Gone away

Hello from Yorkshire. I’ve come away for a few weeks (seven, actually) to finish my next book. I decided I couldn’t concentrate properly in London – too many distractions, too many late nights, too much wine. So even though it’s very tortured artist of me, I’ve come 234 miles north to a pretty and remote part of the country to write in peace. No drinking, lots of walking, lots of reading. I’ve taken myself off social media too, so that when I get stuck halfway through a sentence I don’t mindlessly pick up my phone and scroll. I can’t imagine Austen thrashed out any of her books while liking photos of babies and dim sum on Instagram, ergo it’s got to go. Temporarily.

Day one in Yorkshire has been pleasingly productive as a result. Got up at 7, made some tea, wrote some words, made some coffee, wrote some more words, had some porridge, wrote even more words. I then decided to go for a walk using a nifty little app I’ve discovered called iFootpath. Don’t let the irritating name put you off. It’s brilliant. Uses your location to suggest nearby walks on footpaths and bridleways of varying lengths, and then you can follow it on a map while walking. I know that ordnance survey maps have been around for some years now, but I am a thicko who finds them hard to read. At school, my friends and I got lost within 30 minutes of our bronze Duke of Edinburgh award and decided to sit down in the hills around Marlow to eat our packed sandwiches, before calling the school chaplain to come and rescue us. So am grateful to this app, although it did take me through two fields of cows and perilously close to a bull.

I remember being freaked out about walking through fields that contained bulls as a child. Vast, hairy monsters with rings through their noses, to me they were liable to charge at any second, a sort of rural Tyrannosaurus Rex (Jurassic Park loomed large in my life when younger, the first film I ever saw at the cinema). But then I moved to London and forgot about the danger, until today when I was ambling along a path and suddenly saw the beast staring at me. I kept a close eye on the barbed-wire fence on my other side and figured if the worst came to the worst, I’d just have to fling myself over that and hang the ripped leggings.

I’ve since got back to the cottage and checked and it’s largely dog walkers who are charged, and I am up here solo, sans dog. So I should be alright. On the left is a shot I took while trying to walk quickly into the next field, but not so quickly that I aroused suspicion among the cows and caused them to run at me in fury.

In other news, The Observer wrote a great piece last weekend about the return of the rom-com. Hurrah. And TPO is name-checked in it, which was lovely as I always worry (in a sort of vain way) that anyone from The Guardian or The Observer would assume I was a posh moron who couldn’t tie her own shoelaces. Read it HERE.

Also, I got back from Japan on Tuesday, a trip I did for the Telegraph and the piece should be running relatively soon so I’m not going to tell you anything about it here. But while I was there, I failed to post my column from last weekend, so HERE it is.