We should just appreciate ‘heart-breakers’ differently –

I’ve met one or two men in my life who should be made national treasures,  because they make a woman feel so good about herself.  We do perhaps need to change our thinking, make an exception in their cases?  We know we don’t get to keep them but we should instead appreciate the time we get, rather than resentful when they move on.

I’m not even talking about affairs here, I hope every woman reading this has spent at least one evening with a man who was admiring, charming, and fascinated by her. You should bounce away walking on air … but the average woman either eyes him with deepest distrust or, worse, instantly thinks WANT! MINE! and tries to corner him, chain him down, until he bolts for cover and then she’s devastated and we say oh you poor thing, what a swine.

So when I rule the world (which I hope will be fairly soon) I will make it a rule that we identify the true charmers, re-educate women to enjoy them for what they can offer, and not resent them for what they can’t offer  … because they are LOVELY.

Any solid gold charmer wanting to be pre-approved, feel free to get in touch.  grin

 

teddybear

Advertisements

Aging overnight, hey, don’t I get any warning at all?

Remember playing Statues as a kid? You crept up on the person who was it but couldn’t move if they glanced at you. Ah, the games of children, first introduction to stress.

Age can be a bit like that. Glance away for a second and kapow, another chunk added into the mix. I still remember the nasty moment I glanced in the mirror and realized I’d inherited my father’s jowls.  I was barely forty at the time, and I’d turned into Deputy Dawg overnight.

Anyway a couple weeks ago I went on holiday and caught a chill on the beach – as only I can – and for a couple of weeks I’ve been resentfully thinking damnit, one long weekend, and the switch flipped and I got OLD. A bit stiff in the mornings, aching in numerous joints, even a little bit deaf after that hellish double flight back.  I finally went sighing to the doctor after a fortnight to see if anything could be done at least about the ears, because I’m now missing out on half the office gossip, and tell you what, I’m nominating that woman for sainthood. She’s a fresh-cheeked thirty-something, she could have glanced at my chart, recoiled, said yes you’re old, what do you expect at your age? And I’d have crawled out of there and ordered a zimmer.

Nonsense, she said instead. You have eustachian tubes dysfunction. You flew with a head-cold, you’re paying the price, and you should be as good as new in a couple more weeks. It will take as long as it takes.

So then I mentioned the stiffness and aching and she pushed and pulled at my legs and tied them into some pretty fancy knots and said nope, no problems whatsoever, you’re very fit and flexible, you just overdid things. Do a bit more exercise and the aches and stiffness will go away.

More? I hadn’t done any since getting back because I was feeling so ollllllllllllllllllllllllllld. So I started again and let me tell you, if you really want to feel ancient and decrepit, do your usual full exercise routine after a few weeks break. But I do feel better, already. Well, stiff and aching in different places, but I remember those places, they do stop whinging if you keep going.

I hope I’ve learned a lesson from this and won’t automatically hit the pause button when the next symptom, real or false, pokes its head up. I could kick myself. I blether on and on about the benefits of exercise and (fairly) healthy diet and forget everything the minute I feel briefly under the weather.

What are you doing, reading this? Get out there and dance!

Three cheers for sensible! Hip-hip-no way

If you’ve read my blogs, I talk a lot about singles, the second-time round variety. Now there’s a book on its way.

Dorothy is signed up on a singles website, the Yellow Brick Road Singles, by her forceful daughter when her marriage suddenly goes phut. The first bloke she meets has the profile name Scarecrowe . . . oh, have you spotted a pattern yet?

laugh Simon Crowe, Tim Mann, Leo, and just in case the point wasn’t already hammered home enough, the book is titled A Second Rainbow. It’s not a copy of L Frank Baum’s book, or an adult version, that’s more of a sub theme. Later on in the book the women start appearing, which required a bit of fudging because The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has only one surviving wicked witch. Instead I collectively call them the harpies. Artistic licence, okay?

Getting the book title was easy. A writer name, not so much. I didn’t want to mislead my EJ Lamprey regulars, some of whom would love it, but some would be shocked. I wanted a name that made it clear this wasn’t a gently humorous whodunit and I learned with Eleven Twelve that splashing warnings in the title, the blurb, and the first page of the book, is simply not enough. Some readers were still taken aback to find they had been misled into buying a genre-crossing Halloween romp, I felt terrible for those who felt cheated. I had tried! (I know. I’m very trying)

Friends threw themselves enthusiastically into the challenge of coming up with an alternative name, and by far the best was Rogers-Briskly. I loved it, but I wasn’t sure the book was raunchy enough for a wonderful name like that. Still, I can resist anything except temptation. Clarissa Rodgers-Briskleigh is the youngest and newest writer in my small stable.

