Category Archives: Vulpes Libris

Where be the happiness?…

(Held over from yesterday as Blogger broke …)

Life News:

Lordy, what a week. I have to say it’s been pretty bad really and I do feel quite depressed. Groan. I think the fact that, as per the doctor’s instructions, I’ve been slowing coming off the HRT to try to solve the cyst issues, and this is my last week of having it hasn’t been helping. The HRT really lifts my mood but, without it I feel utterly overwhelmed by everything and basically tired and tearful. Poor K …

Neither has the fact that I’ve had to work Monday, Wednesday and tomorrow (Friday) been easing the confusion – I don’t really know what hat I have to wear in the mornings, and I just get used to the work hat when the home hat must be worn and vice versa. And it’s so ruddy busy and difficult too in the office, there’s hardly a moment to breathe. God, what a moaner I am. No change there then.

In addition I’ve had a screaming/swearing/shouting/sobbing match with the other consultant and AXA Healthcare, as they for some unknown reason have involved me in the fact that the consultant hasn’t been paid yet – as AXA say he’s not sent them the report and GP letter which enables them to pay my bill, though the consultant’s secretary says they have sent it, so I then went back to AXA who say they haven’t got it, and could I ring the consultant’s secretary back to get them to fax it to them, and no they can’t ring the doctor’s to get their fax numbers direct as they’re too busy to do that (as if I’m lazing around doing nothing, eh, eh …) and I must do it even though yes they understand that I pay for their ruddy private health cover and I’m the client. By which time I’m barking mad and so tearful I can barely speak to the sodding phone-idiot. Eventually he tries to ring the doctor whilst I’m sobbing on the phone but he says (liar, I’m sure) he can’t get through so I must ring back and get the fax number. So I put the phone down on him and ring the consultant’s secretary again by which point I’m beyond reason and shout at her to give me the effing fax number without any chit-chat as I don’t have time or energy for this kind of thing which in my view she should ruddy well be doing anyway. I get the fax number, ring AXA back, chant it to them, tell them to sort it out if they haven’t got paid without involving me again because I’m the sodding patient and I can’t be arsed with their stupidity and put the phone down on them too. Plonkers. If I never have to deal with (a) ruddy AXA Healthcare or (b) the other consultant’s secretary again, then frankly it won’t be a bloody moment too soon.  All that whilst at work too – no wonder Ruth took pity on me and got me a coffee, fully-caff. Ruth is an angel. No argument about that.

But really, no wonder I’m pissed off …

Not only that but the troublesome absentee neighbours in the middle flat are causing a fuss about K very kindly paying their share of the house building insurance for them as it was due and we thought the building should really continue to be insured (well, it seemed logical to us …). Anyway, they’re querying the long-standing division of costs, the rebuilding costs, the lease, the contents, what we might do if we decide to flood them (oh the temptation, don’t even mention it …) and anything else that springs to their troublesome minds. In addition, they have now started questioning the very lovely downstairs neighbours about whether she has been using their lawnmower (um no, she hasn’t …) and whether the garage she owns is in fact hers (it is. We know it is as this flat sold it to them in the 1960s and so it’s got nothing whatsoever to do with the ruddy middle neighbours, who really just try to get their facts right or simply butt out of what is none of their business). The crux of the matter is I understand they hate us (we hate them too so it’s fair dues) but why they have to interfere with the perfectly innocent downstairs neighbour is way way beyond us. Perhaps they are just insane? It’s a definite possibility.

So, what with all this, I’m now deeply worried about what will happen and what problems they might cause if we ever get a buyer for our flat (academic question at the moment as dammit but no-one’s come near the place and it’s been a week already, sigh …) and whether they’ll decide to block the sales agreement (their right as a one-third freeholder) and therefore prevent us from selling at all. Maybe I’m over-dramatising, but yes I am worried about this. Whatever happens, I do not want to be in this flat for my next birthday in summer 2011. I’ve really seriously got to be out of here by then, if only for reasons of mental wellbeing, even if we have to abandon it and simply buy a similar property elsewhere. I fear Flat 2 might become an albatross round our neck we’re never going to be rid of and therefore the dream of an extra bedroom we might use as a study plus a garden and a garage might be vanishing away. And if the neighbours won’t let us sell it, then they’re unlikely to allow us to rent it out either, further sighing … If all this has taught me one thing and a thing I will freely share with you now, it’s this: never ever buy leasehold, no matter how lovely the people are you’re sharing it with – as things move on and other people come in, and you can never ever tell what might happen. Still, I hope it doesn’t come to this, as I just want us or them to leave. Yes, I’m probably being paranoid, but it’s been a difficult week and getting perspective is really really tough. On the brighter side, I’m sure (sort of) that the middle neighbours must want us to leave – why wouldn’t they?? After all, from the evidence of this paragraph we are of course insane … In the meantime I’ve started to take 2 St John’s Wort pills per day instead of one to try to bring back the happiness though – I’ll let you know if it works, ho hum.

