11 January 2012


In case you were wondering, I've been busy.

Too busy to post a tiny blog?

OK, you got me there. Nobody is too busy to post a blog. It takes no time at all.

Let me explain, so you understand what this sort of busy involves.

It all has to do with the Planning Inspectorate. Who? Ah, yes. These are the people who advise the government about planning applications that have been refused by a planning authority. Your local council is probably your planning authority if you live in England. If you don't live in England, you might not have one at all. In which case, life must be simpler.

Anyway, times are hard for the Planning Inspectorate. Planning applications are fewer and further between than when banks would lend money so that things could be built. Planning authorities are happier to receive applications and more likely to approve them than ever before.

So, the Planning Inspectorate are not busy.

It used to be that they were so busy it could take years to process a planning appeal. Now it's a matter of weeks.

The public enquiry I'm involved with started on the 10th of January. That might seem reasonably civilised but it has meant researching information, producing my proof of evidence complete with thick appendices, reading the other side's proofs, writing a rebuttal proof, dealing with their rebuttal proofs and preparing a detailed document for cross examination of witnesses. Everything had to be finished for the 3rd of January.

We tried complaining but they were more than happy to have some work to do at last and couldn't face putting it off a week so that I could have Christmas.

Now that I'm at the enquiry, I am living in a pub/hotel and working from before dawn to long after dusk. There would be three weeks of this to look forward to if it wasn't for next week in the Crown Court by way of light relief. Please note that the term 'light relief' is irony.

When I stop being busy doing enquiry and court work, I'll get back to editing Due Diligence and writing Proceeds of Crime.

I bet you are wondering where I get my inspiration from.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 January 2012


A year ago, I predicted that 2011 would probably be dismal.  Shows what I know.

Apart from the collapse of the euro and the Arab Spring uprisings and the Japanese tsunami, nothing much happened.  I suspect 2012 will be similarly spectacular but I'm not making any predictions.

Not making predictions is my first New Year resolution.

I have recently noticed my habit of predicting everything in advance then comparing what happens with the way I thought it would be.  It's never the same.  The differences somehow cause me sorrow, even if they turn out to be inconsequential.  It's as if I lose control of my world when I can't have everything turn out how I expect it to be.

No more.  Forget the past, let the future take care of itself.  I'm going to stop second-guessing my life and accept the way it actually is.

This sounds easy.  The concept is simple and it makes complete intellectual sense.  Problem is, I'm not engaging in an intellectual exercise.  This has to be real.  And to be real it has to be felt and not just thought.
That's the hard part, I have deep grooves of behaviour that I fall into at the first opportunity.

The second resolution is to publish Due Diligence.

For those of you who might need reminding, here is the story so far.

In 2008, I wrote a science fiction novel called Technical Difficulties.  In 2009, I wrote the sequel, Acceptable Behaviour and in 2010 concluded the trilogy with Divine Intervention.  John Jarrold, who edited the scripts, was happy with most of what I wrote.  The plot, the invention and most of the characters were OK.  The one big problem was the central character, the protagonist, the person the reader has to be able to root for.  John described him as a prat.  He also sprinkled his edit with less complementary comments about him.  The fact that my main character was largely autobiographical caused me a fundamental problem.  If I was going to do something about him, I had to do something about me.

So I worked on me with the help of some really awesome people, notably Richard Farmer and Barbara Turner-Vessalago.  Some of my journey has been chronicled in this blog.

I also embarked on an ambitious writing exercise.  To get out of the casual, laddish, cheap humour, arms length, third party past tense style that was my comfort zone, I decided to write in first person.  Present tense.  Female character.

The exercise turned into Due Diligence.  It has been professionally edited, rewritten in parts, and is nearing its final form.  I promise myself it will be published in the first half of this year.  It is very different to anything else I have read or written.  I couldn't have predicted how it turned out, I wrote without any expectations or plan.

So that's how I'll write in the future, let it flow and enjoy the results.

And treat life the same.