The kitchen is no longer a work in progress, which means I can't use it as a means of putting off writing any more. Mind you, there ARE five leaks in the ceiling of my study at the moment, and they ARE quite a distraction. The weather people on Radio 4 reckon the downpour's going to carry on until the end of the month. Do I want it to stop raining or don't I?

I've been carrying out some novel-related research recently and I've stumbled across a few bizarre articles on the Net. There was one about a man who was found not guilty of murdering his father because his lawyers successfully proved that he was sleepwalking whilst he battered the older man to death.

More recently, I found one about an American boy who was arrested on a charge of petty theft because he'd unwrapped a present that had been placed under his Christmas tree with strict instructions that it wasn't to be touched until the 25th of this month. When his mother discovered his crime, she phoned the police, in order to teach him a lesson. The boy is due to appear in court soon. In case you're interested, the present was a Nintendo Game Boy Advance. Definitely worth doing time for, I would've thought.

By far the strangest one was an account of a breach of contract case. In January of this year, an English woman was awarded £2,000 compensation because a hitman whom she had hired to kill her failed to do so. She paid the hitman £20,000 to end her life, but when he pocketed the money and failed to deliver the goods - so to speak - she took him to court... and won!

And I go around moaning that I can't find an idea for a novel!

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