12 Aug

Thank goodness, at last. Having spent 3 months moving house. To wonderful Chiswick which blows my mind. So expect my next novel to be set here.


17 Dec

…this morning, with my Burmese cat (nothing wrong; just our six monthly checkup) a distraught young woman came charging in, clutching a dog that she said had hurt its paw (and so could not walk).   

“Mind if I leave it while I park the car?”

“No,” said the receptionist.    “Not allowed.   No pet is allowed in here without a minder.”

“Just for a matter of minutes?”

“‘Fraid not,” she said.   

The others there each had a dog in tow but my Amadeus was still in his box.    Silently I held out my arms and she dumped the mutt, mumbled and fled.   It was the one and only time I ever remember embracing  a dog.   It was hairy and snuffly, not at all like my beautiful boys.

“Wouldn’t it be funny,” I commented.   “If she’d just run it over and never comes back…”   The dog had closed its eyes and appeared content.    Odder things happen;  at least it wasn’t a child.

But back she came.    Well, of course she did, along with a man with a lead in his hand.   Why he couldn’t have carried it in in the first place, God  knows.

Amadeus, by the way, was – as usual – judged perfect.









17 Oct


Having spent my whole life surrounded by boys, I never felt the need to get married.

(That’s me in the wheelbarrow).



9 Oct


Although it is still unseasonably mild, Autumn at last appears to arrive. This is the view I can see as I sit here typing. With luck the book should be done by the end of the year.


5 Aug

What I miss most in this electronic age is the one to one chat at the end of the day (cocktails at six as it used to be) on the telephone over a glass  or two, catching up – one to one – with an intimate friend, almost always another writer.  You could swap ideas and discuss your fears without the universe listening in.   (A cat has come in to tell me it’s raining.   How thoughtful.)


26 Jul

There is news from New York that my ex-boss is dead,  a major influence on my life in the 1960s when I went over there on spec as a humble typist.    I was straight off the boat (and wearing white gloves – it was roughly the start of the MAD MEN era) and he was the founder of Basic Books, a publishing house that concentrated on science and serious non-fiction that won many prizes.    We had a brief chat then he hired me to start on Monday.    

“Is there a job?” I enquired.

He said:  “We shall see.” 


They stuck me in the accounts department, typing royalty statements, as boring as hell, and nobody uttered a word all day because they were concentrating.    Arthur had gone away for a month I was told; it was August and hot.    On his return he hauled me in, told me he’d had good reports from his  staff so promoted me to being his P.A., having fired the one who had been there eighteen years.   My brief was straightforward.   “As long as you answer my phone you can do what you like.”   And when, two years later, I came home to London, having worked in virtually every department, it was he who suggested I become a literary agent, thus setting the course of the rest of my publishing life.


Arthur Rosenthal – what a man, brilliant, dynamic and always inspiring.    Thank you for teaching me all I now know about books.  




17 Jul

Seriously hot so I decamped (for reasons not yet divulgable) to Carluccio’s, only one block away, to continue with my research.    And it was heaven..on a day this hot it had all its windows and sliding doors open plus air conditioning and muted music playing.   Only one other customer (another writer?) seated alone at the opposite corner.   I sat there in bliss over two glasses of chilled wine until the Kensington shriekers arrived and I decamped back to my own hot penthouse where, at least, I can hear myself think.

But, Carluccio’s, I shall be there tomorrow.    Especially if this hot weather continues.   It is the cafe society I always dreamt of when I first moved to Kensington High Street.  And thanks, Antonio (once my client)  for having set up something like this.   x