Authors: Cathy Hopkins
This Way To Paradise
s the author of the incredibly successful
books, and has just started a fabulous new series called
She lives in North London with her husband and three cats, Molly, Emmylou and Otis.
Cathy spends most of her time locked in a shed at the bottom of the garden pretending to write books but is actually in there listening to music, hippie dancing and talking to her friends on e-mail.
Occasionally she is joined by Molly, the cat who thinks she is a copy-editor and likes to walk all over the keyboard rewriting and deleting any words she doesn't like.
Emmylou and Otis are new to the household. So far they are as insane as the older one. Their favourite game is to run from one side of the house to the other as fast as possible, then see if they can fly if they leap high enough off the furniture. This usually happens at three o'clock in the morning and they land on anyone who happens to be asleep at the time.
Apart from that, Cathy has joined the gym and spends more time than is good for her making up excuses as to why she hasn't got time to go.
This Way To Paradise
PICCADILLY PRESS * LONDON
I'd like to dedicate this to my mum, Clare Hopkins with love. Thanks also to Steve Lovering for patiently listening to me talk through every aspect of this book morning, noon and night. Thanks to Brenda Gardner as always and especially to Anne Clark for her wonderfully constructive feedback, plus all the fab team at Piccadilly.
First published in Great Britain in 2007
by Piccadilly Press Ltd,
5 Castle Road, London NW1 8PR
Text copyright Â© Cathy Hopkins, 2007
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.
The right of Cathy Hopkins to be identified as Author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN-13: 978 1 85340 900 4 (trade paperback)
eISBN: 978 1 84812 219 2
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Bookmarque Ltd Typeset by Carolyn Griffiths, Cambridge Cover design by Simon Davis
Set in 11.5 Bembo and Tempus
âWe're here,' I said into the phone as I flopped on to my bed. I'd positioned it next to the window so that I could lie and look up at the clear July sky or sit and look down at what was happening on the street below.
âWhat's it like?' asked Erin at the other end of the phone.
âHeaven. Magic. Totally fab,' I said as I took in the view of the trees and roof tops of the houses opposite.
âGive me a break! I've only been here half a day.'
âThat's long enough. You're slacking, India Jane. What have you been doing?'
âGetting here, Miss Bossy Boots. Unpacking my stuff. What else?'
âPff,' said Erin. âGet your priorities straight, girl. I'd be straight out and off down Portobello Road, checking out the local talent.'
âI will. I promise. As soon as I can and I'm sorry I haven't had a chance to do a proper recce yet but, from what I've seen so far, I have to say that it's looking good. Aunt Sarah's house is only a couple of streets away from Notting Hill tube and when we drove past there, I did see a few contenders.'
âI am soooo jealous,' said Erin.âOnly you would get to live in deepest trendyville. I so wish I was there with you in London instead of stuck over here in leprechaun land.'
âMe too. You could always run away. I'm sure Mum and Dad wouldn't mind. You know what they're like. Mr and Mrs Liberal. They've already adopted an orang-utan in Malaysia, a donkey in Devon and a goat in Africa. A run-away teenage girl would give them a complete set.'
âDon't be cynical,' said Erin. âYour parents are top. I like that they give to good causes. Shows they care about stuff.'
âWell, I suppose that we can be grateful that at least the goat, donkey and orang-utan aren't here with us. Seems like everyone else is. I escaped straight up to my room for a bit of peace. It's mad downstairs. Dad's bossing everyone around in his usual manner. They're all here “helping” with the move, but actually getting in the way.'
âWho? Who's there?'
âEthan, his wife Jessica, Lewis, Dylan, Aunt Sarah, of course,
and I saw my cousin Kate for a second, but she was off somewhere in a hurry as always. Ethan and Jess brought the twins too. Ethan's been training them to say, “We are the evil twins. The daughters of Satan” It's so funny because they're so cute and angelic-looking with great blue eyes and curly hair. They're not much help with the unpacking though. Ethan â'
âAh, Ethan, swoon, swoon. Is he still gorgeous and a half?'
âHe is â and way too old for you.'
âNo, he's not. I'm fifteen.'
âYeah and he's twenty-eight and married and, before you say anything, Lewis is also too old for you.'
Ethan is my step-brother from Dad's first marriage. He had come over to welcome us to the big city, as had Lewis. Dylan (who's twelve) and Lewis are my real brothers, but Lewis won't be living with us as he is a student and has digs up in Crouch End in North London.
âNah, Lewis is a baby,' said Erin. âHe's only nineteen, isn't he?'
I laughed. Just before my family left Ireland, Erin decided that she was into older men. Like, at least twenty. I can see her point â as boys of our age do act immature most of the time, but I think that older boys can be difficult as well. Like in the trying it on department (and I don't mean trying on clothes).
âOK. Now, tell me everything,' said Erin.âI want to be able to see it all in my head so, when we talk or e-mail, I can imagine exactly what it looks like. Start with the front door, no, start before that. At the front gate. On the street. Give me details.'
âOK,' I said. âDetails. Holland Park.
TrÃ¨s chic â
âWho picked you up at the airport?' Erin interrupted.
âShe's got a new black BMW. She's loaded, don't forget.'
âWe came straight here. Took just over an hour. The traffic is something else.'
âWeather in Londinium?'
âLovely. A beautiful summer's day. Not a cloud in the sky. What's it like over there in Kilkerry?'
âDuh. Raining, of course.'
âOf course.' I knew all about the rain in Ireland. For the duration of our two years over there, my parents had rented a castle. They liked living in interesting locations. All my life we've stayed in unusual places, and the castle was beautiful, no doubt about that, stunning in fact and a nice enough place to live when the weather was good, which was hardly ever. It really does rain a lot in that part of Ireland and the castle leaked. We were forever running around with bowls, pots and pans to catch the relentless drips. I even woke up one morning to find a hole in the ceiling in my room and a mini waterfall gushing through. It's an aspect of living there that I'm not going to miss, which is why it's so heavenly to be at Aunt Sarah's. As well as being loaded, she is organised, stylish and together in a way that my mum can only watch in wonder. No leaks in her gaff. Oh no.
All surfaces, walls and ceilings are sealed, damp-proofed and painted in tasteful shades of designer paint. Not that Mum isn't stylish, she is in her own boho-waif way. It's the organised and together bit she's not good at. Nor is Dad, for that matter. They're like Peter Pan and Wendy. I sometimes wonder how the two have them have managed so far. Actually, I know exactly how. Grandpa's inheritance, that's how. The inheritance which has now run out, hence our moving in with Mum's sister and her daughter, Kate.
âThe house is a dream, Erin, I'll take some pics and e-mail them to you. It'll be better if you can see for yourself.'
âJust tell me a bit to give me a rough idea.'
âOK. It's tall, cream and
Five storey, like most of the houses in the street are. Six bedrooms, three reception rooms and a private studio at the bottom of the back garden that Aunt Sarah uses as her office. Dylan and I are on the top floor and we have our own bathroom with the most amazing power shower that has a nozzle head thingee as big as a football. Kate's room is on the second floor and next to it a spare guest room and another bathroom. Aunt Sarah and Mum and Dad's rooms are on the first. All the rooms are huge and light with high ceilings, big windows and wooden floors. She's done it out in neutral tones and added colour with all her knick knacks, rugs and bits and pieces from places she's visited around the world â mainly Thailand and India, I think.'
âIt is. The only rooms that are a bit dark are the basement, and the kitchen â which is at the back of the house. It's tall and narrow and has one of those ancient pulley drying-racks hanging from the ceiling. People used them in olden days to hang their washing on before they had machines and dryers.'