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2 May 2003

Yesterday I had to go back to the vet, to pay Sophie's final bill and return some old medicines she hadn't used. Not the best way to start the day; the receptionists were sweet to me, which only made me the more miserable.

Spent the rest of the day in and out of the back yard, painting and planting and potting up and such. Gardening is reputed to be therapeutic (an old friend of mine once wrote a poem in which he 'plunged his hands into the good earth' when a fighter jet screamed overhead; ever after, when he wrote anything particularly righteous, there was a mild chorus of 'bit of a plunger, that one, Nigel'). I'm unconvinced of any special benefits myself, but it uses up time nicely, and there will be lots of greeny growy stuff at the end of it. Eaty stuff too, largely. My physiotherapist has been trying to tempt me away from herbs & salads, with talk of jasmine and such (that 'such' to indicate other climbing things, whose names I do not now remember). She may even succeed; already I have a few herbs (feverfew, tansy) that are not really for eating. Though people used to make tansy-cake for Easter, apparently. Damn, just too late...

And yesterday evening the Val McDermid roadshow was in town - on her own, but Val is a roadshow sui generis and by herself. Technically she was launching a book, but she does a fairly good job of cheering up Chaz en passant.

Today is too rainy for painting (well, you try suggesting to the weather that the day is too painty for raining. I'll tell you where that gets you: exactly wet). I have shopped at the farmers' market, and come home with goats' kidneys, which I devilled for lunch but may not do again, as I found them unexciting; lambs' are better, richer, more textured in flavour. The devilment, though, was spot on: just cream, cayenne, grainy mustard and Worcestershire sauce, nothing more needed. And then I was wondering what on earth to do with the afternoon when the nice man from UPS delivered the final Outremer copy-edit from the US. I shall drift back into town and settle down in a nice warm pub with a nice warm pint and devote the rest of the day to hating copy-editors. This particular one seems to have a hatred for hyphens and what's-the-proper-word-for-triple-dots...? Unless that's Ace house style, of course. I always find copy-edits embarrassing, just because I go through them reinstating 90% of what they've changed; I usually end up letting some alterations pass just because I don't want to look like one of those authors who won't listen to any voice but their own. That's not true of me, I swear it's not; just that I do know my own style better than anyone else, I do know how and why I phrase and punctuate as I do, and I do give it more thought than any copy-editor has time to do. Which means, nine times out of ten, that I'm right and they're wrong. End of argument, and another stet written in the margin. They probably hate me as much as I hate them.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.