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

Friday, January 22, 2010

A moving post

Since my last entry, life has been very much dominated by daughter's move.The Sunday before last we went up to London to collect my car, see the flat and take the new home-owners for a pub lunch.

Then the whole of last weekend was spent packing up the rented flat and eventually making the final move on Monday. After that I drove back here in my car, which had done sterling service ferrying items to the dump, flatpacks from IKEA and generally making the move easier.

I do not want to see another cardboard box or any bubble-wrap again for a long time!

So not a great deal of work has been done, though I have written a little piece for The Big Issue on "5 books your child should read before they're 11." And I have been working on new material for the Stravaganza website to coincide with publication of City of Ships.

And, very excitingly, this website should have a whole new re-design by then.Busy, busy.

I've also been to one Nordic Walking class and given blood - but not on the same day!
I've read Alan Bennet's Writing Home and a lot of his Untold Stories. And since I've had a writer friend to stay while husband was away at a conference, I've seen things I never normally watch, like Silent Witness. We also watched Shooting the War on BBC4 - incredible and often harrowing footage of WW2 from both sides.

My Italian Literature Class has started again and we read a "bleeding" chunk from a novel by Alvise Corrado. I hate de-contextualised passages like that.Must get back to revising the adult novel now.

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

The weather outside is frightful

Well, MOST things went according to plan. Everyone got here in the end and we had a wonderful Christmas. What didn't happen was our anniversary trip to London. The snow was bad there and we saw there had been accident on the M40. We've postponed seeing the play till February.

But that meant my car wasn't in London and husband heroically drove up on Christmas Eve to fetch one couple, while I, less heroically, fetched another from Oxford. The third couple and my sister had arrived on 23rd. So we dug in, with log fires and lots of lovely food and drink.The big carafe of cognac I won in, well, Cognac was very popular.

The big snow arrived last Tuesday and it already feels as if it has been here for ever.
This is a picture of it from my "magic" window.

I got a terrific haul of books and have read two of them: Leanne Shapton's Important artifacts ...etc, etc and Susan Hill's Howard's End is on the Landing. I hope to blog about them both over on the Book Maven (

I've also seen quite a lot of TV, including Cranford and Dr Who (the latter was pretty dire). But what I enjoyed most was Avatar in 3D at our new local cinema. We can now do a 15 min drive, park for free and stroll across to the multiplex and see films in comfort. So much nicer than driving at least twice as far to Oxford and paying to park miles away from the cinema.

The story is pretty clunky but the visuals are spectacular.

We didn't stop entertaining till 29th and since then I've written two essays - one in English for Art History and one in Italian on Vitaliano Brancati. So I can start revising the adult novel next week.

Oh, and I didn't win the Costa; Patrick Ness did, with The Ask and the Answer. But I DO get to go to the presentation on 26th and to take a guest. Not a dinner this time, just a champagne reception, but how nice to go to something like that without feeling nervous about whether you might have won!

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