About Me

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I am a 68-year-old gay disabled amateur part-time writer living in Slough, Berkshire UK. I have published around 50 articles in 20 leisure and lifestyle magazines. I live with a range of health issues including heart disease, chronic kidney disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression, atrial fibrillation and restless leg syndrome. (I'm working my way through the medical dictionary!). I'm a member of Slough Writer's Group which is interesting and informative. Latest News. 10th July 2023 Awarded 'The Sandy Lee-Guard Award for Endeavour' by the Slough Writers Group. 6th December 2023 Completed studying 'Writing for Magazines' with CityLit University. January 2nd 2024. Fell over in the lounge and fractured my left femur (whilst recovering from fracturing my right femur in July 2023). Recovery expected to take 6 - 8 months. May 2024. Completed studying ' National Centre for Writing' course 'Creative Non-Fiction - An Introduction'. You can see the articles that have been published in the 'LATEST WORK' section of my website.

Wednesday 14 December 2022


 I've been studying 'distance learning' for mature students in preparation for my Open University 'Y031 Arts and languages Access module' which begins on February 4th 2023.

Sunday 4 December 2022


 It's been a challenging but interesting few days. I've been unwell since Thursday but have been reading two good books on distance learning. Of late, I've not done much reading, but I've read these two cover to cover. I've marked pages I want to return to with 'post-it' notes and the important headings within with highlighter pen.

I've just read the current editions of 'Writing Magazine' and 'Writers' Forum Magazine' and set-up a subscription to the latter. There's quite a few competitions listed in both, but they nearly always charge an entry fee.

That's all for now. Have a good week.

Wednesday 30 November 2022

New News


I'm preparing for my 'Arts and languages access module' Open University beginning on 4th February 2023. You can find a list of the OU short courses I've completed can be found in the 'Other Stuff' section of my website. You can go directly there by clicking on the following link: http://richardhill.co.uk/stuff.html

I've also been reading 'Distance Learning for Mature Students' and have a couple of books on distance learning on order.

Tomorrow, I become a member of the 'Society of Authors'.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Good morning!

 I'm not sure what I should write this morning. My new laptops come back from HP who say that they can't find anything wrong with it. So I got in touch with TalkTalk who tested my line and router who could't find anything wrong. It worked within 3-4 feet of the router, but that's not where I want to use it. 

Anyhow, for the time being, I'm using Simons older chromebook in the bedroom, and he's going to try and use mine in the same room as the router.

I'll maybe post more later today.

Wednesday 23 November 2022

On my Way!

 Today is a good day. Today I learned that I had qualified for a fee waiver for my Open University  'Arts and Languages Access Module' beginning in February 2023. I'm over the moon!

Sunday 20 November 2022

Sunday 20th November

 I've been 'offline' for most of the week. My Chromebook went away for repair and only came back yesterday. I'm catching-up on some other stuff, but may post here later.

Because of the scanning, saving, upload and other stuff, I have removed the 'freewriting' section of my website. It wasn't being visited anyway! I continue to keep a daily diary.

Watch this space!

Wednesday 16 November 2022


 It's Wednesday morning and I've just spoken to my doctor about feeling unwell in the mornings. She suspects that it's due to me not having breakfast soon after taking my morning medication. She says that I should have my breakfast ready before taking my medication and then immediately eat my breakfast.

Not much else happening this morning apart from reading the biographies of all the writers featured on the  Slough Writers website, and those who have a website, checking them out.

Maybe more later.

Monday 14 November 2022

Primark website crash.

 Another week, another day, and I've had a rough morning, but am feeling a bit better now.

I've been selecting a piece of news for our 'fact to fiction' exercise tonight at Slough Writers. I've selected a news item about 'Primark' whose brand new 'click and collect' service has crashed completely.

I've spoken and apologised to Nazalee for being insensitive, and thankfully, she hasn't 'shut me out'.

We've just been shopping to Sainsbury's in Slough. They had NO eggs, so we had to call at the garage Tesco's on the way home.

It's the Kings 74th birthday today. I wonder when his 'official' birthday takes place. I think it happens to co-incide with 'Trooping of the Colour'.

I keep thinking that I'm younger than I am - until I look in the mirror, and that brings me back down to earth.

Maybe more later.

Sunday 13 November 2022

Remembrance Sunday

 I really feel unwell today. I've not been writing and am even finding writing this blog difficult. I'm still in bed and have been watching the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. The King was there laying the first wreath while the Queen Consort watched on from a balcony above.

My blood sugar levels, and my blood pressure are low. I drank a can of Coke which brought my blood sugar levels up a bit.

