Thursday, 26 July 2012


Some days, you've got to get outside... Six quid, well spent at the University of Nottingham.  Hope you're enjoying the sunshine - don't forget the sunscreen.

`This has been a wonderful day!' said he, as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. `Do you know, I`ve never been in a boat before in all my life.'
`What?' cried the Rat, open-mouthed: `Never been in a--you never--well I--what have you been doing, then?'
`Is it so nice as all that?' asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.
`Nice? It's the ONLY thing,' said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. `Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,' he went on dreamily: `messing--about--in--boats; messing----'

extract from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Monday, 9 July 2012


Another trip which came at just the right time.
I've just finished a major edit on my YA novel Coalface - a big challenge, but one that's made the story stronger and shorter at the same time.  So it's time to look at new stories - and old ones...

I found this recreation of a bedsit in Southwell Workhouse.  In the seventies, it became a refuge for people waiting for a council house.  

The kitchenette they've set up got me thinking about the scruffy flat above the costumiers where Hidden Daughter's anti-heroine Penny repairs clothes, tries to do right by her Catherine with soup and fish fingers, and occasionally time-travels.

If you think this is scruffy for the seventies (it was, deliberately so), there's no surprises for guessing what turbulent teenager Cate thinks of coming home to something like this in 1987...

Lots of thoughts, lots of ideas... and a new challenge.  Time to get stuck in again.