National Novel Writing Month 2019 begins today

I’ve got to be quick. Today was day 1 of National Novel Writing Month, better known as nanowrimo, a worldwide campaign/project/incentive to write a total of 50,000 words by the last day of November. That’s 1,667 words EVERY DAY. Bearing in mind I spend eight hours of the day writing for a living and I’mContinue reading “National Novel Writing Month 2019 begins today”

My imaginary dinner party guest #4: Bill Bryson

Previously on ‘My Imaginary Dinner Party’… Margaret Atwood’s arrival successfully diffuses the sexual tension broiling across the table between Leonard Cohen and Lana Del Ray. I’m feeling a little bit grumpy because the pasta bake is well and truly cold. Why did I get it out of the oven so early? We’ve talked a bitContinue reading “My imaginary dinner party guest #4: Bill Bryson”

My imaginary dinner party guest #3: Margaret Atwood

Previously on ‘My Imaginary Dinner Party’… Now there’s a table, a rapidly depleting selection of wines, a tepid pasta bake, a smattering of Pringle crumbs in a bowl, Leonard Cohen, Lana Del Rey, and me. Leonard’s ramped up the story-telling and Lana is sitting with one leg crossed elegantly over the other, hand-rolled cigarette inContinue reading “My imaginary dinner party guest #3: Margaret Atwood”

My imaginary dinner party guest #2: Lana Del Rey

Previously on ‘My Imaginary Dinner Party’… There’s a table, a selection of wines, a crispy-on-top pasta bake, Leonard Cohen, and me. Leonard is relaying a long-winded but droll story about that time he made love to a beautiful archaeologist in Tel Aviv who inspired his unpublished poem Beauty in a Burka. I’ve got a weirdContinue reading “My imaginary dinner party guest #2: Lana Del Rey”

My imaginary dinner party guest #1: Leonard Cohen

It’s a classic silence-breaker question. If you could invite anyone in the world to a dinner party, alive or dead, who would it be and why? I have four guests at mine, and here’s the first. Oh and before you ask, we’re having pasta bake. Leonard Cohen This was the man who wrote the line:Continue reading “My imaginary dinner party guest #1: Leonard Cohen”

It’s ‘spooky season’ and this is why we love horror

Humans love to be freaked out. We just love it. Does anything make us happier than a creepy long-haired girl crawling out of a well? I studied gothic fiction in my final year of university and it was the best few months of my entire education. We got to read all the classic horror storiesContinue reading “It’s ‘spooky season’ and this is why we love horror”

A trip to Oxford to see some extremely old hair grippies

The problem when I come to write in a public place – like here, in the restaurant on the rooftop of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, is that as soon as I open my laptop to type, a large portion of the English language floats lazily out of my head, along with my impetus toContinue reading “A trip to Oxford to see some extremely old hair grippies”

22 small joys in life

Sometimes on my drive to work in the mornings, I gaze out of the car window (usually the front one) at passing fields and wish I was a horse.  Horses spend a lot of time in the countryside eating. They’re occasionally ridden. They have nice hair.  But then the very fact that I am ableContinue reading “22 small joys in life”

The magical experience of a cervical screening

It’s just like something out of a wonderful fairy tale. On her 25th birthday, every female in the United Kingdom is sent a special letter from the National Health Service inviting her to attend a beautiful, magical ball to dance the night away with a harem of really good looking strangers. Only joking. She’s invitedContinue reading “The magical experience of a cervical screening”

Falmouth, Jupiter and solitude

“Oh! You’re from Jupiter too.”I blinked at the hairy stranger. “Erm…am I?”“Yeah I can tell. I can just tell.”The hairy stranger pointed his finger across the pub table and, after a moment of hesitation, I touched the brandished finger briefly with the end of mine. I must have passed this test of Jupiter etiquette becauseContinue reading “Falmouth, Jupiter and solitude”