I served a long apprenticeship. I started writing as a child, and sold my first story at 35. Ten years later I was a full-time pro. In the last 30 years I have written everything from TV drama to company histories, novels to wedding speeches. My latest project? A stage musical. So this blog is a record of one jobbing writer's never-ending attempts to keep the wolf from the door.
Holidays in May? Check the weather. (Memories of a Pyrenean hike)
We’re about to take off for a two-week trip to Croatia and Bosnia. We start with a couple of
days’ travel on trains and boats (Durham, London, Paris, overnight to Milan,
and down to Ancona before taking an overnight ferry across the Adriatic to
Split. After a couple of days’ rest we set off on a seven-day stretch of the Via
I’m hoping the weather is kinder than on some of our
previous May holidays. In 2008 we set off to hike a stretch of the long-distance path that traverses the Pyrenees from France
We departed the little town of Foix
in decent enough weather, climbing through the foothills and fondly imaging this was going to be the proverbial walk in the park:
As we climbed higher, things deteriorated:
At first we rather enjoyed the high mountain scenery. It’s pretty, isn’t
it? Especially when we were able to lunch under the lee of a rocky overhang
and absorb views like this:
But it wasn’t long before we encountered some seriously
I vividly recall staggering up to that ridge, sideways, thigh-deep in the snow, and wondering what the hell awaited on the other side. Mercifully, there was the odd spot of grey amid the white. And before long we started to see the occasional sign of spring:
But, faced with weather like this as we set off next morning, I
still felt daunted
However, the thing with the mountains is, they are always going
to surprise you. Two nights later, we had this hut to ourselves – cast-iron cooking pot, open
hearth, a saw with which to cut our firewood, and of course an utterly fabulous morning, of the kind you will only find if you take the risk of venturing out into the wilderness.
throws up one or two moments like this we’ll be more than happy.