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

Monday, April 04, 2005


(It has been pointed out to me that my last post was full of typos - must try harder!)

For many years now the daughters have called their father Mr Pension and me Mrs Villa, because I have a horror of stocks and shares (particularlarly since the crash in 2001/2) and favour bricks and mortar. Also because of this decades-old dream of having a place in Italy. And I do find everything to do with pensions crashingly dull as well as depressing. Or should I say "did"?

Because as of next April, my pension could BE a villa! Well, not actually a villa - more an apartment in a small complex with a pool. But in Tuscany. Also I don't have enough, yet. But suddenly it looks as if the dream could become reality in a few years. I once heard on an Oprah Winfrey show the magical phrase "the difference between a dream and a plan is a timeline."

So instread of being either/or it can be both. Thanks to Gordon Brown. That's what I call a new kind of alchemy, commuting leaden old pensions into a golden place where I could have holidays in Italy.

To the Cherwell School last week to take part in a quiz. I was on a team with Linda Newbery and others but we were up against a team with Philip Pullman, Jan Mark and publishers David Fickling and Liz Cross. However there was one glorious point when our team, the Senior Moments, was in the lead. That was before the round on Sport. Philip's team, the Tottenham Hotpants, won by a small margin and we were 6th out of 22. It was a good cause: to send to New Zealand the team for Cherwell that had won the UK section of the Kids Lit Quiz, started in NZ. They will compete there in the finals.

Then there was Easter, which contained a lot of food and a big family party. Amazingly there were more males than females for once.

This weekend's event was the FCBG conference in Hatfield. I was on a panel discussing fantasy with Chris d'Lacey and Catherine Fisher. Loads of people I knew were there - lots of SAS members as well as some of the original Northern Lights group from London days, like Ann Jungman and Jane Ray. I stayed the night before with old friends in St Albans who have two cats (half-Bengal). They weren't cuddleable but allowed lots of stroking, which was balm to the heart.

On Sunday we constructed the swing seat I had bought for the garden. This is part of a plan to write outdoors on my laptop over the warmer months. Plan thwarted this morning by solid downpour of rain. The seat cushions are all on my study floor, making a phantom sofa.

More Alchemy needed or a least a bit of weathermagery.