Life with The Grey

My life with my husband, Tony, (or The Grey, as I call him) in Suffolk.

  • Why Celebrate International Women’s Day?

    Apparently this question is going to be answered today on International Women’s Day. Do we not already know the answer? Erna Solberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister since 2013, said on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour recently: ‘We have a way to go before we have gender balance in this world.’ We all know that women have had to fight for basic rights in the past; to vote and to have equal status and pay. But today: Only a quarter of Boris’s cabinet is female (Blair had a third female representation) Less than 24% of the Conservative MPs are women – and given the culture of parliament and the family-unfriendly hours MPs…

  • How does a writer survive lockdown?

    Ups and downs – plenty of drama – laughter and sadness. Here we are in our third lockdown in the UK and just about a year into this pandemic. A time to reflect and look back at how we have survived lockdown so far. Have you flourished as a writer in lockdown and gushed with creativity? Or is lockdown sending us quietly mad and giving us writer’s block? For me, as a writer in lockdown, it has been a roller coaster of emotions and overall, I find confinement claustrophobic and slightly crazy making. Not sure why I said slightly, there? I have realised that I am a libertarian who loves…

  • January: 15 beats and a New Story has begun

    January – arguably the longest month of the year – is done. So, I’m very pleased that I managed to buckle down to producing my next novel. Firstly, using the text: Save The Cat Writes a Novel, I designed my 15 beat storyline. (Huge thanks to Kate of katefranciswrites ) for recommending this gem. Boy was it hard in parts. Creating my main character, my hero and giving the poor woman oodles of flaws felt quite cruel but it had to be done! 15 Beats Then came the 15 beats and what struck me here was that things are bad, then disaster strikes, then things might seem to be going…

  • Healthy recipe with sardines

    Me being inventive with Sardines

    I had some fresh sardine fillets in the freezer and decided it was time to cook them. Something healthy after the excesses of Christmas. I looked up some recipes for ideas and ended up making my own recipe. It was like I was doing the invention test on Masterchef! Anyway, I am pleased to report that the results were yummy! The Grey concurred. So here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it. Serves 2 Pretty quick to make Ingredients Sardine fillets 1 Onion finely chopped 1 Clove Garlic finely chopped Mushrooms 4 or 5 White wine – a generous glug Chicken stock or Veggie if that’s your persuasion dissolved…

  • August Newsletter

    August was a surprisingly lovely month for me. Visiting my mother in Seaford – the first time we had come face to face since before lockdown – was a lot of fun and it was so great to take her out to enjoy the fresh air. She lives in a lovely part of Sussex and my favourite place, that I always make a point of visiting, is the beautiful village of Alfriston which sits in the Cuckmere Valley. My best loved shop is Objet Trouvé, where you can find all sorts of brilliant and unusual things: usually of no practical value but guaranteed to be a talking point. And, this…

  • July Newsletter

    Reflections of a Writer July – the month we were set free from our homes Embed Twitter YouTube Facebook Instagram WordPress SoundCloud Spotify Flickr Vimeo Animoto Cloudup Crowdsignal Dailymotion Imgur Issuu On 4th July – our release date – I floated dreamily through Bury St Edmunds going into shops, socially distancing myself from other libertarians. Many people smiled at me and I smiled back. We had a shared understanding of what we were feeling. Free. It was legal to go shopping other than for food. We were able to go to a café for the first time in months and dear reader, probably the most significant change for me, the…

  • Over fifties to self-isolate – huh!

    On Sunday morning I had a very rude awakening! I was listening, bleary eyed to my go-to radio station, Times Radio, when the female presenter airily commented that over 50s were going to have to shield. I suspect she was under 50 and not bothered about who she upset. But believe me I was suddenly wide awake and angry! This government have got a lot wrong but I’ve refrained from criticising them because this pandemic is an unprecedented situation and presents very difficult challenges. But when I heard this ageist announcement, I was ready to write to Boris! To decide that all over fifties are more likely to get and…

  • Domestic Goddess or Fed up with cooking?

    Did you enjoy cooking in lockdown?

    Or did it become a daily chore? I enjoy cooking. I like trying new recipes, as those of you who know me, are already aware. Every now and then I produce a meal and The Grey asks, worthy of a photo? And it ends up on Facebook and Instagram. I often end up sending the recipe to one of my followers. But during lockdown the whole eating thing started to become a chore It was day after day, evening after evening, the question, what shall we have for dinner? became eternal and prompted a long sigh. I began sharing ideas with friends: local restaurants doing take-aways (including Friday night curry);…

  • Lockdown – great news for a writer?

    As the norm for me is working from home in my room with a river view, the idea of being confined to barracks shouldn’t faze me. So I told myself. Lots of time to get on with work. My weekly pilates class at Kersey Mill with coffee after is reduced to an hour on Zoom. (Plus fiddling about a bit beforehand and trying to get the camera facing me or the mat.) So much more time for writing! What I quickly came to realise is that having the freedom to roam is all part of the creative experience. A walk round the village every now and then was nice but…

  • Rom-coms: so much better now they feature oldies!

    I found myself watching the American Rom-Com – You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan the other day. That’s lock-down for you. It wasn’t bad. Kept me interested – amused even. If you haven’t seen it, or, you watched it when it came out in 1998 read on.. A quick reminder of the plot Meg Ryan owns the cute little Shop Around The Corner in New York offering personal service and children’s story telling. Tom Hanks is a member of the Fox family who own the large chain store Fox Books – and guess what they are building a mega store just up the street from little shop.Meanwhile…