This is my hand


It’s a hand that does dishes (or at least loads and unloads the dishwasher).
It’s a hand that has raised two children.
It’s a hand can play the flute.
It’s a hand that has written eight novels.
It’s a hand that looks its age; that has a little arthritis starting in the wrist (broken twice while rollerblading and cycling).
It’s a hand that, for half its life, has worn a wedding ring. And now it doesn’t.
I like it fine.


A good start … I think

So here are some things I’ve said ‘Yes’ to since I decided to start saying ‘Yes’ to things. Some of them are very small. Some of them might not even seem like things at all to some people, but they do to me. Small steps. In no particular order.

  1. I got a ticket to see Lou Reed. On my own, initially, and that was fine, but I mentioned it on Facebook and now I’m meeting a friend there.
  2. I agreed to plan a series of writing workshops for groups to be set up in local libraries. I may end up delivering them too, but I’ll have to be very brave and talk money. Realistically.
  3. I applied for a part-time job that I probably don’t want. And I’ll probably go on not wanting it until the moment I’m rejected, at which time it will become the only possible job that would really make me happy. If this happens (likely), please remind me of the fact that I don’t really want it.
  4. I went into the British Library and had a look round the (free) Treasures exhibition. (Did I mention I’m trying to do things on the cheap where possible, simply because I’m just not sure what my financial situation is going to be in the next few months, and I’m trying to be sensible?)
  5. Tomorrow, all on my own, I’m going to see Purcell’s opera The Fairy Queen, broadcast live from Glyndebourne, and screened at my local cinema, and I’m going to get membership of said cinema at the same time, because it will totally pay for itself as I continue to immerse myself in culture!
  6. I have a applied to do an A-level – adult-education ting, over 2 years. There are a number of subjects I’m kind of interested in, all on a Tuesday night, and the timing should work out just right for me to go there straight from work. Here’s the catch – the administrator said that last year, the one I really want to do was cancelled because of lack of interest so, in a pleasingly aleatoric way, I’ve registered my interest in four different subjects and I’ll allow fate to decide which one I enrol for. This is rather in the spirit of buying whatever is reduced in the supermarket and making a meal out of it. I do that too.
  7. I will be seeing a number of undeniably fabulous friends this week. Some of these meet-ups have been planned for a while, others are more spur of the moment. This is exactly what I want to embrace. This, and the friends too, of course.
  8. I had a cull on my underwear drawer. I’ll draw a veil for now …


The hard, hard life of a writer

Yes, it’s most awfully tough. So much so that, sometimes, when the kids are safely at school, and sensible people are at the office, I just HAVE to go out for a walk with my friend, Marie. In the Cotswolds. On our own. In all that countryside.

It’s hell.

Particularly the path between Stanton and Stanway. Gruelling, just gruelling.

 It gets even tougher when you finally reach Stanway House.


And it’s not sunny vistas the whole way, y’know. You have to go through woods carpeted with wild garlic. 

Well someone’s got to do it. Those hills won’t walk themselves.

I’m going to write a best-selling children’s book

Yes, I am. Really. I’ve got no idea of plot yet, or theme or milieu or characters. But …

… on the back of the novel (or the blurb, as we best-selling authors call it), it will say:

‘…. then x unearths a terrifying secret.’ (x being the main protagonist – an orphan, obviously)

Oh yes – a best seller guaranteed!

Move over, quick brown fox. Lazy dog? You’re not needed any more.

I taught myself to type. Amazing isn’t it? You’d never guesowa4er.

I had a book. A kind of spiral bound thing that came with the typewriter. Yes – a proper typewriter with ribbons and everything. And this book had typing exercises and sentences for you to type in order to improve your skills. The person who devised this typing course really used their ingenuity to make sure no key went untapped. Tricky combinations of letters were clearly a priority. The quick brown fox looked very dull by comparison.

Let me tell you, once you make it mandatory to include z u x q j and k in every sentence, you move into a bizarre parallel universe that resembles nothing so much as an episode of Mapp and Lucia. Some of those sentence are with me still:

Bezique was the game often played to vex Jake.

Pack my box with exactly half a dozen jugs of liquid veneer.

The bad major will fix a quiet, cozy nook for the vexed gypsy.

Vaulting over the larkspurs brought him a dozen worries.

Now that’s a universe I wouldn’t mind inhabiting!