About a month ago I posted a couple of attempts at some fiction writing, which my number one fan Brian very much enjoyed. So much so that he has been working on his own part of the story on his blog, Extremely Average. I did promise Brian I would write some more, and he has been very patient, but I have kept him in suspense long enough.

Please bear in mind this is just a first draft, so obviously I need to cut about 70% of it and change all the words, but apart from that… It carries on (vaguely) from where the last post stopped, and finishes rather suddenly due to my having a bit of a headache and quite wanting to go and have a little lie down. All constructive criticism very welcome.

As they approached the source of the noise Beatrice broke into a trot. She moved gracefully – she was much more elegant than Amy ever imagined a camel would be.

Amy hung back though, hesitant about what they might find, not sure if she wanted to bring a baby into their lives. She’d known Beatrice less than an hour and it really felt too soon to be starting a family.

She remembered feeling the same nervous dread when her Dad had taken her to meet her brother Dan for the first time. She was five when he’d been conceived, and had been quite happy as an only child. The arrival of an extra person in her carefully ordered world wasn’t something she was looking forward to, particularly when she had only recently finished rearranging all her dolls alphabetically. She needn’t have worried of course, she had fallen in love with Dan the moment she saw him – lying in his plastic box at the Farnham Centre, wearing the tiny brown hat with the puppy ears that she’s picked out for him the month before at Mr Panther’s Baby Emporium.

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Last night Belle and I watched Wife Swap USA.

Yes, I know it’s mostly staged and it’s all rubbish, but I don’t care. I love it. So there. I particularly love the last five minutes when they go back to their own families and, despite having spent the swap coming out with lines like “I’d rather be DEAD than spend another day with that DEVIL WOMAN!”, they take home lots of Valuable Lessons, and all become balanced, loving families, living happily ever after. And no, I don’t even love that part in an ironic way, I just like to think it’s true.

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I finally got round last night to reading Saturday’s Guardian magazine. One of my favourite columns is Oliver Burkeman’s ‘This column will change your life’, as it invariable gets me thinking about the way I live and work.

This week he was talking about memories, and the tendency to remember only certain aspects of events, namely how they felt at their emotional peak, and how they felt at the end. So, if you’re remembering a week-long holiday, your memory of it will very likely be a product of one single very happy/stressful moment, and how you felt as you were leaving. The implication of this is that it is better to focus on short moments of intense fun than to holiday for as long as possible, and that half an hour of quality time with the kids counts much more than being around them all day, every day. Phew.

It got me thinking about the memories we create for our children, and the highs and lows I remember from my own childhood. I’ve always thought of myself as a person with a fairly poor long-term memory, but one exercise we did on my recent Arvon course made me realise that there are actually a lot of interesting sounds, sights and smells buried in the murky depths of my brain, if only I can dig around enough and find them under the layers of daily life.

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I love David Mitchell. If you’re reading this David, and want to propose, I will say yes.

I know I’m not alone – I’m sure there are thousands of other women who feel the same. We really shouldn’t underestimate the power of humour when it comes to seducing a woman.

Just look at some of the other men I have been drawn to over the years – I think most of my friends would vouch for the fact that not many of them were exactly ‘lookers’, (not that I’m implying you would fall into that category David), and several of them actually had quite serious personality issues, but somehow you are blind to that when you’re laughing out loud.

Anyway, that wasn’t supposed to be the point of this post. What I actually wanted to do was draw your attention to Mitchell writing for The Observer today about The Times paywall, and asking why it is that everything connected with Rupert Murdoch is automatically classed as Evil and Wrong.

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Yes, you heard me right – I said chocolate weetabix.

*waits while readers pick themselves up off the floor*

Now before I start, I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking ‘there have been quite a few reviews lately – what’s Jo playing at? It’s boring – we come here to read the sordid, pathetic details of her non-existent love life and feel better about our own lives, not get lectured about teddies and breakfast cereals.’

Well fair enough, I won’t do any more for ages, promise, but things have been a little tighter financially this month, so when I was asked if I wanted to try some of these new chocolate weetabix I was basically thinking ‘one less dinner to worry about.’ What can I say. I’m a cheap date.

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I’m supposed to be on a date right now.

I chickened out.

I feel bad about it, ashamed, like a child who’s scared to make new friends, especially given all the hard work everyone put in helping me create my online dating profile. The trouble is, although you got my requirements spot on, you missed one crucial ‘must-have’ for my ideal man.

‘Must creep up on me slowly, catch my eye in a bookshop, be the last person in the world I expect to fall in love with.’ Pathetically romantic I know, but there you go.

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