Land of my Fathers

Well, not quite. Land of my great-great-great grandfather, to be accurate. On Monday I’m off to Wales to visit the little town where my ancestor was born and try out my Welsh, in the wild.   We go back a long way, Welsh and I. My first boyfriend had family in the Rhondda Valley and…

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Just Words

I’m always piggishly interested in what people are eating so I just had to have a look at the menu for the State Banquet HM Queen gave for President Trump last week. The dessert was listed as Strawberry Sable. Now I’m not a pastry expert but I knew there was a pastry French patissiers make…

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Unexpected Pleasures

It’s strange how something you’ve enjoyed can disappear from your life and all too soon you forget about it, and then, if it returns, you wonder how you’ve managed without it. This week Garrison Keillor’s resurrected Writer’s Almanac popped up in my mail box. First thought: yeah! Second thought: what callow breed of fan are…

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Busman’s Holidays

First, dear readers, thank you for your kind words of encouragement. You may not realise quite how important they are to a writer who works in fairly isolated circumstances. There are twin occupational hazards: that you’ll become deluded about the true scale of your own talent, an embittered mutterer against the world of publishing, or…

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Ode to a White Bloke

  So we have a new Poet Laureate. For my non-Brit readers, this is a position conferred by our monarch (as advised by the Prime Minister) and worth, in addition to the honour, £5750 a year plus a butt of sack.  The laurels now sit on the brow of Simon Armitage, who used to work…

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Black Dog

No, I haven’t been on holiday all the time since my last post. Simply that I still don’t have a publisher and it’s now getting embarrassing when people ask. Also, beyond depressing. Thirty years, never out of print, and now this. I mean…. So although I haven’t yet given the order to lower the lifeboats,…

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The Big Squeeze

I’m often asked what I think of e-books. It’s difficult to give a simple answer. As a reader, I’m all in favour because I travel a lot and I don’t always know what I’m going to fancy reading while I’m on the road. This week, for instance, much as I’ve been looking forward to Ben…

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# MeToo

One of my jobs this week was to source an ink pen for a lefthanded granddaughter. It had to be a guaranteed non-leaking model, nothing requiring bottles of ink or messy cartridges, because she’s only eight years old. I did manage to find something suitable but the search brought back some negative memories. Given that…

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Writer, Not Always at Work

First, to answer queries from kind but fretful readers  –  yes, I’m writing. My latest project is a series, of which I’ve already written Book 1 and am at work on Book 2, but as I am, to date, without a publisher, I’ll say no more for the time being. As soon as I find…

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Up Your Farthingale

Friday lunchtime, it was piddling rain and I was sick of the sound of my own breathing so I went to the cinema. There were just three of us in the screening room, possibly the last three people on earth who hadn’t yet seen The Favourite. Or maybe the other two were smitten return viewers,…

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