On the far wall of this room hangs a pegboard: dark varnished wood, maybe four feet high and a couple of feet across, with nine rows of ten brass hooks. Paul brought it up here in the summer of 2014, when I was very sick. I needed two hands to lift a glass of water. […]


A year after being diagnosed with ME, I relapse badly. Nauseous, feverish and weak, barely able to walk to the end of the street, I’m signed off work for a month, then another three. My GP takes blood and runs tests, but the results are normal. Unable to find anything wrong, he refers me to […]


The town is flanked by a river, and in winter we often get fog, the river’s warm breath condensing in the cold air and drifting through the streets. One morning, the fog is there when I wake, and lasts for hours, making ghosts of the trees and houses on the other side of the street. […]


After three years I’m well enough to meet the couple who live next door for the first time. They talk about the town, the street, the people they know, our neighbours. And in return I find myself telling them about the things I hear from my room: the rumble of the trains, a runner that slaps along the pavement, […]


You start a website, a kind of blog, to explain your illness, then after a couple of months you find you’re too sick to keep up with it. The gaps between each post lengthen. It becomes another format in which you can watch life and time pass you by. A diary full of empty spaces. […]

Outside Air

In winter, I miss the outside air. When the cat comes in from the garden, I coax her up onto the bed. Her fur is cool to the touch, and she smells of woodsmoke and frost. Sometimes I lift the window a couple of inches, lean my face against the cold glass, and inhale. This […]