• One small step for mankind…

    I was thinking about books. They’re made of paper and Amazon usually deliver them in cardboard. Many readers are opting for e-books these days. Either option doesn’t involve plastic. But if you look around your home the amount of single use plastic is frightening. Supermarkets insist on wrapping everything in plastic even vegetables. You can buy three peppers in a plastic bag for about a pound or one loose pepper for about 60p. It just doesn’t make sense. The recent television documentary presented by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani really highlighted what a massive problem plastic is and the devastating effect it’s having on our planet. One of the most…

  • Jerries bombing in daylight!

    It was coming to the end of his lunch break. Guy had persuaded his fellow workers to join him outside the hanger as the sun was shining. They were always a bit more buoyant after a break and a sandwich and were having a quick game of footie with an old ball that Tommy had found. It felt good to run around for a bit. The foreman appeared at the door and Guy looked at his watch; there were a few minutes to go until they had to clock back in. But then he heard aircraft overhead. It was deafening; must have been really close. Jerries! Can’t be. Suddenly there…

  • The Changing Face of Food

    ‘It was Sunday and Molly had decided to follow a recipe for vegetable and oatmeal goulash which had appeared on one of the government information leaflets that had come through the door recently. It talked about ingenious ideas for fooling the taste buds and in this recipe a bit of paprika was meant to deceive you into thinking you were eating meat.’ An excerpt from my novel: The Disenchanted Hero. During WW2 food rationing was introduced as the government knew that it would be harder to import food. Foods like butter, meat, cheese, eggs, milk, tea, jam and even sweets were rationed!Most, like my character Molly, ‘dug for victory’ and…

  • 21st Woman has it all?

    In the recession of the 1930s it was not easy for women to work and only about 30% managed it. Of those nearly a third were in domestic service. The character in my latest novel, Molly Brooks, went into domestic service at the tender age of 15 out of necessity because her family fell on very difficult times. Her father fell ill and lost his shoe-making business which put him and Molly’s mother in the workhouse. Molly and her older brother, Joe, knew they had to get them out and so Molly took a huge risk and travelled from Truro in Cornwall up to London to take a position as…

  • Restoration of body, mind and mantelpiece

    We are blessed with sunny weather here in Suffolk and with a sense of spring in the air I decided it was time to restore the rustic legless mantelpiece we acquired in the Cotswolds last October. When we stumbled across this objet trouvé it was day one of what turned out to be a very rainy trip when we stumbled across an antique shop in Chipping Norton (which The Grey referred to as sodding Norton as the wet week progressed) and spotted what looked like the top section of a Georgian style fire surround with what I read to be £25. Why wouldn’t you? I imagined lovingly restoring it in…

  • The Disenchanted Hero by Gill Buchanan

    A Tribute to Molly

    Molly Hugh was an extraordinary woman and I’d like to remember her on this, International Women’s Day. In 1925 at the tender age of fifteen Molly and her sisters and one older brother were thrown out on the streets with their deaf and dumb parents. Father, Anthony, had become ill and his shoe-making business had fallen on hard times and in one fell swoop they had lost everything. But Molly was not someone to be easily beaten. She had already left school and was working in a local cake shop where she earned very little. She quickly realised she was going nowhere. It was down to her, as the oldest…

  • Ask the Author

    I’ve just added a new section to my website called ‘Ask the Author’ where I’ve described what a writing day tends to look like for me. I’ve also answered these questions: What sort of research do you do for fiction writing? How do you write a novel? Where do you start? If you have any questions you’d like to ask me, please let me know. The page starts like this: What is a Day in the Life of a writer like? I start my day reasonably grumpy and in need of a nice cup of tea. By about 10am or maybe 11am I’ve made it to my desk. This is…

  • Settling in slowly

    The next couple of weeks were a strange mixture of cleaning the Wendy house, moving furniture around to try and make it fit (and failing), wishing we had broadband and venturing out into our new world and thinking wow! On the Saturday we went to The Swan at Lavenham for lunch and sat in their cosy bar area and had delicious battered cod and chips. After we had a saunter round the delightful independent shops and I made a few small purchases.  As we drove back through the beautiful autumnal countryside which was backlit with a pink sunset I decided we’d come to the right place. You really have a…

  • The Big Move

    Suddenly in Suffolk Day zero arrived and we were moving. On a scale of 1 = disorganised and 10 = very organised we were about minus 52. Suddenly there was still lots to pack – elusive stuff that you don’t really notice like coat stands with coats, stuff you use everyday etc.. Luckily the removal guys had had their ‘dealing with neurotic customers’ training and calmly packed the remaining bits with a smile. As each room was stripped bare leaving dusty floors and walls marked where paintings had hung it stopped feeling like home. It’s funny but you are so used to seeing everything in its place from day-to-day that…