I have my book! I also have dirt on my forehead from when I blacked-out in the middle of a path and somehow avoided the broken glass bits. And in a minute or so I will have a cup of coffee right next to me. Life is so exciting! Confession: I have a weakness for very silly Ben Stiller films. Dodgeball and Zoolander, particularly tickle my funny bone. So, when I saw the trailer for Tropic Thunder, I felt compelled to spread the news: think Apocalypse Now but with Ben Stiller as an action hero, Steve Coogan as the director and, er, Robert Downey Jr as an Australian Oscar-winning ah-k-tor who takes method acting to extremes .. It'll probably be utterly naff but I like being utterly naff at times. Sue me.

Okay, less naff entertainment: do judge a book by its cover. Aww..

On Parcels Expected And Unexpected

Isn't that just pretty?

My Canadian friend, Fearthainn, wrote to me asking for my snail mail when she realised that a) I had rediscovering crocheting and knitting and b) I had fallen ill.

And she has just sent me the most beautiful handspun yarn I have ever seen in my life. Yes, she is a yarn-spinner and a knitter and I'm a bit in awe. I have no idea what I'll make from these skeins of beauty (the picture does not do them justice - trust me) but I'll be beaming like an utter fool whilst knitting. Thank you, C. It may be a small gesture for you, but it means a lot to me.

In other news, my postman might just be a tiny bit scared of me because these past few days I have been eyeing him somewhat obsessively. I pre-ordered the new Philip Pullman from Amazon on March 23. Now I may have mixed up the dates slightly and have been looking forward to the book arriving as early as Tuesday (it's published today, Thursday), so apologies to the postie .. but it also turns out that a certain net-based bookseller has f'd up and I won't get my book until, er, Monday. Do you think if I scare my postman even more, he might be inclined to find the book parcel for me personally and bring it to me sooner than that?

Yes, I know there are bookshops in Glasgow and they'll have it in stock .. but I'm house-bound right now due to me being slightly too active earlier on this week. Boo. Hiss.

At least I have Radiohead playing live on the Beeb streaming through the speakers and so the world's okay and everything is in its right place. Except my book. Which should be in my hand.

Novy Odense

The pilot gingerly untangled his fingers from the rope he'd been holding on to, worked out which way up he was, shifted the tool box off his legs, wiped the oily water out of his eyes, and hauled himself upright.

"Well, Hester, looks like we're getting the hang of this," he said.

His dæmon, who looked like a small sardonic jackrabbit, flicked her ears as she clambered out of the tangle of tools, cold-weather clothing, broken instruments and rope. Everything was saturated.

"My feelings are too deep to express, Lee," she said.

You can read the excerpt from Philip Pullman's prequel to His Dark Materials here. Once Upon A Time in the North will be out on April 3 and is available to preorder from Amazon already.