Wednesday, 22 March 2017

London Terror Attack

A few days ago, I was walking alongside the Thames with Mr SM and the three children, pointing out (as I do every time) Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

We'd been to see an amazing art exhibition featuring life size models of the Marvel Superheroes constructed entirely from Lego.

We walked past the skateboard park, decorated with incredible (legally applied) graffiti, human statues, street magicians and acrobats and a street food market offering food from every continent.

I thought how incredibly lucky we are to live in such a vibrant city, a melting pot of different cultures, where astounding modern architecture buts up against beautiful historic monuments, and where every street has centuries of tales to tell.

Then yesterday Mr SM was crossing London by tube for a meeting and cursed as he approached Westminster and discovered that the tube line was closed.

He had no idea that just a few feet above his head four people had been killed and around forty injured (including three French teenagers on a school trip) by a terrorist ploughing his 4x4 car at around 70 miles per hour along the pavement of Westminster Bridge, then plunging a knife into a policeman outside Parliament.

In just a few minutes lives were lost or changed forever, and the ripple effects will continue as livelihoods are affected by reduced tourism.

It's really easy at times like this to want to hunker down, to stay safe, to cancel trips and change plans. But that's not the right thing to do. Because what yesterday really shows us is that life is short and the future is unpredictable.

We have to make the most of every minute. And we can't let the bastards win.

Love SM x

Sunday, 19 March 2017


I posted a few days ago about my sick dog - thank you all so much for all your kind and thoughtful comments.

Sometimes I'm reminded that there are so many things about this Universe that we don't understand and can't explain.

Shortly after I last posted, when the terrier hadn't eaten for two days and was looking seriously miserable, we had to go out to a dinner party.

I was worried about leaving the dog with the babysitter, but we've known her for years and she's very fond of him, so I explained the situation and said we'd come straight back if he got any worse.

"Don't worry," she said, "I'll look after him. I'm a Master Reiki Healer, so I'll do a session with him."

I have to confess to being a little sceptical, but I figured it couldn't do any harm. As we left he was sitting on Susie's knee, having his back stroked and looking a little confused.

Three hours later, we got home, opened the door and were flattened by a fur ball, jumping up, wagging his tail and then charging outside to bark at some foxes.

"He's eaten a bowl of food and drunk lots of water," said Susie as we stared at his retreating doggy butt, open-mouthed.

Otto's recovery may well have been a complete co-incidence, but who knows?

Since that evening, he's still had a bit of a upset tummy, but he's definitely on the mend.

My other good news, and the reason I didn't post any sooner, is that yesterday I typed THE END at the bottom of my manuscript!

It's the book of my first year sober, how I got there, what I learned, and how I got, and then got rid of, breast cancer along the way.

I'm hoping that it'll help other people struggling with the wine witch, and will help 'normal drinkers' get a much better understanding of what life is like for us addicts.

It all sounds a bit serious, but it's actually a black comedy which, I hope, will be fun to read.

Of course, it's not actually THE END. It's the beginning of a long editing process. I sent a copy to my Agent, printed off two copies for friends to read and critique, and gave a copy to Mr SM.

It's like handing over your baby.

Mr SM has been reading and making notes with a red pen (as requested). It's agonising. I keep hounding him with needy questions: is it okay? Will anyone read it? Do I sound completely crazy?

Once I've got everyone's feedback I'll do a big re-edit, then hand it to my publishers who, apparently, will take four or five weeks to get back to me. How agonising!

(Publication date: Jan 11th, 2018)

Love to you all, and thanks, as always, for all your support.

SM x

P.S. Huge congrats to WildcatsMaisie on her Soberversary!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Sober Tools with Four Legs

There's a great scene in the film 28 Days, the one where Sandra Bullock goes to rehab, where the 'inmates' ask when they should start dating.

The counsellor replies that first they should try looking after a plant, then, if the plant survives, they should get a pet. If both plant and pet are alive and thriving after a year they can consider a romantic relationship.

Well, presuming that you're not surrounded by lots of dead plants, I think that dogs are the very best sober tools.

Dogs get you outside, exercising, every day, and there are few better mood lifters and serotonin boosters than that.

They are great for your self esteem (which has probably taken a bit of a battering), as they think you are incredible - the best person in the whole universe.

Dogs are also natural Buddhists. If you are not particularly good at mindfulness, then just look at a dog. They think that every smell, every sound, every new experience is the best and most exciting thing ever. They greet each day with boundless enthusiasm.

There's a great cartoon doing the rounds on Facebook. It shows a man and his dog, sitting on a bench in a park looking at the moon. There are thought bubbles showing what's on their minds.

The man is thinking about getting a new car, a hot wife and going on a flashy holiday. The dog is thinking about sitting with his owner on a bench in the park looking at the moon.

Dogs are also great healers. They know when we're feeling down, or sick.

When I was going through the whole cancer thing, if I was feeling ill or miserable I'd go and lie on my bed and my dog would lie next to me, just resting his furry head on my tummy, for as long as I needed company. He didn't tell me it would all be okay, or to try not to think about it, he was just there.

Having a dog is a fabulous way to find a network of friends and social activities that do not revolve around booze. I go out less in the evening these days, but I have a group of more than ten dog owning friends and I'll meet at least one of them every single day for a walk, a coffee and a good natter.

I've been thinking about all of this because my dog is sick. He's nearly eight years old and he has never been ill. He threw up yesterday and has not eaten anything for twenty-four hours. He won't even look at any of the treats he would normally do anything for.

I can't imagine life without my dog.

We're going to the vet.

Love SM x