My late, lamented mother-in-law was a woman who skated lightly over the surface of her far from untroubled life. She raised her children on TV dinners and optimism and dished out home truths and advice to anyone within earshot. One of her favourites was, ‘don’t let little things bother you.’ Today I have utterly failed…

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‘If you don’t sit at your desk every day, come the day your writing could go well, you might not be sitting there.’ So said Flannery O’Connor, who would have been 96 this past week, only lupus carried her off aged 39. I don’t agree with all her views  –  she had a low opinion…

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A friend asked me what my plans were for the weekend. My first response was, ‘Is it weekend?’ I know I’m not alone in losing track. With lockdown, the days of the week are barely distinguishable. On Mondays, weather permitting, I meet friends for illicit outdoor coffees and sometimes the exchange of craft materials. It’s…

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This week I have an appointment to get my cataracts checked so I thought I’d prepare for one inevitable question: how much time do I spend looking at a screen? I was horrified by the answer. What used to be five or six hours a day has grown, thanks to lockdown, to nine hours. Work…

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First, thank you for all the great Characters Revisited suggestions. Some of them I’d quite forgotten I created. Tsk, tsk. I wouldn’t do very well on Mastermind, specialised subject, My Own Books. The world of publishing has changed so much, even in the 35 years I’ve known it. It used to be a gentlemen’s business,…

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I have nothing to report, apart from blessedly continuing, good physical health. I can’t vouch for my state of mind. In County Dublin we’re restricted to movement within 5 km of home, the weather is filthy, the shops are shut and online get-togethers are truly no substitute for real encounters. I am working, nudging Dr…

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There was a time when all I needed to be sure of managing a day’s work were a spare typewriter ribbon, a bottle of Snopake and a pack of A4 paper. Oh, and running shoes, so I could make it to the post office before the final collection. That’s how I used to file copy…

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After a long, long, much longer than intended break, today I start work in earnest in the next Dr Dan book. The past two weeks were spent in a lockdown limbo, forbidden from any contact with my children and grandchildren and prevented from flying home. Hopes were raised and then dashed with depressing regularity. Flights…

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A complaint this morning from a reader who notes that I haven’t posted since December 7th. Well EXCUSE ME! I was going to reply that I’ve nothing to say, but of course, I’ve always got something to say. First let’s talk about Julie Burchill, who has been cut loose by her publisher, Little Brown UK.…

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This post will be something of a duplication for those of you who subscribe to my mailing list: it contains a link subscribers received on Saturday. I feel some sympathy for mailing list refuseniks. Emails from retailers and authors can get tiresome, especially if they’re always trying to flog you something. In this instance, I…

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