There's a big difference between telling it and feeling it, and a well known warning.
As the old saying would have it - Don't get involved.
It's there to protect your professionalism, and yourself.
And I understand the sentiment, but I've never agreed.
This week, I had the distressing task of reporting on a fire which destroyed an historic hotel, right in the heart of my beloved Exeter home town.
As a journalist, maybe I should have just said what was happening and left it at that. The who, what, where, why, when and how.Read more
I was arranging a couple of lovely events this week - a talk to Age UK and some teaching in a fine Devon school - when I was asked a very good question by one of the hosts.
Why do I do these events?
Like so many of the best questions, it's a simple one and hits right to the heart of an issue.
I suppose the answer is - because I can. Just as my wonderful riverbank friends can revel in the freedom of flight...
(This is Malvo, newest arrival on the river, showing off whilst still looking impressively serious.)
Anyway, as I was saying, I enjoy making good use of the gifts I'm fortunate enough to have been given.Read more
All week, I've been struggling for a line.
You know those moments in writing, films or plays? Where it's a time of high tension and a character comes out with a cracking, memorable line.
"You're gonna need a bigger boat", when Jaws finally reveals himself. Or "Make him an offer he can't refuse", in The Godfather.
Every writer aspires to creating such a classic.
I came out with an - admittedly paraphrased - version this week, when I was talking to the Read Easy charity about the wonderful work they do, helping adults who struggle to read.
These are some of the volunteers and readers, and a wonderful group of people they are, too.Read more
I'm preparing for an event this week which is both a great privilege and a big pressure.
I've become the patron of a charity, Read Easy. They help adults learn to read when they may have spent years hiding their struggles.
It's a fantastic cause, and I was flattered to be asked to help.
But! As ever in this strange game called life, there's a but.
I'm giving a talk about what reading means to me, and it's really made me agonise.
You'd think it wouldn't be so hard. I give plenty of talks about writing and journalism - this is a shot from an event at the excellent Plymouth High School for Girls.
A script is a great comfort as a guide in life, but going for a wander can be far more rewarding.
I've done a couple of careers events in the last few weeks where I set myself a challenge.
These are some of the fine youngsters of Exeter School, who came along to listen to my ramblings (the ladies in the army gear weren't there to arrest me; the school has proud links with the forces and it was a training day.)
Anyhow, I decided rather than have a script of what to say for the sessions, I would pop down a few bullet points and talk around them.
I was a little nervous about how it might go. But I'm delighted to report it worked beautifully and was so very uplifting.
I felt much more free, not being a slave to the strictures of a Powerpoint presentation.Read more