Hello my little chickadees. Well footies underway and we play Croatia tonight. My trotters are crossed for them.
UPDATE: We lost 2:1 but how proud are we of their overall achievements.
This week in my cave is the elegant and single Miss Charlotte Castle. I had to raise the manacles because her long legs and feet were touching the ground. She didn't like it much as it stretched her to her full extent but thems the breaks as they say, literally.
Hiya Charlie, so tell me about yourself and will you stand up straight woman. Forget the broken leg it'll mend.
Are you absolutely sure? Well If you say so, but I'm not convinced at all!
Do stop whinging. It's only a broken leg
About me then, I'm elegant, witty, pure of heart, long of limb... Well before the left one was broken by you. I'm actually a rather rotund 37 year-old mother of two. I'm a writer, of all forms, though in particular speeches at the moment, and I've been single for six years, so I spend a lot of time muttering to myself. I am torn between wanting a boyfriend and enjoying the wardrobe space.
Where do you live in the world
A stunning town called Knaresborough in North Yorkshire, England. Like all Yorkshire folk, I'm fiercely proud of my county - if we were a country we'd have come eighth in the medal table of the most recent Olympics! Famous Yorkshiremen (and women) include The Brontes, Alan Bennet, WH Auden, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Patrick Stewart, Jeremy Clarkson, The Beautiful South, Def Leppard, Ed Sheeran, Kaiser Chiefs.... I could go on.
Knaresborough is particularly famous for our (long dead) prophetess Mother Shipton. Kind of an English Notradamus. She predicted that when Low Bridge falls down for a third time, the world will end. So far it's fallen down twice. I'm always super careful when I'm driving over it.
Have you any pets
I have a small, white psychopathic cat called Deborah. Her favourite game is lying on a low wall by my house, trying to entice victims with her beauty. If she was human, she'd be in a maximum security facility by now, strapped to an upright trolley with a bite-shield on. Luckily for her, she isn't; so she's lying at the end of my bed working out which of my neighbours to bite next.
|Deborah the psychopath|
I know you’re an author Charlie, can you tell my readers what you have written and the storyline
I wrote a novel called Simon's Choice which was very well received, mostly in the States where it was first published. It tells the tale of a doctor whose seven year-old daughter is dying of leukemia. When one evening she asks him 'Daddy, who will live with me in Heaven?" he answers in a moment of grief and confusion that he will 'go with her'. The novel explores grief, the stresses of grief on a marriage and the concept of death in different religions.
Whilst I appreciate it doesn't sound like a laugh a minute, I'm told it has its funny moments! I wrote the novel in only three months, whilst my baby son was strapped to a bouncy seat next to me.
It is out of print now, sadly, but you can still purchase a Kindle copy and help me pay my rent.
The best way to keep me quiet is to put a platter of shellfish in front of me. I've been eating mussels and oysters since I was four. Potential suitors should know that I'll do anything for a lobster. I am also a fan of good sushi and will rugby tackle people to get at a cheese board. Readers will not be amazed to hear that I've put on a lot of weight recently.
My parents divorced when I was only seven, but an enduring memory is that their marriage was at its happiest when they were cooking - usually strange and exciting things. I remember a squid's ink sack being removed by my giggling (and probably quite tipsy) parents in a bath. I also have memories of a duck being dried with a hair dryer. (The duck was dead and plucked - they were trying to replicate the Peking duck pancakes they liked in the Chinese restaurant - not give it a blow dry.) As such, food has always been an enormous source of romance and excitement to me. I think the only thing I've never tried is probably tripe - I don't have any plans to, but never say never.
A good dry white wine to accompany any of the above.
Tell us about your family life
As a single parent I seem to spend much of my time picking other people's stuff up. My son is autistic, with a little known form called Pathological Demand Avoidance and so both myself and my daughter have to have diplomatic skills comparable to the United Nations. They should get me to negotiate Brexit, it would be nothing in comparison to convincing my son to brush his teeth.
You recently started up a speech writing business. How did that come about? You have a fantastic sense of humour; do you find it easy to write speeches? How do you get the balance of timing right when you’re waiting for the laugh?
