Monsieur Macbride est un idiot! Yes, it's official... well, it's been official for years, but it's been brought into staggering prominence in the last twelve hours.

The trip to France was nice. I know a lot of people knock them, but God bless British Airways for still having the old-fashioned British pluck and panache to provide complimentary gin and tonics on their flights. It might not seem like much, but to me this harks back to a time when flying somewhere was actually fun, rather than an ordeal of security, X-rays, one piece of carry-on luggage and take off your shoes please. I don't want to take off my shoes. Not because of any nefarious devices stashed in the soles, but because most of my socks have holes in them. And I know to my peril how the sight of a naked toe, poking cheekily through a black sock excites the female security guards.

For some reason it's been weeks since I had a decent sleep. You know, one where you wake up feeling less knackered than you were when you went to bed? But I have a book to finish! He said nobly. Or knobbly... but we'll get to that later. This lack of sleepingness has resulted in a certain tired quality to my waking life. So much so that I nearly left my laptop on the plane. And given that I'd been writing on the damn thing all the way from Aberdeen to Heathrow, that's pretty inexcusable.

I hit Paris (he said, changing tenses) in a bleary-eyed daze. It's technically an hour later than it was, and yet at the same time earlier internally than it now says on my watch. If you catch my drift. After scrummaging for my luggage -- which looks like a refugee from the Crimean war -- it's into a car and off to the hotel where I find out that the lovely lady looking after me has been drafted in at the last minute to look after some poor nervous author on their first television interview. Do I mind, but she can't come take me to dinner? Of course I don't mind! Work comes first! Good luck to your author!

So it's out onto the streets of Paris for me, looking for somewhere to eat. And being as it's quarter to ten, I'm ravenous, and convinced I'm never going to get anything to eat ever again, I opt for the nearest thing that's actually open: Indiana Café -- a faux-American diner, full of middle-aged men and their very attractive 'nieces'. *ahem*

This is one of things that stagers me about France. I'm in an inexpensive, American-themed diner. And I can order steak tartar. And when it comes it's goooood. Of course it helps my bearded self-esteem that I order the whole meal in French: "Les tartar... se bon?"
"Oui c'est bon"
Gallic shrug. "Oui: tarar."
Oh I'm so swish. Or would be if I wasn't sitting on my tod, surrounded by dirty old men and women young enough to be their daughters. And while they're canoodling across the generation gap, how do I fill my time? Watching something called 'Robotboy' on the Cartoon Network -- with the sound turned off. Cartoons and raw mince... Yay me!

Midnight -- there's a pigeon outside my window making amorous noises.

Half past midnight -- same pigeon.

One am -- police car wheeeeee-whawwwwwwing away into the distance.

01:30 -- PIGEON!

02:00, 02:10, 02:30, 03:00 -- PIGEONPIGEONPIGEON!!!

03:10 -- get up, open window and swear at bastard Pavarotti pigeon.

03:12 -- realise that pigeon is French, and so doesn't understand "BUGGER OFF YOU TWO-WINGED, GREASY, FLYING-RAT BASTARD!"

03:15 -- Rack brains for really good French swearwords. Come up blank.

Repeat till the alarm goes off.

When I eventually give up any pretence of sleep and haul my saggy carcass down to breakfast, I'm not a pretty sight. Heavy black bags under bloodshot eyes. Stoop. Shuffle. Mumbling pigeon-related obscenities under my breath.

There are no knobs in my hotel room. I know that sounds rude, but it isn't. Someone has stolen all my room's knobs. Knob on the sink to raise and lower the bathplug? Gone. The one for the sink? Gone. The one to open and shut the minibar? Gone. My room is a knob-free zone. It's as if someone's gone though the place going, "Mmmm, knobs... ooooooh...." And then made free with the hot-monkey-knob-related-love, and disposed of the evidence afterwards. Pervert.

Anyway, after breakfast it's down to some breakneck editing of the audio abridgement of BROKEN SKIN. Yes, not only am I over here to attend the thriller festival, I'm also editing the audio script (they start recording on Tuesday), and trying to write Book Number The Fourth at the same time. Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaaargh...

Which is really where the trouble starts. Had I not gone back to INoGITCH, I'd be finished this one by now. But I was stupid and wanted to return to work. If I was finished now, I wouldn't be trying to write. And I wouldn't have left my notebook on the train from Paris to Lyon.

Yup: my poor red notebook, with all the research notes in it for Book Number The Fourth, has disappeared off the face of the earth. Whoooooosh! Gone and never called me mother.

My lovely French Publicist Margaux has been pestering the rail company non-stop. The nice people at Michel Lafon (my publishers) have been doing the same. And there's no sodding sign of it. So four weeks to go till the book has to be delivered, and I've lost the only copy of all the things I need to know to actually finish the book.

Like I said: Monsieur Macbride est un idiot!

I think I'm going to cry...

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