Sunday, 26 April 2009

Are we nearly there yet?

This is it... This is where eleven food fanatics will be congregating for four days and three nights of mayhem and madness, talking about, tasting, obsessing about food, life and love; otherwise known as 'Gathering Nuts in May'.  There better be a whole lot of laughing too and whilst I appreciate this isn't a film script so you can't force anything to happen that doesn't feel right, actually the same can apply to a film script too.

Writing, like life, has to be organic, it has to follow the rise and fall of the ebb tide in order for it to feel right.  A few shocks along the way is a good thing because this is what makes things memorable, but here's hoping the shocks or surprises aren't harmful, they might threaten, they might put at risk, they may form barriers to success but at the end of the day it needs to feel right.  Wanting to spend four days and three nights with a bunch of people I only spent four days and five nights with the first time around, is quite surprising.  At the risk of sounding sentimental and I may change my viewpoint the week after next, but every single person has wonderful qualities that just make you want to be around them.

Sam has already booked himself into my guest room for some of the summer and I am hoping that a few of the others may want to catch up at some point, but I am hoping that this won't be IT, a flash in the pan, that in years to come we might all still be sharing a small fraction of our lives with each other again.

I find myself waiting for Friday to escape to collect Sam, Kristen and Crab Tart from Bath and expect there will be more than a few 'Are we nearly there yet' moments as we head just beyond the other side of Hereford just short of Ludlow.  

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The Loves, life of an alley Cat

From a Pussy Cat Doll...  
What a week it has been... non-stop I have been flat out and sadly not in a good flat out kind of way (as in, struck it lucky)... 

I started the week on an emotional high, full of vim and vigor, filled with a sense of joy at seeing two people loved up and connected at the heart, but as the week has worn on I have felt more than than a sense of growing unease, that there is something more to life than listening to the quiet corners of a house.  Of course this is great when you need the solitude to write, but not so good when you need that special person to spoil or pamper or feel the lurrve with... so I have been people watching at every opportunity, and OMG there are hordes of people around loved up and joined at the heart... Now I wouldn't like anyone to think that I have taken up Dogging or become Leary, or odd (although some may say I have been odd for years) but have you noticed how loved up people are in Spring?  Most writers observe the machinations of daily life from a distance, the micro movements that hide a tale, the macro movements that reveal a plot, but I am beginning to think I need to plunge heart first into a new relationship.

And of course one of my friends (let's just call her Madame X), has frequently asked 'Who takes your bin out or changes the light bulbs or plumbs in the washing machine' she was horrified to realise that it was me (well can't do the WM I have to pay a plumber).  Madame X can't bear to be on her own for fear of having to change her own light bulbs!  It was the first thing she said to me after she left her husband.  I was astonished to find that was top of the list of the 99 things you'll miss about being married.  What do I know?  SO anyway... watch this space, you might find me flirting in my best Alley Cat style at every opportunity.  The Uniqueness of you has also been brought home to me in the ever crisp observation of Tim Clague's blog, Screenwriter and guru, that like Saxon Bullock (real name) you have to be who and what you are regardless of the pressure to change your writing style, personality or anything else, just to suit this person or that company, so from now on I am going to write what I know, add my own quirky slant on it and be damned, which I probably am anyway.

One of my writing buddies has just had his script slated by a producer which has knocked him for six, especially as he has written thousands of scripts which have been broadcast and still continue to be re-run.  Cut to the quick it has knocked him back, which worries me slightly as I welcome any feedback, good or bad so what does that say about me?  Does that mean I don't care or I devalue my work? Or am I being pragmatic because like Saxon I just feel I am what I am?  God it is complex or do we make it more so?

Bank Holiday weekend will find me giving it large at our Arvonite reunion weekend in Hereford, now officially and affectionately known as 'Gathering Nuts in May'.  Like Nigella, I have two large storage boxes of larder products and I am practicing my very best lick of the wooden spoon to camera one, as I intend to make a visual diary of the whole weekend and edit it later and upload it to U tube, with permissions, of course... not...

Lunch with writer and lecturer John Foster was a huge delight, even if the food was indifferent and overpriced.  The desssert was to die for a chocolate fondant, but otherwise everything else was pretty mediocre and charging £1 for soda water in your fresh £2.60 orange juice took the biscuit, especially as it must have cost all of .00001 of a p.  Still what is money when you're enjoying the company?  Talking about writing with a master, and I know that isn't doing writing, was a real luxury and reassuring to know that even the greats have the same degree of difficulty getting their work before publishers or production houses... in a very selfish way it left me with a sense of reassuring hope. I am still working on the law of averages that if you throw enough ****  at the wall some will stick.

