Writing

Pat – Pet – Pit – Pot – Put

 

When I was in primary school I didn’t count sheep to fall asleep; instead, I would try and think of pairs of letters that every vowel could viably nestle between. Years later, I remember a tutor at Oxford questioning each individual word I had used in an essay: a love of words became an obsession with picking the perfect words. Now, my writing has been published in multiple print magazines and online for both companies and individual clients. There is a smorgasbord of experiences and influences behind my work; I am drawn to anything related to books, bicycles, education, global meandering, and feisty females from a bygone era. I create feature articles and opinion pieces, travel brochures and quirky destination guides, marketing materials and website content. I am always interested in new projects, challenges and opportunities, writing for any audience on any continent.

Paddleboarding pooches in Paradise

There is a sense of balance to all aspects of Nevis: bright bougainvilleas tumble excitedly over pastel coloured walls, while the innocuous-looking manchineel tree waits to brush blisters onto the skin of the unsuspecting; silent turtles glide idly in the green and blue shallows, and ultra-modern jet skis bounce over the waves in buzzing packs.

Falling in love on the lanai

If it hadn’t been so hot, maybe I wouldn’t have inadvertently fallen asleep that afternoon; if the house wasn’t quite so hidden from the road, maybe I’d have been wearing more than just the lower half of a bikini; if I hadn’t woken so groggily, maybe I would have thought twice before letting the dogs off the lanai into the open garden rather than the fenced yard.

They marched in Nevis, too

And, by God, they marched. It felt as if it was a replacement for a Saturday morning workout as they power-walked their way through the town, shouting about ‘ending the violence’.

Kissing gates & tilted headstones

The porch was hung with worn Barbour jackets, lined with mud-spattered Hunter wellies, and the flagstones led me into a kitchen warmed by an Aga upon which was perched a bright red kettle just bursting with eagerness to whistle the arrival of a cup of tea. 

A flurry of feathers

In the peaceful silence of a hot afternoon – one so warm even the grassquits had retired for a siesta – a red-tailed hawk, held aloft by thermals, lazily patrolled the bushland.

You and me and the Secretary Bird

It’s a common enough scenario that I witnessed: guy approaches girl, girl snubs guy, guy retreats to bar and recovers from his humiliation with the help of a beer and a buddy. Only this time, the roles had been adopted by somewhat unexpected characters.

An oasis in Africa

I understood long ago that when a vehicle breaks down the majority of men would rather be left in peace to fix it, so when we juddered to a halt five miles from our destination I pulled out a deckchair and settled down at the side of the road.

Pooches & palm trees

If you’ve ever tried persuading two lively Golden Retrievers to wear Santa hats at the same time you’ll have some idea just how many treats and promises of tummy tickles this process requires.  

Making memories at Christmas in Maun

There are many reasons not to go to Maun for Christmas: for a start, the temperature soars to over 40 degrees and stays there, and it is spectacularly inaccessible.

Vervain Mill

This is a home that embraces a very real history about Nevis that more recent constructions could never achieve. On the windward side of the island, reached via a well-maintained track that tumbles past smallholdings and colourful Caribbean homes, views stretch out across the Atlantic towards Redonda and Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda.

Striking eyes & goofy grins

This is where working sheepdogs duck and leap on the highest peaks, responding to their master’s mysterious echoing whistles as they round up sheep – gather, divide, gather, divide. Chip, with his shaggy black and white coat, is as much a part of the landscape of the Lakes as the drystone walls that line the hillsides and march resolutely over mountaintops. 

Adventures in pet sitting

When nursing a broken heart—or a severely dented ego—three things are essential to recovery: a stunning location, free-flowing wine, and dogs.

On safari in the Digital Age

People once set out across Africa in nothing more hardy than an ox-wagon: the Voortrekkers used them heading north from the Cape in the 1830s. Armed with little more than a Bible and a tenuous grasp of the principles of navigating by the stars, those early Afrikaners were a hardy bunch.

Getting to grips with the Big Five

It seems incredible that even though lions have been hunted for over three thousand years, we have managed to reduce them to ‘vulnerable species’ status in the last two decades, hacking their numbers by 60% to a mere 20,000 in the wild today.

A charming church presents a serene escape

Constructed in 1824 by the slaves of John Cottle – a former president of Nevis – and drawing inspiration from the churches in the west of England, the Anglican chapel was the first in the Caribbean that was created to allow slaves and plantation owners to worship together.

A guide to buying property on Nevis

The increasingly accessible gem that is Nevis has lured inquisitive wanderers since the early 1600s.

Prop plane to paradise

I arrived by the only means of transport one should when turning up in such a place as this: on a prop plane, buzzing over countless little islands and peering down eagerly for a first glimpse of the particular jewel that was to be my home for the next month.

Beyond the palm trees

The rainforests are bursting with fruit trees, with mangoes and avocados and papayas joining the breadfruit in weighing down branches. Bananas and coconut palms grow everywhere, and pineapples thrive in the constant sunshine.

Watch Hill

Nevis is nothing if not an island packed with history – venture down almost any path and there will be the crumbling remains of a sugar mill – so for a home only a quarter of a century old to feel very much a part of this place is quite a feat. Carefully wrapped in the surrounding jungle, Watch Hill feels as if it has been a part of the mountainside forever.

The real way to have a budget safari

With costs that can easily reach into thousands of dollars a night, it’s easy to associate the notion of ‘going on safari’ with seriously big bucks. The most luxurious camps include the likes of suites draped in chandeliers, private pavilions and private pools.

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I have been a professional writer for nearly twenty years, and love a new challenge.

 

I have written everything from feature articles to company slogans. Even my most formal academic pieces submitted for a Master's degree at the University of Oxford are engaging and approachable: I see no merit in creating impenetrable worlds with my writing. Please send me a message if you have a project you would like to talk to me about, and I will be in touch as soon as possible.