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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Here is one of my favourite old London street signs. It manages to be stern and yet discreet. In case you’re wondering, it means DO NOT URINATE AGAINST THIS WALL. This particular example is at the south end of Great Guildford Street in Southwark, and it’s repeated on an adjacent wall in Doyce Street. It…

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I emerged from self-imposed quarantine after one week. No-one at Gatwick Airport seemed remotely interested in where I was going or who I’d be seeing, so last Monday I laced up my walking shoes and started a daily habit of wandering the empty streets of London. The Square Mile of the City is one of…

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The eve of departure and how am I spending it? Cleaning my flat. For some reason I’ve never worked out, I feel I must leave the place in sparkling good order. Is it a vestige of the old days when getting on a plane seemed momentous and risky? The subtext being, I might not make…

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