Sunday, 21st October

Sunday, 21st October

Keyword for the Day: Roast Dinner

Cooking a Sunday roast for eleven people is no mean feat. In honour of Nick and Christie’s first ‘Sunday Night Tea’ where they would be going home afterwards, instead of snuggling up on our sofa to watch Downton, I decided to make sure they at least had one proper meal this week and cooked a roast dinner. Actually, I know they will have at least two, because Christie’s mum will be thinking the same!

I don’t do this every week – last week we had chilli and the week before that I was so busy with the book we only had hot dogs, which, despite only costing around £5 for eleven people, were a huge success.

Anyway, this week was special, so not only did we have roast potatoes and Yorkshire Pudding, but I also made a massive gluten-free treacle sponge and custard for dessert. Aiming for a 7.30 pm ‘dish-up’, I put the two extra large chickens in the oven at 4.30 and began work whilst listening to the radio in the kitchen. I peeled lots of potatoes (enough for at least four bits each). It’s a good job I’ve got a range cooker with two ovens!

A couple of months back I heard a song on the radio in my car while I was driving to work. The music, but not the lyrics, spectacularly captured my imagination and I knew instantly I wanted to write a novel based on the music.

This is what I scribbled down at the time: Innocent/simple/the unexpected /plot completely consuming the characters/nothing being as it seems/escape

Very annoyingly, I couldn’t remember the lyrics so I couldn’t Google it.  There was nothing for it, I was just going to have to wait until it came on again, which it didn’t – for weeks. Then – it was sod’s law – again I was in my car, sandwiched between two articulated lorries and about to reach Melton Mowbray town centre, so there was no chance of grabbing my I phone and zapping the radio with the Shazzam app to identify the song because my terrified hands were glued to the steering wheel.

When I heard it again, I was in the kitchen. Nicky was sprawled out on the sofa, listening to Kerrang on the TV and the song came on. I rushed into the living room.

‘What is this song called,’ I shrieked like a demented banshee, ‘I want to write my next novel based on the music.’ Nicky looked up at me from the newspaper he was reading. ‘Mother, you are completely mad,’ he said as I sank into an armchair, rendered completely speechless by the video I was watching because it was EXACTLY as I had envisioned the structure of my novel. I was captivated beyond words and I actually had tears in my eyes because the video and the music had come together quite spectacularly in my writerly brain and validated the gem of an idea that was fluttering around inside it like a colourful butterfly.

Then – although Nicky told me what the song was called – I promptly forgot because I couldn’t find a pen anywhere to write it down.

Driving round to Emily’s yesterday, before we went on our shopping trip, I tentatively told her about the song and my idea. To my surprise she didn’t think I was mad at all, instead she asked me for a snippet of the lyrics and found it for me on her I phone.

As I stood peeling potatoes yesterday afternoon, the song ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ came on the radio (click on this link for the You Tube version) and the complete novel rolled out in front of me like a yellow brick road in the space of around 90 seconds. I shut my eyes, listening to the music and my main male character appeared behind my eyelids, grinning seductively as he played with his brightly patterned tie, Stan-Laurel style. His bushy grey eyebrows were going up and down in time with the music as he matched the beat by bouncing on his toes. He needs a serious hair cut and I am sure I’m not going to be able to keep him in line, but he is about to enter my life in glorious technicolour – like it or not!  Ignore the lyrics, by the way, they don’t feature in my idea. It is just the music and the utterly brilliant video that has inspired me.

Now it has been conceived, watch this space for the gestation and birth of Novel No. 6. I shall begin my mind mapping tomorrow.

(NB: Nicky didn’t eat all his greens, but I suppose now he is 24 and a home owner, I can’t really moan at him any more.)

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