New year, old beginnings

I don’t normally take much notice of New Year, or bother to make any resolutions. But this January is a special one for me. It means that Edinburgh is the city I have lived in the longest as an adult – longer than Paris (10 months), Prague (3.5 years), Dubai (4 years almost exactly) or, finally, London (4 years 4 months). For some reason that freaks me out a little. It definitely doesn’t feel like I have been here that long. Which is probably related to the two years ‘on pause’ of Covid. In a way that makes me grateful because the city still seems fresh to me. Considering in most other cities I moved on after roughly 4 years, this freshness gives me hope that I might have a few more Edinburgh years left in me. But it does leave me with lots of questions about what I’ll do with those years. Will I be happy with the status quo? After all, I have a secure job, I’ve bought a flat, I’m in a long term serious relationship, I have a solidly established circle of friends. As I move into my forties, these things all seem more and more precious. I still yearn for more though, and it worries me that this is some symptom of capitalist consumerism – the desire for ever more, more stuff, more productivity, more recognition. In 2022 my debut full collection of poetry was published and didn’t really make any waves in the poetry world. I’ve almost given up writing as a result. It feels worthless, if you can toil away for over 14 years and have no impact in the circles which you admire. While I’ve lied to myself that I always wrote for myself alone, my lie is now exposed and I’m a sadder person for it. And that sadness incorporates itself into my daily life. I know if I started writing again I’d feel better, more alive but I need some hope to do that. I planned another book if I could get funding to focus solely on writing that, however having been knocked back twice for funding opportunities my enthusiasm for that project is waning. I wonder if it’s related to reading less, or less attentively – so much of my time is spent doomscrolling whereas when I was younger I always had a book in hand. This is all related as well to my arrival in Edinburgh – I came to complete a Masters in Screenwriting, with the hope of making a career change. However I quickly realised I didn’t have it in me to graft from the bottom up in such a competitive industry. Since then, professionally, I have been treading water, to the detriment of any corporate career I could have resumed. I tell myself I am happy with a lowly admin job, without the pressures of corporate management, but as the cost of living crisis rumbles on, I resent my decisions and think longingly of my inflated Dubai salary. Still again and again, I tell myself to be happy with what I’ve got, to practice gratitude and think of those less fortunate. It’s working for now, but I don’t know for how long it will, now I’ve passed this four year landmark which has typically meant restlessness for me. So if you don’t mind, say a little prayer for me – not all is as rosy as Instagram paints it.



As we disposed of our disposable income

like tissues chucked in the bin after a wank


the amazon packages arrived one after another

large brown bubbles of guilty glee

like froth on a hot chocolate


and we dipped into our overdrafts

like a heron dipping its beak in a scummy pond


even the similes could not save us


we scraped tiny pennies off the floor for the next drink

and then we had to stop drinking completely, what a drag


there came a point where all I could think of was money

and how much I had, how little I had


how quickly it vanished in the first week of the month


and I wondered how they survive those who had

twenty pounds cut from their universal credit


and I defrosted last spring’s soup, and was grateful

that my antidepressants are free in Scotland


and I maxed my credit card with a tattoo deposit

because darling, we’ve only got one life.


On Domesticity

Watched by the skeletons of clothes airers,
I mountaineer up the sofa to water the devil’s ivy.

Bee-hum of the dehumifier, all our hopes pinned
to a spoorless wall, weekly bleached bone.

The mop forlorn by the bathroom door,
a gaunt wizard of cleanliness.

My hands soften in the washing up water
like petals in a puddle after a rainstorm.

So peach soft. Allow me then my forest
of bookcases, and among them the tumeric armchair

glowing like the sun of its own
peculiar solar system. We are caught up

in its orbit like a queen captive in a hive.
But closer to the workers, yes, their daily toil

and blunder. What else to watch – the kaleidescope
of laundry through a tiny porthole.

Feel your hand back to mine. Not trembling.
The solid warmth of a wood stove in October,

bearing all the seasons through.

The Abortion Dress

With all the focus on the possible striking down of Roe vs Wade, I thought I would perform my poem The Abortion Dress from my collection, The Mouth Of Eulalie. The poem is in the voice of my character Juliette but speaks pretty strongly to my first abortion. I’ve been lucky enough to live in countries where abortion is legal when I needed one (twice). I also lived in a country where it wasn’t legal, which was pretty scary.

My first experience wasn’t smooth sailing however as the NHS doctor I saw first treated me pretty badly (called me a stupid girl) so rather than having it on the NHS I paid Marie Stopes. They were as awesome as a provider could be in the circumstances.

