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On being British in Europe now

I had a very trying day yesterday. Apart from 35C under a roasting sun, it was the climax to a process of several weeks of anxiety, research, much digging, sorting and photocopying, all the result of an ill-advised vote in June 2016.

In the wake of the Brexit vote, I have the impression from talking […]

Throwing a sickie

And breathe…! Or not.

Well, I’ve been having some difficulty doing this over the past fortnight. I flew home from the highly energising Dublin Writers’ Conference with a raging sore throat and feeling like a superannuated wet dishcloth. The tiredness could have been due to the conference (it was fairly intense), but the sore throat […]

The Rise of the Machines? No, in The Grip of

Opening Word to crack on with my new story, I was disconcerted to see a message flash up that support for Word 2011 would be withdrawn in 10 days’ time. Eyes on stalks at the screen.

Ten days? My other half and I did that clichéd thing of mutual dumbfounded disbelieving staring.

He recovered first. […]

Blenheim, forerunner to the HNS Conference

I’d never been to Blenheim, or Blenheim Palace as it’s more properly called. I knew it was the home of John and Sarah Churchill, the first (gifted and ambitious) Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, by having watched The First Churchills, an excellent BBC series made in 1969.

Built built between 1705 and circa 1722 in […]

Sitting on your bottom

‘Sit up straight!’ your mother would shriek at you as you hunched over your school homework. You rolled your eyes, then made a feeble effort at complying. If you were taller than everybody else in the playground as I was, your natural position was slumpissimus.

As we grew older, it slowly dawned on us that […]