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27th January, 2014 – 11th May, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is released Emily starts to walk and talk Russia annexes Crimea Harold Ramis dies I’m enormously sceptical of the idea of ‘first words’. Children make sounds that over time become words and some of us pick one of those sounds and decide it was probably a word. Except for your child of course. They definitely said an actual word. I wouldn’t dream of questioning that. No, no, no. That isn’t to suggest this isn’t a ridiculously exciting time. Emily taking her first steps, then staggering… Read more 27th January, 2014 – 11th May, 2014

14th October, 2013 – 26th January, 2014

India launch the Mars Orbiter Mission, becoming the first Asian country to reach another planet China land a robot on the moon I buy the Lexx boxset and then realised it wasn’t anywhere as good as I thought it was when I was a teenager I sell the Lexx boxset Latvia adopts the Euro You never forget your child’s first Christmas. Honestly. There’s no way you forget what happened. I could give you details of Emily’s first Christmas that would blow your mind… I could give you so many details…… Read more 14th October, 2013 – 26th January, 2014

1st July, 2013 – 13th October, 2013

President Morsi is deposed in a military coup My sister, her husband, and their daughter visit Manchester for the day Andy Murray wins Wimbledon Peter Capaldi becomes the new Doctor Who To be honest, I’m drawing a blank on this one. According to Amazon, I bought a kettle.

18th March, 2013 – 30th June, 2013

Rebel forces capture the capital of the Central African Republic Jo goes back to work and I become a stay-at-home parent Chinua Achebe dies I start entering competitions during nap time. I win a few things Wigan win the FA Cup On the first day I was alone with Emily she managed to take one of the fake coals from the fireplace and eat most of it. Neighbours, now friends, helped me fish bits of black out of her mouth, ring NHS Direct, and google the toxicity of artificial coal.… Read more 18th March, 2013 – 30th June, 2013

5th November, 2012 – 17th March, 2013

Barack Obama wins a second term I get an MA in Creative Writing The Mayans are wrong about the world ending American scientists print an ear, in 3D, using actual ear materials like collagen and that I become a parent. The first weather I showed to my daughter through the window of the hospital was snow but it had changed to rain by the time we ran out of babygrows and I had to walk to ASDA to buy more. I got so wet I had to buy myself a… Read more 5th November, 2012 – 17th March, 2013

The Truth About Snow Leopards

You might not have heard, but earlier this week, ITV’s This Morning hosted a debate about whether or not the moon was solid. One person, a cosmologist, thought the moon was solid. Another person, a bloke, reckoned the moon wasn’t solid. It’s just opinions. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Cosmologist or bloke? The truth probably exists somewhere in the middle. Is society dumbing down? Maybe. But perhaps the really stupid people are not the ones who think the moon is translucent but the ones who aren’t spotting the money… Read more The Truth About Snow Leopards

Midlife Niceness

OK, so I’m beginning to suspect I’m not going to have a midlife crisis. No sports cars for me. I’m quite pleased about it. And yet… Is it not slightly irresponsible to move into middle age without some grand futile gesture of resistance to the idea of mortality? I should do something. After all, the urge to recapture something lost is not completely alien to me. I get it. I’m old now. I was never going to buy that sports car I always wanted because I have never wanted a… Read more Midlife Niceness

How to Write a Novel: lesson one, giving it a fancy title.

Look, there is no right or wrong way to name your novel. Don’t worry about it. Chances are somebody will make you change it anyway. But if you can come up with something fancy, go you! Everyone likes a fancy title. When a reader spots a particularly sexy title on a bookshelf it can be like eyes meeting across a crowded ballroom. Hello, they think, I like the look of you. Of course, relationships built on a foundation of nothing more than mutual physical attraction are almost always doomed from… Read more How to Write a Novel: lesson one, giving it a fancy title.