Monday, 25 July 2016

5 Random Things From My Desk

For this week's blog post I thought I'd write something completely different.    

I should be writing my new novel but yesterday afternoon I ended up tidying my desk instead (expert procrastinator, remember?) and, along with a forgotten bar of chocolate (still within sell-by date: yay!), I found a selection of random objects that to anyone else might seem totally weird.

Reno from Final Fantasy

I won Reno in a competition organised by one of my favourite authors, Anne Stuart. Anne used Reno as inspiration for one of her own characters in a book called Fire and Ice. She's blogged about it here. He usually sits on my tub of paperclips. I love him.

I've also got a Ninja Minion, a glow-in-the-dark polar bear and a large pink frog wearing a crown, but we won't go into that.

Hotel Business Card

This is an advert for the Waterton Park Hotel, where my husband stayed about a year or so ago. He had the  idea the photo would appeal to me because it's of a Palladian house built on an island in the middle of a lake, and he thought I might want to put it in one of my books! It was one of those really strange coincidences because he was unaware I'd just created a similar house (Hartfell) in Trust Me Lie - although in my book the house is a very modern one.

Postcard of Marilyn Monroe

I found this old postcard when I was sorting through some old photographs. It was sent to me over 30 years ago by my school-friend Tracey. She had recently moved away and would write to me every week with a Marilyn Monroe postcard - one of my favourite actresses. I kept all the postcards but this one somehow came adrift from the others and now sits on my desk.

Packet of Forget-Me-Not Seeds

If my friend Sophie Claire is reading this, she will not be pleased with me! These seeds were part of a goody bag from the launch of her book, My Forget-Me-Not Ex. Part of the goody bag included a cute little terracotta pot to plant them in, so I had no excuse not to do so.

Sorry, Sophie! I'll sow them soon, honest!

The English Housewife in the Seventeenth Century
by Christina Hole (1953)

I have lots of modern paperbacks piled up on my desk but this is a book picked up on my most recent trip to a second-hand book fair. I love second-hand book fairs, particularly the really old books with interesting inscriptions and pretty bindings.

But I bought this book because I love history but I don't know much about the seventeenth century other than the events of the Civil War. Here's an extract:

"Cottage women could not afford many candles, and for all ordinary purposes they relied upon rushlights which they made themselves ... The rushes grew wild in the water-meadows and under hedges, and the grease in which they were coated came from the scourings of the frying pan and the cooking pot. They were gathered in summer while they were green and kept in water until the housewife was ready to make the lights. Then the green rind was peeled off, leaving a narrow strip along one side. The next step was  to bleach the reeds by putting them out of doors for two or three nights and letting them soak in the dew, and afterwards they were dried in the sun. Then they were laid in long iron pans filled with melted grease, and when they were thoroughly coated and dried, they were hung in bark containers on the wall."

All that trouble to go to when you consider all we do now is reach out and click on an electric light!

Now, what weird and wonderful things are lurking on your desk?

My desk: The tidy version
(for the untidy version you need to click here)

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