June 3, 2009

Or: Donating future profits from book sales to favourite charity

Back in Andalucia recently after a short business trip. Picked up local papers and found, to my delight, an article about Malaga-born actor, Antonio Banderas, and his wife Melanie Griffith (pictured at Cudeca Cancer Hospice, Andalucia). They have pledged their support to Cudeca, my favourite charity, by recording videos for its campaign "Become a Benefactor - Add Life to Days". The couple also praised the hard work of the hospice’s team, who have offered invaluable support to more than 5,600 patients and families.

Cudeca was set up singlehandedly by its warm, compassionate President, Joan Hunt OBE in 1992. Like most charities in this economic downturn, however, it needs the public’s support more than ever for, as Joan observed to me, cancer doesn’t recognize or respect recessions. And that’s why I’m keen to do whatever I can to support its fundraising efforts and the reason I’m donating to it all future profits from sales of my novel The De Clerambault Code (left) likewise featured in local press articles that included pic of Joan and part of me (bottom left).

I mention all this since my previous efforts at charity fundraising in the UK had some unexpectedly DISASTROUS results!

In the wake of the Asian tsunami in early 2006, I decided I needed to do something positive to help the fundraising efforts (well, shamed would be more honest!). So the Red Cross was the unfortunate choice of my first-ever practical volunteering efforts (P and I have long contributed financially.)

This involved door-to-door collections of, I was advised, discarded clothes, toys, that sort of thing. In the event, it involved everything imaginable and unimaginable. Knives (all shapes and sizes), half a samurai sword, artificial limbs (none matching), two sets of false teeth, what looked like a false eye (though possibly an odd-shaped marble), walking sticks, a mouse (hang on there girls! A computer mouse), a Masonic apron, two mauve bridesmaids’ dresses, three women’s wigs, assorted sanitary ware (ugh!) - even the discarded Christmas gift of a puppy (dogs not for life in that community then).

And for the next few days, I had this ever-present nightmare of bumping into a toothless, one-legged Polyphemus on his way to the Masonic Hall brandishing half a samurai sword supported by a bald lady in a mauve wedding dress bearing a bidet...

Anyway, I was doing fine in the first street on the list I was given till I got to the house at the end. A dark-haired, middle-aged woman eventually answered the door. Before I had a chance to get in a word, however, she smiled sweetly and lisped: "Sorry, ducky, I’m in the middle of blowdrying the budgie".

I was so dumbstruck my jaw dropped to the ground, words froze in my mouth and the door slammed shut in my ashen face.

So if, during tomorrow’s UK local and European elections (or the run-up to the next UK general election), you need a sure-fire method of ridding yourself of unwanted visitors - canvassers/ politicians/ double-glazing salesmen posing as canvassers/ politicians (any difference, anyone?) -this lady may just have the answer…

P.S. Spending long weekend in far corner of UK = insoluble equation:
QED No laptop + no WiFi connection = incommunicado till Monday!


French Fancy said...

just popped in quickly. Didn't read your post I'm ashamed to say but I do have sore eyes from studying so hard - that is my excuse.

Saw on Lucy Fishwife's blog (no, I didn't read her post either) that you called The Wire a 'guilty pleasure'. It's the best programme ever. We also had to watch it with sub-titles.

will be back to read everything in a couple of weeks. bye for now

Nora Johnson said...

HH: Phew! Forget UK Cabinet reshuffle! Just got back from hour long meeting with MunozMoneyMakingmachine Inc. which, in view of collapse of churro industry here, has graciously agreed to set up pronto Churro Restoration International Save-It! Society. All volunteers please contact CRISIS asap at Tel No.in last post!


Heavenly Housewife said...

Oh no! I am going to have to hide under the covers with some sunglasses and a box of macaroons (I need my nourishment after all). Haven't had this much press since George Clooney was chasing after me last year (even though he knows I'm married)! Well, I guess they say all publicity is good publicity.
p.s. going to be in the UK? Where? :) Hope u get to eat some good old fatty clotted cream and scones!

Nora Johnson said...

French Fancy: Thanks so much for stopping by especially since you're In The Thick Of It (also incidentally a favourite programme!) Do hope the studying is going well - I wish you every success in your exams!

Totally agree The Wire's the best TV programme ever. What I called a guilty pleasure was the necessity for subtitles! Makes the slang and general inaudibility so much more comprehensible!

See you again soon & Good Luck!!


Nora Johnson said...

Hi HH!

Won't be in the UK long but I'll have my eyes peeled for all glamorous ladies with sunglasses & macaroons - that should narrow the field quite a bit!

Don't yet know about the scones & cream but won't be having any ch, ch, CHURROS! as I've got to rush back here to help set up C.R.I.S.I.S!

All volunteers welcome!


Moonspinner said...

Blowdrying the budgie, now I've heard it all. I bet you were dumbstruck for the rest of the day! Good luck with the current fundraising efforts, great cause!. Have fun in UK, you should be able to spot HH - what with Clooney after her. Don't run toooo fast HH!xx

Moonspinner said...

I've left a tag for you at my site. Don't ya just love me!!

Nora Johnson said...


Yes, I'm still recovering from the shock of that budgie!

My eyes will be peeled for HH in the UK though I'll be easily recognisable too what with the churro C.R.I.S.I.S banner!!

xLOL Nora:)

Nora Johnson said...

Hi Moonspinner!

Almost forgot: thanks for the tag! Where would we be without our blogopals?!

Have a good w/end!

xLOL LOLA & Nora:)

Henrietta Bird said...

Love it! 'Blow drying the budgie'? I think you may have unearthed a spy ring. That's a code surely?

'Psst - the eagle has landed
'Roger Roger - I'm blow drying the budgie'
'Ah but the magpie is peckish'
'No problem, I'm grooming the wagtail'.

There - I think we've just invaded Switzerland.

ModernMom said...

Blow drying the budgie? LOL There is a sentence you don't hear every day. Hope it at least gave you a giggle:)

Moonspinner said...

Where the hell are you! Don't you just love it when your blog pals start harrassing you! Hope all's well and you've had a good hol in UK! xx

Karyn - (French Charming) said...

I getting a tad worried about you...hope all is well with you.

Moonspinner said...

Ok you had better contact us or I'm doing something serious .... not sure what, but it'll be serious.

As said on backwards in high heels, do we compose an emergency-type blog on "What To Do When A Blogger Goes Missing"!
LOLA do something!!!!!!

French Fancy said...

*Sorry, ducky, I’m in the middle of blowdrying the budgie". *

And I can honestly say that this is a phrase I have never heard anyone say.

I bet all the door to door collecting made you feel proud though. I once jangled collection tins at people in the street for something or other - all that did was make me feel tired and cross with the people that ignored me.