Writing a book about mature singles romping and skipping like lambs isn’t what you’d call a sensible move. As one of my (younger) beta readers said rather sternly, ‘Biff, make all the characters in their twenties and thirties, put the pedal to the metal in the sexy scenes, and this will blow like a geyser.’

uh oh

Maybe. More likely not. There are a lot of those books already out there, and anyway that wasn’t the point. I was enchanted to find out there is a second rainbow, an Indian summer, in life. Clouds start gathering when you’re speeding towards forty, right? Mortgages, career pressures, teenage children, life begins here? What a crock. Those clouds keep building up for the next ten, fifteen, years – and suddenly they clear. The sunshine may be the late summer variety, warm and mellow, rather than blazing brightly overhead, but there’s plenty of it.

I’m on a mission to get contemporaries to realize that, because I wasted a couple of years wondering why I suddenly felt so good without doing anything about it. I’m in no way saying dump the current spouse and rush to the singles websites, if anything the book is a warning as much as a guide! But this is a great age and stage, late middle life.

Celebrate it with your partner, and if you don’t have one, go find one. Read the book first, though. It’s something of a handbook, in its own way. The characters are staying the age I want them to be – your age, too, if you’re my target reader, somewhere between forty-something and too old to care any more. And the sex stays this side of pornography, and isn’t the focus of Dorothy’s story. The main focus is the second timers, the mature singles getting out there and grabbing life in both hands and twisting out every last ounce.  This won’t be a best-seller. But it is an eye-opener.

The countdown starts now. I’m setting the timer tonight. In less than a week you’ll be able to pre-order at a special 48 hour launch price, but don’t worry, I won’t let you forget. roll eyes There will be blogs. Or you could really play it safe and join my mailing list.

Click on subscribe, top right. You can’t miss it.

Nick mountain mist

Virtual friends – part two –

On the costa del sol March 2016 A couple years ago I did a fairly breathless blog saying I was about to fly several thousand miles to meet someone I had been talking to on line for several months. I hadn’t a clue, I gushed, whether he was my long-lost twin brother, my best friend, or my future.

Well, none of the above, as it turns out laugh  although we’ve stayed friends, but on the strength of that meeting having been interesting, I flew off into the blue again last weekend. This time I was going to meet four strangers – two men and two women – who were not only strangers to me, but to each other. Age range, forty-something to the sunny side of sixty.  Why not? Safety in numbers, a gathering on the Costa del Sol, and two of them had, over the past year or so, made me cry with laughter with our brisk on-line banter. Three of them live there year round – one previously Australian, one a Londoner, one from Southern Africa – and the fourth was holidaying in the general area for a week from Ireland.

I say the general area, Spain is HUGE, but they would all be within an hour of each other. I suggested, rather enviously, that they meet up. Go ON, I urged. Tell the rest of us what you’re like. Okay, they said, you come too. Eek no, I said, I couldn’t – then I thought of all the advice I give on my blogs about getting out there. So I went. Taking, it must be said, some fairly Scottish weather with me. Coldest week they’ve had this winter!

SUCH fun. I’ll say right now that you have to pick your company, we’re talking mature single men and women here, they could have been gloomy and weeping into their second drink, we could certainly have exploded our virtual friendships into smithereens, I knew all of that. I’ve written loads of blogs on that, on what to expect. And yet – when would I get such a good chance again?

I knew the Irish woman would be worth meeting, whatever happened, even if she had needed elephants to carry her emotional baggage, (she didn’t) because she is both clever and howlingly funny. We’ve been giggling on the blogs for over a year and virtual is virtual, sure, but you cannot talk that much and hide the sort of person you are, over that long a time. I didn’t have a clue what she would look like – you don’t have to have a pic up, and she chooses not to be recognisable. Turns out, fantastic hair, fantastic skin, taller than me (I’m not used to that, men or women) and she annoyingly looks way nearer 30 than 50. I would have hated her if she hadn’t been such good company.

The other woman startled me by being absolutely tiny, I somehow expect Australian women to be strapping tanned Amazons with a surfboard tucked under one arm. I know, I know, but I worked for the company that marketed Fosters in the UK for many years. You get brainwashed. She’s a dynamo of energy, more fluent in Spanish now than in English after 30 years there, and herded us briskly around for the weekend like a tiny border collie working a herd of rather laid-back sheep.

I’d chatted on and off for a year on Skype with the oke from Southern Africa, so I was pretty sure what he would be like, and he was exactly as expected, another tick for using skype to talk to strangers, a very nice guy, and without his organizing we’d probably never have got the plan past wishful thinking into reality, despite all of Titch’s energy. One-time army men who now run their own businesses are good at organizing!

I’ve exchanged messages with the drily-witty Londoner for even longer, he’s even (unknowingly) featured once or twice giving advice in these chronicles, but he’s had the same pic up since I joined the website and we had no idea what to expect. Ten years older than he said? Five inches shorter? That’s pretty standard on singles websites, but it didn’t matter, this wasn’t a dating-type meetup. (He turned out to be exactly what it says on the box, that was a first!)

