They say life mirrors art, or is it art mirrors life? I’m never sure, but aspects of my stories have a way of happening, which is why I’m very wary about killing characters off or giving them illnesses or making terrible things happen to them; I don’t want to tempt Fate and bring it on anyone I know or love.
Since writing The Author, The Gardener and The Woman What Does two things have come to pass: I now have a gardener and a cleaner myself. Two wonderful people who both do a fabulous job, much better than I could do even before M.E took its toll on my old body.
They’re nothing like the characters in my book. Both are happily married to other people. Both come to me on different days. I don’t feed them as Tess does in my story other than a drink and maybe a cake that Mr Kipling has made, my energy levels don’t run to cooking. My gardener doesn’t use an electric mower and strimmer but petrol ones, something I’d have known if the gardener had come before the idea for the story.
I found them both by chance. I’d been needing them for a while as I was finding it increasingly difficult to manage both the garden and the housework due to my health condition. My gardener pushed a flyer through my door and my cleaner came from a chat to my cousin who I knew was very particular who she had in her house and I feel very comfortable with both, which I think is so important. In the past I’ve had people do jobs for me who I couldn’t wait to get out of the house. If I don’t feel comfortable with people they don’t set foot in my house again once I’ve got them out. As it is I’ve got a great electrician, plumber, decorator, mechanic, etc, a good network, all found over time.
As for dogs, I gave Tess in the book two rough collies after the two I’d had when I was younger. Mine were Sheba and Jodi, mother and daughter; hers were Bella and Donna, sisters. I’ve always been a rough collie person since reading Enid Blyton’s Shadow the Sheepdog when I was ten but I wouldn’t want another dog, not got the energy to look after one. I’m a dog hotel to my fur grandsons Ralphy and Rooney, my sons’ two labradoodles when they go on holiday. I don’t have them together, tried it once for an afternoon, never again, they go wild, but we usually let them have a visit and a rampage round the garden when I’ve got one of them. Their visits satisfy any yen I may have for a dog, they are nice to have and nice to give back.
Like Tess in the story I’ve published several books. Unlike her they haven’t made me millions. For that I am still waiting! As for the romance – too old, too ill, too worn out. By and large I’m content on my own. I don’t want to be washing someone’s boxers and socks or cooking their meals when I haven’t got enough energy to get through the day. The crime part of the story? I’ll pass on that too thanks!