About Me

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On the bright side of the road
Lover of the written word, always writing and dreaming of that coveted book deal.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Wonderful World, Beautiful People


Chicken Eve
 You never know what life's going to hit you with.  One minute you're driving home from work, singing along to a Caro Emerald CD that one of your very bestest friends gave to you, remembering good times shared with her and anticipating sharing a glass of chilled white wine with your husband when you arrive home.  Life is good, you're enjoying the rhythm of it, embracing the world, in love with life and just so glad to be in this moment.

And the next minute you're in trouble.  You and a car are approaching a T-junction from opposite directions.  You can see the car approaching you, it is indicating to turn right and is slowing down, but just as you reach the junction, it speeds up and turns right....right into your path.  You have no time to react, all you can see is the car in front of you and you know immediately that you will hit it.  You are aware of several bumps and jolts, you want it to stop, it is hurting you and your headlights focus on a road sign and you ready yourself for what must be a large impact but the final impact comes seconds sooner as your car is halted by the steep grassy bank.

The seat belt has you rooted to your seat, the air bag has exploded and the car is full of smoke and the smell of burning.  Caro Emerald is still singing wildly, inappropriately for the moment.  You can't breathe, the pain in your chest is too great but you must get out of the car.  You can't move your left arm to unclip the seat belt and you try to open the car door but your right arm feels weak.  The door is jammed.  You see people on the road, you can smell smoke and you call feebly for help, you don't want to burn, you want Caro to stop but you don't know what to do, you are helpless.

And then a lady is urgently tugging and tugging at the driver's door, she is frantic and as soon as it opens you feel relief as she gently takes control.  Her voice is soothing and she tells you it will be OK, she stops Caro and phones your husband.  You can't move your neck or your chest and you can't see what's going on around you.  The lady's husband comes to help and supports your neck until the ambulance arrives because you can't hold your head up any longer.  You want to vomit, but you can't move.  The kindness of these strangers is overwhelming and a river of tears runs soundlessly down your face.  Everywhere hurts, you want to go home and your husband arrives, and the ambulance and the police and you are looked after and feel safe but your eyes won't stop streaming, you're not crying, not sobbing, but the tears won't stop.

Miraculously no-one was seriously hurt - the driver and passenger of the other car were checked out by the paramedics and taken home.  I was taken to hospital, thoroughly checked out, left leg stitched up and home again in time for bed.  A month on and I'm well on the mend - I still have aches and bruises but I will be fine.

Sadly, my little Mini has been written-off.  I'm still so thankful that my injuries weren't more serious but I miss my Chicken Eve.  She was a fabulous gift from my husband some eleven years ago, and he has put so much love and care into keeping her lovely for me during that time.

So will I get another Mini?  I'm not sure.  Nothing can replace Chicken Eve and I have yet to return to work.  I am still trying to adjust - I had a horrid accident, but I will never forget how kind everyone has been to me....how brave that lady was to wrench open the car door (she said that she, too, thought the car was on fire but apparently the smoke was simply the air bag chemicals), her husband, the ambulance team, the police, hospital staff, insurance companies, DVLA, the garage, physiotherapist, GP........and my family and friends who have sent me cards and flowers and affirmed my joy in life.

The outcome of that one moment, that small lapse in concentration of a complete stranger could've been so much worse and my life changed irrevocably (or even ended).  I know it sounds dramatic, but I've had a month to ponder how such seemingly small acts can have such life-changing consequences.  The memory of the accident will stay with me for a long time, but I was incredibly lucky that day, and I was cared for by some beautiful people......and that's what I'm going to hang on to.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Autumn Joy

The past few days have been glorious.  A bit blustery perhaps but with lovely blue skies and a nip in the air.  Autumn is on its way.

Spring and Autumn are the seasons of anticipation:  Spring obviously so.  An end to drab winter it is all about drama and colour.  Buds burst and birds nest with a frenetic activity bordering on mania.   Like an unruly child, Spring tumbles over itself and charges ahead, unaware of its impact on all it touches.  Spring is fickle, a temptress seducing with hot days and then snow; new life emerges only to be frozen and withered.  Spring is vain:  she competes with Summer and sets her up to fail.  Early hot spells convince the bods at the Met Office that Summer will bring a heat-wave – but she rarely does.

