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Tuesday 7th October 2002


I’m back in my writing room after a brilliant week in the castle in Dumfries. We hardly went out at all, and I wrote loads without feeling overworked at all. The castle was more like a big stone tower in the middle of nowhere. Inside it was warm and comforting, with good quality cotton sheets on the beds and shiny cutlery in the cupboards. At night I heard ghosts having conversations in the cupboards, and the others swore they were fast asleep. Bats and owls flew about above your head.

Back in Newcastle everything is very busy. I spent yesterday afternoon going to see a doctor at the Freeman Hospital. We waited for over three hours. I get very frustrated at not being allowed to see my notes and x rays. I make doctors explain things to me. It feels like this is hard work sometimes, but worth it. I MAKE them see me as a person, not a patient. Anyway, I’ve got to have an operation (on Halloween) to remove fluid from my lung lining. A pleural effusion …sounds like something Fanny might cook. I feel perfectly normal, so it’s annoying to be made to go to hospital. Damn.

Doughnuts Like Fanny’s is on at the Saville Exchange in North Shields on 29th October. I am suggesting that attendees might like to dress as Fanny (wig and false eye lashes…you could be Fanny classic, or Fanny sixties) or Johnie (easy…jacket and monacle). If you want to come it might be wise to book. On Thursday 10th I’m writing a ‘play for today’ for Live Theatre. They lock you up in a room with the newspapers and the play is performed that evening as part of the RSC stuff at Live. It’s a bit nerve wracking, but I suppose the audience knows that you only had a day to write it.

I’m reading a great new novel by Louise Trondeau called the Water’s Edge, about a hotel in Bournemouth. A really lovely book. Didn’t like the Salley Vickers one that much, although her first nov was brilliant. I hope everyone reading this diary is well! Bye for now.