Book News:

A Dangerous Man did really well in the recent giveaway at Jessewave Reviews, so I’m very pleased about that. It’s also now available at Amazon UK and also at Rainbow Ebooks, so that’s nice. Apparently people are even buying it, well gosh.

At Vulpes Libris, I reviewed The Book of Happy Endings by Elise Valmorbida – she’s an author I do admire, but I don’t think true short stories bring out any of her natural clarity and humanity, which is a shame. Neither are they very happy either, but hey maybe that’s my mood. Who can tell.

Meditation 449

Any miracle
leaves its mark:

the memory of poison
thwarted; bread

too numerous to eat;
an echo of wonder.

Meditation 450

If only all diseases
could be cured as easily

by this simple matter
of washing

and understanding
the subtle magic
in the earth.

Anne Brooke

On the market …

Life news:

Our flat is finally on the market (hurrah!) and can be found in all its Victorian glory at RightMove. All reasonable offers considered, naturally. Everyone does seem to love (or hate!) our zebra rug, but hey that zebra was one class act. Even had its own seat on the train when K brought it all the way back from north London some years ago …

We’ve also been continuing to view properties and have a list of 3 so far that we’d like to view again if they’re still available by the time we find our own buyer: one in Godalming in a location to die for, gloriously spacious rooms and with a garden you’d have to bring a telescope to see the end of; one in Normandy which was really lovely (apart from the bitchy owner who did rather put me off, what a cow …) and had a glorious set of coloured tiles in the pleasingly large kitchen; and one in Elstead (my favoured village) with so much in the not-very-large-but-very-cleverly-arranged garden that you’d definitely have to take tours round it. Next week I’m viewing another house in Elstead during the week, and then I hope to set up two Normandy bungalow viewings for K and me next Saturday. Really it’s all go.

We’ve also been filling in a mound of paperwork for the fast-start conveyancing service, and will send it off to the solicitors after we’ve seen the mortgage specialist next Saturday morning. I suspect they’re going to have fun with our leasing arrangements. Apparently the estate agents have already had a great deal of fun with them as part of our lease forbids anyone in the house to set up a brothel or a pub, and it’s the first time the agents have come across that one! I suspect it stems from the time when there was a brothel down our road a few decades ago and eventually they pulled the whole house down. Though one assumes not when there was someone still in it.

Also yesterday, I helped out with the open day at the university at the last minute (in between house viewings) as there was a gap we couldn’t fill and I didn’t want to leave one person on her own. Loads of questions about finances, naturally, but it’s all very fluid at the moment so we’re really not quite sure how the new system will all work out, or even if it will. Loads of people there too as they want to start next year before the fees are raised, so it was busy busy busy.

This morning, we graced the doors of church – the poor vicar’s not very well at all, so Jenny took the service and has apparently told the Archdeacon (giving him no room for contradiction) that the vicar needs time off, and she and the other priest will handle everything until December. Good for her – it takes a woman to sort things out when the men are faffing around, you know! And double good for her as Archdeacons can be tricky, as we all know from the recent TV series, Rev. K and I were also deeply bamboozled by the fact that someone called him Kevin during the peace and the server gave him the wine with the words: The blood of Christ, Peter … I reckon Kevin is my No 2 husband and Peter is my No 3 husband – lordy, no wonder we need a larger house. Really, it’s an utter mystery why K, Kevin and Peter haven’t ever bumped into each other in the 17 years we’ve lived here. Thank goodness for lofts …

After that we’ve had a lovely house-free time at Wisley where the peculiarly named Europom event has been taking place to celebrate autumn this weekend. Yes, I thought it was Europorn too when I first read it but actually it’s do to with apples. As an apple farmer’s daughter, I had to attend of course. And how lovely it is to see the Laxton apple on sale – the last time I saw a Laxton was thirty years ago, so it certainly brought back old memories. I also appeared to be the only woman in the apple-tasting queue who knew how to pronounce Pearmain – no, no, people! It’s not Pear-man, it’s per-MAIN

Book News:

Much to my delight, A Dangerous Man is now available at All Romance Ebooks, though someone hates it so much they’ve allocated it a one-star rating which somehow always cheers me. I have to say it’s a literary rather than a romance novel, so I suspect it’s not what that particular Cross Reader was expecting.

