I hit a couple of milestones last week. I finished the first draft of my novel and I found myself as plump as a broody hen. I think the two are directly linked because for me, writing 62,000 words (not including the 25,000 in the outtake file), requires sitting on my bum hovering up whatever is on hand. I start my writing day off with herbal tea and move onto sugar free chewing gum. (I’d once read an article that said chewing made your brain work better). It was fine when I was still chewing the expensive gum from the Health Food store – mainly because it was expensive and I counted the pieces, but Covid reduced the supply of every type of chewing gum in the store-I-didn’t-visit for 3 months, and in the interim I discovered lots of appealing, long-lasting substitutes. An hour or two of constant chewing per day created cheeks like a Sumo baby. I’d chew until I felt sick then sometime in the afternoon, I’d stick my hand into the file box and take out an individually wrapped portion of Whittakers milk Chocolate, rip the foil off with my teeth and shove it in my gob. If things weren’t going well…repeat. Judging by the numbers of discarded wrappers I’ve thrown out, this book must’ve been a bastard to write. I’m not a stupid woman. I noticed the approaching end of my story but elastic waisted trousers meant I was blissfully ignorant of the full extent of the lardage that had settled around the hips until last week . It was just before I wrote the Epilogue (pretenious I know but so worth reading), and we had a dinner to attend. I began searching for something to wear. Naturally the black trousers hanging in the wardrobe were the key to every posh bit of clothing I owned. These were the brand new black trousers I’d purchased in Feb/March and had to snip off the tags to wear. I’ll tell you now, I did wear those trousers. And as someone else was paying for our meal, I sampled all three courses. Suffice it to say I have only wonderful comments about the fasting mechanisms of Next brand black pants. One look at the imprint of the button on my guts the following morning meant a long, hard look at my diet. But looking ain’t doing. That came a few days later when I found I was unable to fasten all the buttons on my coat. I had to swan around in the sleet and hail with it undone pretending I was a Highway Man or that only my arms were cold. Which was sort of true because the circulation to both of them was cut off somewhere in the bicep region where the sleeve was a bit tight. It was a harsh lesson in self-bullshitery. I’ve taken myself in hand and am now back to one slice of bread a day and yucky lettuce and the chocolate is going off in the file cabinet. I might even have a chance of fat reversal – until about Dec 25th when the book’s been rejected by three thousand publishers and Santa is handing out treats.