Yesterday afternoon instead of finding the person responsible for the oil spill outside The Cat Towers and getting them to start a massive clean up operation I had to rush to the rescue of a dear talented and tortured friend. Yes it was an emergency and so I took loads of tissues, nasal spray, chocolate, sticky buns and of course Mint Imperials.
My dear friend and fellow best selling author J.K. Rowling called around tea time in floods of tears and in between the sound of her blowing her nose and grizzling she asked me to drop by and have one of our heart to hearts.
Obviously this is not an uncommon emergency, dear J.K. Rowling or ‘Pesty’ as I call her has been a constant caller over the ten or so years she has been writing her best sellers. You know she calls for advice on grammar, spelling, story lines, character’s names and so much more. In the early days when she was a struggling single Mother she’d even ask for change for the electric meter or a cup of coffee and some toast so that she didn’t get ejected from the coffee bar she used to write in.
Frankly I thought after she became the patron saint of the publishing industry she would stop calling but the calls have just become more frequent if anything. When she’d call she would ask not only for help with her writing but also what did I think of the latest movie, was a Harry Potter theme park a good idea?
Sometimes I have a feeling I think I made things worse but not better, especially when I voiced my ‘concerns’ over the movies but good advice honestly given is a valuable commodity and Pesty was a ardent customer.
So there we were sitting in her ‘drawing room,’ her butler and maids dismissed after arranging the coffee cups for the tenth time, yes this is a girl who has gone up in the world, and she just broke down again. It seems that my dear friend is having some trouble with her latest literary project and earnestly wanted my advice.
After the fifth iced bun and in between cracking open yet another pair of Mint Imperials between her molars Pesty let out an enormous sob, blew her nose on a very damp tissue and opened her heart yet again.
It seemed that pesty’s latest blockbuster in progress was not going at all well, in fact although Pesty had taken a multi million advance from her publisher to buy Rhode Island or something she was stuck, and she wanted to run the story line (so far) by me.
The latest series of books Pesty had decided should be a story about a boy in a kindergarten. The boy called Larry Cotter possessed special powers and two idiot friends who would follow him through any nonsense of a contrived plot.
I sort of sighed and opened my mouth to offer my opinion but before I could dear Pesty put her sticky finger to her mouth to not only ssssh me but also to pop in a couple more Mint Imperials to crack open and crunch as she went on.
“There’s more before you tell me what a good idea ‘The Mystic Adventures of Larry Cotter’ are!” Pesty said with a bravado that nearly broke my heart.
“The teachers at the kindergarten are all very strange and all seem to be against poor Larry who is a bit weedy, but they all turn out to be really rather nice,” the fingers ssshed me again, “and there will be computers, Robots and modern stuff because Larry is not only weedy but also a computer nerd who can build Robots and other modern stuff.”
When Pesty took a breath I expected her sticky fingers to touch her lips for silence but it appeared that she had stopped talking ‘that’ was ‘it’ the entire plot for the next series of five or so books – “mmh I though.”
Well what could I say? I have always told Pesty the truth and look what that has done for her so that is what I told her now, as she rang for a plate of fresh cream filled cakes and after they had arrived took one in each hand so that her mouth would not be empty while I continued.
Had she really explored all of her other ideas I asked earnestly, well yes she said she had started with a story about a college student called Barry Otter who had special powers but that didn’t seem to pan out because he kept growing up and becoming a Cost Accountant.
Sobbing and dripping tears onto the last mouthful of cream cake in her left hand she said that she had then explored the possibilities of a book about a young primary school boy called Nigel Jefferies who came from a children’s home, had a club foot and was in the school choir because he could sing like an angel, but sadly she didn’t seem to be able to work any special powers or magic into the tale and worse when she imagined Nigel playing ‘Poundpitch’ which she thought would be the next ‘Quidditch’ all she could see was him falling off his broom.
Things were, I decided, worse than I thought! Pesty had lost it! Unfortunately it was now up to me to tell her the brutal truth but how that was the problem?
Then I had a brilliant idea, the best way to ensure that people in need suddenly dry their eyes, cheer up, and it has to be said get rid of their visitors as quickly as possible is to ask a favour and rather than break the news that Pesty’s literary career was in a mess this is what I decided to do.
“Actually I have a problem too,” I said as earnestly as possible, “I am starting out on my latest series of books which have a working title of ‘Things and People I Really Loathe Vols 1-3’ and I wondered if you could help me with some of the references. Was the name Harry Potter your first choice name for your main character?”
Just as I expected the tears dried, the cream smeared hands were wiped on the sofa and the last Mint Imperial chewed noisily to destruction.
“Cat” smiled Pesty, “you know I love you and I owe you a lot because you have offered me so much help over the years and that is why I am so sorry I have to say that I can’t help you at the moment. Actually I have something really important to do so you must leave, it has been nice but I do have a book to write.”
As I left Pesty Mansions I knew that the old Pesty was back and soon Barry Otter, Larry Cotter or indeed a female hero called Carrie Lotter would be soon weaving his or her magic over his or her adoring fans, Pesty was back!
On Mint Imperials
It is possible that some readers don’t know what a Mint Imperial actually is and because I am a caring Cat and best selling author I thought that I would offer you a description and a photograph of the little tooth breaking delicious minty treats and indeed a link if you want to try the little minty devils for yourself.
Mint Imperials are small misshapenly roundish candies. They have a Minty rock hard sugar coating and a Minty softer inside they are definitely supposed to be sucked to extinction but because most people who have one, two or in pesty’s case three of these delightful treats in their mouth, tend not to be able to resist crunching on them they are not only delicious but noisy and of course literally Minty through and through.
Obviously the crunching is what can, and does, break teeth which is why dentists say they think that eating Mint Imperials and indeed any boiled sweet is a bad idea, but at night at their dark gathering secretly give thanks to the confectionery industry for making them and thereby increasing dentist’s income by at least a factor of four.
There is a great pile of information here Wikipedia if you want to read more about Mint Imperials.
If you really would like to try the little devils and risk a tooth or two you could always order some here Sweet Memory Lane.co.uk
I have to stress that I don’t have any connection with Sweet Memory Lane.co.uk in any way what so ever and that means sadly that when my fans put in bulk orders on my recommendation I won’t see a “brass farthing” to quote Charlie Dickens which is a damn shame because Sweet Memory Lane.co.uk seem to know how to charge if you see what I mean, when I was a Kitten a quarter of a pound which is probably 113 gms was sixpence now Sweet Memory Lane.co.uk want a whole British Pound and although British Pounds are pretty worthless a pond seems a lot, but they are worth the cost – promise and you could always send me some.