One of the only reasons I remember the late eighties with any clarity is because there was a library challenge in primary school. As we approached the summer holidays, and six weeks of not doing much at all, the school suggested we take out and read books from the library. If we managed to complete one book a week, for the whole of the holidays, we’d receive a certificate at the first assembly of the autumn term and a library badge for every completed book.

I don’t suppose we wrote real dates on school work back then. It was a simpler time. But I know I noticed when the certificate went from stating 1989 to, seemingly from nowhere, 1990.

When I was little and my mother was in hospital quite a lot, I used to take out books from the hospital library. The librarian was a French lady called Jacqueline who was married to a surgeon. She wore long, 70s style, corduroy skirts and little leather ankle boots.


I don’t remember what sort of tops she wore, but I wasn’t that tall. Anyway, Jacqueline was my heroine. She’d read everything, and she understood not to pick out books that were too babyish for me.

So, as far as I’m concerned – libraries are amazing. Everything is there. Anyone can read anything. Money defines nothing and nobody. And sometimes, there are French women.

What’s not to like?

In other news, there’s a copy of my first book on the Devon Mobile Library van and another one in Ottery Library.


I’ve practically gone global.