I set myself a series of challenges on coming to Cambridge, to try a few new things.
Lots have worked - buying a bike and exploring the city and its beautiful (if flat) surrounds, going to lectures on a range of subjects from Japanese nationalism to English Civil War art, touring the wonderful museums and galleries.
But one that hasn't come off is my attempt to embrace cafe culture.
I tried it and after half an hour, guess where I ended up?
Which set me wondering why I always prefer pubs. And I came up with a surprising answer.
The pubs I like are softer. There are curtains and carpets, cushions, flags, wall hangings.
They feel quieter, more relaxed, with subdued lighting and a gentle rumble of conversation. As opposed to the harsh edges, clanging and clattering of cafes.
And that's me to the core. My clothes are bought by touch and always soft.
My poetry is AE Housman, not Ted Hughes.
And the characters in my books, for all that they can be tough when required, are soft and fluffy inside. Even most of the villains.
Which chimes with my experience of life, and all the lucky people sailing this beautiful ship alongside me.
For best results, treat with love, care and kindness.
Because hide it though we may, the vast majority of us are soft and fluffy inside.