Meanwhile, I have posted about what’s coming up this week at Vulpes Libris Reviews, a week which is packed full of endings, orgasms and secrets, so well worth keeping an eye on each day’s review in the run-up to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (as I prefer to call the season …).

Today’s meditation poem is:

Meditation 448
Only a quiet room
and the faint echo
of weeping elsewhere

accompany this wild hope
that from death
something more will appear.

The Sunday haiku is:

The shadowed garden
whispers its secrets to me.
From next door: laughter.

Anne Brooke

The house buying queen …

… hits the road today. Goodness me what a whirl it is. Yesterday, 3 estate agents came round and valued our flat rather higher than we actually thought it was going to be, 2 of them estimating it at the £240k mark, though the other agent valued it ridiculously highly. So, with cautious smiles on our faces, we have discounted the latter and gone with one of the other two agents and it should be on all the usual house-buying websites sometime fairly soon. Gosh, I almost sound like an adult, ho ho.

In the meantime, I have been viewing. I didn’t like yesterday’s house in Bramley though it was very well done indeed. The rooms simply felt a bit small and the garden ditto. This morning was a riot – the first house the agent took me to see we couldn’t actually get into as the lock was jammed, poor chap. It’s burglar-proof for sure … Though now I’ve seen the location, I’m not as keen as I was. The second viewing was then cancelled as the house-owner couldn’t get home in time (I’m not really sure why they need to be there at all – is it my criminal past??), but that one I would like to reschedule if we can. The third viewing was of a property in Normandy which is our favourite so far (K managed to make it there during his lunch hour, hurrah!), though there’s not much to compare it with yet. The rooms downstairs were a bit small but two of the bedrooms were spacious and it had a good garden, though whether we can manage one-third of an acre is anyone’s guess, frankly. And the location is pretty dang good too. We’ll see, eh. A lot depends on whether we can get a buyer for our place – then and only then do people start to look at us as a serious option.

Other life excitements this week is that I’ve had my annual flu jab – though I nearly forgot to pay and was halfway down the Tesco aisle before I remembered and hurried back – they were very grateful! And isn’t Whitechapel just great – I can’t wait for next Monday’s episode. It’s utterly bizarre, but gripping and the characters are wonderful.

Book news:

I have a fabulous new cover for my upcoming GLBT short story, Brady’s Choice, which I love as it’s incredibly strong as an image in my view. The story is due out on 23 January and you can read the beginning here.  I’m also pleased to say that The Hit List found itself at No 64 in the Amazon charts though it’s dropped a little now.

And my review of Natasha Solomons’ Mr Rosenblum’s List can be found at Vulpes Libris today. A decent enough story, but not very meaty and I think the real plot lies in the war …

Anyway, here are this week’s meditations:

Meditation 446
Under this dry river bed
the secret water flows

diamond-bright
when it comes

and blood-red
when it goes.

Meditation 447
All you really need
for a miracle

are a few drops of oil,
a lot of empty jars

and the will to begin.

Anne Brooke

Miracles and men

Life News:

Such miraculous news to know that at last the Chilean miners are safe – so many things that could have gone wrong and they just didn’t, hurrah. Amazing news indeed! I just hope the world now leaves them alone to recover from such a terrible ordeal, but no doubt we won’t. But it’s seriously lovely to hear of something glorious rather than something grim for once.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, we’re finally putting the flat on the market next week as three estate agents are coming round on Wednesday, so I hope there’s at least one there who’s confident about selling it. Great to be taking the next step in the process indeed. On the left you can see what the Victorian house itself looks like. We’re the servants’ quarters at the top. As it were. Because when it was built for one of the local schoolmasters in 1873, the servants would have lived where we do now. Plus ca change, eh …