You can order my collection at the following link:

First poem in a long time

On borrowing my mother’s swimsuit – Suffolk, 2021

O warbler, calling from the soft
and sodden marsh, tell me it’s not true
that even newly blubbered I cannot fit
neat as a cherry pit in this
blue and yellow flowered suit

Once thin as the reeds of the beds I was
but the lockdown put paid to that
and now I snap lycra on stretchily
over swelling boobs and even more secretly
that strip of cloth that once covered her vulva
covers mine now

the slit of my becoming
and the slit of my being
fused by this nest of cloth

The Bellringing Poet: What’s Keeping Me Busy In Lockdown

I’ve had a lot of trouble concentrating this last period of lockdown. Whereas I wrote almost a whole book in the first lockdown, and read a library of poetry and prose, I am struggling to do anything more than doomscroll in my spare time – and sleep, which without the exercise to tire me out leads more often than not to some crazy dreams.

But I have been somewhat productive in a couple of areas. Firstly, my aunt recently became President of a charity in France called Cancer Support France – Languedoc. They aim to help those anglophones suffering in the region by providing emotional and practical support. You can find out more about them here:

CSF-L are a growing organisation and as such have a lot of processes that require documenting. With my Ops background I volunteered to help them with this project, and have had a lovely time speaking with their volunteer staff to put together some hopefully useful documents. This has saved money they might otherwise have to spend on consultants, and also allowed me to keep my hand in with some customer journey analysis.

The second area is bellringing – for those who don’t know, I am indeed an enthusiastic campanologist. As well as running regular Monday night practices on the virtual platform Ringing Room, I’ve now agreed to come on board with a Scottish Association working group looking at recovery post-Covid. It’s a broad topic and we have some specific challenges here in Scotland, but I’m very excited to work on it. More information on the Scottish Association and on bellringing can be found here:

A Covid Poem

The year we watched the death tolls rise

I read some books, I stayed inside

I worked from home, I watched some films

I skyped my family from the realms

of my four walls – each week we said

Thank God none of us have had it yet

I wore a mask out to the shops

I panic-bought, but not a lot

On the news an old man couldn’t buy eggs

I cried the eyes out of my head

For him and all the others shielding

Later Bake Off and Noel Fielding

Soothed my anxious brain to numbness

But still the thought that I had done less

Than I could have to help others

Kept me restless between the covers

My drinking grew steadily out of hand

Some nights, well, I could barely stand

The mornings cracked on like a whip

As I tried to forget all of it

Poems no solace, nor was sex

Yet I couldn’t say I was depressed

The fugue was blanketing but hope

Remained there like an outflung rope

I called my friends, I hugged my partner

I tried to my hardest to remember

I was lucky – I survived

The year we watched the death tolls rise.

For Louis on his balcony, en ecoutant du jazz

This is one of several poems I wrote simultaneously in French and English. You can choose which version you prefer.

Monaco sun

over impossible blue bay


Soleil monégasque

sur une baie de bleu impossible


if those moored yachts

were my vertebrae


si ces yachts amarrées

étaient mes vertèbres


you could run your fingertip down them


tu pourrais glisser ton doigt là-dessous

No two seas own

the same colour


Aucunes mers possèdent

la même couleur


the mediterranean’s got

a golden glint


la méditerranée porte

un lueur d’or


like a pirate’s tooth

Flash me that smile


comme une dent de pirate

Jette-moi cette sourire


Even my bone’s marrow tenses

against your absence


Même ma moelle osseuse se tend

contre ton absence


restless tides pulled

to a distant moon


marées inquiètes attirées

par une lune distante


invisible in brilliant daylight


invisible dans un soleil brillant

What’s New, Pussycat?

So I thought I’d try and update this old site and make something shiny and sparkly new as I am trying to find a publisher for my next pamphlet. First order of business is the excellent news that I have four poems in the new Spring 2020 issues of Poetry Wales. Thanks a million to Jonathan Edwards for choosing them. You can pre-order your copy here:

What else is new? Well since, 2015 which is when I think my last post was, quite a lot!! I’ve moved to Edinburgh, done a Masters in Screenwriting and started a job at University of Edinburgh. It was sad to leave Dubai but it was the right time. I’ll never forget the great times I had in the sandpit.

In memory of Dubai, here is my poem We Live In Water, which was published in the now-defunct Hinterland magazine:

We Live In Water


Dubai is merpeople

in neon fringed bikinis


no tails required

slick-skinned revellers


flitting between pool and plage

to finish in chromy towers


where we swallow as much

as we swim in…


Don’t tell me you don’t want

our poolside passionfruit vodka


don’t tell me you don’t want

our beaches that turn to nightclubs


our limitless champagne brunch

I won’t believe you


I never believed you

that’s why I came