This week will see me finishing the decorating of my daughter's old room. The handyman comes on Friday to finish rennovating the elderly greenhouse (I can't bring myself to call it antique), then on Saturday I will be in Wimborne market hunting for bargains of I know not what and lunching again at Pick More Daisies, with a forever friend and my daughter's Godmother.  I met her when I was in my early twenties; I liked her humour and she liked my jewellery, what that says about our personalities I am not quite sure, but we've shared more than a few infamous moments and can both recount entire stories of things that have happened to us, most unrepeatable in polite company and many probably bordering on the illegal, but reunions are always a delight and she will put me straight on my Lurvve issue with her usual wisdom... which will probably involve a man and a cheque book...

More at the weekend... Be good to each other...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Love, Life and Fancy Dress

What a hoot, a night on the tiles!

Having heard about, been invited to, reminded of, THE fancy dress party of the decade, last night heralded the dawning of Zeus and Aphrodite.  Patrick and Catherine looked resplendent in their finery, although I wondered how long Patrick would keep his flimsy one shoulder gown on, and the body glitter he was wearing transferred well onto my pussy... cat clothing, making sure that I glowed in the dark at every dimming of the lights.  Catherine shares the same birth date as my daughter and used this to celebrate both birthday and engagement.  Gold nails, jewels, eyes and body glitter and fabulous naturally blond hair piled to perfection framed a set of perfectly manicured eyebrows.

I have had at least four months to prepare for the occasion yet as usual I operate best to deadlines, so after a four o'clock dash to the fancy dress shop in Poole High Street for finishing touches (the alternative fancy dress shop not the usual trick box) I left with wig, ears, tail, mask and a pair of tights!  The shop is run by two very helpful guys but has always been a bit of an oddity as one side of the shop is model trains, boats and planes and the other side of the shop is accessed through an internal archway which makes you feel as though you are entering the dark side...  I dashed back home finished getting ready and after nearly knocking myself out, Lazered myself into my costume.  Six inch patent heels helped make my shape a little easier on the eye and once the diamond necklace, earrings and two brooches were applied, on went the gloves and I looked like the full set, even if I didn't look the full ticket.  

Anyone who knows and understands costumes, yes you do admit it and enjoy it, the mask had to be in place before the wig and the ears could go on.  No problem, except I got in the car, realised I needed petrol and found the mask obliterated most, if not all of my peripheral vision. So there I was driving down the motorway, or the M3 to be precise, attracting more than a few strange looks.  One flashy car went zooming on, only to fall back and take a second look.  I gave him my best scratchy gesture and cat spat at him; needless to say he legged it laughing, not the reaction I was after.  

More to follow...

Now where was I? 

Ah yes... half way up the motorway entertaining bored passengers.  I was trying to decide if I looked like a Dominatrix, Zorro or the Lone Ranger and as the tension was growing in my shoulders, the wig started to take on a life of its own.  Trust me, one hair grip is totally insufficient to keep half a pound of glam rock fibres close to your noddle, but truth is I forgot about securing the wig and since I trimmed my own locks some ten years ago, french bobby pins are consigned to the back of a set of dusty drawers.

When I eventually arrived at the Old Thatched House, my ears and mask were set at a new jaunty angle, help was at hand in the form of Darth Vader who I hadn't seen for some time; what I should have said was 'Come here big boy and lend me your light sabre' instead I giggled like a pathetic school girl on prom night whose bra strap had bust.  As the evening wore on my mask rose higher and higher where it eventually stayed on my forehead until I returned home. I looked like a politician with a comb over.

Next time I am invited to a fancy dress party, if indeed there is a next time, I will select something more befitting a woman who has turned the dark side of 50, probably from the Damart catalogue or Anne Summers plus range, or I could economise, make a few adjustments and go as a Dominatrix...  Nah....  Maybe I'll be Dorothy, I have it on good authority from the two men in the fancy dress shop, that men like a girl in pigtails and red shoes...

Sunday, 12 April 2009

It is official

It is now official... the decision has been made that the Jones's address will remain so for some time yet.

