Monthly Archives: June 2009

A novel idea

Sorry for the lack of updates on here I have been working furiously on my novel. I am closing in on the end and at this point I am desperate to finish the first draft. This has, perhaps unsurprisingly, led to a bit of a gap on here. I had been planning to fill it but I don’t think I can. So I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with me talking about writing.

So how’s that going? Well a couple of weeks ago I realised that based on my structure I had about 60 A4 pages left to go (around 30 thousand words).

And I decided that 2 pages a day was about do-able. And so I decided to write 2 pages a day. Even on the first day I only managed 1 page. But the idea was to slay the monster over the thirty days – on average.

I have been posting my updates about the previous day on Twitter (@alexandronov) and if you want to check in please do. The main point though is that because I’m posting the update every morning I’m having to face up to what I have or haven’t done. It has been hugely helpful. As has my friend Kris who has been replying to a seperate e-mail with great words of encouragement (a hard line to walk because if you’re sycophantic I’d believe it wouldn’t matter what I did, but too tough and I’d give up too).

So anyway that’s the story and here’s the graph.

Street party

Sandra put her arm out of the kitchen window. A couple of tiny raindrops landed on her hand. IT IS NOT GOING TO RAIN. She didn’t really know who she was thinking this to. She hadn’t been to church since last summer when she’d tried to will the vicar into helping with the tombola.

Sandra closed the window and turned back to her kitchen. Rows of sandwiches were arranged with military precision on trays. There were bowls of hula hoops. Enough, by her calculation, for everyone to have five hoops each. More than enough.

There was no cake. She’d left the cake to Dorothy. A risk certainly. But a calculated risk. Last year Dorothy had brought one cake along (Sandra had made the other six). And all anyone had spoken about for three months was how nice Dorothy’s sponge was. Well, it’s all very well making springy sponge when you only have to make one, and you aren’t making the sandwiches, sorting the drink, making Matthew collect the drink, so Matthew can talk about how he’s sorted the drink, getting the council to close the road despite the objections of the Robinsons (as usual). It’s all very well making cake in those conditions.

This time Sandra had made it quite clear to everyone that she was making no cake and that it was all Dorothy’s responsibility. Dorothy was a flake and couldn’t really be trusted. In fact the only thing she could be trusted to do in Sandra’s opinion was to cause trouble – something that she excelled at. So by that reckoning there would be no cake a all. Sandra turned and strode into the back room and opened the door to the larder. There were two victoria sponges each in their own Tupperware with a third Tupperware container with some raspberry jam, long spoons and some napkins.

Nobody knew of these sponges, not even Matthew. Would, Sandra worried, Matthew know how to collect these when Sandra sent him back for them? She couldn’t have there be no cake, that would reflect badly on her. That would mean poor organisation. So she had some backup cake. It shouldn’t be necessary, but if Dorothy didn’t appear then Matthew could run and fetch them. She’d have to keep Matthew off the lager until the cake materialised one way or the other.

Everyone, except the Robinsons, had removed their cars from the road as asked. She had taken Reggie out for a walk and seen that it was all done. Then she had made the sandwiches – all the other food had been done the night before. If there was one thing Sandra didn’t like, it was soggy sandwiches. Then she had attacked the hoovering pausing loudly near the children’s rooms and knocking repeatedly against their doors with the hose. And now she was ready. She took her pinny off and hung it behind the kitchen door. Now to shower. She looked back over the room. She slid open a drawer and pulled a pad of Post-It notes out and a pen. Then she wrote on a note that said, “Matthew, I know how many hula hoops there are in this bowl – don’t even think about it”. She placed the Post-It note on top of the bowl and went for her shower.

As she left the kitchen the clock ticked over and proclaimed the time to be seven o’clock.

Sweet shop

A few years back, I had an idea for a new kind of old shop. Everyone harks back to the idea of an old fashioned sweet shop, don’t they? They want to see the jars of sweets piled high to the ceiling and some benevolent old man weighing out sweets with enormous scales. Cola bottles, gobstoppers, white mice, those white chocolate buttons with hundreds and thousands on them.

The problem with these kinds of shops is that they can’t work for us anymore as adults. As adults… we are too tall. We are the same height as the people running the shop. We can see over the counter, we can reach the jars at the top.

So the answer is pretty obvious to me. What we need to do is build a really big shop. The counter for the shop should be 6 feet high. Giant animatronic puppets should work behind the counter, weighing things. Puppeteers would have plenty of room to hide behind the counter.

The ceilings would have to be really tall and then up at the top you would employ dwarfs to climb around taking things off of the shelf to make it seem even further away than it is.

It would be a totally odd operation, obviously. But if you sold every kind of sweet and you had the shop in central London – Covent Garden suggests itself to me – then you could make it a tourist destination. Probably best to get the Tussauds group involved to have a steady supply of actors and so on from places like the London Dungeon and have a bit of cross promotion.

People would go into the shop just to have the experience of going to the shop. “When in London,” people would say to each other, “you have to visit this crazy sweet shop”.

The only problem is that I don’t have a name for the shop. What do you think? Something old-fashioned sounding would be ideal.