My Young By Name Blog

Posted in Events, Family, Personal life, Writing

My Past Writing Year

Before sharing my goals for 2023, I’ve been looking back on what I achieved in 2022 – which was rather more than I expected! 

At the turn of the year, when I sat down to set my writing goals for 2023 – more on those in next week’s post – I decided first to list my writing-related achievements in 2022, on the principle that writing a “what I did today” list always makes my next day’s to-do list look less daunting.

Here’s what I came up with (I’ve typed the numbers in figures rather than words to make it easier to follow):

Continue reading “My Past Writing Year”

Posted in Events, Personal life

Dream On

My first blog post of 2023 is the column I wrote for the January issue of the Hawkesbury Parish News – a very important institution in the life of a little Cotswold village like mine!

I’m the kind of optimist who not only sees the glass as half-full, but is jolly grateful to have a glass, and assumes it must be made of the finest crystal.

That’s not to say I’m oblivious to darker times. But when life seems grim, I unleash a handy collection of mantras that make me feel better.

  • “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness”, I tell myself. (Clichés are clichés for a reason, you know.)
  • “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” (Thank you for that one, Percy Bysshe Shelley – especially handy as winter is my least favourite season.)
  • If I’m in a musical frame of mind, I simply channel D:Ream and play “Things can only get better” on a loop in my head.

But as this new year dawns, I’m feeling wary. For the last few years, I’ve started every January thinking, “This has got to be a better year than the last one”. Then along comes something worse.

What a run of disasters we have had lately: Trump, Brexit, Covid, more Covid, the war in Ukraine, and all the economic and political fall-out those crises induced. Not to mention ever-stranger weather, indicative of frightening climate changes.

With apologies to Samuel Johnson, who described second marriage as “the triumph of hope over experience,” experience is threatening to triumph over hope.

Yet my inner optimist will out, and as I list those disasters, over which I had no control, bar the right to vote and to get vaccinated, I realise it’s still within my power to make 2023 a better year in small ways.

So 2023 will be the year that I will vow never to run out of teabags, or milk for my morning tea…

photo of box of 480 tea bags
Bonus point: if you buy M&S Luxury Gold teabags in bulk, they work out cheaper than Everyday teabags!

or the cats’ favourite treats, Dreamies:

box of 350 Dreamies
Downside: the Mega Tub might make my three cats a bit tubby too

And if I’m setting the bar that low, doesn’t that mean things can only get better? Let’s live in hope.

Wishing you a new year full of whatever makes you happy.


In my next post, I’ll be reviewing my writing achievements in 2022 and sharing my writing plans for 2023. 

PS My new year’s resolution is to publish a new blog post every Wednesday! Let’s see how that goes… 

Posted in Personal life, Reading

Off the Hook for Books

This final post of 2022 was originally written for the December 2022/January 2023 edition of the Tetbury Advertiser, which was published in the run-up to Christmas

This month my to-do list includes a much-needed weeding of my groaning bookshelves, in the hope that Father Christmas, who knows me well after all these years, will bring me a pile of lovely new books.

Every room in my house contains bookshelves, except the utility room and the larder. (I’ve slipped up there.) Each shelf is jam-packed with rows of books, with more laid on top horizontally to fill all available airspace. It’s clearly time to declutter. But which books should I keep and which jettison? Continue reading “Off the Hook for Books”

Posted in Events, Family, Personal life

Just Keep Singing

Tight writing deadlines in the last few months have meant I’ve got way behind on my blog – so please excuse me if I now have a quick catch-up to shoehorn in two articles I wrote for the Tetbury Advertiser in November and December, before I run out of 2022! This article was written for the November 2022 issue of the Tetbury Advertiser. I’ll post the December one tomorrow.

A recent free concert at St Mary’s, Tetbury by the St Cecilia’s Singers provided a lightning tour of four hundred years of Anglican choral music, from Tallis to Tavener. Listening to the music, I gazed up at the soaring windows and ceiling, remembering from school history lessons that Gothic architecture was designed to draw the eye heavenward. St Mary’s high box pews reminded me, as box pews always do, of earthly coffins. Memento mori all round, then.

Continue reading “Just Keep Singing”