On the other hand, Autumn has a measured approach.  She steps in when Summer begins to wane and has given up trying to deliver all that was promised by Spring.  Autumn is steady, solid.  She gives us warm days to enjoy and cool nights to sleep.  She turns the air fresh so that being outside is a joy.  The wind rushes through our hair and our cheeks glow as Autumn embraces us, asking us to be part of this season and be at one with her.

Autumn doesn’t shout, she is not garish or bold.  She is confident and kind, content to calmly go about her business without the need for fanfare or promises.

Autumn turns the trees into beautiful colours of reds and golds and gives us conkers and leaves to swoosh our feet through.  There are bonfires and fireworks and Christmas fairs……..and she gently leads us, gently prepares us for the dark, cold days and nights of winter.

I love all the seasons – they each have their charm.  But Autumn’s got my heart.

Right, think I’ll put my boots on and head out for a walk.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Living a Life of Luxury

‘I have lavished money these last three months upon the cottage, adding a water-supply, a bath, a boiler, bookshelves, a bathing pool (a tiny one, but splashable into): all the luxuries of the earth.  Also I have thrown out of it the bed, the cooking range: and ignored the lack of drains.  Give me the luxuries and I will do without the essentials.’  T E Lawrence, 21 December 1933

Oftentimes I have bemoaned the fact that everyday life gets in the way of my yearning to write.  First of all, there’s the day job (which, frankly, I need in order to pay the bills) and then there’s all the accoutrements of living family life such as shopping, cooking and cleaning (thankfully I am blessed with Lovely Hubby (LH) who certainly does more than his fair share around the house!).  Sometimes I’ve wondered what it would be like to shrug off the conformity of my life and to truly live as I would like, without compromise and to spend time on the things I really want to do.  But is that really what I want? 

I recently visited Clouds Hill, retreat and home to T E Lawrence during the last years of his life.  Lawrence of Arabia is legendary, in part thanks to Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif, yet his home doesn’t match the size of the legend.  It’s basically a two up/two down cottage, not very pretty but with the bonus of hiding in the beautiful Dorset countryside.  Lawrence wanted to escape from everyday life, which he was certainly able to do at Clouds Hill.

Lawrence appeared to have been an eccentric character.  As he didn’t much like cleaning and had no taste for food he chose to have no toilet or kitchen in his house.  I don’t like to think where he carried out his bodily functions but apparently food was eaten straight from the tin and the empty cans buried in the garden.  Sometimes he’d eat at a local cafe but I think guests were treated to the eating-from-the-tin experience.

Lawrence wasn’t encumbered by lots of belongings either, apart from his collection of 2,000 or so books.  Money was tight for him but if he particularly wanted an item he commissioned the best:  he indulged his love of music by buying the best gramophone players of the time and installed a state of the art system for supplying hot water for his bath.  And yet he had no curtains at the windows, no dining table, no electricity (although this was not unusual for rural Dorset at that time), sparse furnishings – not to mention the toilet!

In short, Lawrence pleased himself.  He lived alone and made concessions to no-one.

Now I’ve seen what it can be like, I’m not so sure.  I quite like my toilet and meals around the table.  And I suppose it would be lovely to have a bespoke book room – but at the price of curtains?  Yes, life can appear dull living around the 9-5 routine and trying to squeeze in dreams and aspirations.....but in some strange way I rather like it.  Life is a compromise, no matter what you choose to do.

It was lovely to visit Clouds Hill and to admire T E Lawrence’s eccentricity, but back in my world…..well, it’s back to the washing up for me (or maybe I should just bury it all in the garden?).


A word of warning – there are no toilet facilities here!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Addicted

I have to admit that I wasn't a huge fan of Amy Winehouse in a personal way. I have her album 'Back to Black' which I think is superb. She has a strong, sultry voice which delights my ears in the same way that a cup of dark Costa Rican coffee warms my throat. I don't want it all the time, but when I do, I know my senses will be stimulated. But however much I love her voice, I would have never paid to see her perform as the press gleefully reported on Amy no-shows or an Amy so drunk she could not remember her words....or even pretend to remember them.


And therein lies the problem. Because Amy had so much press coverage I felt I knew her. She was depicted as an out of control young woman who was constantly drunk or drugged up. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't - I don't know. And to be honest, it's none of my business. Amy's death has provoked all sorts of people to voice their feelings on her demise - and usually in a rather smug way. Facebook is full of venom about how she 'brought it on herself' and 'deserved' an early death.


