The Woman In White*

“You could put that Madeira in one of your cocktails,” Mum says. “Where is it?” I say, pouring gin, Cointreau and lemon juice into the measuring jug.  Am making a White Lady. “In the door of the fridge,” Mum says. Opening the fridge, I take out the tall thin bottle, open it, sniff it.  Am […]

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The Unpleasantness At The Bellona Club*

“That’s all healing up nicely,” says Jackie the plastic surgery nurse after she’s peeled off the steristrips.  Clipping the plastic stitches with her tweezers, she sticks pink micropore tape over my almost-healed scars. “That’s a relief,” Mum says, looking a bit less miserable for the first time in days. “Oh good,” I say, looking down […]

The Painted Veil*

China 1925.   Toby Jones, Naomi Watts and Edward Norton are in a remote Chinese mountain town in the midst of a cholera epidemic.  They have opium, bamboo forests and possibly pandas, although haven’t seen one yet.  They are carried everywhere in litters on the shoulders of local people, which seems an excellent way to […]

Dirty Harry*

Wake up drenched with sweat but freezing.   “Is that sweat or wee in your bed,” Mum says, at 6.45am or so, when we get up in time for 8.15am Spin. “Sweat, this time,” I say, pulling on my padded-bottomed cycling shorts, fluoro gym top, Mum’s white snow-boots, trousers, scarf, gloves and goat .  “So […]

Gone With The Wind*

“Is that the toast coming up, already?” Mum says, sitting on the arm of the chair, peering into my sick bucket. 11.15 am.  Gone With The Wind Has been playing for forty five minutes or so.  Atlanta is burning.  Am on all fours in front of the television, vomiting into the mop bucket. “Yes,” I […]

Shallow Grave*

“You can tell by his game that he’s worried: just the way he’s hitting the ball, the errors he’s making,” the commentator says.  David Goffin, the world number 16, is a set and a break down to Kyle Edmund, the British twenty year old ranked 100 in the world. “He should be strutting around there […]

An Appetite For Murder*

“Oh, there you are, Tanya,” Mum says as I wander into the kitchen in search of fizzy water.  “Can you find that kitten and ask him why he hasn’t eaten his supper?” “OK,” I say.  “What?  In the wild?  There isn’t any fizzy water in the fridge or…” “No, he’s in the house somewhere,” Mum […]

At Bertram’s Hotel*

In Abroad.  Staying in a charming little Art Deco hotel.  Could be in an Agatha Christie novel.  Manage not to get murdered in the night, which is good.   Am writing this in the hotel courtyard where there are olive trees.  “Look: they’ve got olives on them.  Put that in the blog,” Mum says. We […]

The Taming Of The Queen*

“Tanya, I’ve done a bad thing,” Mum says, looking distressed.  “I’m afraid it’s your fault.” I’ve just surfaced from a sleep in the car.  We’re on our way to Abroad. “What’s happened?” I say. “I’ve forgotten the Marmite,” Mum says.  “You were meant to remind me and…” “I can’t believe you’ve forgotten it,” I say. […]

Holes*

“Look,” Mum says, pointing to the grass at my feet.  We’re standing in the  parental garden.  Looking down, I see a small hole, about four centimetres in diameter.  You can see it in the attached photo. “What is it?” I say. “No one knows,” Mum says.  “The garden is covered in them, look.” Walking around […]