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About Me

Things I love

running, slippery black cats, the first sip of champagne, The Big Purple Ones, a book that makes me cry, George Clooney from the front, crispy skin on roast chicken, the horizon, the taste of sea on my skin, the smell of paper and ink in the tight binding of a new book, generosity of spirit, ‘Dirty Dancing’, waking to a blue sky and knowing it will be there all day, and the next, my first Victoria’s Filet Mignon, medium-rare, at Outback’s on Linton after I land at Miami and drive up I-95, laughing ...

Things I hate

falling over, stepping on a snail in the dark, defrosting the fridge, newspaper print on my hands, tripe, mosquitoes, paper cuts, mean-spiritedness, burnt out cars on the motorway, unresolved arguments, a telephone waking me up, rats walking past the back door, getting up at five to drive to the airport, chewing gum stuck under a table, sloppy white in a boiled egg, someone being sick in the seat next to me, Andy Williams singing, I can't keep my eyes off of you, a cat dying in my arms, lies ...

Other things

I was born and grew up in Port Talbot, South Wales, UK but left in 1978 to work in offshore banking in Jersey, Channel Islands. I moved to Kent, UK in 1985 and for twelve years I ran my own second-hand and antiquarian bookshop, Foxed & Bound (the inspiration for my novel The Oven House).

I began writing in 1988, at the age of 30, after discovering Natalie Goldberg's book, Writing Down the Bones, then took a Diploma in Comparative Literature (1990-1993) with the University of Kent, to fill some of the many gaps in my literary knowledge and understanding, before studying for my Master's Degree in Writing at the University of Glamorgan between 1994 and 1996, working with the celebrated Welsh poet Gillian Clarke. 

My first book, The Oven House, was published in 2004 followed by a collection of poetry, Learning How to Fall, in 2005. My latest books include a psycho-geographical account of my hometown in South Wales, Real Port Talbot (2013), and The Hungry Writer (2015), a simmered reduction of my blog of the same name written between 2010 and 2017. 

Since 1985 I have lived in Florida, Barcelona and, between 2007 and 2011, in Antibes in the South of France, where I helped renovate an early 20th century four storey house just 200 metres from Cap d'Antibes and the trickly Mediterranean. I currently live on an apple farm in Kent, with my artist husband, Tony Crosse, not far from the North Downs.

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Popular posts from this blog

Pie, pie glorious pie

So often when we talk about food we are talking about family. In fact that was how the hungry writer blog began, nearly six years ago: weekly memories or life stories linked by the theme of food. Food is nurture and love. It can be celebration and anxiety too. It can also be a battleground, as the parents of young children know so intimately! Which is rather a satisfying segue into the family featuring in this week's blogpost: The Radfords. Because if anyone understands the feeding of children, really, really understands, it has to be Sue Radford who, with her husband, Noel, has 19 children. You can read about the family on their website but don't rush off yet as what I really want to talk about is pie. And specifically Radford's pies.
Noel Radford has been a baker for 25 years and opened his own bakery in 1999 in Heysham, Lancashire and makes pies with locally sourced ingredients. That, along with his skill as a master baker, means that the pictures of the 'filled to t…

Eat, laugh, cry, remember: Baked Camembert

Once, on a holiday in Malta, I dressed Tony up in my gypsy skirt and stretchy white vest, used two satsumas for breasts and made up his eyes and lips with the brightest colours I had with me. Then I took a photograph. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact he seemed quite tickled by the fuss and attention to detail, but the quantity of rosé we’d shared at Snoopy’s restaurant on the seafront in Sliema earlier in the evening might have had something to do with that.

This was 1988. There were no digital cameras for instant viewing (and, praise be, instant deletion). The only instant photographs at the time came courtesy of Polaroid, with their packages of square film and box-like cameras, and slid out of the front of the machine on shiny thick card that everyone huddled over and watched develop. But they tended to be party cameras, appearing at Christmas, birthdays, engagements. You captured your holiday photos on a proper camera, one you had to load and feed film into, then unload and drop off…

The Mythic Biscuit: Oreos

My childhood biscuits were mainly plain but had lovely names: Marie, Nice, Rich Tea. Quiet biscuits. The kind of biscuits that would never interrupt a conversation. Polite, not pushy. At the other end of the spectrum, and only irregularly present, probably a result of practical economics, were cheeky Jammy Dodgers, irritable Garibaldis, and self-contented and reliable Bourbons. And even more irregularly, the flashy inhabitants of a Christmas Box of Biscuits: Pink Wafers. I ate them at the same time as not liking them very much, a bit like Miss World Contestants in sparkly dresses, too much eye make-up and a saccharine idea of world peace. 
I'm in the mood to think, and personify, 'biscuits' because the lovely team at Oreo sent me some samples of their new Oreo Thins. I hadn't heard of Oreos until the early 1990s when a friend asked if I would bring him back a packet from a Florida holiday. I forgot and pretended I couldn't find them. 'But they're everywher…