Turning to television matters, it’s a serious delight to have the glorious Whitechapel back on our screens at last, though sadly for too swift a time. Though it’s a serious disappointment that the otherwise extremely classy Downton Abbey took a turn for the worse last Sunday and included a very ridiculous Midsomer Murders plotline, sigh. Don’t get me wrong: I love Midsomer Murders with a great and abiding passion, but not in the middle of Downton Abbey, per-lease. And it was doing so well too …

Book News:

I’m thrilled that today my author’s copies of A Dangerous Man have arrived and look lovely, hurrah. Publication day is tomorrow (Friday 15 October) so I’m really looking forward to that. Erastes has very kindly republished an original review from 2007, when the book was first published, so a big thank you for that! And I’m pleased to say that people do seem to be preordering the novel at Barnes & Noble, which is very nice indeed.

Also at Barnes & Noble (what great people they are!), you can find a copy of Sunday Haiku, which is a more meditative read. Meanwhile, Tommy’s Blind Date gained a really enthusiastic 4-star review at Three Dollar Bill Reviews, so many thanks for that, Kassa – it’s much appreciated. And The Delaneys and Me appeared briefly at No 58 in the Amazon charts, but has now slipped back onto the shelf once more.

Finally, I’ve reviewed Diana Wynne Jones’ magical children’s fantasy, Enchanted Glass at Vulpes Libris Reviews. It’s pretty dang good for adults too.

These week’s meditations are:

Meditation 442
A downbeat end,
the epitome of grim

when what one expected
was a rousing hymn.

Meditation 443
The first man
to fall off a balcony
didn’t make
particularly good choices
but he certainly
started a trend.

Meditation 444
A journey, an oath,
a cloak and divided water
show that a miracle

can also be
the beginning of grief.

Anne Brooke

Painting and proofs

Book News:

This week I’ve been working on the final proofs for A Dangerous Man and have just now sent them back to Cheyenne Publishing and Bristlecone Pine Press ready for publication date on 15 October. Nearly there, gosh. I’ve been thrilled today to see that the novel is included in the Lambda Literary October listings (Mystery & Thriller section), and that’s a seriously good place to be showcased, double gosh.

Meanwhile, Maloney’s Law gained a 5-star review at Goodreads, so many thanks for that, Nicci – so glad you enjoyed the story. I’m also very happy indeed that Tommy’s Blind Date is No 4 in the Amber Allure September Bestseller lists, and many thanks to those who’ve put it there. And I’m equally happy that I appear twice in Jessewave Reviews’ September Recommended Reads list, once with good old Tommy’s Blind Date and once with Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle – thank you, Wave!

Over at Vulpes Libris, you can find my review of Jane Green’s Girl Friday, which is a fabulous novel for the over-forties, and we so definitely need more of those. And the lovely Kirsty has also published a wonderful haiku-review of my Sunday Haiku collection – many thanks, Kirsty!

Here are this week’s meditation poems:

Meditation 438
Wine and women
are a heady brew;

they befuddle kings
and confound the things

that are true.
Who knew?

Meditation 439
Men become liars
and truth hides
in the deepest well

when the story we long for
is not the one
where we dwell.

Life News:

K has been in Dubai all this week and I have missed him LOADS. Thankfully he’s back tonight (hurrah!!) and is even now jetting his way towards Heathrow, so it will be totally lovely to have him back again. Goodness me but I was super-wimpy when he left at some ungodly hour on Monday morning – only barely managing not to grab him by the ankles and weep. Lordy, never say I’m not stylish, though what style it actually is must be anyone’s guess.

Anyway, it’s been strange rattling about in this old Victorian house all on my own for several days, but I have kept myself busy by doing bucketloads of DIY each evening when I got back from work – with the result that the spare room walls and ceiling are now painted with four coats, and the skirting board and door glossed with two. Oh and those proofs have kept me focused too, so that’s been good.

Work’s been horrendously busy as well, what with being the first week of term, and I simply haven’t had time to sit down, my dears. Not one second. I couldn’t even spare the time (or the energy) to go to Starbucks, and the wonderful Ruth had to bring me not one but two coffees where I sat pinned to my desk and panicking like a trouper. What a superstar that woman is. It’s the froth that keeps me going, you know …

Today, one of the vendors from the flat below has been in the house though, so I’ve not been entirely alone. I think we are studiously ignoring each other, which is no doubt best, and really I don’t have any desire at all to communicate with them again, to be honest. Yes, that probably means I’m a bad person but hey at least I’m honest about it. I’d feel happier about it if K was home as it’s a little unsettling, but as long as said vendor doesn’t try to talk to me I’ll be fine. Though if you do hear tell of a man being pinned to a landing wall with a screwdriver in a small Surrey town, I trust that all of you will vouch for my obviously impeccable character. Ho hum.

