“Is there anything in the freezer?” And other inane questions of cohabitation

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  • Dear Readers, I write to you from my brand new writing garret. For all my shedding-the-shed sob stories, I actually rather love it up here. It’s very conducive to writing (and also having a brief kip, on the bed that’s here). Soooo peaceful. This is my new writer’s view.

    My i-phone pic doesn’t really do it justice but I can tell you there are hills over pretty old buildings, forest, the green, green grass of England and if I look down the garden, there are also my bras wafting away on the washing line. Egg is having to get used to the presence of bras in the house.

    It’s been a month since I moved into Egg-quarters. I work up here, but I sleep in the basement. That’s right, I have completely taken over two floors of Egg’s house. I was supposed to do both in the basement. I have a bed down there, a wardrobe, a desk and fairy lights to boot…I also have the utility room next door so really, minus a toilet, it was a self-contained pad. But there’s not much natural light. I knew – diva, diva –  – I was not going to be able to write down there. I was starting to think ‘bunker; do you know what I mean? Also that novel, ‘Room’. Also, Josef Fritzl.

    So, the basement is my just my bedroom these days, here is where I spend most of my day.

    I won’t lie, it’s taken a little time to get used to Egg and I living together. The last time we did this, I was five months pregnant. It was also May when I moved in then (2004) and I must admit to a slight feeling of regression when I did it this May, a slight déjà vu, shall we say, as I unpacked my various lotions and potions onto the bare, monochrome, masculine shelves of Egg’s bathroom, as we started to discuss what we were having for tea.…

    We have already slipped into pseudo-married. Yesterday, for example I was in a wife-mard with him because he didn’t come home from work on time for me to meet my friend at said, allotted time. When I finally got in the car and he gave me a lift to the pub (as penance) – as well as my friend , my friend sat on the backseat and overheard our conversation.

    Him: “what’s for tea? Have you left me anything?”
    Me: “No I bloody have not. You were late…”

    Him: “Is there anything in the freezer, then?”

    Me: “Yes, a homemade fishcake left over from a dinner party I had last week. I think there may also be some peas in there.”

    My friend laughed. “You sound like me and my husband.” She said “only worse”.

    But despite these brief bickerings, I know we’ll get on fine. If we don’t, I can always escape to my garret or my bunker and that way, we can actually avoid one another all day. We are very good at this.Also, I am seeing this as a very temporary thing, a chance to get on with book four without worrying about money. The pretty cool thing, is more help with childcare. I can now potentially write at all times of the day, some days, rather than when Egg has Fergus. I can like, write at the weekend, because the other parent is in the house!


    Now he is, anyway, he’s just got back from three weeks working in Libya doing a sort of behind-the-headlines project about the country post-Revolution. (here’s the blog http://louisquail.wordpress.com/). The pics look amazing so far. I’m pretty proud of my friend Egg and his journalistic talents. As well as writing the book, we’re hoping to collaborate (me writer, him photographer) on a story about transplantation in the UK – so I’ll keep you updated. It should be fascinating and shall combine my two of my favourite things which are the medical documentary and writing – yeah!


    It’s exciting times, work-wise. In about four weeks the proofs of HOW WE MET will be ready. Yup, novel three in full book form and about to go to go out to journalists for review and also to retailers, who will decide if they want to stock it in their stores (their decision is what sales hang on, basically) so the pressure is ON. In order to get it ready for proof I’ve spent much of the last fortnight doing my copy edit. This is sort of the ‘continuity’ part of the publishing process where, I always joke, the copy-editor checks that people are not pregnant for two years, that your character was not born in April at the beginning of the book, and February at the end. I do love a copy-edit. The copy editor’s comments always make me chuckle. By necessity, their tone is always so direct. They write things like:

    “I rang up this hotel and the view from such-and-such a floor is not what you describe…”


    “Kings of Leon did not bring out this song till September 2008 so they can’t have been listening to it in the car in July…”


    “They don’t have orangutans at Chester zoo – I checked.”

    And you think shit, I’ve been found out! DO YOUR RESEARCH, REGAN. And there was I thinking I had poetic license!

    Still, she did a brilliant, thorough job – it always amazes me how they spot these things and it’s now only six months till actual publication. By which point, I shall of course have to have number four finished…oh Lordy..! .It’s going slowly, but well. I am enjoying spending time with my protagonist, Robyn King – to introduce you now – which is always a good sign. Without giving too much away, mental illness figures greatly in this book. I have been doing a lot of research, a lot of time spent on the phone to psychologists, and counselors and people who work in the mental health sector. As part of that research, I picked up Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton – a memoir of depression. I saw Sally speak at a MIND (the mental health charity) evening for journalists some time ago about her long battle with depression and her suicide attempt. The room was silent. She was so engaging and honest. It was heartbreakingto hear how low she’d got for so long. I talked about it to all my friends afterwards, but if you ever want to learn about depression, or suffer from it yourself and want to know you are definitely not alone, read this book – it’s amazing – and gave me a real, personal insight into a world I couldn’t get from talking to psychologists.

    So what else? As well as hammering away at my new book, I’ve also been doing some journalism….A few weeks ago I went to SEDUCTION SCHOOL for a piece in Marie Claire. Two hours of intense tuition with Rob King, aka the Pick Up Artist – need I say anymore? I’m telling you, I should be the world’s most successful PUA myself after the tools and classes I’ve been given in the name of investigative journalism. This one, if any, however, was a true revelation. Read all about it in the August issue of MC, out at the beginning of July.

    In the meantime, I shall leave you with this lovely pic – me and Rob, the Pick Up Artist himself, at the Marie Claire shoot for the feature, which was held at The Ragged School Museum in Mile End and basically involved me trying to fit my bust behind a very small, Victorian desk and have my picture taken.

    And I KNOW how to use this cane…..

    All in a day’s work……!

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