Armed with wine and chocolates, I broke the news to the estate agent on Saturday, the house is no longer for sale.  I've searched, cogitated, deliberated, enthused and in total watched four potential properties sell after being on the market for nearly a year, and with the offer currently on the table, the numbers just don't stack up.  So what have I been doing this weekend? Decorating. Sanding, scrubbing, stripping, mowing the lawns and managing to make a baked egg custard, rice pudding and a pavlova.  I don't mind telling you I'm bloomin cream crackered. At least though I can press on and instead of spring cleaning I'm making ground towards adding finishing touches.  If I spend most of this year concentrating on three things, the house and garden, Sequel to Prequel and the script competition and trying to enter the Bridport prize, then I will feel I have achieved something and maybe next year I can just sit and do nothing else but write, although I am writing daily, it is in snatches as the opportunities present themselves, so there is no routine.  Well four actually, on account of the new business venture which will become apparent soon.  

I take my hat off to Danny Stack who is about to launch into producing and directing his own film teaser next week... I am not worthy.  Good on you Stackmeister.  So folks, South Bank Show and then bed for me.  Happy Easter to one and all, although why we say Happy I'll never know.
Rosie with love and blessings....xxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 5 April 2009

A Golden Glow

Mixed blessings this week for me, a heavy working week for sure.  Funding applications, more planning and attending meetings, mowing lawns, cleaning the house to shine like a new pin; one offer on our property under our belt and after two more viewings and several rude comments we're still in limbo, but absolutely resolute the price is the price.  Like passing through the veil on a cusp of a dream, it has proved a milestone in terms of deciding what we would move for and what we would not, what is important to us in the homestead stakes and what isn't.  Watching three men exert their testosterone and ego by thinking they have the business negotiating prowess of Donald Trump, when in reality all they can do is bully and lay rude comments at ones feet, has proved humorous and interesting viewing, sadly they have missed one fundamental point in so much as everyone has a price, the price is the price we will move for.  If their wives want the house badly enough they will have to damn well cough up or shut up.  Funny how they hate it enough to make an offer, as if they are doing us a favour, we are nowhere near charity cases yet, I can still afford champagne when I want it (which admittedly seems to be with less frequency than years gone by) and sadly they fail to understand that with the introduction of new money comes poor social etiquette and attitude, and that homes take decades if not centuries to evolve, so they can take their magnolia paint and MDF kitchens and not darken my Edwardian walls again and jog on... no amount of badgering, bullying or cajoling can change our minds.

On a happier note, I have been organising and planning the next stage of the film networking event called 'Sequel to Cannes' due to take place, guess what?  after the Festival de Cannes. Some funding is already guaranteed and in place and the new Short film screenwriting cash prize is set up and ready to be launched at the event.  The script readers have exceptional credentials, Lucy Vee from Bang2write, Danny Stack the Stackmeister!  AND in addition to the small entry price of £15 entrants will receive a bullet point feedback sheet and, whilst there is no guarantee and it is certainly not part of the prize, who knows some of these short films might create production company interest and may even be taken up with film festival entry in mind.  

After extensive discussions and weeks of consideration, I am also on the verge of a new venture and a partnership with a long standing friend.  Whilst initially nervous of risking our friendship through a business association, he has reminded me we are very reasonable people and we both believe we can maintain our friendship whilst running a successful new business. Of course it will be properly structured, registered and formed, but yet another exciting challenge sits on the horizon, especially as we have very different skills to bring to the new venture.

So all in all things are looking Rosie... sorry, I mean rosy...  I have spent this glorious sunny morning and early afternoon, not at my beach hut, but tapping out another funding application and writing budgets. This afternoon will find me in my little summer house lazing in the sun, reading a good book. That is after I have washed the car and filled it with fuel.  Next week will see my thoughts turn to my cat woman outfit in time for Patrick and Catherine's mammoth party on the 17 th, and meanwhile only two regrets 1) I won't be able to attend Adam's Hollywood party which falls on the same night and 2) Sam will not be coming to stay next week after all, as we both realised we have really over committed ourselves.  So we will have to wait until the summer when he will travel up from Bath and stay for a week in either my new home or old and travel around in my new car, whatever that is.  Meanwhile our long weekend catch up in May looms, when Kristen will travel down from London to Bath where I will collect her and Sam before pootling on to our Arvonites reunion in Hereford, tenderly referred to as 'Gathering nuts in May'...