Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Blood, and jam. on the floor

Well, all that fruit got turned into jam, including an explosive incident with boiling hot blackcurant while potting up. All jammakers will understand if I say a rubber band broke while I was handling hot jam and hot jars and about half a jar escaped. I kept finding unexpected blobs of it on my sandals, shins, even in my husband's hair!

All has gone a bit quiet on the fan forum front, since the Moderator, who set up the site, came on in a Night of the Long Knives, demoted several members who had been "speedposting" from Talisman Carriers to apprentices, and Enrico, the most assiduous poster of the lot, left the site in umbrage. My daughter Rhiannon tells me this is quite typical.

Finished a book this week - Kings and Queens of the Bible, for Frances Lincoln. I say finished but books don't stay finished, do they? Although they can open the e-mail, they can't print it out (Same problem with Bloomsbury last month). I think it's because I have OSX.3 and the latest version of Word and the publishers just don't keep up!

Another example of books not staying finished: This week I have been going through the editor's further corrections to the third draft of City of Flowers, before it goes off to the copy-editor. I've e-mailed them back to Bloomsbury now with lots of fierce"Stets".

To Brighton for the day on Tuesday for Jessica's graduation. Posy Simmonds was given an honorary Doctorate of Letters and made a good speech. Jess got her First class degree in Fine Art Painting and I managed to get a shot on the new digital camera of her receiving it. We sat on Brighton beach in the early evening drinking pink champagne and eating chocolate cake. It was so hot, Rhiannon bought a tankini and plunged into the sea. Not so middle daughter Bex, who had a terrible sore throat and an audition the next day.

I was in London on Wednesday for a CWIG meeting, which was very hot and full of jokes about things and Sven-Goran . All the other committee members went to a party at Puffin but I met Jess, hungover and happy and up in London for the ballet, at a place that sells Italian ice-cream in Charing X Road. The waitresses have no English but, alas, no Italian either, so I couldn't speed things up that way. Still, the delay meant Bex could join us fresh from her audition and pour orange-juice and ice-cream down her poor throat.

Amazingly, she rang next morning to say she had got the job! Her first professional engagment, with Theatre in Education, and there were about a dozen girls auditioning, and she had to sing and dance. I went off to see King Lear at Stratford in the pm, with Corin Redgrave, with visions of Bex making a living at this difficult profession after all. At least she has three months paid work.

And Rhiannon has finished her latest book for OUP, a shorter one than usual, so all three girls have had their achievements this week.