Yesterday, after a fleeting reference to camels, I was challenged to write a post in which camels became our only means of travel and communication. Always a girl up for a challenge, I decided to push it a step further and try my hand at fiction. So this morning I have written what is surely to become an extract from the most critically acclaimed post-apocolypse-self-discovery-tragi-comedy of our generation. Enjoy…

For a long time afterwards everything was quiet.

The water subsided and the ground was still, save for the occasional groan as the new landscape settled itself. Trees that had previously marked out the horizon were reformed as bridges between islands of debris.

The woman lay on her back, partly covered by the shell of what had once been a car. She did not move. Only the barely perceptible rise and fall of her chest marked her out as different from the other bodies. The sun moved slowly across the sky above her, as though ritually scanning for some form of live. As it moved round and shone through the broken car window onto her face, she stirred.

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“What shall I write about today?” I asked Belle.

“Write about Emily and me making a house in the shed and making a TV out of the cardboard box that the wine came in.”

It’s a rather sad fact that when I am feeling calm and relaxed and not overloaded with work (like I am now), that my brain goes completely blank, totally devoid of literary inspiration. If I sit down at the laptop with a whole evening in front of me to spare, I just can’t think of anything more interesting than the fact that the tasty snacks I won in a competition arrived today, resulting in my eating six Cadbury’s Turkish biscuits for my lunch.

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Yesterday I had my contraceptive implant removed. Don’t worry, it’s nothing gruesome, just a tiny plastic hormone releasing matchstick that goes under the skin in your arm. Maybe it’s a weird thing to write about, but it actually raised some interesting issues for me. If you’d rather not read about my contraceptive dilemmas though, probably best to look away now.

I had my first implant six years ago when Belle was one, and had it replaced when she was four. As this one approached the end of its useful life, I had been intending to have it replaced again, but then it struck me that actually this time round I’m not in a relationship, I’m not even really dating, and I began to wonder if such a permanent method of contraception was really necessary.

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Kids. Don’t you just love ’em?

On a good day they’ll say the sweetest things, shower you in kisses and bring you glasses of water if you’re feeling hungover. But just like the girl with the curl, when they are bad, they are horrid. In the heat of a temper Belle will say the most outrageous things – that I can handle – but often they will say or do things that are just thoughtless or uncaring, things that when you hear them over and over can be a bit of a dent to your self-esteem.

One morning last week for instance Bee was in my room, trying her best to make her hair look as neglected as possible. Eventually she flung the brush down in despair, a look of thunder on her face – she was clearly not getting the back combed height she was striving for.

“Arrrggghhh!” she groaned, and turned to me accusingly, “my hair is FLAT. Can’t you just go away, the flatness of your hair is dragging mine down.”

Charming.

After presenting me with such a beautiful love note last week, Belle obviously felt the need to redress the balance. I was chatting to a friend in the kitchen on Sunday morning when she came in smiling, with a piece of paper behind her back.

“You look very pleased with yourself,” I said. “Have you drawn a lovely picture?”

She nodded, but there was a sparkle in her eyes.

“Have you drawn a naughty picture?”

Her smile widened and she nodded again. She took the picture from behind her back and laid it on the table, giggling.

“That’s a bear,” she said, “that’s me laughing, and that’s you crying with your foot in a bear trap.”

Lovely. With kids like these, who needs enemies…

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How old does a child have to be before they can walk to school on their own? It’s questions like these that I ask myself, and wish I had a partner to ask. I might not agree with him, but at least it would be someone to share the responsibility with. As it is, I decide by myself, and if I get it wrong? Well, it’s down to me.

This morning Belle and I walked to school in complete silence. Not because we were too busy appreciating the beauty of the morning, nor was she sulking at having only sandwiches and fruit in her lunch box – we were silent because Belle was four metres ahead of me at all times.

She had decided she wanted to practice walking to school on her own, so I was to stay well behind and keep quiet, so she would know what it was like. So the whole way there I kept my distance, watching her quietly, my baby, all grown up, looking both ways carefully before she crossed the (very quiet) roads.

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