I remember several years ago the same was said of Paula Yates. The media storm surrounding her death was incredible and I felt moved to write a letter to the Independent newspaper stating that compassion was required. No, I didn't know Paula Yates, either - I'm not part of the rock crowd, just a middle-aged mum who works a normal nine to five. Funnily enough, though, I did meet Paula in my teens when the Boomtown Rats were fairly big and she attended Tiffin Boys School Summer Fete in Kingston upon Thames along with boyfriend Bob Geldoff, Pete Briquette (my heart-throb at the time) and Johnnie Fingers (he'd ditched the pyjamas and was in normal attire as they were there as normal people, not celebrities).


Paula Yates wasn't famous at that time and as I was the gobbiest of my two friends, I walked up to Mr Geldoff and asked him for his autograph (I still have my Tiffin School fete programme to this day!). He graciously obliged as did Johnnie and Pete (swoon). Paula drifted into the background and sat on a wall, observing the scene as hoards of teenagers attacked the threesome armed with pens and programmes. Paula looked like a normal girl out at a local fete and to be honest, she looked ticked off. I had scuppered their plans of enjoying a nice afternoon out and now her boyfriend and gang were having to sign autographs when they obviously had been out incognito (otherwise I'm sure that Johnnie would've worn his pyjamas). Yes, she looked a bit menacing - but that's how we all wanted to look being Punk and New Wave fans.


I didn't know Paula Yates and I didn't know Amy Winehouse. But through today's intrusive press coverage and the general public clamouring for information about the famous, watching the demise of talented people has become a circus show. As the Victorians used to take tours around lunatic asylums, so today the masses want to see fallen 'celebrities' on the front of their tabloids so they can sit and gloat, smug in the knowledge that they 'brought it upon themselves'.


This aspect of human nature both sickens and saddens me. The mind is a fragile organ and sometimes it breaks or becomes weary. I myself am not an alcoholic, nor do I take non prescription drugs - the idea of losing total control scares me. So I have absolutely no idea what it must feel like to be held in the grips of addiction. Maybe Amy was using drugs and alcohol as a means of escape or perhaps it was supposed to be a fun time gone wrong. Who knows? And that's exactly the point. Who is qualified to judge?

As in the case of Paula Yates, I think that Amy Winehouse's death should be treated with compassion. I hope that I never have to beat an addiction, but if I do, I would hope that people want me to succeed and not gleefully watch me fall.


NB - For all the smugs out there - the results aren't in from toxicology yet as to the cause of death.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

.......other things in my life

It's no secret that writing and reading are my passions but there is more to me than that.  I am passionate about my family and about my friends; I love nature, art, dance, yoga, birds, insects, animals, trees, gardening, food, laughter, the rain and snow, a deep blue sky with puffy white clouds, tea with milk and coffee with cream........but one of my biggest loves is my Mini Cooper, lovingly called Chicken Eve.

The Mini event season is here and as always, other commitments prevent me from attending all I would like but a couple of weeks ago I took part in the annual London to Brighton Mini run for the eleventh time!  You may think it would become boring but every run is different, admittedly some more enjoyable than others, but all hold special memories.....like the time we had torrential rain and nearly blew the electrics, or the day we snoozed on the beach and got sunburned.  My all time favourite is when it fell on my birthday and lovely hubby texted XFM on our way to Crystal Palace (at circa 4.30 am) and asked the DJ to play 'Happy Birthday Jane' by the Enemy.  The DJ read out the text and although the song wasn't on his playlist, he did make a good substitute.

I had a recent discussion with friends about finding the time for particular pursuits.  The general consensus appeared to be that it is important to maintain focus on one project in order to do it well.  I do agree with this, but only to a point.  Most things in my life are so important to me and in order to fit them all in I continually juggle and my priorities fluctuate - I try to go with the flow.  When I don't, I become stressed and then everything seems to jar and I lose my internal rhythm.

Interestingly, my favourite fictional characters are ones who have many facets and who surprise and inspire me.  I try to create my own characters as real, living people with their own quirks, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes.  In order to do this, I still live my life - writing is just one of my passions and without the rest, my writing would be one dimensional.  My other pursuits expose me to external influences and stimuli - so important for good writing.

