Internazionale della famiglia / Familiale internationale

I am not a well girl today.  Oh.  Maybe you will not immediately recognise that turn of phrase if you were not brought up as I was on these stories.  It’s never too late.  Try them now.

Yesterday I just about struggled through the church PCC meeting (this is not fanatical dedication to the cause, they need me to take the minutes) then floated home in a weird bruised state of hot cold hot and collapsed into bed with a mountain of tissues at my side (well – torn off bits if kitchen roll in truth) and a hot water bottle.  The rector says I have man-flu; he is (as rectors must be) right.

So this morning I have blown my nose a lot and my sinuses are full of concrete and my eyes are running like taps.  Lovely.

But don’t feel sorry for me.  I’m having a good week.  I had an email from the Abbot of Ampleforth this week – raises a cheery if somewhat snotty and bleared smile – glorious with the courtesy, restraint, humility and kindness of the monastic world.  Read it a thousand times and responded at far too great length.  Where the hey is Ampleforth I hear you ask.  It is the Benedictine monastery that actually exists in the place where my fictional St Alcuins is sited.  In Yorkshire, the land of the blessed, where my heart often (and my body occasionally as finances permit) goes on pilgrimage.

Also yesterday I (think I) managed to place an order for an astonishing number of bottles of this stuff.  I actually had to leave the store to go to where someone else was waiting for me and needed me to be there, before the order went through – because they aren’t meant to take orders like that if it’s not in the Food Online catalogue, but the intelligent handsome darling marvellous superman at M&S, that last bastion of all things English and soothing, made an exception for me.  Thank you, that man. 
I’m not going to drink all that stuff myself though – it’s for the book launch party for The Hardest Thing To Do, happening on October 15th, 7-9pm at our church (you’re all invited but you have to let me know if you’re coming cos we all want enough to eat).  Dress code is strictly medieval.  We also looked into groovy handmade wholewheat medievally pies etc, but when the prices were revealed unto us we reverted to the M&S Food OnlineCatalogue (yeah, feast your eyes on that, it’s going to be a good party!).  But the great thing about the drink is that it tastes just like homebrew – and very similar I think to how medieval ale would have tasted but – get this – it’s alcohol-free!  Result!

Anyway at this party we’re going to roister a bit singing along to songs like this and this, and Julian the storyteller from our church is going to tell a story or two, and my girls and their dad will sing some medieval songs and Rosie will play her huge harp – and we’ll sit on straw bales and wooden benches and have candlelight and put all the normal chairs away.  It’s going to be fab fab fab!  And I get to read a bit of my story and hopefully sell lots and lots of copies else I’ll never be able to pay the Badger back for all the money it’s costing!  Our house is stacked with boxes of eco-friendly paper cups and napkins, bio-degradable palm-leaf plates, wooden spoonery and books by Penelope Wilcock.  Have to go and sort out the straw bales next.

The other thing about this week is that the Badger is away in Congo Brazzaville, teaching booksellers about business practice for MAI (in French!).  I would put a link to MAI so you could read about it but, embarrassingly, I can't remember what it stands for - I just know it's a bunch of impressive Christian people in Oxford who go to poor places and help things go better for them in book-linked kind of ways - helping writers and publishers, or improving literacy skills or whatever (Oh!  Alice Yaxley found it for me - here they are!).  And Hebe and Alice have gone to the English Cemetery in Florence to stay with the adorable Sister JuliaBolton Holloway to work with the Roma on the restoration of the cemetery, with the idea of Hebe passing on some of her considerable letter-cutting skills.

So I’ve added in my sidebar the clocks that tell me the time where they are.  Interestingly, in Congo Brazzaville it’s just the same as here – but it Italy it’s an hour different.  How weird is that?  And I added the time in Duluth in Minnesota where Julie Faraway is, just for fun and so I won't get muddled and Skype her in the middle of the night. 

Anyway, waving to you and off to get my morning cup of Lemsip and give the cats their First Breakfast (they have a kind of hobbit system going).

So I feel quite cheerful really, if Rather Ill.