Anne Brooke

Cats, cars and creativity

Book News:

During the week, The Delaneys and Me fluttered up and down the Amazon Gay Fiction charts, managing as high as No 20 at one point, though it’s not there now. It also gained a 4-star review at the I Love Books blog – many thanks, Lily.

Creative Accountancy for Beginners also briefly reached the dizzy heights of No 5 in the Omnlit Bestsellers chart but, again, it’s not there now. Ah, these swift moments of writing glory make up for the dull trudging and very rain-filled days, you know … Would that there were more of them (the moments, not the rain!) … You can also find all my available ebooks half-price at the WH Smith’s sale – you’ll need to type in my name in the search field for real shopping enjoyment, ho ho.

At Vulpes Libris, you can read my review of Anne Tyler’s Celestial Navigation – a magnificent and quietly lyrical novel, but oh so devastating. And, meanwhile, Amazon have sent me the leather cover for my Kindle in what they blithely call “frustration-free packaging”. Arrgghh!!!! I had to rip it apart with my bare hands and a pair of scissors, whilst cursing. Weirdly another Amazon package was delivered later on without frustration-free packaging and that was far easier to open, deep deep sigh. However, the main thing is I am now the proud owner of a Kindle case, but there’s no ruddy Kindle. Where’s my Kindle, Mr Amazon??? You promised it at the end of August, but now the expected delivery date has vanished from my account and my friends tell me it’s only going to be in the UK at the end of September. I am not happy. Really, you should have emailed me to explain … Another sigh. I hope it’s here by Christmas. Christmas 2010, that is.

This week’s meditations are:

Meditation 409
A cloak torn
into a perfect dozen

indicates power
of a sort

for two
and a cold winter

for one.




Meditation 410
After the drama
and crowded muddle
of forty powerful years

the cool simplicity
and spacious places
of death.

Meditation 411
So many arguments,
threats, violence,
demand and counter-demand,

death and shouting
and only God
is silent.

Life News:

Well, this appears to be the week when everyone gets bizarrely riled up by the video footage of a woman putting a cat in a wheelie bin. Um, sorry but it really doesn’t bother me that much. It’s a cat. Not a baby or a small child or indeed any kind of human, which would of course be terrible. But I can’t really get excited about a cat. I hasten to add I do like cats (though not dogs) and have in the past had two of my own, one of whom I would happily on occasions have put into a bin if I’d ever been able to catch up with the beast, Gawd bless ‘er. And I suspect my neighbours might have helped me! But really, it’s just an animal, and (again, sorry …) not as important as a person, to my mind. Then again, I was brought up in a farming community and animals are what you eventually kill to eat, aren’t they? I do however think it’s truly despicable that the unfortunate woman’s pesky neighbours were stupid (or cruel) enough to put the video on the Internet. How mean and over-the-top (and anyway, what sort of people actually video their neighbours on a security camera??? Hell, I wouldn’t want them to live near me – God knows what they’d find out!!). They should simply have spoken privately to the cat-in-bin woman, asked for an apology, received one graciously, plus a promise for her not to do it again, and that would have been fine. Perhaps though they should have been added to the bin with their wretched cat? Which apparently isn’t that bright, but probably brighter than its owners who, to my mind, come out of this far worse.

Anyway, apart from thinking cat-in-bin woman should not have apologised to the general public for what isn’t after all a crime, and should in fact have brazened it out with threats to put more irritating animals in bins for each death-threat(!) she’s received, here’s my list of what I’d put in a wheelie bin if given the chance. Feel free to think of your own!

