Manny's Blog

Sharing our French adventure as we live and work and renovate our forever home in the Haute Loire.
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Five Things Friday… already? Am I too late?!

Is it Friday already?… and I missed a week too!   Maybe it’s not essential every Friday…

Last night I had a wonderful hour-long chat with my Dad…

…don’t do it often enough. Mum and I can talk until the phone battery runs out; and often I grab a quick word with Dad at the end, and he says “Mum can tell me all the news…”

So this week’s Five Things Friday is inspired by him. And the theme is  Writers.

1. My Dad Jeremy Paul is a writer, has always been ever since he left Oxford University after his first year, because he was given a 3 television contract with ATV. He’s just made a fantastic teaser/short promo film for his feature  Sink or Swim which is currently in pre-production; and he’s working on a brilliant children’s book Jones. No striking to protect retirement age for him!

2.  And yesterday, on the phone, he said that I was a writer too – it’s a name I would never have given myself, and while I have have always had unconditional love and support from my parents (and I have never under-estimated the huge privilege of growing up under those conditions!)…it still means so much to have their approval!

3.  Harvey – My nephew is 15 like Harry, and he writes the most amazing poetry and prose. He’s had a tough school life, for various reasons – and has really found his voice. His writing has an extraordinary maturity; hopefully it will be his key…


Solace, seclusion.

Barred cages, locked doors, secret whispers.

Uttered curses, bitter chuckles.

Closing in, wrapping around.

Steel vines casting themselves around my legs.

My mind is lost, I can’t be myself.

I can only be myself, by myself.

And even though I am by myself, I am not me.

“Me” is something different, “me” isn’t something I can grasp.

Stop slipping through my fingers!

I can’t chase you down, I can’t find you, I’m just going to have to wait.

Wait until you blossom on your own.

Wait until you grow large, shoot into the sky.

Wait until you break these steel bonds.

Wait until I can finally breath fresh, clean air.

Wait until I can finally be unravelled, unwrapped.

Torn apart, to be reborn.

Rise from the ashes! Come closer!

I’ve found you!

I finally found you.

4.  Hills – my blog muse! whenever I see a blog alert from Hills, I have to read it immediately – she bears her soul in her writing, writing with such honesty, and yet she writes her tale as a gift to the reader, rather than for herself. This perfect balance of honesty and generosity is what I aspire to! Also of course, her photographs are always a delicious treat!

5. Tonight is the brilliantly conceived Literary dinner in Windsor, organised by my friend Mel Gow.

Mel and I

It sounds fantastic, and I wish I could be there. Just want to wish the event every success tonight!

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  1. Hillary says:

    writing, writing, all around. how lucky you are to be surrounded by such writing/writers. your nephew’s poetry is powerful … i think i know the feeling he speaks of, but could never describe it as he does.
    you know, i’m starting to consider myself a writer. my dad, who wrote a few books and plays, always enjoyed my writing and encouraged me to do more.
    i have thought of him lately, now that i’m writing more, out loud, on the blog. and i can feel him encouraging me, smiling at me, a gentle hand on my back.
    thank you for your encouragement, too, manny. it means so much!
    and you, too, are a writer, my dear! who knew we’d find each other here enjoying each other’s writing so much! i’m glad to be your muse. and you are mine.
    love to you,

  2. Melanie Gow says:

    Thank you so much for the hurrah Amanda, how amazing of you to find the time to remember me on the day. The 14/4 literary Dinner was a triumph and so much so it is already on it’s way to the next one …. would so have loved to have you guys with us, missing you x

    I love the bit this week with Beth, she is such an amazing girl .. please tell her so again from me.

    Loved the poem and, one last note, father’s are often right in my experience …

  3. Tara says:


    Thanks for putting Harvey’s work on. It is wonderful how he writes it just pours out of him!

    I love your chatty posts they are always uplifting and inspiring but practical and very grounded and down to earth! Like our chats!

    Can’t wait to see you soon


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