Tuesday is local rag day. At lunchtime, on this day, I set aside my untidy heap of Guardian and replace them with my 'magic source sheets'.
If I make my own soggy sandwiches in the morning I can earn myself nearly forty minutes of grazing the local news and views. Today, along with my trusty, invisible ear muffs to drown out the latest diet news from my colleagues, I made myself a strong coffee and opened up my guide to the wondrous world of neighbourhood gossip.
I by-passed the story of Mrs Penberthy and her stolen milk bottles and only glanced over 'what's on in your area' ( not much usually), whipped out my pen and notebook and settled down to blissful peace with the obituaries.
'You morbid cow!'
Actually, as I was ploughing through the lists of recently deceased this first interuption sounded more like 'oobicow'.
'What?' I said, annoyed that the staff room had stopped eating their lettuce and were glowering at me.
'I said you're a morbid cow' my usually supportive workmate said 'you're writing down dead people aren't you?'
I nodded 'of course, what's the problem?'
The rest of the crew nodded - gross, really gross and I felt like the cat that has just been caught licking its bum in public.
I wanted to say.....
'listen you cloth-eared bint, I like the obits, they embellish my life in a way that you can never hope to understand. Dead people are more interesting than Liz Hurley's half inch of cellulite or who's-got-their-tits-out in Heat this week'
...but I realised that my bad temper was still hanging around from the previous nights foray into WI land. Instead I smiled and tried to explain.
'You put dead people in your books then, that's even worse.'
'Don't you have to ask permission or something? another colleague asked.
'Educating pork' sprung to mind but I knew that if I didn't shake them off with a reasonable explanation then I was never going to get to 'G' and there are always interesting names in 'G'.
'So you just use them as a springboard then?
'Exactly.' 'Except when a whole one takes my fancy that is.'
Only last week I had gathered a 'Garfield Shenks', a 'Mordicai Treglowan' and a 'Loveday' that I haven't yet found a surname for.
Between the 1930's and the 1950's the Cornish were magnificent in their choice of monikers and as I am researching for a novel that is set in an 'alternative' Cornwall it seems perfectly normal to use this source of ready made research. I mean, listen to these....
...who already reside in my new pages.
The title of Morbid Cow may be very apt but God knows what they would think if they knew that I liked nothing better than hanging about in graveyards on my days off, and who knows what the mortuary may hold!!!