It’s been a long time since I wrote a newsletter. We moved in to our new house in Cambridge at the end of October and now that we’re quite settled, and our house in Manchester is sold, I can turn round and survey exactly how little writing I’ve been doing over the last few months. The truth is that I’ve done almost none. This cannot continue and I’ve started this year full of good resolutions, the first of which is to get my adult novel up to scratch and also to write a children’s book that’s been in my mind for some time.
Cambridge is…well, to anyone who knows it, I don’t have to tell you about the beauty and the history and the general delighfulness of the place, but from our point of view, we love our house and I’m delighted by being within walking distance of Waitrose and on the route of a very good bus which seems to go everywhere we need to go. We have a bigger garden here than we had in Manchester and are only five minutes away on foot from an excellent garden centre. I’ve not experienced garden centres before and now understand how easy it is to get hooked on them. I’ve found a good hairdresser in Great Shelford (very important!) and I’m happy to have a brand-new library in the village that’s small but modern and very well-stocked. I’ve joined the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum and I also intend to take up yoga again. Manchester was a huge and vibrant city and I was very happy there, but I’m now loving this smaller and gentler place. Walking round the shops in town is a real pleasure and though we haven’t exactly explored the surroundings thoroughly yet, mainly on account of the bad weather, we intend walks along the river from Grantchester to Cambridge and also round the colleges which I still have to get to know properly. I’ve made contact with several writers and also with a beloved editor I used to know many years ago. I keep in touch with old friends on email and am enjoying the process of making new ones.
I have a book coming out from Orchard Books in April. It’s the sequel to THE BALLET CLASS and LITTLE BALLET STAR and it’s called MY BALLET DREAM in which Tutu Tilly takes part in her first recital. Shelagh McNicholas has, as always, done lovely illustrations for the story.
I’ve not done any school visits since September on account of moving and I have none scheduled at the moment. I am still getting the odd invitation from the Manchester area, and I hope that once news of my move gets about, I’ll get some from around here. I’m happy to go into schools in Cambridge and hereabouts and libraries too, though I recognize that money is very scarce and the dreaded cuts are looming. I would be happy to do anything to help libraries in my area and beyond.
I am once more chairing the Judging Panel for the Lancashire Book of the Year award and will report more on the meetings in the next newsletter.