I’m in the market these days for good news, back-handed compliments and glimpses of hope. This week I won Write On! Online’s November writing challenge thus presenting me simultaneously with all three.

The idea was to dig out an old short story or film idea that had been discarded because it was, well, rubbish. I have many of these in various folders on my hard drive so I dusted off a particular favourite, an idea for a short film called, Little Bag of Sugar.

The hope was that the idea, which was hitherto considered a turkey (kudos to the cheeky Thanksgiving theme), might in fact be a hidden gem.

Little Bag of Sugar is about a woman who dresses up a bag of sugar as a baby and pushes it around town in a pram. She’s nuts but you can’t fault her taste in baby clothes. You can read my story here. Regardless of its obvious faults, I like the quirkiness of the premise and obviously Debra Eckerling, the woman who runs Write On! Online, did too because I scooped top place. Small victory, big smile. My prize is a professional recording of one of my feature scripts courtesy of the people at iScript. Sweet.

This capped a particularly joyous week that saw my lovely friend Fran fly into town for business. We had dinner at (super-agent) Eddie’s house on her one free night, giving Fran her first real peek of life in LA that wasn’t centred around the Chateau Marmont and Hollywood sign. It’s not all glamour you know, sometimes it’s a cosy night in with a warming plate of stew and a glass of Pinot Noir.

Which brings me to another issue, the change of seasons: it’s bloody chilly and it’s been bucketing down, hence the rather gorgeous rainbow you see above, that materialised in front of my lofty Silverlake perch a couple of days ago.

My heating has been cranked up to 11 and my layer count is on a par with a WAG’s wedding cake. The crazy weather is somewhat of a novelty but the bonus for me was that it put a stop to all building work next door, and I was able to write at home in peace for the first time in weeks.

I also had my first Christmas dinner of the season – bring it on! The small differences between the UK and the States always come into play during the holidays. Thanksgiving is their turkey time and their Christmas is half what I’m used to because they don’t celebrate Boxing Day. Americans don’t know what a Christmas cracker is either (or sparklers on Bonfire night, because they don’t have Bonfire night), so sitting at a table wearing a paper hat and yelling groan-inducing jokes is a tradition that needed some explanation.

(By the way, if you’re stuck for Christmas present ideas, you can’t go wrong with Tim Randall’s new book, Rainbow Unzipped, about the much-loved children’s show. According to this review in the Independent, it’s 2009’s must read!)

We had roast beef, a rather marvellous Yorkshire pudding (you don’t get many of those to the dollar) and enough Prosecco to sink a small festive ship.

My contribution was a cheesecake that was shop-bought but that I’d artfully bashed, put on a fancy-schmancy plate and covered in raspberries to make it look home-made.

I don’t know why I bothered, as I confessed to my host Eileen that I’d bought it almost the second I walked into her kitchen. I’ve got to learn to lie better.

The cheesecake disappeared quickly, as did the bubbly and paper hats (why do they make them so slippery?).

Sated, this was one week that was definitely made sweeter for sugar.