Are you toxic? 

When I was a kid, I loved the Ghostbusters’ films; that bumbling team of misfits on a mission to destroy the toxic slime surging through the city’s sewers.  The slime (a thick pink sludge) reacted to anger and negative emotions. The angrier people became, the faster the slime grew, until in the end it was […]

Don’t believe everything you read…

A few years ago, late one afternoon at work, my phone rang and it was a journalist from a well-known newspaper.   She explained she was writing a story about a church which was hiring out its building to be used for art exhibitions and charity fashion shows. Sunday services would carry on as normal […]

When you need a miracle…

It was hard, dusty work. The men were using their bare hands to scrape away at the roof. They were tired, a bit thirsty, but in good spirits as they worked away, grabbing chunks of mud, straw, tearing, pulling up, trying to create a hole big enough. They didn’t have much in the way of […]

The beauty of a closed door.

I’m house-hunting. To be fair, I’ve been house-hunting in a fairly commitmentphobe sort of way for a couple of years.  But recently, the search gathered a bit of a steam and I made an actual real-life offer on a property.  Initially I was a little unsure and went through a wobbly deliberation process of uhming […]

Learning how to be vulnerable. 

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that you shouldn’t look at a person and make an assumption about their life. Well, sometimes, I do. And a few years ago, I was badly tripped up by my own nasty preconceptions. I was at a big music conference in the US; great speakers, […]

How to change the world.

When I was at school, I really, really wanted to be a prefect.  For me, it felt like a badge of honour, a way to be just a bit more special than everyone else, with the added perk of being able to stay indoors during break times, on cold and wintery days. When selection time […]

How to be radical…

I’m fascinated by this word, radicalised. It’s a word which crops up a lot in the newspapers at the moment, usually connected to unspeakably horrific events.  A young man is radicalised and then decides to plough a truck into hundreds of happy families strolling along a promenade.  A young boy is radicalised and so straps a […]

The poison of bitterness…

I talked to a man recently who was very,very bitter. In fact, I suspect that if bitterness was a skin disease, he’d be encrusted in scales, which weeped and seeped and oozed his pain. I’m not judging him.Life can be hard and his life (in particular) had taken plenty of unexpected turns; serious long-term health […]

Take a breath…and slow down. 

For the past week, I have lived mostly between the sofa or bed, with an invisible ‘out of order’ sign slapped on my forehead.  I’m usually the one ploughing headfirst into everything, 100 miles an hour, doing, racing, chasing, with an only-fools-slow-down sort of attitude.   But sometimes your body forces you to slow down, […]

When you’re given an awful Christmas present…

As a kid, I remember the unbelievable excitement of the night-before-Christmas. I’d spend all day looking at the clock, feverishly wishing the hands would move faster, so I could  go to bed.  Because after just one more sleep,  we’d dreamily descend the stairs to see what treasures were stacked under the Christmas tree.   Would it be […]