Sunday, April 27, 2008

The caravan bit the dust when my clutch threatened to set fire to Bernard Road, towing it off for a couple of days in Horam. A hill start's a tricky thing with that kind of weight, but trickier still for a novice. The AA man whose breakdown van forced me to stop on the hill directed me through the narrow gap waving away the fumes and laughing but I wasn't convinced I had the energy to become a scourge of the A303 and spent two nights on a deserted campsite with my daughter and her friend, sleeplessly trying to work out a route home that avoided driving uphill. As the sun set on the second night, rather gloriously red, the Downs seemed malevolent between the trees - enough to make me realise I have enough excuses to be anxious without imagining being pulled downhill by an unstoppable mobile home.

So the caravan is back with its original owner, which means it's in our road with a For Sale sign on. I think a trailer is more my scene and would at least make some use of the £200 I spent on having a tow bar fitted to my car. A trailer would take the bits that make camping more comfortable - a table and chairs, the barbeque, and the kids could fit in the car without knees round their necks because the rucksacks are where their feet should be.

I have just finished Martin Amis's Money and it's revived contemporary fiction for me. I wish I could write like that. It has the sweep of all great fiction, wisdom about society and is superbly obsessive, swings beautifully between the US and UK, grandness and grubbiness and should be required reading for anyone with a hankering for Hollywood. I particularly like the way Amis plays with rules - supporting characters are cartoonlike (and why not when the interest is in the self-obsession of the narrator) and pretty undisguised stereotypes, it's constantly self-referential (of course, given the name of the narrator), and it takes great pleasure in uncovering the tricks of storytelling. I'm so pleased I didn't read it before. It's a masculine novel and at one time, I'd have taken offence, I think, and misguidedly.....

It's distracted me, at least, from the nonsense of the pet charity bringing rabies into the country, pathetic do-gooders 'rescuing' dogs from Sri Lanka with all the incumbent costs etc. and nothing about the disgrace of kids without water - oh, all that we know about poverty and the rest of the world, but these dreadful people carry on with their sentimental, self-serving activities. And I am whooping and crowing about the prospective property crash. Let the rich and the speculators come down to our level. In fact, let them become the ice-cream van bouncer that Amis created for John Self when the Hollywood illusion went down in an alley.

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