Good news fans, I’ve decided to write a novel. I’ll probably use a pseudonym so the book can be judged on its own merits, and not because I, Kim Willis, off of Instant Restaurant* 2009, wrote it. Me and J.K Rowling, we’re fed up of being judged on our fame.
They say you should start by writing about what you know. So when Gaz and I packed up our Big City Life for that of a humble beginning in the country, a little lightbulb went off in the old grey matter. I couldn’t wait to tell my dear friends and confidants, C and M, the good news.
‘I’m going to write a book!’ I announced. They were naturally delighted. They wanted to know more.
‘It’s about a young couple who live in the city, work long hours, bla bla bla (I’ll work out the finer details.) Then they give it all up to go and live in the country and do up an old, some might say dilapidated, house.’
There was a pregnant pause. I expected, if not a round of applause then at least an interjection here, one of adulation at my sheer geniusness. Some kind of praise for what was clearly a well rounded and accomplished idea with no need for further improvement.
‘Then what?’ M asked.
‘Er…’ I said. Was that not enough? Hadn’t he seen The Good Life? ‘Then they have a chicken to look after, and they get to know the local farmers and they do the house up, you idiot!’ God’s sake. That M, he’s so demanding, asking me questions all the time.
I had to think on my feet. Clearly me moving to the country and then writing a book about moving to the country was not enough.
‘Maybe the couple find out the locals have a dark secret,’ I said. ‘They’re all drug smugglers. Or aliens.’ The fact C and M roared with laughter and C nearly drove us off the road at that point showed they clearly didn’t share my vision. When Hollywood turns my book into a film, remind me not to thank these jerks in my Oscar acceptance speech.
Fed up of talking to my so-called mates, I decided to call my mother instead. She’d tell me I was brilliant and she wouldn’t pull my idea apart with plot holes.
‘Mum,’ I announced. ‘I’m writing a book. It’s going to be about two city folk who move to the country.’
‘Wonderful!’ Mother said. And then she gave me this book:
When I told my mother I wanted to write a book about doing up a house in the country, I didn’t want her to alert me to the fact there is already a far superior book available, about a couple who do up a CASTLE in the country.
I read the damn book. It was wonderful. The sub-heading sums it up: The restoration adventures of two young optimists and a crumbling old mansion.
Substitute mansion for cottage and you’ve got our life. Really, really well written. Judy and Peter have loads of fun, see ghosts, drink buckets of red wine and have peacocks roaming their garden. They continuously run out of money, getting down to about 37p at one point and they hate going out because they’re in love with the house and don’t like leaving it behind.
We have seen no ghosts, so that’s that chapter out. We are drinking a lot of gin and the chicken shits everywhere in our garden, which isn’t really a patch on a peacock feather. We’ve already run out of money so we’ll never go out again.
I guess I won’t bother writing a novel. Read Castles In The Air if you want to imagine what my life is like now, multiplied by about 100 rooms. Although, Judy Corbett makes no mention of farmer drug smugglers or aliens, so perhaps there’s room in the market for one more offering.
*It was a TV show. What do you mean you never heard of it?
I highly recommend Castles in the Air, available on Amazon here. Especially if you want to or already do live in the countryside.