When I was a student, back in the 90s, I hitch-hiked from the Strand, London, to Brussels, to raise money for KCL hospital. I don’t remember the journey – other than being surprised that someone actually picked us up from the Strand, and that we did end up in Brussels. I do remember the city – golden night lights, a delicious kebab, meeting friends in a bar, all-night cafés with good coffee and book-clad walls, and a tired trudge home, heavy-eyed and aching, still in our lab coats and Doc Martens, appetite for adventure quelled and a burning desire for baths, duvets, and deep, soft pillows.
I came away with a dream of writing in one of those beautiful cafés, steaming espresso* (*huge frothy cappucino and a pastry) beside me, my pen resting on my lips as I peered beyond the quiet streets into worlds of my own. That, I thought, would be where my stories would come home.
As a fifty-year-old mum, I’ve changed that mental image. My new dream is to write at an over-stacked oak desk, in a drift of socks and dog hair, while a small cat claws my legs and thoughts of lost PE kits invade my brain. Here, also, there is good coffee.