I'll post some more if I feel better later.

Saturday 12 November 2022

Saturday 12th Novenber 2022

 I'm getting used to using my partners laptop. Mine has gone away for repair, it kept disconnecting from the internet despite having a strong WiFi signal.

I've been writing a bit more of 'Spence'.

I've joined 'TheFED', a network of community and Working Class writers. 

Friday 11 November 2022

Friday 11th November 2022

 I've been onto the Currys Technical Helpdesk. To cut a long story short, they are having it collected tomorrow (Saturday) and it will take from 7 - 10 working days.

More later!

Thursday 10 November 2022

Thursday 10th November

 Another day, another problem. Now, my chromebook won't connect to my printer. Problems, problems, problems.

Will post more later in the day.

Been onto HP Chromebook support. They can't do anything without the serial number, which I can't find! Nightmare!

I have another entry in a Slough Writers competition; a review of a piece of music. I'd like to know what you think: http://www.richardhill.co.uk/alittlerespect.pdf

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Poetry readers wanted.

 I'm looking for people to read and record some of my poems from the 'POETRY' section of my website. You can record them on your smartphone, save them as an mp3, and send them to me at sloughwriter@gmail.com . I will credit you as the narrator. My voice isn't strong or 'artistic' enough!

Wed 9th November

 I've been having problems with my laptop disconnecting from the internet intermittently. It's annoying. TalkTalk have tested the line and the router and have told me that they are okay. I had typed a load of stuff here earlier, but couldn't publish it, and lost it all. Still, we'll have to wait and see if it settles down since I've done a 'factory reset'. Anyone else have trouble like this?

Because of the problems, I haven't done any writing today (apart from this!). I may do later. It depends how I feel.

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Tuesday 8th November

 Last night, the results of the Slough Writers Summer 2022 monologue were announced. I'm afraid that my entry 'Indebted' http://www.richardhill.co.uk/indebted.html wasn't placed. Reading it again, having learned what I have doing my OU course, I can see why. Still, there's always next year!

The next Slough Writers competition coming up is the 'article' competition, a review of a piece of music.

I've been working on my story 'Spence' today. It's now around 5,500 words. However, on the advice of my OU tutor, parts of it need to be thought about more carefully, so I'm working my way through it before I add much more.

My friend Mark Starkey, came to Slough Writers last night to see it it's something he might like to join.

Rob called me 'John' last night, by mistake, and was quickly corrected.

That's all for now.

Sunday 6 November 2022

Sunday 6th November.

 It's Sunday morning. I'm taking it easy today. I might do some work on my story 'Spence'. However, nothing on my OU course (which I've more or less completed).

I haven't done any 'freewriting' this morning, but if interested, you can read my scribblings to date by clicking here 

More later in the day!


I've been researching online and via the 'Writers & Artists' yearbook for organisations, groups and societies etc. that I might consider joining.

Friday 4 November 2022

Friday 4th Nov

 Good morning.

Once again, I feel like c**p. I should feel better later.

Today, I plan to write about Spence meeting Gary for the first time.


It's now 18.55 and I'm just finishing up my writing for the day. So far the word count is 2797, about 1000 of those written today. In a 'flashback' Spence and Gary have met for the first time. It's 2017 and Spence is 15.

I do 10 minutes of 'freewriting' every day, that 'limbers' me up and might well provide story ideas (or extracts) for the future. You can check out my 'freewriting' page at http://richardhill.co.uk/freewriter/index.html Enjoy! Have a go yourself!


Thursday 3 November 2022

Thursday 3rd Nov

 It's been an unusual day. As is usual these days, I felt like crap throughout the morning, but improved a lot by early afternoon.

I wrote about 4-500 words of 'Spence', didn't like it, cut it out, thought I shouldn't do that so put it back. Then I realised that the reason it wasn't working was because I'd written it in the 'past' tense. I labouriously edited it into the 'present' tense and it worked much better.

All for tonight. Goodnight.

Tuesday 1 November 2022

Happy Birthday to me!

 It's my 67th birthday!


Had quite a good day today. I felt rough until about 11. We went to Simon's mum who gave me a card and some money. I bought a leather jacket. 

Simon made a wonderful lunch: roast pork, marrowfat peas, roasted and mashed potatoes and lovely thick gravy. He's so kind.

Later, we took Lottie for a walk to Horsemoor Green. When we got home, I edited the seventh draft of 'Spence'. I finished Week 5 of my OU course 'Introduction to Creative Writing'. It's the last week next week.

A very good day!

