In the unlikely event that my new book is a bestseller, I've been indulging myself in an imaginary spending spree. I have drawn up a mental list of what I would do with the lolly and always, my friends in need come top of the list. Trouble is, by the time I've helped this person and that, and bought my daughter a house, and renovated the house of another friend who can't afford to mend her roof, there's never anything left for me. I can't help it. I'm just generous by nature and was brought up always to put the needs of others before my own.
Years ago, long before I found my daughter, I consulted a psychic medium to find out if I ever would find her. He told me I would, and he told me a lot of stunningly accurate stuff about my parents, who had recently died - stuff even I hadn't known but which, in retrospect, turned out to be true. One thing he mentioned more than once was that 'them upstairs' were getting tired of trying to help me, because whenever they put anything my way, the chance of a bargain, a premium bond win, I never used it on myself.
He gave me an illustration: 'They guide you to an amazing painting which you love and buy, and which would prove a valuable asset in the future, and what do you do? A friend comes along and says how much they love it and the next moment, you're giving it away to them.' This is so perfectly true. I don't feel any great attachment to 'things'. I would happily give away my telly, my hi-fi, my clothes (apart from my tiger-striped wellies, which is another story); form an orderly queue, folks!
So what I now want to know is, at what point does generosity stop and sheer stupidity begin? Perhaps I was meant to be one of those hermit poets who live in a cave in some wealthy aristocrat's garden. Or a nun. (No, I don't think so; I like food and wine and the pleasures of the flesh too much.) I've tried to change my nature, but I just can't. I'm me, take it or leave it. No, I mean take it or take it!