Tag Archives: London

Poetry Day – A Poor Offering

If I had a lot of time

I would offer up a rhyme.

Poetry is not my strength

My plots and thoughts need more length.

Forgive this poor attempt at prose

To the novel, this writer goes.


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The Wonderful Victoria & Albert Museum


Last week I attended two exhibitions at the beautiful V&A museum in London. To refresh myself I took tea in the amazing cafe. What a joy this building is!

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Short Piece on Faber Academy Website

My piece ‘Writing on the Move’ has been published on the Faber Academy website.


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Ticket to Pitch

New to the London Book Fair is an opportunity to pitch one’s novel to an agent or publisher in a dedicated one-to-one setting. An email advising that tickets would be available from 9am this morning arrived in my in-box yesterday and at the appointed hour I sat with my finger poised over the mouse. As the page became available with the list of appointments I began to click and watched horrified as they disappeared one by one in a blink of an eye. Finally I managed to nab some appointments for different agents and went to eat my granola feeling quite pleased. When I returned to my computer I was the recipient of an email to say that each applicant would only be allowed one meeting and all of my tickets would be re floated if I didn’t contact the main office. Fortunately I made the call just in the nick of time and still have my meeting set up. I felt like a naughty teenager caught out pinching something from the sweet counter in Woolworths but an opportunity to meet agents and publishers is like a Belgian chocolate – too good to eat just one.


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Rain Dance

Someone here in the UK has performed a rain dance. It has rained so long that my friend said she is going to build an ark. The Olympics are taking place in about 2 weeks and every athlete will be participating in the swimming, whatever his or her discipline. The torch has travelled the entire country in wet conditions. So I have decided to think about why I like the rain.

It makes everything green. The grass, trees and the mould which grows because nothing ever dries out.

It makes a lovely pitter patter on the roof, 24 hours a day.

I can hide my figure underneath my rain coat.

I have lots of indoor time to write.

Okay guys, it is now up to you. Tell me why you like the rain? or not?


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What is life like for the new Middle Agers?

Do you consider yourself in your middle years? Is that how you are perceived by others? I am shortly going to be writing a column for this age group and would be really interested in any feedback you might wish to give me about life as a middle ager. Examples of concerns may be things such as:

Are you able to buy clothes which reflect your style?

What types of holidays appeal to you?

What books do you like to read?

Are you able to join in with local exercise classes, gyms, etc or are they aimed at the wrong age group for you?

How much of an outcast do you feel in some environments? ie, Discos, bars etc

How difficult is it to meet people in middle age and why? Where do you meet new people? How is dating as a middle ager?

The above are just some of the things which have come up in recent conversations with other middle agers. There have been many more. Please let me know what you think, what experiences you have had, etc.

I haven’t been writing on my blog over recent weeks for a number of pitiful reasons. Sometimes life gets in the way of my writing and no matter how hard I try, when I eventually manage to sit down to write my eyelids fall with exhaustion. Now things are settling down once again with family celebrations over, medical matters dealt with and the chores just about finished and by next week I should be back in full writing mode.

Don’t forget to let me know about your middle age experience.


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Reliving Youth, Guitar Playing and Talent

Last night I went to see my friend’s daughter, a talented singer songwriter, perform in a cellar bar near King’s Cross Station. As I stood there bouncing my head along to the music and tapping my foot to the beat, I was taken back in time to my youth. I was a guitar playing hippie chick who played and sang “songs with meaning” in the era of Bob Dylan and the like. I never went anywhere without my guitar. It accompanied me on my travels through Europe and comforted me when my emotions threatened to run away with me, usually because of the latest love interest. I tried to write songs however as I only ever played using a small selection of chords, I suspect they were never going to be considered great works. But, oh they were good days. Wasted of course, as is often the case, as the young are often unable to appreciate how wonderful the freedom of expression that accompanies youth can be.

Last night brought it back. I suspect my young friend would have been surprised at the young me. But as is the case as our skin thins and our hearing deteriorates, we become invisible. So although she likes me, I know that she could not see herself in me.

Don’t you love the talent of the young? Free in expression and with heightened emotion they can push boundaries with their talent. Do you know anyone who inspires you like that?

By the way, has anyone seen the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate? Now that is pushing the boundaries!!!

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London is the Best

I love London. Here you can buy anything, eat anything, see everything and when it is sunny there is nowhere better. This morning on the way to the high street coffee shop I was stopped by a man wearing a tuxedo and a bowler hat, all slightly worn and dirty, who asked directions to some random place. I think that I caught a whiff of something stronger than coffee but he was jolly and polite and even though I could not help him he wished me a good day. And unlike in other cities where I have been approached he did not try to take my handbag, phone or anything else. I don’t think that he sleeps in a bed and it made me remember an occasion not long ago when I spent a night in a rainy Valencia unable to get a hotel, taxi or shelter. I eventually joined the other homeless in the train station, all of us shivering with cold. It was a humbling experience and taught me about how sometimes people end up in situations which they did not plan or desire. Confidence to find a way out of such a state is difficult when you can’t even find a place to have a wee without paying for it. I did have money but I still couldn’t escape this situation. When the dawn broke and the trains started running I was able to escape to my home and to comfort once again. I have never forgotten the helplessness of being homeless, even if it was only for a night. So I do smile at the people who live on our streets and try to recognize them as people with a past and feelings. When I walk around this beautiful city with all of its good things I also try to look at the bad to remind me of how lucky I am.

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