So it may take me longer than planned to complete my novel, but I hope my writing will be richer and my characters more human through my love of being a participant rather than a spectator tapping away at the keyboard.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Spot the Seashells?

I'm back!  Returned safe and sound!  Not quite back to normality yet (no return to the day-job till Tuesday) and still very much in holiday mode, even though I've come back to an avalanche of laundry, the house to clean, garden to weed, bills to pay, etc, etc.

I had a great trip and thoroughly enjoyed my camping experience, even though I only slept for a total of four hours on the first night for fear that the tent would blow away!  The second night was much better as I was exhausted and not even a hurricane would have awakened me from my slumber.  And now I sit here, at my computer, yearning to get back to my novel but with one niggling question.  Where were all the seashells?

It has been some years since I visited the Isle of Wight and I'm really pleased that I decided to pay a brief visit while working on my novel.  You see, my title is The Book of Shells and one of my main characters is an avid collector of seashells.  Such a lovely and rewarding hobby.  And yet, I found just one seashell during my visit (that is, excluding ones found for sale in gift shops).  So where are all the seashells?  Did my character collect them all thus leaving none for modern day visitors?  All the beaches I visited comprised sand, pebbles and shingle.  The Book of Shingle?  or The Book of Pebbles?  Mmm - not quite the same, is it?

On the plus side, the library at Newport had quite a healthy collection of local history books and I have pages of notes that will help me with the background.

But the seashells?  It's a conundrum I shall have to solve.  So it's back to plotting before I can really get into the writing.  Wish me luck.

NB - If anyone has any ideas on how to get around the absence of seashells, I'd be interested to hear.  One kind person has offered:  The Book of Shell-Suits - I'm relieved to say that I didn't see one single shell-suit on the island either!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Pitcher Perfect

With not long to go till the happy Island of Wight event and with a change in the weather, I couldn't wait any longer and decided to camp in the back garden.  My excuse was that I needed to try pitching the tent alone and to ensure that my new sleeping bag was warm enough.  The reality was that I just couldn't wait!

So, on the Friday evening when I got home from work I set about erecting the tent despite continuous interruptions from family who couldn't seem capable of coping alone:  'Mum, I can't find the tomato ketchup - can you help me?' or 'Mum, I think the computer's on fire' (well not quite that, but there were strong enough reasons to make me traipse back into the house, diverted from the task in hand).

It was getting dark by the time I'd finished and I couldn't wait to get into my sleeping bag and read by torchlight.  I had visions of spending a peaceful night in solitude... I lasted until 2.30 am!  Something snuffling around the tent perimeter awoke me and as I lay there pondering on what the large creature (I couldn't see it, but it just had to be large) could be, cold fear started to take hold.  'Right, pull yourself together,' I thought, but unable to return to the sleepy Land of Nod I decided to pop back into the house for the loo.  As I opened the zip from the bedroom into the lounge (it's only a small tent but I like to pretend it is a grand affair) my sleepy eyes in the semi-darkness made out a pair of large men's shoes facing me.  To say I froze would probably be an understatement - I think I started to jabber away in fear before realising they were my husband's old trainers that I'd borrowed to walk across the grass the night before.

I made it back to the house in one piece and gazed in trepidation at the tent looming in the dark.  I'd given it a go and proved I was a perfect pitcher - no point in labouring the point after all, so I spent the rest of the night in my cosy bed - away from predators.


  


Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Island of Wight

It's a long time since I visited the Isle of Wight and as this is the location for my novel-in-progress I think it's about time I revisited to refresh my memory.

I've booked a few days off work after Easter (and thanks to all the lovely Bank Holidays this is giving me a whoppping eleven days off work!) and have decided to spend a couple of days on the Isle immersing myself in the air that is 'worth sixpence a pint', according to Tennyson.  I have decided to (a) dump family and friends so as to allow total devotion to my research and (b) camp to allow total disconnection from my usual life.  I am sure that this total change and immersion in surroundings will do wonders for me-and-my-novel and I hope to return refreshed, brimming with ideas and a notebook filled with jottings and plans.

So while I am filled with excitement at making my plans (off to buy a new sleeping bag tomorrow), I'm not shirking working on the novel.  A draft and synopsis are in place and I am now working on detailed chapter plans - on schedule to complete the first three chapters by the end of June.

