October 2018: heavens – is it really a year since my last words above? In some ways it seems like only the other day. Certainly the time has sped by, mostly with audiobooks; these included hefty doses of Henry James and Trollope, a little known Thomas Hardy, the letters of Abelard and Heloise, two by the explorer and travel writer Wilfred Thesiger, several Italian and Portuguese works and two disturbing and not for the faint-hearted classics by Baudelaire and the Marquis de Sade. There were even some opportunities for my vocal contribution (one of which involved more than 450 headings for Samuel Richardson’s mammoth epistolary novel ‘Clarissa’). Additionally, crosswords and puzzles for The Connexion, and of course new stories to follow up on last year’s stocking filler ‘Seven Simple and Slightly Silly Stories’.

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So, how did all this start – the stories, QuizzicalWorks, the behatted upside-down man?