Oh Berlin – I did fall in love with you a little bit

Gerry and I are back in London after four lovely and intense days in Berlin. I’m exhausted and excited, happy and inspired after having seen something new. But four days was clearly not long enough to see everything we wanted to see.

I want to go back. I want to get to know the city better. Compared to London Berlin’s crazy cheap. It’s creative, independent and laid-back. I did like it quite a lot more than I thought I would. So, there it is, I think I have a new city-crush.

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To the kid who was bullied on the 67 bus through Dalston at eight on a Saturday morning

We saw what happened to you. We only sat a few seats away. We didn’t do anything, because we didn’t know what to do. Your brother was slapping you around the head, punching you, stealing your oyster card and laughing at you. When we looked angrily at him he suggested that it was your fault that people were staring. I wish I had said something there and then. I wish I had followed you as you got up, swallowing your sobs, walking downstairs. I tried to catch your eye, but your head was bent down, your eyes on the floor.

I wanted to say that you’re a good person. That you don’t have to put up with any of this. What the other kid was doing (because he is only a child) to you is abusive and it’s wrong. It might have something to do with how he himself is being treated at home. His behaviour will not have anything to do with the kind of person you are and everything to do with who he is, his pain, his sorrow which he is acting out towards you.

If there is someone in your circle, an adult, that you can talk to I suggest you talk to them. I hope that you talk to them, because they might be able to help. Maybe they can help remove this person from your life, maybe they can help him with his problems. He is the troubled one you see. That might not be of much help now when you’re caught in his anger cycle, being forced to shoulder his pain. But you don’t have to do any of this. You’re your own person. If you look within yourself perhaps you can find the strength to keep the pain on the outside, to realise that it’s not your pain and it doesn’t have anything to do with you.

You’re a strong little guy. You must have learned how to be strong. Focus that energy on clearing your own path forward. You can be better than this person. You can make a good life for yourself. It might be hard, it might be easy, but only you can do it. There might be words of encouragement or words of scorn along the way. Listen to some of it, but listen mostly to yourself.

It’s not always going to be like this. Life will get better. The storm will pass. Focus on your future. Focus on the things that make you happy. Maybe that’s reading, football or computer games. Whatever it is focus on what makes you feel strong and confident. Somewhere in there you will find your path forward, out of all of this mess. You might look back on this in ten/twenty years time, still feeling the pain, but knowing that everything that’s happen to you has made you the person you are now. You survived, you’re strong, you didn’t give in, you looked adversity in the eye and said “no thank you”, I’m not going to let you break me, I’m going to go my own way.

This is what I hope for you. This is the wish I sent you when I was too shy and unsure of what to say. There are people out there rooting for you.

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So… how’s the writing going?

Image via pinterest.

I thought I’d answer a question I get asked sometimes these days. I’m asked this because I’ve told some people (a few people, too many people!?, people on this blog) that I’m working on a book. It’s really nice that friends ask me about my writing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not pretty bad at answering the question. In my head I sometimes still equate saying I’m writing books with saying that I’m planning to become an astronaut or that I’d like to join a circus.

So how’s the writing going then? There are three answers to this question.

1. I wrote a book. My first fiction book. It took me about a year to write. A couple of months ago the publisher I’ve worked with in Finland turned it down. It stung a bit, but I wasn’t surprised. I had known that the book wasn’t really good enough. It had problems. It was a bit of a Frankenstien’s monster of a book, lots of different ideas and experiments stitched together. It was very much a first attempt at writing fiction. I learned a lot writing it. I’m moving on.

2. This spring I joined Charlie’s and Amie’s first writing bootcamp. This month I’ll be finishing my first novel in English. It’s been a great experience. I’ve learned a lot. One of the best things is having gained access to a writing community where I can get and give feedback. I still don’t know what will happen with this book when I’m finished. Perhaps nothing, perhaps I’ll publish it on Wattpad. Maybe one day I will find a good editor, someone to design me a nice cover and put it up on Amazon.

3. I’m not really done with my first fiction book yet. Some of the characters refuse to leave me. I think there’s some life in them yet and I’m planning another outing for them. A better one. A better story. Let’s see how it goes.

The main thing is. I’m writing. I’ll keep writing.

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Some London love and hate

Image via pinterest.

I love this city when…

It’s eleven on a muggy summer evening. Gerry and I have just shut the studio door after a long day at work. We’re tired, slightly grumpy and can’t wait to get home. Suddenly a woman in her 50s, grey hair, bright yellow jacket, skateboards past us with a defiant look on her face. I love London.

I hate this city when…

I’m late. London smells of exhaust fumes, the pavements are hot underneath my feet. I rush to get the tube, even though I hardly ever get the tube. I miss a train and decide to take the District line and change at Monument to the Central line. Because I never take the tube I don’t realise that I’m making a huge mistake.

I get off the train at Monumement and I start walking. Did I mention I hate the tube? There are long corridors and I try not to think about how much dirt, cables and Victorian piping there is between me and the street above. I had my first panic attack going up the escalator at Angel. I try not to think about this as I get to the first set of escalators. I travel further down. There are more corridors. More escalators. And then the signs for the red Central line point me towards more escalators, this time going up again.

I try not to hold my breath. My palms go sweaty every time I think of the escalators in the tube these days. Maybe I’m suffering from some kind of escalator phobia? But I’m trapped somewhere near the Central line at Bank station and I have no choice. I walk up the escalators. Eventually I get out. Choose to abandon the tube altogether and get a bus instead. I turn up late. I hate this city.

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Some more photos from Cornwall

st agnes cliffs

Hello everyone. Hope you’ve had a good start to the week. I’m gulping down coffee, desperately trying to re-start my brain after the weekend. I spent Saturday and Sunday at Spitalfields with Gerry, selling t-shirts when he was doing the art market.

The market is fun, but exhausting. People come and go, you’re focused, you talk a lot, you look, you listen. In some ways selling is not so different from journalism. All you have to do is look people in the eyes when you talk to them. But after two days of standing up and talking I’m pretty exhausted, which is why I’m gulping down my second mug of black coffee. I’m trying to sharpen my mind enough to send off a radio story about the day’s biggest news story. I think I’m slowly winning the battle. I’m definitely caffeinated.

But I’m still a bit too woolly-brained to write a proper blog post. Which is why I will leave you with some more photos of lovely Cornwall. This is St Agnes, one of the cutest places I’ve visited in the UK.

st agnes


st agnes



st agnes

st agnes flowers


st agnes



st agnes


st agnes cliffs



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