Hershel Writers' Circle

 It's a meeting of the fortnightly 'Hershel Writers' Circle' tonight. I'm facilitating a workshop on 'Writing for Magazines' at 7.30pm. You can read my article 'Writing for Magazines' at www.sloughwriter.co.uk

Included is my assertion that as well as 'write about what you know' that you should also 'flip' it and 'know about what you write'. You can download my handout on this by clicking the following link: http://www.richardhill.co.uk/talks/knowaboutwhatyouwrite.pdf

 'Hershel Writers' Group' is open to everyone regardless of experience. Come along and enjoy!


'Hershel Writers' Group' Tonight!

(Photo courtesy: Pete Cox)

'Writing for Magazines'

Sunday 30 October 2022

Sunday 30 October

 I've been busy this morning with my head buried in my laptop. I've written about 1,500 words today and now packing it in for the day.

Yesterday, I tweaked my website (I think I mentioned yesterday). I've not done my ten minutes 'freewriting' yet today. Want to try freewriting? Go to http://richardhill.co.uk/freewriter/index.html

I should really have a shave, but am leaving it until tomorrow so that I'm clean-shaven for Slough Writers Group tomorrow. I've also got the 'Hershel's Writing Circle' on Tuesday night where I'm running a workshop on 'Writing for Magazines'. Busy couple of days! Want to read my mini-website on 'Writing for Magazines'? Go to http://www.sloughwriter.co.uk/

 That's all for now.


This evening. I've received this email from my OU tutor about my 'freewriter' web page:-

This is so lovely, Richard! You are a very proactive practitioner. I really enjoyed today's freewrite. Isn't it interesting how that whole memory cropped up, of running to church at your mum's pace? I found it rather poignant.

I am going to use the rainforest soundtrack for my morning freewrite in future: it will be interesting to see how that affects my chilly Pennine scribblings in my shed: perhaps some warmer imagery might stroll onto the page!

Do please consider the materials at the end of AXS001, about taking your creative writing further with the OU.

Thanks and best wishes,

Dr Christy Ducker
AL: A215, A111
Study Advisor: AXS001 
Royal Literary Fund Fellow
I'm quite pleased with that.

Saturday 29 October 2022

Saturday 29th October

 Once again, feeling like c**p this morning, but better later. Spent the afternoon revising and uploading web pages on my website http://www.richardhill.co.uk .

I'm looking for volunteers to read and record some of my poems. If interested, drop me an email at sloughwriter@gmail.com

All for now. 

Friday 28 October 2022

Friday 28th Oct


I've had a very bad morning this morning but am beginning to feel better now. I've worked out the html coding to put audio on my website. I've recorded a "Sorry, this poem hasn't been recorded yet." to put and play next to the poems that aren't ready yet. I've tried to record a poem myself, but it sounds terrible. I'm slurring my words (as I often do when unwell). So, I've put an 'appeal' on the 'Slough Writers Social' page asking if anyone would like to record one or more of my poems for me. They can do it from home and save it as an mp3 file which they can email to me.

I've also found a 10 minute recording of waves crashing on a pebble beach. This will go somewhere on my 'freewriting' page so that anyone wants to try freewriting for themselves. It will act as a timer.

Got a copy of 'The Sun' newspaper for the horoscope section. Have converted the required piece into a pdf file.

That's all for now.

Thursday 27 October 2022

Thursday 27 Oct

 I wasn't feeling too well this morning. Brighter late morning. I filed most of my paperwork.

This afternoon, I previewed next weeks studies.

Now, I'm simply playing around on my Chromebook while listening to Jeff Wayne's 'War of the Worlds'. You can watch and listen too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6FOJ2z3FL0

I must write more poetry and short stories. I'll make a start this afternoon.

Watch this space!


This afternoon, I've been working out how to put audio on my website. I want to record my poems and have an audio player next to each poem. The poems will be recorded as an mp3 file. I've found the HTML coding to put a player onto a web page. I needed an mp3 recording to play, so I downloaded the BBC News music. I've combined these and as an experiment have uploaded it onto my 'FREEWRITING' page. Clever, innit?! All that's left to do is to record the poems, upload them along with the poetry page! I'll try recording them tomorrow.

Wednesday 26 October 2022


 I've done as much as I can of my Open University course for a few days. This is what my next activity requires me to do:-

  1. If possible, put the passage aside for a few days before re-reading it.
  2. Identify any moments when you have explained your characters’ thoughts or feelings. Now replace most of these abstract thoughts or feelings with lines that show your characters’ reactions through their behaviour. 

So, I'm leaving it aside until tomorrow. I'll then carry on until the end of the week.

