I live outside Edinburgh and love it to bits but, oh I do so long for the weather in Greece. Some days, when it rains for what feels like forever, I feel as if I’m dissolving. Sunshine turns me into a different beast altogether.
I cook to relax. At the end of a day with my head fizzing with words and illustrations, I head out of my studio and into the kitchen to cook something new. Persian, Italian, Indian…I don’t really mind what the dish looks like as long as the flavours are good.
I’ve always written stories and drawn pictures. It’s how I survived the long hours of solitude as an only child. My parents kept my first stories about cocktail bars and a 'fary palas’. Oddly, for a four year old, cocktail bar was spelled correctly, the fairy palace, not so much.
Last winter, our dog found two abandoned guinea pigs in the snowy back of beyond and we took them home. I love them with a deep and passionate abandon. Their dear little fluting chirrups and whiskery noses send me off in paroxysms of delight. Sadly, they ignore me completely except at feeding time.
We have five children and they are my absolute joy. Our nest is weirdly quiet without them now they’ve grown and gone. I miss the chaos of raising them; the bathtimes and mealtimes and panic stations on school mornings, but feel so privileged to have them in my life.
The walls of our house are lined with so many books there’s no room for pictures. Every single room and marching down the corridor. Shelves above doors and in bathrooms? I mean I know books do furnish a room, but this is ridiculous.
My husband is my first reader. Every single book. And amazingly, seventy books later, he doesn’t run screaming out of the door when I flap the pages of an M.S. at him.
I suffer from depressive illness but I absolutely refuse to let it define me. I walk, run, cry, love, cook, read, sleep and try to accommodate the bastard thing.
These days, I love walking. Even in the Scottish rain. The hills, the glens, the wildlife ; all of it restores me and reminds me why it’s good to be alive. My husband taught me to embrace bad weather and scary heights. I taught him that long walks can be improved with a good picnic.
I play fiddle ( I use the word ‘play’ in its loosest sense). Mainly Shetland and Scandinavian music with friends. I was classically taught from the age of four, but gave up for many years after leaving school then restarted about eight years ago. It’s nothing like riding a bike. I had just about forgotten everything I’d ever learned.