Yowzers. I started this blog 6 months ago and now have over seventy posts! Some of you have even been kind enough to say complimentary things about what I write (without me sending you money in the post to do so). Thank you very much. And apologies to the Nice American Lady who snorted milk out through her nose whilst reading my blog. I hope your keyboard is okay again.
Sadly, though, you are going to get me in trouble with the Gingerbread Mammy, who is sure to give me a telling-off for my wilful disobedience in matters of career choice and freetime perusal. I shouldn't be sitting here chatting to you and making miniature crochet socks: I should be topping bestseller lists and giving JK Rowling writer's tips. You don't know what this is going to lead to, honest.
Let me start by telling you that there are a lot of us in the Gingerbread Family. When we assemble, there are enough of us to form a team for most competitive sports. Nowadays, when partners and spouses are added to the mix, we even have enough bodies to stock the substitute bench. Growing up, we Gingerbread Kiddies were like the von Trapps, except with a lot more slaps and hair-pulling. And, no, my mother never made us Lederhosen out of the bedroom curtains, nor did we do singing expeditions in the Wicklow mountains.
Given the fact that she was usually outnumbered by her unruly offspring, my mother had to call upon divine intervention for support. We kiddies had an uncanny knack for starting fights in moving vehicles: why not make driving even more of a challenge by starting a full-scale war over who was going to sit in the best armchair in front of the TV when we got home? Of course, we never realised that high-pitched squabbling was severely endangering our chances of getting home in one piece at all, but before my mother could pull over the car to make us behave, some sibling or other usually got an accidental knock from a misplaced elbow or a dislodged schoolbag, and heartfelt sobs brought the argument to a close.
"There!" my mother would say, glaring at us through the rearview mirror. "God did that!"
It never occured to us kiddies to question why the Great and Almighty Supreme Being might be lurking in the back of a rattly blue Renault, waiting to dole out a clatter to a naughty Gingerbread instead of being off somewhere parting seas or supervising earthquakes. But if your Mammy says it is so, then it must be the case. Right? Right.
In later years we realised that self-inflicted injuries were generally not the work of an all-seeing God with Super Nanny tendencies, but simple cases of stupidity, bad timing or - in my case - poor spatial vision. God, however, continues to side with my mother on most matters, especially career advice. When one of us shows any special abilities - musical, artistic, crafty - my mother will use the opportunity to call upon her buddy, the Almighty.
"You have a God-given talent!" she'll snap. "He gave it to you, so use it!"
It sounds vaguely threatening. My mother is formidable enough, backed up by God - well, you don't have much of a choice. And any disinclination towards taking Mammy+God's advice is just pure obstinacy.
For example, I am The Writer of the family, which, I suspect, is an honour bestowed on me primarily because I can spell and know where to put apostrophes. The fact that I am not churning out bestsellers is just pure stubbornness on my part, as far as Mammy+God are concerned. The thing is, though, God helps those who help themselves and so far, He has not been very co-operative in answering my prayers for winning lottery tickets. I also specifically asked for a millionaire husband, but got Mr G instead. Not that I'm complaining, mind, but it's hard to take His career advice when I have to go to my normal day-job as well. I'd be happy if my bank manager just rang up and said, "Mrs Gingerbread, your mortgage has been paid off by a mysterious benefactor. Devote your days to writing and crocheting!" But sadly I wait in vain.
Oh, well. Never mind. I'm just happy that I can gather my wits long enough to write a few paragraphs every week or so. And if that's okay by you, I'll just keep going as is.