Thousands and Thousands of Words

Makes a great carrot, don't you think?

Makes a great carrot, don’t you think?

There’s a whiff of the self-congratulatory in the air this week. Part 2 of the book is completed and more than 64,000 words totted up. My mum likes it (bless her for her bias) and my nephews enjoy having it read to them – mainly, I suspect, because I have named characters after them.

So, two-thirds of the way through means the end is in sight, hmm…? Sadly not I fear. As my top of the range (not) printer is a little on the temperamental side, I haven’t printed out any of the book yet and I fear than when I do I will spot mistakes by the millions. (“Uncle Ted’s here in chapter 14? But he died in an horrific freak accident involving a fruit bowl in chapter 7.”) I’ve also been adding in bits to chapters as I go on, so there are parts of it that feel really disjointed and contrived. And as for my horrible mangling of sentences… grammarians would shudder in horror, I fear.

Tidying up a typo or two is only a tiny part of it though. The author Elizabeth Buchan writes her novels three times. Three times! But I do reckon that when I read over everything I’ve written, I will make decisions about material that needs to be added in – and hard decisions about what needs to be taken out. Even if I cry a bit when I press ‘delete’. And after all that, there will be the hell of trying to get published. And then persuading people that my little book is worth shelling out £6.99 (say) for.

But anyway, enough of my Brit self-effacement. Two-thirds of the way through – that bottle of champagne beckons. My sister bought me a bottle of Veuve Cliquot 2004 Vintage as a wedding present.* I joked that my husband and I would either drink it to celebrate our first anniversary or when I finished my book – whichever came first. Now it’s beginning to look as if that baby will be cracked open well before we’re trying to come up with creative gift ideas with paper.**

*I’d like to be a champagne connoiseur, but the pennies don’t permit it. If they did, Veuve Cliquot would be my tipple of choice.

**Paper is what you celebrate your first year anniversary with. Apparently.

Everything Good Begins with a ‘C’

Chocolate cakes made at the Tennents Training Academy

Chocolate sponge topped with chocolate butter cream, white chocolate sprinkles and chocolate truffles. Mmm-hmm…

Upmarket spa days, cocktail making classes, cupcake decorating lessons or an old-school piss up…

All appear to be options for a hen night. I’d also considered another option – no hen night – thinking along the lines of ‘once again, why this unnecessary encouragement to spend money?’ But friends asked, expectations were raised and yet again the pink, fluffy roller coaster that is wedding planning swooped me up.

Customised t’shirts, pink Stetsons, L plates and handcuffs probably won’t play any part of the night; I also want to keep costs as low as possible so that rules out options too. If I had the space at home, I’d do a home-made option – come round to my house in the afternoon, drink Cava and eat cakes I’ve made.

Alas, chairs are few and we currently own a very badly behaved cat prone to throwing up, knocking over wine glasses and partial to stealing cake off plates. (Seriously, he does.)

At the weekend, my mum, a good friend and I tried out the Tennents Training Academy’s chocolate and champagne evening. We got a one-course meal, two glasses of champagne and a lesson in making and decorating chocolate cakes. Oh, and there were plenty of chocolate sampling options for the cocoa-obsessed punter…

The evening once more confirmed to me my lack of patience (those white chocolate pencils we had to create were flippin’ hard) but was indeed great fun. Since then, I’ve had visions of good, girlie fun in the training academy despite the fact that I have mild anxiety issues around group activities (wah! Too many people! Gotta talk to them all! Are they having fun, oh no they’re really, really bored…)

The academy also does wine tasting so I’m wondering about a bit of cake making in the afternoon with wine in the evening – opt in and opt out so that no-one has to spend too much money. A solution, non?

And finally, after all the sweet stuff we need to include cheese. When human beings stumbled upon the making of cheese, it was among the finest evolutionary discoveries ever. My hen party needs, therefore, to find a way to pay tribute to the world’s most magnificent food…