Blog - People In Mind

Heralding Autumn

The autumn equinox approaches the northern hemisphere with turbulence heralding winter. Now, as when I was a student returning from a summer to practise my tenuous knowledge of French, or Spanish or Italian, the travellers might still crowd the decks of cross-channel...

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Drizzle

High up on my list of pleasurable experiences is one involving drizzle or light rain. An ideal bedroom is one right under the roof so one might have the lullaby of the patter of rain on the roof tiles or slates. It provides the thin curtain outside the window as I...

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Heath

Four days after I left hospital, I was walking along a hilltop in North Yorkshire in search of the last of the purple carpet of heather before it fades into autumn which has now officially begun. It was strangely silent without a living soul in sight. I expected to...

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Random Thoughts that might be Dangerous

Random Thoughts that might be Dangerous

Disturbing statistics show that more members of minority ethnic groups, or BAME, are dying of Covid-19. As my hospital experiences showed, this is hardly surprising, as so many of them are carrying out the essential frontline duties caring for patients in hospitals...

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Fitness

Having been sensitively and professionally tended by a massively overweight nurse in hospital, I am struggling to understand why the efforts, that seem to come in waves, to reduce obesity in Britain are so unsuccessful. For my nurse practitioner cousin, it is simply a...

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Concatenation

Falling water, be it from craggy over-hanging rocks or a dam or in a canal as one water level adjusts to another – all are spectacles to watch with a strange kind of fascination. A lavatory cistern is so banal and so powerful in its potential for destruction. A...

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In Hospital

I am just back from over ten days in hospital, whisked away in an ambulance to the astonishment of neighbours. After one day in a six-bed ward, I was transferred to my own spacious room with a washing basin. One wall is entirely of glass and gives me a view of the...

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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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