I see the lady who does my eyebrows, S, once a year and have done since 2000. What I really like about this is that you get to condense a year's worth of news (or the absence thereof) into an hour. There's something quite interesting about having to squeeze what is happening in your life into a ten or fifteen minute lowdown - I find it gives me a perspective on stuff that I do the same thing with my hair(wig)dresser, who I see even less frequently and who is extremely quidsworth in the matter of celebrity anecdotes, dramas both professional and personal, etc.
There is less of this high drama with S, but we have both had years when we have spent the hour relating a shitstorm of upsetting and stressful life events - partners, children (her daughter and L were born within days of each other), work, health - sometimes to the point where we both become hysterical with laughter at the awfulness.
This wasn't one of those years. No triumphs, no tragedies. Some health issues for her, existential work uncertainty for me, groaning at fourteen-year-olds for both of us. Then she turned to very insistently instructing me I HAD to watch Game of Thrones. At the end of the appointment after I had said that it was fine and hadn't hurt and she had called me a liar (correctly, it stings like a bastard), S looked at me very sternly and said "What do you have do to Emma?" and I was a bit puzzled and said "Not go in water? I never do, I hate swimming."
"Put the special cream on?"
"Oh! Watch Game of Thrones"
I wonder what will be happening this time next year.
I only had two spritzes early evening (actually, more like late afternoon, I was meeting Alyson and I railroaded her into joining me in booze) and a glass of wine later and I feel like shit. I attribute this to dehydration due to great and fulsome WEEPING at a screening of Me Before You.
I met Jojo due to the great and wonderful democratisation of the Internet that was 2009 Twitter. I imagine 2009 Twitter will be someone's cultural and social history thesis one day - it was a fascinating moment, a mad effervescence, chatting with people you would never have imagined would give you the time of day. Jojo was one of mine and when we actually met in person for the first time, she was working on the book that would become Me Before You. She wasn't really sure that quadriplegia was going to enthuse her publisher/agent, I remember, but of course it was absolutely stratospherically successful, quite rightly because it is beautifully written, incredibly moving and warm without ever becoming marshmallow-y. I think Jojo is now the second most famous person in Germany after Angela Merkel, not that she lives in Germany, just the Germans are particularly wild about it. When we were in Thailand about 1/3 of sunloungers had people reading either Me Before You or its sequel After You in a variety of languages and I kept annoying everyone by nudging them and going "MY FRIEND WROTE THAT!"
Digression over, now the stratospheric book is about to become a stratospheric film and having seen it, all I can say is JESUS THERE WILL BE WEEPING. They should probably hand out packets of tissues in the manner of those 3D glasses when you buy your ticket. It was quite funny at the end of the screening because everyone was totally verklempt whilst also remaining British and a bit pink and embarrassed about their own emotional incontinence. I look forward to walking past the cinema in Brussels and annoying my family by going "MY FRIEND WROTE THAT" once more.
Back at the W8 ranch, my dad presented me with a neatly clipped cutting of my review in Saga magazine sent to him by my auntie and my stepmother nagged me lovingly and insistently about what I needed to do to ensure more book promotion and sales. It is very wonderful to see that they have my back like this. I mean, I know they love me and they have always supported me above and beyond, but I am weirdly conditioned to assume my book is in some way shameful (you can see why I am so great at promoting it) and brings dishonour to the family, so when they say things like "X emailed me to say you could really write" or "Y went into Hatchards and harangued them about stocking it", it is extremely heartwarming.
Grace, who cleans my dad's house (and used to clean our flat and who basically saved me from rank insanity a million times), is one of my favourite people in the world:
30% Gchat nonsense
30% Warhorses of Letters hilarity (you can get it on audible now!)
20% Imminent futher Spritz action