Blog - People In Mind

According to Plan…

According to plan is a hope rather than an assurance What is the shape of the future in these foggy times? A book that voyages into untried possibilities may be a timely occurrence in this moment of quiet unknowing. We must keep our distances, wipe all handles, and...

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Publish and Perish – the Birth of a Book part 5

As I had suspected for a long time, my publisher has no permanent office presence – too old-fashioned to expect that! – so they have a phone ‘receptionist’ from a pool, probably working from home for some sort of agency. I remembered that in the early days when I had...

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Publish and Perish – the Birth of a Book part 4

My new novel, Mastering the Sun, is finished and the cover designed but with publishers now even slower than usual with no end to the pandemic lockdown in sight, it will be published shortly online with an option to read it in paperback. It is a work for these times,...

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Publish and Perish – the Birth of a Book part 3

My new book is coming out shortly, and I'm delighted to announce that its title is Mastering The Sun In the meantime here are my continuing experiences of publishing In Restoration a few years ago.   On my publisher’s website, they promised to approach local...

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Publish and Perish – the Birth of a Book part 2

My new book is coming out shortly and in the meantime here are my continuing experiences of publishing In Restoration a few years ago. Rebecca had morphed into Frances and gave the same formulaic answers to my queries. ‘Should I try a launch in Guildford? A scene in...

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Publish and Perish – the Birth of a Book part 1

My new book is coming out shortly and in the meantime here are my entertaining experiences of publishing In Restoration a few years ago. My brain-child is born and has already departed. Bereft. What will happen? Inevitably thoughts return to the elder sibling and its...

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The Padded Room

In those days when I was determined to read all the many volumes of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, I did not choose to inhabit a padded room as Proust did. Instead, I was trying to read the third volume while walking up the steps to Montmartre followed by an...

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Small Pleasures

In lockdown, small things become sweeter. The forty minutes of official freedom to leave one’s dwelling and wander forth into a strangely silent world has released a chorus of birdsong in clear skies unpolluted by fumes and clatter. It is a strange silence above a...

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Spring Sunshine

Sun shines through the leaves on to chestnut candles just before they are ready to light up their tiny white flowers. Pink blossom promises a profusion of plenty before it carpets streets and lawns. The bright light contrasts starkly with the prospect of a future...

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Off the Yangtze River

Once upon a time, I was on a grimy boat chugging up the murky Yangtze river past a vast dam under construction, described as the next wonder of the world. I do not remember stopping at Wuhan where the river forks. We took the south-west branch through the towering...

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San Rocco

Five centuries or more ago in Christians would be fervently praying to San Rocco, the patron saint of plague. He is usually painted as a scantily dressed pilgrim with a staff and sores more or less prominently painted over his body, and he is particularly popular in...

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Outlook

Confined inside a roomy house with a small garden and splendid view of Beverley Minster to the east and one of trees and rooftops to the west beyond the small back garden, we are immensely fortunate. Before the coronavirus lockdown, we had been mourning the felling of...

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The Decameron

Historians expound many themes and often disagree, but none can deny that a plague devastated Christendom in the first half of the 1300s. It was just when literature in the language of the people - – the ‘vulgar tongue’ emerged at the same time as the new...

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The Alcove

After Easter Britain’s country houses or ‘stately homes’ will open their doors to curious visitors intrigued by the scale of the rooms and the treasures on display, but they rarely look into the alcoves. They could be small, once cherished retreats from the grander...

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Gretel and Zita

Gretel and Zita It is a strange coincidence that a book about a mayor and a bear in a north Italian mountain town is published, just when young people worldwide are questioning the human species’ relationship to and role in climate change and the floods that devastate...

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Height

When one reaches the ‘height’ of one’s ambition, it is presumed – or hoped – that one will stay up there for a while. When there is a ‘peak’ in one’s fortunes, a fall is predicated. The only way to continue along the relentless tread of time is downhill. Better,...

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Aura

Aura - a breath of golden hue around a special person. We can all feel it at a particular place or in unusual circumstances, when the intensity of the lived moment thrills one almost into a momentary state of extasy close to fainting. The mind blanks out for a...

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Doors

Doors - division or welcome. Storms were rightly forecast for Sunday when we set off on our weekly adventure after an early visit on Saturday to Beverley market, already crowded with all who are convinced that early pickings are the best. I prefer calmer afternoon...

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Timeworn

  On a chilly Sunday, we went out to celebrate a birthday, all three generations of us. We chose a restaurant in the remains of a Jacobean gatehouse set in a wide lawn with space for children to play. We parked near the large gnarled trunk of an ancient tree,...

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Remembrance

My earliest memory is uncannily relevant to the events remembered this week. I was sitting with my elder sister in our ‘tree house’ intrigued by the pulley with a basket at its end. We could lower it to be filled with sandwiches and, if we ate them, down again for a...

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