Just back from South Africa. Suffering from ghastly bug (E.Coli? Malaria? Deadly airline virus??) but determined to get back to work, particularly as I may not be long for this world…
9.00 Professor Gloom despatched to continue life’s work of mystifying students. Note saying GO AWAY UNLESS YOU ARE THE PLUMBER affixed to front door. Start typing Chapter 2 of Magnum Opus. (Chapter 1 completed in hospital after nervous breakdown in 2009.)
9.05 Phone rings. It’s Citizen Sonia: I won’t keep you because I know this is your Writing Time (Subtext: How lucky you are to have any free time at all - some of us are too busy campaigning, saving the planet, doing proper jobs, etc…) Fifteen long minutes pass.
9.20 Loud crash from depths of house. Clementina Gloom (the cat from Hell) has dislodged bowl of partially-thawed Chicken Korma onto kitchen floor and basket of clean laundry. Kick cat out of door while hurling imprecations (witnessed by passing neighbour who hurries inside to phone USPCA) and spend next 10 minutes cleaning up mess.
9.40 Abandon Chapter 2 and start light-hearted piece intended for discerning readers of upmarket women’s magazine.
9.50 Several pages of doodles later have brilliant opening sentence and nothing else. About to give in to urge to resume online Scrabble game when second brilliant sentence pops into mind…
9.51 Neighbour (neither upmarket nor discerning) ignores notice on front door and knocks insistently. She knows you are ‘being creative’ but she is looking for escaped hamster. (Known in neighbourhood as Houdini on account of frequency of escapes.) Growl and slam door - in hindsight a mistake as had been planning to ask her to feed cat next weekend.
9.55 Re-start light-hearted piece but can no longer remember second brilliant sentence...
10.00 Noise of industrial drill commences outside window, so decamp to bedroom on other side of house. Discover Professor Gloom has neglected to mention presence of foreign female who needed bed for the night and speaks no English other than ‘Go vay’. Briefly contemplate possibility of writing crime novel featuring murder of foreign student.
10.20 Plumber arrives in unmarked van. Possibly axe-murderer but by this stage past caring. Plumber says job will take at least an hour and commences crashing noises. Flee downstairs to kitchen and encounter foreign female consuming last of coffee and sharing with undeserving cat 3 slices of ham intended for writer’s lunch if Chicken Korma had gone off. (A possibility as in freezer since 2003.)
10.35 Lock self into large cupboard with cup of tea, pen, pad and determination to stay calm.
10.37 Bitten by neighbour’s escaped hamster.
11.05 Police arrive, alerted by neighbour to screaming. Neighbour also wishes to report hamster seen flying out of window. Begin to laugh hysterically then weep uncontrollably. Bite own hand in order to overcome urge to bite policeman.
11.35 Police finally leave, followed by plumber who says he can’t be expected to finish the job in a madhouse like this. Neighbours go back indoors.
11.45 Would stick head in gas oven if available – instead take 2 Diazapam, lie down with cold compress on head and consider alternative career.