I love the city but I love the countryside. Most people generally prefer one to the other, disliking the bustle of the city or the loneliness of empty spaces. I love both. I enjoy being anonymous in the city, part of being a crowd, belonging to a group but being no-one. I also like being the only person in the woodlands, lost between trees, on my own. I suppose I’m a person of extremes.

Judy Leigh

Judy Leigh

Following on from that, I try to calm my inclination to be too extreme in my enthusiasm with a strong dose of moderation. I think Buddha taught the middle way, between indulgence and self-mortification. There’s a lot to be said for it.

I am a Reiki healer. I practise mostly on animals. I helped my cat to heal a broken pelvis. Cats will never tell you it’s all mumbo jumbo.

I have to be forced to go to parties and when I’m there I have the time of my life. Isn’t everyone like that?

Being near water and under the sun makes me happy. I can do them separately: the beach in the rain, the sunset from a hilltop. But together, that’s perfection. 

I learned to read when I was three and astonished people in a shop when I was four by reading the word co-operative from an advert. This explains exactly where I was at the time.

I am what is often called a ’pantser’ when it comes to writing. I start with an idea then write profusely by the seat of my pants, just for the fun of it. Of course, this involves a lot of editing and restructuring later, but I enjoy that too.

During the recent snow storm, the Beast from the East, I was marooned in drifts while driving a car and had to be dug out by a farmer with a mechanical shovel truck. That incident will definitely find its way into a novel.

I inherited a hatred of injustice and inequality from my mother and the need to avert a conflict from my father.  I am a tentative pacifist.

Apparently the first thing vegans will tell you when they meet you is that they are vegan. I was brought up with pheasants hanging from the fireplace, a poacher’s Sunday lunch. I’ll break the convention and make this the last thing I tell. I’ve been vegan for at least 25 years.