But, the doorbell, the bloody doorbell. It rang again. It played ‘Come to the Cookhouse Door’, a stupid joke from years ago, he should change it. George had a key; he didn’t need to ring twice. They would think that he was going deaf! He straightened his shirt. On the doorstep stood not his son, but Maia. […]


Another section from my unfinished novel about Kate and her attempt to reclaim her life after widowhood.  I have had some regular traffic on the extract ‘Pushing’ I posted a while back, and take that as encouragement!   Florence came in her BMW, all flowery perfume and Jaeger. The car was much too big for Kate’s […]


This is a vignette, featuring one of the characters in my Middle East novel. Beryl Beryl Vine is at the door, her small face beaded with sweat from the short walk to our bungalow. She has a flowery plastic bag full of hairdressing things. I invite her in, apologising for the noise. Beryl  seems like a […]

Dead languages, useless knowledge and rocks from outer space

This little ramble is inspired by a memory: my mother once said that she couldn’t understand why Latin – a ‘dead language’- was taught in schools, and why anyone would want to learn anything so useless. Latin is embedded in English grammar along with other linguistic influences, and is our ancient language of prayer and […]

Reading the 21st Century

Born in the mid 20th century, in a not very bookish household, my earliest  literary influences were Enid Blyton and comics. Especially comics, which I could buy for myself at pocket money prices from the corner shop, long  before I was old enough to take myself off to a library. The comic format seems an obvious […]

New Year Blog – Resolutions and the Apocalypse

We have not only survived another Christmas and end/beginning of a year but also the 21st of December 2012. Endings are beginnings. The Mayans encoded that into their calendars – they reset them each new cycle. Of course,  some preferred to interpret the Mayan ‘prophecy’ in terms of an apocalypse. There are always anti-Pollyannas who have a death […]

The Virtual Fireside

People often talk of the ‘universality’ of stories, how they transcend time and culture with common themes that entertain, instruct and link societies. Perhaps the love of stories is a defining characteristic of humankind. Ancient traditions of storytelling are physical – by the use of spoken and sung language, as a fireside activity by a […]