Ailsa is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met – and I’ve met her in the flesh, too! She can make people laugh and cry at the same time. It is a privilege having you here again, Ailsa. A few questions have popped into my mind, but they’re rather strange questions… If you prefer, I’ll let you pick one or two and run with them.
Oh – and we’d love some otterly interjections too, if you can manage it.
Do you know that there have been views of your piece about Magic on my blog practically every month since you wrote it in 2013? I wonder what has drawn them to it?
Oh Jane, you are making me blush! Yes, wasn’t it such fun to meet up? Hope we can do that again some time. Thanks so much for inviting me back – look, managed to get Lily to sit on the magic carpet so I’ve got her with me and a cake from chez Pierre our mad baker. (Where, Ailsa – where? Wish I had your magical eyes!) Drawn them to it? I suppose because too many other people make magic all yards of velvet and clouds of dry ice whereas I’m rather matter-of-fact about it. Jeans on, sleeves rolled up and let’s talk magic! (otterly note – don’t you find people get the same about religion? Too po-faced and ignoring the joyful side? Not the people I work with, otter – they’re full of fun, laughter and jokes!)
We humans give personal names to many living things. I’ve seen evidence that you also name inanimate objects, which is not so common. Like to tell us about some you have named, and why?
I think everything has a spirit and to work with it you need to connect. So, yes, everything I use a lot has a name. It helps me to understand the machine, thank it, feel we are working together rather than me using it. Friends include dishwasher- Wishy-Doshy, washing machine – Sudsy, tumble-dryer – Bumble, every computer has a name and my vehicles – Custard the bright yellow van, Myfanwe our home made camper.
Motorbikes have to have a name as they become part of you when you ride them so mine are Steve McQueen (same model as in the Great Escape), Hathaway and Tonto. (otterly note – I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this but I may take it to extremes. I also talk to everything in the garden, plants, insects, lizards and they are all “friend”)
I love your Faboos morning greetings. Care to translate / tell us about that word?
Just a bit of whimsy. You are all my FB friends and fabulous so Faboos seemed appropriate and if it starts the day with a laugh for everyone, so much the better. It’s part of my child-like nature – making up words is fun. You are a Faboo, Jane. All my mates are Utterly Faboo! (otterly note – I often give my friends IRL animal nicknames so you lot get one made-up one to share)
I think you’re an admirable person who’s gone, and is going through so much. My daughter (the artist behind my book cover) has been given so many labels we’ve forgotten which is the latest. And yet she keeps on keeping on, and comes up grateful and smiling. Please let us into your secret, and tell us what keeps you going?
Oh dear (blush blush). I don’t have a secret. I have to keep going because the alternative is being a misery-guts which tends to be contagious and laughing at things reduces the fear-factor. Well known fact – if you laugh at demons they start to shrink until they are tiny little plasticine figures, stamping their feet and talking in squeaky voices. Now who could be scared of that? (otterly note – I may have been through a lot but a lot of me is still here and I’m still breathing so I’ve won, haven’t I?)
Did I hear that you’ve been writing your memoires? What’s the book called, and when can we expect to read it?
Yes. This year is my silver anniversary of arriving in France, even though I never meant to be here in the first place! The title is “Knitting With Eels” which is a francophone joke but also describes my chaotic life to a T. As you know I’m a yarn fanatic. Only the amusing bits will be included, none of the tragedies! It should be out this year. I’m self-publishing it so watch out for a lot of trumpeting on line. (otterly note – I’m hoping that this will be just as funny as the only other bit of non-fiction I ever wrote “Four Go Mad in Catalonia)
How long did it take you to write your memoires? Did you set yourself a daily target? I’m especially interested ‘cause I’m struggling to achieve much with my sequel. Too much else going on. Do you think I should be stricter with myself and declare a target? Just telling people I’m doing it has lost its edge.
They aren’t finished yet! I only started to do them because I had a horrific motorbike accident which involved being air-lifted to hospital and in a coma for three weeks. I began to think I’d better note these funny stories down before I make a better job of it next time. I went through a very sterile phase after my stroke when my body wouldn’t co-operate and I was permanently exhausted so setting targets doesn’t work for me. Get something done and be happy with it! (otterly note – just one fish is enough to get you through the day – why catch a dozen?)
We’d love to know what you would like to do / be / have if there were no boundaries.
Crumbs! “Have” is a bit vague because I’m not into possessions but with no limits I would definitely own an animal sanctuary. Do? Can I do what I do in the village but world-wide? Just a funny lady who makes people laugh and leaves them with a smile on their face? That would be fun. Be? Just me. It has taken me nearly sixty years to get to enjoy just being me and not wanting to be anything else. (otterly note – she is lying, she wants to come and live on the riverbank with us from the tales in her blog!)
And what was the proudest moment of your life?
Proud, I’m not sure. I don’t go in for pride much. I’m usually grateful if something goes well for me and I don’t cock it up! I think one of them was when some wild dolphins came up to my boat and swam with me for a few miles. The fact that they sought me out and popped up on their tails to look into the cockpit so I could reach out and stroke them with tears streaming down my face…it isn’t often that Nature allows one in so close. Similar things have happened since but that was the first time and possibly my “wake-up” moment to what I really am.
As Ailsa Abraham :
Four Go Mad in Catalonia – self-published, available from Smashwords
Twitter – @ailsaabraham
Facebook – Ailsa Abraham
Please note that Cameron Lawton is my gay twin who writes M/M romance and is only suitable for over-18s but his murder mysteries are brills!