just watched Nina take me round it on the BH blog. I love the detail that there is one of Robson Green's tapes on the shelf. Hilarious. (Robson Green is a new character, McNairn, a cage fighting werewolf.) It is that kind of detail that makes me love the BH team.

Mitchell sees Annie on the TV telling her she is being sent to hell and decides he has to go and rescue her, though George doesn't want him to go (I can't lose you too. Oh George is it possible for me to love you more?), and Nina warns him to be sensitive when she finds him a terminally ill patient to follow through the door to purgatory. I did love the scene when Mitchell and George are waiting for him to die - George tries to read Jewish prayers, driving Mitchell nuts, while Mitchell does crosswords, but the moment of death was beautifully filmed, with Mitchell displaying tenderness and concern for the man as he takes him through (no mention of the men with ropes this time, I note...)

The moment when Mitchell went through the door was the moment this episode really took off for me. There was a lot of other stuff going on - we get introduced to Robson Green's McNairn, who is kidnapped and forced into a cage fight with an poor unsuspecting human, while his son encounters George in a forest both preparing to change (George and Nina are taking it in turns to share the basement so he is out in the forest setting himself a trail to follow), which leads George in turn to follow him and end up accidentally meeting a group of doggers. It could only happen to George and created a brilliantly hilarious BH moment when George is arrested, despite telling the police, in that George voice I love, I've got a condition, and locked in a cell just as he is about to change. Meanwhile he manages to get a phone call to Nina, who is also on the verge, and she has to come and rescue him from his police cell. Let's hear it for Nina! I am so glad she is properly a lead now. I love Nina as much as George. My favourite werewolf couple. Though, what is going on with her hair, people?

Nina trying to resist her werewolf tendencies while she gets George out of jail by persuading the cops that his condition is so serious they'll be in a lot of trouble if they don't release him was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. But then just to ratchet up the tension, we also see the preparations for the cage fight (people holding up placards: Ten Minutes to Full Moon. Genius), and George and Nina desperately racing to find somewhere to hide so they can change safely and then having to lock themselves in together, despite George's fear that they'll kill each other. Another beautiful moment when they tell each other they love one another before falling to the floor in agony. Woohoo. And THEN seeing the cage fight, where full marks to the BH team, they didn't flinch once from the full horror of it. It was brutal and bloody and terrible, with the truth of the situation suddenly dawning on the victim in a terrifying way. But worse then the werewolf were the baying mob, and the leader of the kidnappers (played by a very sinister Paul Kaye) being disappointed that he's lost his bet that the human would last two minutes...

And while ALL this is going on, Mitchell is in Purgatory down a long corridor with many doors, with his spirit guide, Lia. Who knows he's a vampire, and knows stuff about him and keeps saying H12, to his and our confusion. Mitchell keeps asking to see Annie, but instead she offers him the choice of which door to open. As a catholic, I LOVED this version of purgatory, it felt really like it might be like that (my aged fil had a near death experience after his stroke when he was in a corridor knocking on doors and people on the other side wouldn't let him in. He wasn't at all religious but was convinced that's what happened till the day he died.)

Mitchell's choices force him to look at who or what he is, so the first door takes him back to WW1, just after he was turned, when he goes back to his regiment and ends up poisoning his friend Arthur and taking his life. He doesn't want to confront what he's done, but Lia leads him to see that he couldn't really help it, he was confused, and a victim too. They move onto the next door and its back in the 60s and this time the victim is a young girl called Sally. Now things are different, Lia tells him, Mitchell claims it got chaotic - he says he was out of control, she points out he was in control enough to have sex. It's almost as if you enjoyed it, Lia says and Mitchell claims he is not that man any more. When a desperate Annie shows up on the tv screen again Mitchell begs to be told what to do, but Lia says its his choice... At that moment Mitchell nearly gives up, It was brave of you try, says Lia, but then he can't leave without Annie, so chooses another door.

And suddenly we're in the carriage of the train in which he and Daisy went on a feeding frenzy last series. As this was one of the most shocking scenes from series 2 - I had got so used to Mitchell as the good guy it was truly horrific to see him fall from grace - it was brilliant to see Mitchell have to confront what he'd done. Suddenly he has an explanation of who Lia is, H12 - the seat she was sitting in, she's one of his victims too. Lia introduces him to the others: the train driver with five kids, the woman who'd survived breast cancer so he can see the ripples of his actions - till Mitchell can bear it no more. He says sorry, and relentlessly she tells him its not enough, she forces him to look at the way he hides from what he's done: Mitchell excuses it by saying its a compulsion, he was angry, Daisy made him do it... Lia tells him he's after forgiveness, and uses the good things he does to make up for the bad, and finally Mitchell confesses that he's an animal and he doesn't deserve forgiveness. I was dead and I never felt so alive, he says and admits to being addicted to a lack of conscience. It was a thrilling and wonderful performance from Aidan Turner (and suddenly I'm feeling all that Mitchell love...), as for the first time Mitchell properly faces up to his past actions, without the excuses. And this time, Lia warns him there will be consequences, as the price for getting Annie will be his death by way of a wolf shaped bullet. Mitchell is the final piece in someone else's story, and they have to kill him. Ouch.

So Mitchell has got Annie back. Nina and George didn't kill each other but shagged instead (I predict the pitter patter of wolf cub feet), and McNairn's son killed the vampire kidnapper (I missed that till the last minute, duh) and tells him about having seen George.

Being Human's well and truly back. Major major SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Toby Whithouse. I think I love you.