The Island of Wight is a very special place for me, which is perhaps why I have chosen it as the location for my novel.  It was the place we took our children for our first family holiday and my young son used to say with wonder in his eyes:  'We're going to the Island of Wight' to anyone who asked where we were going for our holiday.   So for me, it will never be simply an Isle - it is the magical Island of Wight.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

My Butterfly Mind

I'm in love with writing.  Everything about it is delightful.  And I love to read.  Read words so cleverly composed that they trickle and gel to create a watercolour that undulates and flows, flirting with my emotions and shamelessly seducing my senses.  Words are magical and intoxicating, frivolous and deep.  Words can be what you want them to be.  Pain and anguish or light and free.  The writer chooses the words and their order, it is for the reader to plunge into those words and to be carried by the stream.

I’m in love with writing.  I love to write short stories and epic adventures, articles and reviews.  My mind flutters over each idea and, as a butterfly gently drinks from a daisy only to be distracted by the black-eyed Susan and the columbine, I drift between my characters and their stories, changing tack in the breeze, never staying too long but always moving on.  Of course, this flighty activity means I rarely finish a project.  I have pages of works in progress or finished bar the final edit, but another character will call, claiming ownership on my limited time and my fluttering mind.

I’m in love with writing.  Everything about it is delightful:  from conversing with my characters to dreaming up plots.  I fall in love with my creations, argue with them and cry.  But I never stay too long for other characters await the brush of my mental wings.

I’m in love with writing.  A clean piece of paper and an ink pen seduce.  The virginal sheet sits patiently waiting, the ink pen poised ready to leave its mark.  The fusion of the two can create a beautiful piece of prose or something dark and sinister.  It is for me to decide.  I submit to the fluttering in my mind and let the thoughts take control of the tool.  They tumble out onto the page, trembling and deliberating, gaining confidence and gelling, creating a union so tight I feel heady.

At last the beating wings are spent and for a while my mind is still.  But soon a character will call and the wings softly stir.  I’m in love with writing.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

A Face for the Radio


I had my first taste of PR on Thursday:  Writebulb was invited to attend the Essex Book Festival launch at Chelmsford Library.  Sadly only three of the founders could attend (Kate has just started a new job so couldn't take the time off work) but we still muddled through!  It was quite a nerve-wracking experience with labels stuck on us and radio producers counting us down...and lots of people looking at us as if we were celebrities!  It was a very strange experience but incredibly good fun.  The folks at Chelmsford Library and the BBC Essex team were so warm and friendly and did their best to put us at our ease.  It was great - and much more fun than the day job!

We were given a writing challenge to perform which was read out on air by the first Essex Storytelling Laureate, Mike Dodsworth (http://www.mikedodsworth.com/) who was fantastic.  Our writing challenge was to write a love letter to the county of Essex and we had just 40 minutes to complete it.  It is the first time that the three of us (Stu, Brigid and myself) have collaborated on anything and we all have very different styles of writing.  The piece we produced was certainly very different from something I would have produced alone - but I'm sure the others feel that way, too.  It was a huge learning curve in writing quickly and a great team effort - something that I would like to explore further within Writebulb meetings.  I think we can all learn from collaborating with other writers of differing styles.

After our 15 minutes of fame I met the lovely Joanna Trollope http://www.joannatrollope.com/ - gosh, what an amazing lady.  She was so kind and gracious...I am definitely in awe!  I also met Guy Saville, a new author who spent lots of time chatting with us and giving us insights into the publishing world - very scary (not Guy!)  Such a lovely man who has promised to speak at one of our meetings on the proviso that we supply him with chocolate biscuits!

And so I give you Writebulb's Love Letter to The County of Essex:

To my gorgeous county Essex,

I dreamt of you last night. As we walked together along the endless coastline, I admired your gently undulating countryside, and your outstanding areas of natural beauty.

You turned to me and said "are my curves bigger than Norfolk?" and I replied that you are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. My heart revs for you like the boy racers on Southend seafront.

We talked about Dick; both Turpin and Moby, but couldn't decide which one to dine in.

As I awoke I realised that my interest in you is not just scientific, like your salty marshes. I'd serenade you like Olly Murs, and pen the story of our love like Martina Cole. I know you like a villain.

