Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Riding the conveyor belt at Harvey Nics

mainly sunny, highs 13

Wonderful day. Sorry I didn't blog yesterday - pooped. Did a lot of writing including a 'feature' for Shotsmag, a UK based webzine. Mike Ripley writes for them - when he's not in jail.

And I finished the line edits on book 4 (still no title). They're amazing things - this wonderful editor named Nancy literally reads every word, every line and corrects spelling, grammer, and inconsistancies - things like characters eating two breakfasts, or the murderer never actually revealed. Details.

As I did them I realized how much I dislike doing line edits. I love actual editing, but by the time it gets to line edits I've lost interest. Not in the book - honestly, reading book 4, I think it might be the best yet - unless, of course, it's actually crap. But I know that I'm not, by temperment, a detail person. Michael is, thank God. And normally he would do the line edits, but he's writing his own book (selfish, selfish man) so it fell to my tender hands. Some of the sting of it was removed by doing most of the line edits in a new cafe we found on the Kings Road called Paul. It's actually a chain, from France. Heavenly coffee and apparently amazing hot chocolate (chocolat chaud). And tiny little bite-sized baby croissants.

So now the manuscript for book 4 has cafe au lait rings and little butter smears. God, how I suffer. Why do these things always happen to me?

But finished that...and was going to spend all today writing the next book when we had a call around 11 to say the estate agent wanted to show the flat. It's for sale, as you might have guessed. And apparently Michael and I are considered clutter, so we needed to tidy ourselves out of there. We packed up the writing and headed for Peter Jones department store in Sloane Square.

I'm the world's worst shopper. Impatience and very large hips get the better of me. But since I'm doing more and more public appearances, and since it's now clear flannel pajamas just don't do it (until I'm WAY more successful) then a few new outfits are necessary.

To that end I've made an appointment with a personal shopper at the department store Peter Jones. It's for three days before we leave. Tried to make it sooner - like before the tons of parties and events next week - but there weren't any openings. This delay allows me to eat my way into the next dress size.

Speaking of which, from there Michael and I walked up Sloane Street to Harvey Nichols (or Harvey Nics by those in the know) for lunch. One of our favorite places is the restuarant 'No' on the fifth floor of the department store. There's a more formal 'European' restaurant up there, and then there's the 'No' - which is kind of a Japanese cantine. It's basically a moving suchi bar. You sit, it moves. On conveyor belts, around and around. Each offering in a little dish. You just reach over and take it off the conveyor belt. perfect for Some Pigs like us. It's become part of our London tradition, and in fact we had the delight of finding the same sort of set up at a Japanese restuarant last September in Brisbane, Australia.

So Michael and I ate Harvey Nics, then came home. We spent a few hours writing our respective books, and now it's quiet time - drinking diet cokes, eating parsnip crisps (yum!) and reading the Times.

Had lunch the other day with my agent, Teresa Chris. We had the best time. Always do. Yakking away about all sorts of things. She informed me that my garden was out-of-date. Seems no one has David Austen roses anymore - except me. I adore them. Old English style roses - big and blousey and very fragrant.

I have the unfashionable trifecta...or Grand Slam perhaps. Hair, clothing and now, garden.

And....loving it.

Actually, I didn't want to spoil the fun, but my favorite rose in my garden is called a Sweet Briar. Very old variety, and quite rare in Quebec. It's sometimes called the Shakespere rose since he refers to it several times. It smells of young apples. Not the delicate single pink blossoms, but the leaves! After a rain on a hot Quebec day, as the water is evaporating, it fulls our garden with the most heavenly, sweet scent, of apples.

Had the best news from Lise at home. Her husband Delmar had to have an operation and it's over. Not without it's drama's - it is Lise after all - but he's safe and sound back home. And Lise is nursing him. She really is just about the kindest person I know.

Well - this is long. Sorry about that. Wanted to make up for yesterday's silence.

Michael's birthday tomorrow!!!! 74. Have made reservations for breakfast at a restaurant of his choosing, then we're off to the Tate Britain and then taking a boat down the Thames to visit the Tate Modern. Then home in time for a birthday dinner with his sister Carol and brother-in-law David.

A great day in a great city married to a great man.

Be well and we'll speak tomorrow. Thanks for reading this far...


donna said...

Happy Birthday to Michael! Don't make him eat too much as all of his dieting will be for naught. Sounds like you're having a lovely time. All the best, Donna

Louise Penny Author said...

Thanks, Donna,
A lovely city and time to have a birthday. And maybe just a little overeating!

London Kate said...

Hi Louise

Delighted to hear you are visiting my two favourite London department stores - HN and PJ. Afraid I'm not a big fan of Harrods - the sheer acreage that has to be covered is enough to put me off!

When you are having your personal shopper day at Peter Jones, do check out Joyce Ridings' clothes - a British designer who is great for taller women (I get the impression from photos you are a fellow tall girl!)

Wishing Michael a very happy birthday!

Best wishes

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Kate,

Wonderful advice! Have written down Joyce Riding. And yes - I'm 6 feet tall.

Agree about Harrods. Only go there for tea on our first day - a lovely tradition for us, but even then we've never found the tea room the same way twice. Very frustrating!

Thanks for Michael's birthday wishes.