Friday, June 26, 2009


This weekend is the Glastonbury Festival - which is not that far from where I live - and of course, it's raining. Not gentle rain but determined, strong, wet rain. Glastonbury festival-goers will love it; it's part of the fun, slopping around in mud. I'm glad it's raining because it means I don't have to water the pots or the new fruit trees I put in a while ago. Watering is currently the bane of my life. I do it each evening with a watering can and it's quite an effort carrying a gallon of water to the end of the garden. I really should get a hosepipe.

The sheep seem to have eaten all the grass in the field and so now have moved on. We miss them looking over the gate . I think the younger cat does, too. She didn't quite know what to make of them as she had never been so close to a sheep but it was clear she didn't want them in the garden. Neither did I - but for different reasons.

There are so many things going on in the country at this time of the year. We have a local magazine - we have several - that lists all events everywhere. It covers a huge area. Friends from Somerton suggested a trip to a specialist plant sale near Salisbury that they'd spotted in the magazine. We went on a Sunday and it was there I found new garden furniture. I had been looking for about a year with no luck. As with so many things, when you are not looking you find what you want.

And the rain still falls. Ah, well. I'd better get on with some work. Procrastination is the thief of time, I am told. Yet sometimes, for a writer, it's good because it clears the head of rubbish.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Warm Mornings, Interviews and Journalism.

One of the reasons I really enjoy working from home is that I have unexpected visitors. Because I start very early, it is a welcome break when someone drops by at about ten o’clock and I can stop for coffee. On warm sunny mornings we sit out in the garden and put the world to rights.

Since I moved to Dorset I have done more telephone interviews. I hate them with a passion! You have to look someone straight in the eye for them to trust you and know that you are only going to ask questions about writing and not about murky love lives! There is the problem of ‘the pause’, too. If there is a pause, is the interviewee waiting for the next question or thinking? But, as many other journalists have told me, I can do the interview sitting in my bath robe with wet hair and no-one is any the wiser!

It was almost a disaster when I interviewed the popular American crime writer Michael Connelly. First of all, the telephone developed a loud buzz on every handset so I had to use my mobile to re-schedule the time. Then, when we started to talk he was giving me one word answers. That was probably my fault because I was tired and not asking sensible questions that cannot be answered in a word. It was the end of the day and I think he was tired too but again, this is the trouble with interviewing on the telephone. However, it developed into a really good interview and I enjoyed writing it.

I went to Bridport the other evening to hear my friend Katie Fforde give a talk in the lovely library they have there about her new book, Love Letters. There was a good turnout and some very interesting questions. Afterwards, we went for dinner in The Bull Hotel and Charlotte, the publicity director who was accompanying Katie on her promotional tour, bought us champagne to mark the end of a successful trip.

It reminded me that I am giving a talk about my life as a freelance journalist in a month. I seem to get myself in all sorts of scrapes when things should be so straightforward but I have met some very interesting people over the years.