Well, Christmas is over and a New Year has begun. "Have you made any resolutions?" I hear you ask.
No, firstly because I never stick to them, and secondly because it is such a bad time of year to go on a diet or give up drink. I believe that one needs all the help one can get to battle through these rather grim six weeks. This year is going to be particularly tough because the deadline for my latest book - DEATH IN HELLFIRE, to be published in the summer - is the 15th January. Will I make it? I think I am going to be about a week late, which isn't bad considering that I didn't begin it until August. Anyway I shall expect you all to get a copy when it comes out, and let me know what you think, via this website.
The end of last year was particularly busy. My daughter, Amanda, was in a play, THE MEMORY OF WATER, at the end of October and I thought she was extremely good. She looked frumpy and made herself up to appear quite elderly and unappetising. She and the rest of the cast tackled the whole thing really well and it was quite a shock to see her afterwards looking her usual glamorous self.
The following week I went to a huge memorial service in St. Paul's, Covent Garden, for the television director, Pieter Rogers. Everybody who was anybody was there - including Joan Plowright escorted by her son, Richard Olivier, Sir Ian McKellen, Edward Fox, Joanna David and Nicholas Grace, to mention but a few. All these people spoke and the young students from Central School did excerpts from GUYS AND DOLLS. Nicholas Grace read Alan Bennet's GOING ROUND which was one of the funniest things I think I have ever heard. Afterwards we went to the Grand Saloon in Drury Lane Theatre where I met an incredible actress of 90, still looking very glamorous, who played in the old black and white FORSYTE SAGA. She agreed with me that the recent remake was absolute rubbish. I had a brief chat with Sir Ian and congratulated him on his Widow Twanky which I saw at the Old Vic.
It has all been very theatrical because I played Polly Garter in the Hastings Welsh Society production of UNDER MILK WOOD and a few nights later went to see SLEUTH at the Stables Theatre in Hastings. After that I was in London again where I met my friend John Elnaugh - look out for his new website which is opening this month - for the Crime Writers Chapter Meeting. No sooner was I back than I went away to Buckinghamshire to stay with my friends Nick and Jane and visited Waddeson Manor, one of the Rothschilds' many mansions, which was superbly decorated for Christmas. I love the place and can just imagine myself living there. Only if I sell all my work for films (some hopes)!
I then took my friend Pamela Wilding to see the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre performing THE SLEEPING BEAUTY. It was very colourful but I thought the prima ballerina was having a bit of an off night. However the Prince and the Bluebirds were very good and we enjoyed ourselves greatly.
After that it was one mad rush to get ready for Christmas, entertain guests, have drinks, decorate the Christmas tree, and generally fall over myself until the big day, which I spent with my family at my son's house, the two men - son and son-in-law - doing the cooking between them.
So here we are at the New Year. May I wish all my readers the best possible 2007 imaginable. Think of me as I get my head down to finish my book, and you can be sure I'll be in touch when I have finished it.
Meanwhile take care of yourselves.