It was my mother's idea actually. I wrote some speeches when I was younger, one memorably for an important event in the construction industry and afterwards delegates were coming up to me asking for a copy so that they could share it with their employees. As my son is disabled it's difficult for me to have a 'proper' job, and so 'My Standing Ovation' was born. It's in its infancy.
With regards to waiting for a laugh, often you'll get more of a laugh if you give the audience some space. Pause. Look up. If they're tittering, raise an eyebrow - it often gives people the permission to go for a full guffaw. You need to engage with your audience - if you only rely on the words it won't go as well. Pretend you're with your mates in the pub.
What is a typical day for you or are the days all different?
My days are rather boring. Two hours negotiating with my son regarding clothes/breakfast/getting into the taxi to his school. Then a flurry of housework and shopping, a bit of writing if I have a job on, and then back to the endless demands of food and 'she hit me', 'he spat on me' when the children are back. My son only goes to school for 3 hours, so I don't get a lot of time to myself. My days tend to end with wine and crime documentaries. I have a concerning fascination in murderers - though it does actually stem from an interest in psychology and not my inner-psychopath.
Choose a pet to snuggle up to at night from time immemorial
Deborah. She may hate everyone else, but she loves me.
Share your ultimate dream with us
Writing on a team - preferably comedy. As everyone knows, the problem with writing is that it is for the most part lonely and a rollercoaster of exhilarating highs (when you suddenly resolve that plot issue, or you write a killer bit of prose, you land a publisher or get a great review) and crushing lows (rejection, writers block - crashes in self-belief - so being able to bounce ideas off each other and share the elations and commiserations would be the ultimate dream. I adore the show Episodes, starring Matt le Blanc, Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Grieg about a married pair of British sit-com writers living out in LA, battling the faux smiles and backstabbing of the TV Studios. It must be wonderful to have a writing partner.
Where do you go to socialise usually
I'm a single mother with two children. I consider it a social whirlwind if the checkout guy in Morrison's mentions the weather.
Well you could always hang out here in the cave.
I know you love your garden. Would you like to tell us about it, how much time you spend out there, share some photos with us?
My garden is really just a patio, but it's important to me because we were made homeless a few years ago and for about a year, I had no idea where we were going to end up. It was an horrific time and I feel very passionately about the housing crisis in the UK. I'd got to the point where I was looking at paying £850 a month rent for the most basic 3-bedroom house in my area - on one part time salary. I'm now a council tenant and feel extremely lucky to have a roof over my head. The time I spend in my garden is a nod to my luck - I could be in a high-rise flat, so the patio deserves my love and attention.
If you could travel anywhere in the world all expenses paid, where would you go and who would you take with you
I think I should probably say that I'd take my children, but as I'm typing this during the difficult bedtime period and one of them has just yelled at me and the other has spilled fake-tan all over her fairly new pale bedroom carpet, they're out. You blew it kids. You can have imaginary babysitters for this imaginary holiday.
I'd like to take my mother on a trip around the Eastern and Southern coast of the USA. I'm fascinated in areas full of history and diverse cultures, so I'd like to start in Virginia and drive round in a wonderful car through South Carolina, Georgia (Savannah), Lousiana - I'm particularly keen to drive up the old River Road from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and visit the plantation mansions there. There's a property called Nottoway, and it's my biggest dream to spend a night there.
|The little darlings|
Have you any new storylines buzzing around the brain?
Always. But I'm afraid I'm not sharing them.
I’m letting you step off the world for a week (with no come backs) what would you do?
Well it would have to include a stay at Nottoway. But I'd also love to visit a film set in LA, and I'd love to go to Japan. Do you have some kind of a time machine? There's a lot I need to fit in. Also, if I was invisible, I'd go to The White House and listen in to what Trump is really saying.
Time Machine? I haven't even got a washing machine love. I'm with you on the Trump thing though.
Is there a question I haven’t asked that you were busting for me to ask? If so what is it
No, you covered it, thank you!!!
So there you have the fabulous Charlotte Castle. Now if just one of the others finally gives in and answers the questions, there will be another blog.