This category contains 22 posts

Long Hot Summer

Mum and dad had gone away for one of their caravanning weekends, remember? And—god—remember how we used to take the piss out of them, knowing what being holed up in that rattly, plasticcy old box on wheels was actually like from having been forced into it every year throughout our childhood? I think we missed … Continue reading

Silver and Gold

One of the entries in my old school autograph book (remember those?) says: “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver, the other, gold” and I’ve always pondered on the validity of this. It’s a great sentiment, of course, but how much weight does it carry? I’ve just deleted the whole blog post … Continue reading


Colette raised her eyes to the mid-morning sun as she sat on her back doorstep, the second cigarette in a row clamped between the fingers on her right hand.  She refused to feel guilty about promising Emmy she wouldn’t smoke anymore and thanked the lord that she wasn’t religious; she’d never get into heaven lying … Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Home’ by Amanda Berriman

In 2013 I had a short story published  in an anthology called ‘Stories for Homes’; the brainchild of Debi Alper and Sally Swingewood, and Mandy Berriman’s story  A Home Without Moles was the first one in the book.  It  showed the world through the eyes of four-and-a-half (the ‘half’ of the utmost importance, as we well remember) Jesika Petrowski … Continue reading

… and how does that make you feel?

I’ve just had my first Skype session with the counsellor I’ve been seeing for nearly three years.  Crikey – three years! Because now we’re not in the same geographical vicinity and there are nearly 130 miles between us, but we wanted to maintain the face-to-face momentum we’ve thus far ‘enjoyed’. And it was great.  It … Continue reading

You Are Now Entering The State of Limbo

  I’ve been here before but the landscape was slightly different back then.  There are photographs of the time before where The Girl is just 5 and she’s dressed as a shocking-pink My Little Pony character with her voluminous ‘tail’ created from petticoat/underskirt netting.  I didn’t fully comprehend at the time just how much living in … Continue reading

Noticing a Cry for Help

When I was 19, my best friend–who’d taken a year out before going to Uni–left our hometown and moved over an hour away.  I know that doesn’t sound like much of a distance but this was 1982, I’d already failed 2 driving tests and couldn’t afford to take another one, let alone buy a car … Continue reading


I’m not a fan of online personal ‘spilling’ but when it’s connected to Mental Health Issues then I can’t think of a better place to publicise the importance of sharing the extremes of this debilitating condition. Not content with knocking me flat generally, the black dog which has followed me around for most of my … Continue reading

Love, Simples

My mum and dad considered themselves animal lovers. In old black and white photographs there are pictures of a teenage Shirley either holding a black and white cat to her side, kneeling down beside a dog or – in one, beaming at a seaside photographer as a baby monkey clings for dear life to her black and white swimsuit. My … Continue reading

Book Reviews: ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio, ‘The Tulip Touch’ by Anne Fine & ‘Lucky’ by Alice Sebold

As I’m currently studying ‘Writing for Children’ as part of Level 2 in my Creative Writing degree with the OCA, I’m reading and reviewing a lot more children’s books than I generally do.  Having said that, I used to read a TON of Young Adult books when my Girl was living at home, and so when … Continue reading


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