Why does belonging matter?

January 2020 seems a long time ago. Back then, I was frustrated by the new-at-the-time HSBC ad. I hate being asked where I am from, and I hate thinking about it. Of course we all ask each other various questions designed to understand the parameters of the person we are talking to, for no particularly... Continue Reading →

7 days into the Netflix drought

We had a pretty uneventful Christmas. Just the same as every other person who comes back into the office a few days after New Year, I'm sure we both fell into the same patter of "Yeah, quiet one for us, stayed at home". I vaguely envy the people who post pictures of their family Christmas... Continue Reading →

The late mountaineers

Tom Ballard's surely soon to be confirmed death on Nanga Parbat makes me so sad. When his mother, Alison Hargreaves, died on K2 in 1995 I was on holiday in Cornwall, and still remember opening The Independent (when it was still a great paper) and reading a two-page spread about her quite amazing achievements. They... Continue Reading →

Failing up

I have been resting from my writing more than usual. This is mainly because of the usual loss of faith in any of my abilities, whether creative, professional or maternal. I never embarked on the more creative endeavour of journalism that I wanted when I was 24, because it was quite likely even when newspapers... Continue Reading →

Stuff on climbing risk

I am not a 1980s climber; I am merely a soft, middle-class, comfortable climber with aspirations to go sport climbing in the Spanish sunshine more often. The climbers of legend were all dropouts of various degrees, who were disillusioned with the system, rendered unemployed by a combination of Conservative policy in the UK, and by... Continue Reading →

I love Milton Keynes

I don't know why people have such strong opinions on Milton Keynes, particularly when they've never even been there. When I tell people it's where I live, they look totally nonplussed, and invariably say something like "oh, all those roundabouts", or "but you're quite sophisticated, I can't imagine you living there". Yes, ok, it does... Continue Reading →

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