Friday, 17 December 2010


I've just come back from five days in Marrakech. Hmm, not quite what I expected, to be honest. We stayed in the Kasbah (sounds exotic but wasn't) and the streets were crowded and narrow, full of shops selling everything from soap powder to live chickens. There were motor cycles everywhere and it was difficult to walk through the streets without running the risk of being mown down.

The accommodation was very nice. We stayed in a Riad, which is the name for the many courtyard hotels you find in the old parts of the city. It was strange when we first arrived. The streets were too narrow for the taxi to negotiate so we had to get out and pull our cases the rest of the way until we arrived at a smart door that was the entrance to the Riad. Honestly, you wouldn't know it was there unless you spotted the tiny gold plaque on the wall.

Our room was comfortable and nicely furnished. We had a large bathroom and a balcony to sit on. The Riad became our retreat from the noise, dirt, crowds and general mayhem of the city. We ate in one night and the cook made a couple of tagines for us to try.

Our saving grace was a trip to the coastal resort of Essaoira, a three hour drive away but well worth it. We had a pleasant wander through the streets and stopped for a seafood lunch.

The shopping in Marrakech is good. I particularly love the coloured lanterns you can buy nearly everywhere and the silver jewellery. If it wasn't for the paltry luggage allowance of EasyJet, I would have bought much more.

However, the experience has given me a few writing ideas to develop now I'm back home.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Well, actually,only let it snow at Christmas time. We went out this morning to the local shops, trudging through great drifts of snow as we went. There were a lot of jolly people about, mainly children off school for the day and pulling sledges. The shops were busy with people 'panic buying' as usual. We just got a normal shop with food to last us over the weekend. We were supposed to be going to Essex today but have obviously decided not to travel. If it's not essential, you have to follow advice and stay at home. Nobody in our road went to work this morning and the milkman got stuck for four hours!

What better way to spend the afternoons when you can't go out but get on with THE NOVEL. It now stands at over 30,000 words of mainly serious re-editing but I'm just getting the basics down on paper (or on screen). This might form part of my last assignment for the WB too.

I am now stiif from another afternoon typing away and it's ten past five and time to call it a day, press SAVE and put the laptop to bed. We're having curry tonight - we make ours from scratch - no takeways in this house! We buy all our spices from an Indian supermarket in Southsea because you can't get them anywhere else. The house will smell like an Indian restaurant for days. Delicious.