First, a link: this Cat & Girl comic strip made me chuckle quietly. Grrl travels fifteen years forward to meet her future self. 1990s Grrl is underwhelmed by 2010 Grrl. And I chuckled quietly because I saw myself. Having said that, I am mostly the same person I was fifteen years ago. I am older with a few new scars and bruises. I am also a bit wiser, less sociable, and more forgiving. I like the same things I did fifteen years ago (books, computer games, cake, my bed, old Hollywood musicals, vintage clothes, typography, Eurovision, and dogs) but I have added new things (my gawjuss Scottish boyfriend, yarn, coffee, philosophy, and matching colours). I think my 1995-self and my 2010-incarnation would get along just fine, although I bet my 1995-self would be appalled at my hairstyle (I just had my hair cut this past week and I am appalled).

In fact, almost fifteen years ago I made a deal with a good friend (who I miss dearly over here in Scotland). She would cook me a fancy three-course dinner if I wrote a book. Now it could not be just any old book - it had to be a special kind of book. My friend did not expect me to write an academic treatise nor did she want me to write a big literary sensation. She wanted me to write a frothy piece of Regency Romance.

I have read a lot of RRs - they are my comfort foods, my security blankets. I grew up in a household devoted to the weeklies' feuilletons, our local library's stash of Jalna-like books and, of course, Barbara Cartland (who I blame for my youthful infatuation with Lord Byron). Later I discovered Georgette Heyer who may be frothy but never nauseating (unlike Cartland). Today I go through phases: I may read a lot of RRs over a few weeks but then several years pass before my next RR frenzy. These phases usually coincide with stress, feeling homesick or going through a rough patch. Comfort foods and security blankets, indeed.

Could I write a passable RR? I think I could come up with a suitable plot involving, say, a Scottish laird's daughter who is sent to London for the season - on the way she meets a dashing highwayman who happens to be a notorious rake settling a wager. Add a couple of dogs, a duel, a dollop of gambling debt and a waltz at Almack's and I think we have a winner. Now all I have to do is write the darn thing and that fancy three-course dinner will be mine, MINE!

.. My younger self would be tempted, my 2010 self will probably just make the three-course dinner and skip all the writing.

In other time-travel-related news, Doctor Who made me cry this week with an episode about Vincent van Gogh, of all people. Your mileage may vary - the episode has divided fans in various online fora - but I took a great deal from it about beauty, art and life.

Completely unrelated: Congratulations are due to SoCherry who is on her way to becoming an honest woman and to Paula who ran a charity race today. Two of my best friends here in Scotland and they keep on amazing me.