52and40/23 The Selfsame Well


A friend died recently.  She was my writing teacher first (and my first writing teacher).

I can trace roads from everything I’ve had published in the last two years to Helen, her guidance at every way-marker.  Even with this map I’m disorientated; floundering in comprehending such a special woman being gone.


In grief, all roads lead inevitably to my Mum.  Every funeral a little her funeral, too.  Profound losses only comforted by the extreme gratitude for having shared some of the world with extraordinary people’s smiles and stories.

Joy and sorrow, innit?


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52and40/18 National Treasure


A treasure trail of research lead me to Jessie Kesson and now I can’t believe her name wasn’t always part of my frame of Scots reference.

Jessie was born in 1916 Inverness to a loving single mum who worked as a prostitute and knew challenge intimately.  At eight, Jessie was relocated to a children’s home in Aberdeenshire and denied further education because of her background.  By the end of her life in 1994, Jessie was a London novelist, playwright and producer of Woman’s Hour.

The bits in-between?  She told her stories.


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52and40/7 Revise, Run, Roll Again


Dear Sixty Year Old Me,

Saturday was that day of sliding down a long snake after a clear climb on a few recent ladders.

You felt low afterwards. Low and relieved.  Relieved because I wasn’t chosen to read out.  Two hours after emailing the intro to my submission to the novel writing workshop I could see holes in it, after all.  Huge holes.

Leerdammer through a telescope holes.

Here, forty eight hours later, I dare say I’ll stand up for attempt 654 of trying to birth this goddamn story.

Say you’re laughing?





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