Life like in a Woody Allen film


Did you ever feel you are living in a movie?

I am living in a Woody Allen movie right now. I have been seeing my elderly distant relatives. They have been very kind and attentive. Too attentive.

They are a bit upset I am not staying with them. They are cousins by marriage of my mother.

He is an intellectual, witty, clever, sometimes very annoying. She is very kind and also annoying.

She pretends to be an intellectual and pretends to have a sense of humour. She isn’t and doesn’t. She keeps asking questions about my life. I lie. I don’t like lying, but this time, it is necessary.

They insisted on spending more time with me yesterday. She took me shopping. I am a hunter, not a gatherer. I bought sandals, it took me 5 minutes. Then I spent another 48 minutes (I timed it) watching her choosing sandals, too. She didn’t buy any but told them to hold them. She said she had to check if she already didn’t have the same pair a home from last year.

Her shopping reminded me of my mother, who I used to accompany to shops in England. She was, like her cousin, a gatherer, not a hunter. After half a day watching her shopping, I used to feel like a husband…I felt the same yesterday.

I heard stories about people I never met, their friends and relatives. I successfully fended off more questions about my life. I lied some more. In the real way, and by omission.

Their New York accent and their behaviour reminds me of Woody Allen’s films. Or of that marvellous book by Molly Katz that I have a home.

It also reminds me of another book I read years ago.

Well, I made excuses for the rest of the week. I thanked them profusely for their (real) kindness. I invited them to London although they visited me before and it was a nightmare.

And I am going back to my life with almost no relatives. My life filled with friends, people I picked and who picked me because of what I am like, rather than because of a family connection. Friends that I love, who respect my privacy, don’t give me unsolicited advice, and who I do not have to shop with!

I am thinking about Woody Allen, and how he probably just writes down dialogues he hears in his family and uses them in his work.

I am a writer. So, I sat down this morning, and recorded all I remembered from yesterday’s conversations. It made me chuckle. From a distance, yesterday looks like great fun.

I wonder if my sons or friends sometimes feel I am like a character from a comedy.

They probably do. I talk too much, interrupt people, I am constantly quoting books, and I am sure I can be annoying.

Well, let’s hope I can be annoying in an amusing way, like those cousins of my mum…






Face Book asks: What is on your mind?

Camelia in my garden
Here it is:

Why am I doing this?

I need to finish editing both my books (one for re- publishing, one new), I am also writing a third book, something entirely different. I feel like staying at home, be a hermit, write.

My son is complaining he doesn’t get to see me. That feels weirdly nice. Better than having kids who say, ” Oh God, I should phone mother!”

But hey, I cannot blame anybody else for planning so much travelling. And I am sure I will love it. But watch this space. I will stay put in June, and most of July.Exercising, writing, sitting in my garden.

My garden looks beautiful, flowering camellias, tulips, hyacinths. It is warm.

But I am leaving on Wednesday. And maybe England will show its sorrow by crying. It’ll rain. That is fairly likely anyway.

So sunny America (I wish) here I come.

It will be great, Lucie, you are just tired! And they have Camellias in the USA, just not yet where I am going.


Sorry, broken ancient walls!



I’ve had it with ruins. I KNOW I AM A PHILISTINE.

I don’t care that the walls are old. They have removed most stuff to the museums. Pompeii and Herculaneum are mainly just that-  broken walls. (Enclosing pictures of the rare things that were not just broken walls).

The archaeological museum in Naples was beautiful. The mosaics, statues, even those silly erotic pictures and statues.  Should have just gone there.

So, I think no more archaeological tours for me. At least for couple of years.

It is not that my recent trip to Egypt and Pompeii and Herculaneum and Naples was anything but perfect. Just not my cup of tea.

Sorry, ruins!


Naples- do I like it? I kind of do.



A dirty city full of graffiti. Pollution, bad traffic.

But also, some beautiful churches, narrow streets where you expect young Sophia Loren walk past, great street food, and weird stuff like stuffed cockerels in a little park close to the railway station.

It is Italy like it was in those films inn nineteen sixties.

After first being disappointed, because of comparing it with Rome, Venice, Florence, I kind of like it.


Is it any good?


I am writing, my fingers can’t type fast enough.

I write for hours. I look at my watch, thinking it is 10 p.m. but it is 2 a.m.

The writing is good.

Reading it two weeks later.

Reading it again.

Why did I think it was good?

Shall I edit or just start again?

The little voice is telling me:

“English is not your mother tongue, and you are not Joseph Conrad. Stop.”

But some force is pulling me to my computer, my  fingers already twitching, my brain full of sentences.

 I won’t stop. I don’t give up that easily.



I know it is weird, but I hate being given flowers.



I am probably a bit strange. Women usually like cut flowers. I don’t.

Well, I like them in other people’s houses or hotels. Not in my house. If I am at home alone, I hardly ever sit in my living room. I am in bed or on my computer upstairs.

The flowers in my living room feel lonely,  unless I have visitors. And they wilt. Of course, they would wilt even if they did not feel lonely. They make a mess on my table or carpet before they end up in the bin.

Some people bring me flowers. My friends and family don’t, they know me.

When I retired, I got tenths of beautiful bouquets of flowers, but instead of being happy, I cried out of frustration. “What am I going to do with them?”. Ridiculous, of course, my partner, always down to earth could not believe it. “Just give them away.” He said.

So, I did. I gave flowers to my hairdresser, to the neighbours, friends, receptionists at work, nurses, practice manager, other doctors. They all thought I was being either weird or generous ( probably the first).

I still had about 15 bouquets and not enough vases.

It felt mean to just put the flowers in the bin, they were bought with love and affection. I put those flowers in various containers, and did what I always do, moved upstairs to my computer room.

And the flowers?

They wilted and made a mess on my tables and carpet.

wilted flowers


Is it autobiographical? Well, sort of…

One of my friends told me:

“Your writing is about you, writers write about other people”.

It stung.

But it is complicated.

Yes, the main character of Woman with (no) Strings Attached and my finished, but so far unpublished sequel has some of my life, and my personality and characteristics, her thoughts are my thoughts.

But in both books, but especially in my sequel, her story is not my story and our lives are different.

The man I describe as Tom has many characteristics of the man I love, but again, the character’s life is very different.

Lucie’s family is only partly my family, and several of the characters in the sequel are mixtures of several people I know and my imagination.


I hope people reading it will get it. People who know me well will, because they know my life is different.

I still hope they will like my books- the new edited first one, and the sequel.

My editing is almost over, now I have to find a publisher.

I am also writing a third book, completely different.

I treat writing as a job, apart from the fact that no employer would let me get such a lot of holidays!

Life is fun.