Friday, 20 December 2013

Serendipity - or how a moment in time can change your world.

Andalusian School of Equine Art
It is a strange feeling this morning as when I looked at my phone I noticed the date. 19th December - nothing spectacular about it really except it was the day in 2000 that changed my life.

It was the day that I had surgery that went wrong and meant I could no longer eat. I went through hell in the first year but once they fitted me with a PEG tube (tube into your stomach through which you are fed directly) I started to take control of my life again. It was suggested I might want to just sit in the corner and wait to die (not the exact words but the implication) luckily for me I have a specialist nutrition nurse who didn't believe in that idea either.

As a direct consequence I lost my business and was unable to work but instead I went to the University of Winchester to do a degree in English which happened to have Creative Writing modules. I had no idea what  that decision would mean for me. It changed my life totally. I couldn't have done it though without the support of my children who were all young at the times and never questioned my choice, just stood by me all the way. Thank you C, L & T xx

That surgery on this day so many years ago was serendipitous. I have met some amazing people who have been so inspirational and supportive, many of whom have actually changed my life and taken me in lots of different directions that I could not have expected. I wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for them  and their belief in me. Luckily most are still part of my life - you all know who you are.

Earlier this year I had the privilege of writing a paper with a good friend about the early days after the surgery. If you are interested you can read it here

The picture above was taken when on a research trip earlier this week for my latest novel. How lucky am I to be able to undertake research like this? (PS Thank you IC for the Christmas present!) I have been to France in the name of research too. I have been all over the UK and to the US giving academic papers. As well as writing a chapter, with AM, which I am very proud of, on the representation of drugs in children's literature. I am currently working on aforementioned novel and an academic book, which I have been commissioned to write about writing young adult fiction. The world never stands still.

Through my work I was lucky enough to come across IC and that meeting changed my life also. It has been exciting year being involved in Golden Egg Academy and watching so many aspiring authors grow.

None of this could have happened without that moment when the surgery went wrong. Today is a day of celebration for me. Don't get me wrong it hasn't been easy but it is amazing what you can do with support from families and friends who are there to stick the pieces back together.

This picture was a gift by AM and it is entitled 'It's Never Too Late,' by Philip Dunn. This is my mantra and will take me into next year too. See it's never too late but you have to be willing to embrace change and make the most of it.

My world is changing again, my sons have moved out and am finding myself on my own for the first time ever. The labels of life have disappeared but this picture is going to take pride of place in the house as I reclaim it as mine.

I am not going to apologise for this indulgent blog post. I just wanted to say as the picture says...It is never too late...Go on follow your dreams. I did and have never been happier.

I am a great believer in having a sound track to my life. As part of this I have decided that this year in my blog I am going to share music that I see  as part of that sound track. The following piece has played a large part in my life right from when the surgery happened and in many guises including on the day of my PhD viva. This is Kate Rusby's version of  'You Belong To Me'


  1. You are a brave and strong woman, to have faced such a devastating outcome but refusing to give in. Support is priceless when you have it, but don't discount how much of this is down to your own will to live and to thrive. I admire you greatly for sharing such a potentially tragic story but with a wonderful outcome. Thank you for being an inspiration and sharing some of the joy that comes through as you talk about your life as it is now. Cheers and hugs! Colleen

    1. Thank you Colleen, those are very kind words. Cheers and hugs back

  2. Superb. Congratulations on your positive attitude and manifold successes.Triumphant is a good word, too xx

    1. Oh thank you Anne, so kind of you, your kind words mean so much

  3. Good for you, Ness. You really are an inspiration. Here's to a marvellous 2014! x

    1. Thank you and to you Sue, I hope 2014 brings us both lots of happiness, laughter...and a publishing contract ;-) xxx