Saturday, 5 May 2018

Getting organised

It's exam season. Both at-home daughters are taking exams this year, so that means a month of not being able to watch them disappear off on the school bus before settling down to work with my dogs snoring gently around me. *small sigh*

Saturday, 10 March 2018

SNIPPETS Birthday Party

It’s not a noise exactly, more a tremble in the air, but everyone hears it. There’s a hush, a stillness amongst the assembled guests. They feel the threat in the air. They’re waiting for whatever follows.

And then, someone’s teacup rattles into their saucer and the broken-off conversations begin again.

From across the lawn, the king catches my eye.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Writing Resolution 2018

The thing about being a writer is that it’s rather like growing up. When you start out, you can see the things that will influence what kind of a writer you will turn out to be – what you like to read, the experiences you’ve had, what you believe to be true or important – in the same way that you could look at a child’s genetic inheritance and environment and get an idea of the adult they might become. But there’s no way of knowing for sure how these influences will meld in your mind and through your efforts to become your voice.

Friday, 13 October 2017

It's all about the story

I’ve been talking to some teachers lately about the difference between reading for pleasure and reading for education. It’s something that’s on the mind of educators a great deal: reading is a tool they use for teaching children, but many of the ways reading is used in education can put children off. Picking apart texts in order to analyse the way sentences are put together can ruin the enjoyment of story. Searching for particular information or writing techniques can blind a reader to the pleasure of prose or poetry. One answer to this is to ensure there’s time for ‘reading for pleasure’ within school, but this can be a tough call in the busy classroom schedule, and if a child’s not in a reading mood when ‘reading for pleasure’ time comes along, suddenly the pleasure becomes yet another classroom chore.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


I get that I’m ugly, OK. Even my mother couldn’t bear to look at me. She did her best, mind, fed me and clothed me, tried to keep me from the prying eyes of the village. But she never once actually looked me in the face, not that I remember. And I guess the shame of having produced such a horror as me got to her in the end because one day she just upped and died in her sleep. Village priest took me in for a while, but there were whispers, first that she’d done away with herself because of me and then, when that wasn’t enough, they started saying that I’d done her in. Priest told me he didn’t think he could protect me from them. He gave me a gold coin and a slice of bread and sent me off out of the back door just as the mob appeared at the front. Seven years old I was, ugly as sin and all alone in the world.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


Look, building a house out of sticks is a perfectly reasonable architectural option. You humans did it for centuries, probably still do in some places. Straw’s not such a bad option either. Both of them simple, reasonably robust once you plaster over with a bit of mud and most importantly, it’s cheap.