Kate's Blog

Follow me if you will as I try to navigate through the ups and downs of my world.

I'm writing this blog to help me make sense of all that has happened - from my diagnosis with non-Hodgkins lymphoma while pregnant with my third child in May 2008
, through to my reflections on chaotic family life as I try to pick up the pieces of my life again.

The kids are so small, and I'm working hard to keep us all safe and to stay in remission.

Stay with me - it won't be all doom and gloom I promise!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


My writing course was amazing. It was a real retreat - five days staying with new and interesting people in Ted Hughes' old house in North Yorkshire. There was no internet, no TV, not even a radio. The tutors were brilliant, but scary: Tim Pears who has written seven novels to high acclaim, and Patience Abgabi, an incredibly talented and terrifyingly frank poet who gave unstinting and critical feedback on any work one dared to give her. But unstinting and critical was what (I told myself) I wanted - once I'd picked myself up from the floor! Every morning we had a workshop taught by both tutors, an hour and a half each. Sitting around the long wooden table (where surely Ted Hughes worked on his poems) we'd write and read out and try to develop good practice and discipline.

We took it in turns to cook, which was companionable and fun, with new people to be with. We drank wine in the evenings and talked in the unfettered way that you can with people whom you don't know very well.

I felt strange when I arrived and then very strange and disorientated when I left. I wrote lots of stuff -some good, some needing work and some needing the bin - but the point is that I wrote. I'm determined to continue to do so, every day if I can manage although that's proving difficult already.

What the course showed me was the extent of the gap between where I am now as a writer and where I'd need to be if I wanted to publish anything. I'm planning to use this year to work on closing that gap just a little.

And now we're back up in the Highlands of Scotland staying for a few weeks again in my mum's lovely house. The sun is shining and the kids are shouting- as usual. Will I get inspiration? I hope so. But we've been for a lovely bike-ride this morning - I'm achy and feel as if I've woken up muscles which haven't been used in the daily grind. So that's good. I need more of that. Oh - and I've just started Hilary Mantel's sequel to 'Wolf Hall', 'Bring up the Bodies'. And I'm already heavily immersed in the Tudor world, which can prove problematic at breakfast time! I'm definitely more interested in Thomas Cromwell than is good for me.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Yes - I'm still here.

I've been rubbish at keeping up with my blog - I blame the job. There's just too much to do.

But changes are afoot. I'm cutting back from September. I'm doing supply teaching, exam marking and tuition - trying to work more flexibly and from home. I'm starting my psychotherapy training next September, and in the meantime I'm going to try to write more seriously.

To that end, once the summer holidays start I'm off to do a residential writing course for a week. No kids, no distractions, no washing, shopping, cooking.... or teaching. Frankly I'm terrified. I'm tired and worn out after a long, hard year and inspiration feels a long way distant. How embarrassing will it be when I'm the only one in the group who discovers they actually CAN'T write after all. I have some plans, some ideas and ambitions -but heaven knows if I can achieve them.

And - come September, Hattie is starting school! For those who have been reading my blog since the start (and I don't suppose there are many readers left since my shocking blog-neglect) you will know what an important milestone this is for the whole family. When Hattie was born I had three weeks to live and my prognois was very uncertain. After a year of horrendous cancer treatment, I went into remission. And I knew that if I managed to stay alive to see Hattie turn four and start school, I would be a good way down the road to survival.

Things aren't bad, then. We're off to Scotland after my writing course. I need to update my blog with all the books I've recently read ..... and I'm planning to read a whole lot more over the summer. And Hilary Mantel's sequel to Wolf Hall is top of the list. Watch this space.