In which my publisher is 7 whole years old

Choc Lit, the rather lovely publisher that brought Sweet Nothing, Midsummer Dreams and the Christmas Kisses series into the world is seven whole years old today.

This is very exciting because seven is, I would suggest, without any doubt at all the best age to be. You’re still little enough to be cute and not really be expected to know stuff or do useful things like wash up or know how to debone a poussin, but you’ve reached the point where you’re in sufficient control of your own limbs for the full range of running/jumping/twirling activities to be very much on the table. At least until an adult comes and makes you get down off the table.

Furthermore, at seven you’re on a par with deadly sins, heavenly virtues, and the generally agreed optimum number of dwarves that can be looked after by a single fairytale princess/occasional housekeeper.

Seven is also the title of that film where Gwyneth Paltrow’s head ends up in a box. It’s how keen Jeremy Corbyn is on the EU. It’s the maximum number of crime-fighting children/dogs Enid Blyton considered it practical to group together into a single secret smuggler-catching gang.

It’s the wedding anniversary at which you might buy one another a nice jumper or a small flock of sheep. It’s the number of days Craig David needs to meet and thoroughly romance a young lady and get to the point where they both need a nice long rest.

So seven. There you go. It’s a number. Traditionally it comes after six and before eight, unless you’re counting alphabetically, in which case (taking only the first ten numbers in this example) it would come after one and before six. I wouldn’t recommend counting alphabetically though; you lose a lot of the benefit of counting if you do.

All of which is a very long winded way of saying, Choc Lit publish books, including my books. You could buy one if you wanted. Or not it’s really up to you. Anyway, they’re seven. Happy Birthday to them.


In which I think about the overall quite-goodness of humanity

In a fashion quite unlike myself I actually had a plan for what I was going to blog about this week. It’s my birthday today – it’s only 8.15am and I’ve already opened all my presents and started browsing Amazon for things to spend my vouchers on. I do like a birthday. They’re like Christmas but without all the tiresome Giving to interupt the important Receiving. Anyway, I was going to blog all about birthdays and aging and stuff like that.

However, I then became distracted by the wonder that is the Olympics, so I thought I’d blog a bit more about that, having already blogged a wee bit about it here. The Olympics have been brilliant. Ok, so my “Grenada to top the medal table” plan hasn’t quite panned out (so far – there’s totally still time), but Team GB are doing sterling work and I’ve disovered an unexpected passion for canoe slalom, ten thousand metre running and the pommel horse. Turns out us Britishers give good pommel. I also quite like volleyball, rowing and trampolining, although it amazes me that the trampolinists manage to get through their routines without shouting “Wheeeeeeee!” on the flippy bits.

I then became more specifically distracted by Oscar Pistorius. Wow. I mean just Wow. Oscar Pistorius is amazing. Oscar Pistorius is a double-amputee who runs under 46 seconds for 400m. He’s also had to go through a lengthy legal battle to challenge the IAAF’s initial decision that his running blades gave him an unfair advantage over able bodied athletes. There are still big portions of newspaper space filled with chuntering columns about whether Pistorius gains athletic advantage from having no legs below the knee, generally concluded with a vague “Where will it all end?” vibe.  These articles are silly. Where it clearly won’t end is with able-bodied athletes having their legs voluntarily chopped off so they can run on prosthetics. Assuming you survived the operation, which would be by no means guaranteed, the months/years of physio, the attendant muscle wastage, the re-learning how to walk on prosthetics, let alone run, would be more likely to end, rather than enhance, any athletics career you might have had. So lets just accept Oscar for what he is – an actual real-life (not out of a movie) inspirational person.

And then I got further distracted by this. NASA have successfully landed the Curiosity rover on Mars. Now putting aside the fact that the XKCD comic about the previous Mars rover is the saddest thing I’ve ever ever seen (apart perhaps from the musical montage prologue bit in Up), this is amazing news. The Curiosity rover weighs a tonne and it’s just landed on a planet that is at least 53 million km away from Earth. And we did that. Obviously I mean we – humanity, not we – me and my mates. Sadly our mission to Mars broke down at the planning stage, when we ran out of napkins to draw on and spent the remaining budget on drinking more wine instead.

Humanity though is amazing. When we’re not killing each other and breaking the planet, we’re really rather incredible. We can learn to run when we have no legs. We can overcome great odds to follow our dreams, like Saudi Arabian athletes Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkani. We can send massive great hunks of stuff to other planets. We’re quite inpsiring when you stop to think about our positives. So, that’s what I’m inviting you to do today? Think about the positives. What inspires you? What makes you go weirdly smiley and teary-eyed all at the same time? Please do sharing in the comments, and, if you feel so inspired, please feel free to do following/subscribing too.