1. Dogs (especially golden labradors – I can’t stand ’em)
2. Junket (look it up if you need to but, trust me, it’s vile)
3. The evil person who invented a phone system where you have to go through a series of hoops and pressing of numbers before you can even speak to someone.
4. Call centres.
5. The really horrible and downright vicious Satan-kitten I looked after once in Kent for a work colleague on hols during an utterly hellish week, and which terrified me, my two cats, the postman, my lodger, and the friend who came round to laugh at us all, and which I would gladly give to cat-in-bin woman to dispose of as she wished. Even now.
6. The person who abandoned their really ugly car outside our flat four months ago (unlocked if anyone would like to steal it – please?) and which has been messing up our parking arrangements ever since.
7. JRR Tolkien (behold the Land of Tosh …)
8. Lloyds Bank.
9. People who fail to spell my name correctly no matter how much I say it’s Anne-with-an-e. Anne. How hard is it to remember, people??
10. Mondays.

Gosh, that was cathartic – I feel cleansed, my dears, cleansed. Thank goodness the house only has three wheelie bins to its name. Though I suspect they’re all full now …

But, to put all this media-hype and lunacy into perspective, let’s not forget that there are a million other things other than poor cat-in-bin woman to get angry or upset about, such as the poor miners in Chile, God bless them, and the flooding in Pakistan. Not to mention the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and the genuine slavery and sex-trafficking going on every ruddy second in this country. Now that’s real news, deserving of our censure and action …

However, to end on a brighter note (hurrah!), I have thoroughly enjoyed my Clarins massage today and I am now chilled, calm and normal. Well, almost, eh. And I mustn’t forget that at The Bemused Gardener blogspot I have been discovering new plants where I least expected them, the joys of tea on the lawn and poisons from Portugal. What fun!

Anne Brooke
The Bemused Gardener

Of beetles and bemusement

Book News:

I’ve sent the final edits for Tommy’s Blind Date back to the publisher, so am now waiting for the galley proofs to come back for a look through. At the same time, I’m continuing the edits of The Prayer Seeker’s Journal so will be adding no more to that blog as it stands. I will also be taking it down at the weekend, I think.

Meanwhile, my review of Ned Beauman’s novel, Boxer, Beetle, is now up at Vulpes Libris. It’s a brilliant and bizarre book let down by a bumblingly bad blurb. Which is a shame, but I hope you enjoyed the alliteration in my last sentence anyway. I certainly did.

Here’s this week’s meditation poetry:

Meditation 405
Spices, jewels,
gold and the beginnings
of wisdom

warm the air
and bring forth truth
from the heart tonight.

Meditation 406
If I had
all the money
in the world

I probably wouldn’t buy
weapons, spices,
horses or mules

but for wisdom’s taste
and song
there’s no true accounting.

Life News:

I’ve started a new gardening blog, called The Bemused Gardener, which will explain the joys and horrors faced by Lord K and myself, beginner gardeners extraordinaire. Or potentially so at least. Nope, we’ve no real idea what we’re doing either, but that’s never stopped us before, hey ho. It’s probably a consolation prize for myself for ending the prayer blog (see above), as I am after all a glutton for punishment.

While I’m on the subject of nature’s bounty, it’s glorious to see that the first of the English apples are in the shops at last, hurrah! How the smell of them takes me right back to my father’s apple farm in rural Essex and that enormous cold-store. Astonishingly, it’s Tesco who’s won the battle to bring the firstfruits in this time, as usually it’s Waitrose, so well done, Mr Tesco. They’re great stuff too – Discoveries and they smell like heaven, just like an apple should.

I’m also feeling much better, health-wise, and actually like a real person, rather than simply a huge and sniffly nose on legs. Hmm, nice image, eh. That said, the doctor has just rung up today to check that I do want the referral to the Guildford specialist, and yes I do, as per the other consultant, so at least that’s going forward now, hurrah.

I must also say how much Lord K and I have enjoyed the lamentably few episodes of Sherlock which have graced our TV screens for the last three Sundays. Bliss – more please, and soon. I particularly loved the portrayal of Moriarty, but Lord K says that’s because I simply can’t resist a depiction of male psychotic lunacy contained by intellectual strength. My response was only to agree, and it’s precisely why I married him in the first place. He muttered something in turn about me being the female version of that (which is no doubt why we’re so well suited), but I fear I am in fact far worse: the lovely Ruth G (formerly of the University chaplaincy but now moved on to bigger and better things) told me only yesterday that she did realise I wasn’t actually the Anti-christ, but if I chose to be she thought I’m make a really really good job of it. My, how we laughed, slightly hysterically I admit, but we did laugh. Good to know I may at last have found my ideal career path after all these years – I wonder what the vicar will say …

Anne Brooke
The Bemused Gardener