Another notch on the belt of this damned virus with the death of Ferruccio Berolo, maestro ballerino and notable feature in the San Barnaba/Santa Margherita neighbourhood of Venice. Whatever the time of day you could depend on Ferruccio to be somewhere on your route, ready to stand you a coffee, or, preferably, something stronger. In…

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One of my grandsons emailed me yesterday. He had done a page count of some of my books and wanted to know how I manage to write upward of 300 pages. He, aged 11, had just struggled to complete 17 pages of what he’d thought was a super idea for a story. What to tell…

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Today I made a decision. Having spent the past week indulging in an orgy of Olympic-level faffing, I admitted that I need a more disciplined approach to lockdown and so, this morning, I hired a personal trainer. Her name is Laurie and she’s on tap, right here, 24/7. Barmy as it sounds, I think I…

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I was rather tickled to learn that at some point in the 1830s Alexander Pushkin, Russia’s revered literary giant, found himself quarantined because of a cholera epidemic. He was at his country pile and alone, though I suspect his idea of ‘alone’ was no mates, no fiancée and just a skeleton staff. He wrote a…

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This is what happens when a person is entering Week 3 of lockdown and discovers, in the back of a cupboard, an unopened packet of origami paper. Finding a fiver down the arm of the sofa could not have brought me more joy. I might have spent the afternoon writing or sewing or even sitting…

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Now I look back, there are a lot of things my Mum omitted to tell me. Such as ‘Do not suffer fools’ and ‘Learn how to use an Excel spreadsheet, my girl.’ I’ve just spent a whole morning manually loading information from Excel into another document and I have cursed through gritted teeth my lack…

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Greetings from locked-down Ireland and first, an apology. I’ve been nagging people to sign up for my mailing list but it now appears that the link isn’t working, so anyone who signed up recently still doesn’t appear on the list. I’m very sorry. I’ll investigate. The new isolation rules in Ireland are causing some confusion.…

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My aim today is to write a few blog paras without actually discussing you-know-what. Aren’t you just bored witless by the endless theorising and rune-casting? Aren’t you weary of reading more about random acts of selfishness than you do about discreet acts of kindness? And hark, do we hear the rumble of bandwagon wheels? Articles…

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that as soon as you have time on your hands, the desire to do the things you’ve been longing to do evaporates. The current quarantining of nursing homes prevents me from visiting my husband but gains me a whole day per week. And my upcoming trip to the UK…

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I’ve probably said this before  –  I’ve probably said most things before  –  but there is truly nothing so heartening for a writer as a message from a happy reader, and this week I’ve received several. Also a couple of 5 star reviews for Dr Dan, Married Man? on Amazon, which means that my fans…

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