It really was fun. We ate a lot, drank gallons of coffee and a little alcohol, and talked and talked and talked. I didn’t get to bed before 3 am on a single night. At least twice before I set off I would have cancelled out of sheer nerves, but I was used to that from my first venture, we never met without me having a mini meltdown beforehand. Apart from anything else, any reader of this column knows I don’t much like flying.  grin However, carpe diem is one of my mottoes. If not now, when? is another.  Not to mention the less thrilling, if more prosaic, you aren’t getting any younger. So much for that one, I felt like a yearling all weekend. It was great.

Do it. Seize the day.

Ever researching on your behalf,

Elegsabiff  wave

Dear Diary

Remember when you wrote all your private stuff in a diary, and got mad when people read it?

Nowadays we write it all down in a blog and get mad when people don’t.

That’s not my own quip, by the way, I saw it somewhere. Probably on Facebook, or Twitter. I used to be such a private person, but there’s something about the semi-anonymity of social media, and the flood of breast-baring going on all round, that is very seductive. Add to that I had a growing family of books to promote, and suddenly I was plunging in up to my neck, hectically accepting cyber-friends in every direction, and publicly sharing things I would have hesitated to mention to a shrink. Whoops.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining and have enjoyed most of it very much. I’m about to send a book off for final editing, though, and hyper-ventilating a little about it, it is decidedly more raunchy than the Lawns series. It was when I realized I was seriously fretting about what name to use – stick with EJ Lamprey? Try the more general-purpose Joanna Lamprey, which is proving the kiss of death for the two books flattened under its weight? that I realized how very much I have changed. Three years I simply couldn’t have written such a book, I had absolutely no idea what mature singles got up to. Every day is still a school day, I ‘meet’ strange people every day and because I listen, fascinated, have heard stories far too strange to write down. No-one would believe them. I toyed with the idea of using the suggested pen-name Clarissa Rodgers-Briskly, which I thought was nicely tongue-in-cheek, then reluctantly cut most of one particularly risque chapter when nearly all the beta-readers focused purely on that one in their feedback. Too out of balance with the rest of the book, obviously. It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what my editor makes of it.

Dear diary, I do hope no-one ever reads this.  uh oh

 

Friends come in all shapes and sizes

Friend, buddy, chum, pal. They are just words, not instant summaries. I started counting up different types of people I like in different ways, and got bogged down. They can’t all fall under the same umbrella word ‘friend’, can they?

I’ve been on a singles website for nearly two years because it has a lively blogging facility  roll eyes and have got to know some people really well, to the point where we chat almost on a daily basis. I’ve never met them, probably never will meet them, although I would go out of my way to have a drink or a coffee together if the chance ever came up. Virtual friends, oh yes, but it’s hard to hide behind the written word for that long without exposing fatal flaws.

I follow, and am followed by, hundreds of people on Twitter – I’ve met, hmm, about twenty of them, a fluctuating group of us meet up several times a year, always fun. Friends.

I have friends on Facebook – some genuinely are, scattered all over the world, we often haven’t seen each other in years and may never meet again, but we share news and photos. Some are colleagues from earlier jobs, and some are writers I may one day meet. Facebook calls them all friends.

One penpal, a writing contact, has been a great friend and support, yet we’ve never met and will never meet. ‘Penpal’ doesn’t begin to cover it!

Real life, a handful.  Very highly valued. It’s easy to find out who’s a true friend – screw up, or go through a challenging time, then see who sticks around.  Okay, easy isn’t the right word. But definitely interesting!

Yet what is a person who is entertaining, amusing, but ducks out whenever they have something more interesting on, or you aren’t as much fun as usual? When you are back to yourself, there they are, entertaining and charming, fair-weather friends who can make the sunshine seem brighter, but you can’t rely on them the way you can on a real friend.

My books are about friendship, but it tends to be the tried-and-true type. There is a place for these others because they are in my life, and in yours too. What do YOU call the different types?

sigh

I remember, I remember – actually, I don’t

There’s a joke doing the rounds on Facebook, which says ‘If my memory gets any worse I’ll be able to plan my own surprise party’

I’d probably then make other plans for the same night. sigh

 
My favourite cousin is having a milestone birthday down in That England later this month. Eight hour drive. No worries, count me in, wouldn’t miss it.

 
A good friend here in Scotland is having a milestone birthday later this month. Great, count me in, wouldn’t miss it.

 

Same day. I really should get a diary.

 

I was getting quite depressed about these little moments until I realized how many other people (all ages, yay) are having them too. What can we blame? Solar flares? The internet? ADD brought on by social media? I’m not looking to sue anyone, just to avoid getting worse!

 
Please make me feel better, tell me what you forgot. If you can remember.