Let’s start at the end

I had run up against a brick wall in the rewrite of my current book, which is autobiographical.

That isn’t due to lack of material – I’ve more than enough of that; but so far I’ve made twelve different starts and am not happy with any of them. The opening chapter of this book is the trickiest part of all because I don’t really know myself where it started from. I’ve wrestled and wrangled and wracked my brains for two weeks and made no progress.

My lovely agent, mentor and friend Maggie Noach, who died six years ago, tragically young and far too soon, knew everything there was to know about writers and writing, and while I was shuffling words and paragraphs around this morning I recalled something she had said long ago when I was stuck on a manuscript.

“You don’t have to write a book in sequence, you know. You can start anywhere – at the end, or in the middle. First write the parts that come easily, and go back to the others later. Once you’ve written them all, just put them into order.”

Being a linear thinker rather than somebody who thinks “outside the box”, that had never occurred to me, and I’d forgotten all about it.

I think Maggie must have been looking down this morning and sent a message.

Thanks, Maggie. I’ve just written the last line and am now moving to the middle. 🙂

Maggie’s obituary

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Every picture tells a story

Even an out-of-focus photo can tell a story.

It is a damp chilly night in Poitiers. In front of us a traveller and his two dogs are walking down the street. Just outside the car park the traveller sees something in a waste bin. He stops to investigate.



An umbrella, and a rather fancy one with a brightly coloured lining. He tests it.



Yes, that will do nicely.



Happy Christmas to all travellers, wherever you may be.

Dobby talks about the big walk

You wouldn’t have thought it was mid-December, yesterday. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, not a hint of breeze, just lots of blue and sunshine and warm. And so they had a good idea – take us for a walk in a new place.

They took us there in the car. When they’d parked it we all got out and looked around, and didn’t know which way to go. He said this way, and she said that way, and eventually they agreed and off we set. We didn’t have a map, or anything, just followed paths through fields and forests. It was wonderful – although they slipped and slid around in the mud!

We walked for a long time, and do you know, we didn’t see one car, or one person, or one other animal, just some small birds fluttering about in the hedges. They kept us on the lead because it was a new place and they didn’t know if we’d be safe. We didn’t mind, because it was all new and interesting.

After we’d walked for a couple of hours, they saw a church spire sticking up in the distance, and we knew that we weren’t lost, as we were beginning to suspect, but heading in exactly the right direction.


Last night we really crashed out.
I grabbed the armchair and hung up a “Do Not Disturb – Very Tired Dog” sign, and Tally took over the sofa and folded his legs up in that odd way he has.

We slept like babies, didn’t move all night, and were still asleep when they came down at 9.30 am.

They said we’re going to do it again very soon. We can’t wait, there’s so many places we haven’t been yet and we’re looking for a change from our usual walks. But next time perhaps we won’t go quite so far – I’m a big chap and don’t have Tally’s stamina. And of course, he’s getting on a bit too.