No other county compares to you. I can lose myself in you and be everything I am, for I have seen the real you.

Do not doubt yourself. I love the way you look in your stilettos. Your costume jewellery shines in the night, like the lights of Bas Vegas.

I have been around the world and back and, truly, the only way is Essex.

Lots of love and kisses,

Writebulb

Monday, 21 February 2011

Writebulb Logo

How exciting, Writebulb now has its own logo courtesy of my very good friend Gill Sanchez.


Gill is a very busy man – as well as creator of our wonderful logo, he is a talented artist and Mayor of Delmont, Pennsylvania.  From this description he may sound to be a brooding and serious man….not the Gill I know!  He is charismatic and funny......and a true friend (not many of those about these days).

The logo is important to our group as it's another step forward, another building block that cements us together.  We're already talking about the next step - business cards.


All this has had a positive impact upon my writing.  I've critically reviewed my NaNo and concluded it requires a total rewrite.  A year ago this would have been a daunting task and one I felt unable to tackle.  But now, with all the support around me I'm in a positive frame of mind and believe I can do it.  And I will - I have pledged to have the first three chapters completed by the end of June - yikes!

Thanks, Bulbs!  And thanks, Gill!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Last month I read Sister by Rosamund Lupton which is one of the best reads I've had in a long time.  I became immersed in the story and it is one of those books that I was sad to put down at the finish.  I love it when a book can do that to me.

The other day a friend gave me an article she had read in the Daily Mail about Ms Lupton and how Sister was created....and it is such a lovely story.

A housewife with two small children, Rosamund explored ways of going back to work in order to ease the financial burden on her over-worked husband.  Of course, employment had to fit around the children and so it was that she decided to write a book.  After just three chapters she sent it to an agent who liked it.  From there Sister has realised publication, going into the top ten in its first week and remaining there for fourteen weeks.  It has been featured on Radio 4's Book at Bedtime and chosen by Richard and Judy for their Book Club.  And the icing on the cake - film rights have been sold.

I find Rosamund Lupton's story inspiring.  She wanted to write a book, and she did.  No procrastination or hours spent 'studying the market', she just got on and did it.

So what am I waiting for?  I'm heading back to my novel right now.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

writebulb and Essex Book Festival

We had our second Writebulb meeting on Saturday - and we were really chuffed with the posters designed by Chelmsford Library.  It's hard to believe that we officially formed the group on 21st December 2010, have had our second meeting and received so much interest and enthusiasm.

Our next meeting hosts a talk by Penelope Fletcher (of Demon Girl fame) and we are attending the Essex Book Festival Launch on 3rd March.  Added to that, we are attending various Book Festival events around the county.  March will be a busy month for us but incredibly exciting.  Just hope I can continue with editing my NaNo novel - time marches on!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

writebulb

What an exciting start to the year.  One of the fruits of NaNo has been a fast, close friendship with three other NaNoids leading to the creation of a new writing group.  We've been busy setting up our 'constitution', deciding on a name (writebulb), organising our first meeting open to the public, deciding on a logo, setting up a blog (http://write-bulb.blogspot.com) and a Facebook group.  Not bad when we're not quite half way into January.

Chelmsford Library has been incredibly helpful and has offered writebulb a meeting room for the afternoon of the second Saturday of every month.  They publicised our first event (8th January) with posters in the library, information on library ticket receipts and on Twitter.

I didn't think I'd be nervous at all about the event.  Excited, yes.  But on the morning I took twenty minutes agonising over which tea, coffee and paper cups to bring to the meeting - my decision making ability was shot to pieces.  I was scared.  We had no idea how many people to expect, if any.  Writebulb was evolving so fast - from the TGIO party in December to our first public meeting just weeks later.  But we all agreed that if writebulb consisted of just the four of us, that was fine - we like the way we interact with each other.

We'd already had several emails giving interest in the group and a couple of people wanted to join but were unable to attend the meeting.  So how many paper cups to buy?  Four or forty-four?  I opted for what I thought could be a wild possibility of twenty-four.  How close to the mark I was.  On the day we had seventeen of us in the room - hurrah!  A success!

The meeting went really well.  Such a lovely mix of people with very different objectives, genres and interests.  Hopefully they'll come back for our next meeting on 12th February.