Yesterday, and today, I have, and will, work my way through the 'Writers & Artists Yearbook 2023' and the 'Writers Handbook 2023' to find possible markets and competitions for my poetry and fiction.

All for now.


It's early evening now. I had a rest this afternoon after submitting 8 poems to 3 magazines. I'm listening to/watching the concert version of 'Chess'. When that's finished, I'll probably watch the concert version of Jeff Wayne's 'War of the Worlds'.

I must get down and write some more poetry and short stories.

That's all for now.

Monday 24 October 2022

Weekend News

 It's Monday 24th October. I haven't posted anything over the past few days as I've been rather busy. I've been asked to give a workshop on 'Writing for Magazines' to the Hershel Arms writing group I recently started attending. The workshop will be based on my 'mini' website at www.sloughwriter.co.uk.

I've been doing some research for 'RESPECT', my autobiography. I've completed the prologue and first two chapters which you can read at www.respect.pink .

On Saturday, I began studying Week 4 of my OU short course 'Introduction to Creative Writing'. I'm now studying 'Fiction'.

Tonight at Slough Writers Group, we have a speaker via 'Zoom', which should be interesting.

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Wednesday 19th October

 Today, I've been working on uploading my 'freewriting' to my website. I've rewritten the html for the 'Other Stuff' page with a link to the new 'freewriting' page and have uploaded three days of 'freewriting' pdf's.

You can go directly to the 'FreeWriting' page by following this link: http://www.richardhill.co.uk/freewriter/

This afternoon, I'm going to add my 'Tom' short story to the 'Fiction' page.

Might report back later...

UPDATE 15:47

A short while ago, while I was putting Lottie's lead on in the hall, I fell over backwards and banged my head on the (hard) floor. The back of my head's  been bleeding and I have a stinking headache at the front and back of my head. Last time I did this I had a bleed on the brain and had to go into hospital for a few days. I hope it's not that bad this time.

UPDATE 20:10

Much better. Back to 'normal'!

Books I'm using:

Positively Productive Writerby Simon Whaley

The Creative Writing Student's Handbook - by Cathie Hartigan and Margaret James

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Tuesday 18 October

 Last Night

I went to Slough Writers Group. Around 15 other members present. Lee gave a presentation on 'Feedback' and looked at how a writer should deal with praise, criticism, rejection etc. I didn't stay for the informal chat afterwards.


Spent the morning doing some work on Week 3 of my OU 'Introduction to Creative Writing' course. Working on 'Characterisation' finishing the week off at 'Activity 11: brainstorming your character'.

Last night, Simon told me that he thought I was doing too much studying (and writing). He suggests that it might make me unwell, both physical and emotionally. 

This Evening

Tonight it's the 'Innerverse' Writing Group in Slough (Hershel Arms). We'll be doing 10 minutes of 'freewriting' and then reading out our 750 word short story.

Monday 17 October 2022

Technology Troubles

Nightmare morning!

For some reason, at some point earlier, I lost the ability to print wirelessly from my laptop. I tried everything on the printer, pressed every button and combinations thereof! It worked from my PC and printing its' own test page. I even turned off the power for a couple of minutes - but still nothing. I couldn't see any printer settings on the laptop. So I did what I should have done earlier - turned the laptop off for a while and turned it back on again. It worked!

I need to lie down!

Sunday 16 October 2022

Announcing 'National Novel Writing Month'

 Good morning Folks!

It's 04.17 and I can't sleep. My RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) is playing up. It's not so bad whilst I'm sitting up.

Tonight, at Slough Writers we have a workshop - 'Who Knows Best' hosted by Lee. I'm not sure what this is about, but I'm interested to find out.

During 'New Markets' or perhaps 'A.O.B.' I'll tell the group that November is 'National Novel Writing Month' and will hand out the flyers I've made a copy of which I'm going to try and post below! Here goes:-

National Novel Writing Month

November 2022




National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists.

NaNoWriMo is an international non-profit organisation that believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people use their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.

NaNoWriMo Berkshire. We've seen a lot of change since the 7th Century, but we've always stood at the crossroads of art, literature, technology, and biscuits. From Hungerford to Slough and all in-between, welcome! Write well, respect all, and keep smiling!

1st November marks the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in a competition where hundreds of thousands of authors race against the clock to complete a 50,000-word draft in just 30 days.

Although the project began in the United States, NaNoWriMo is an international nonprofit with participants around the world. You’re also welcome to write in the language you’re most comfortable with

Equal parts rewarding and challenging, NaNoWriMo is a perfect way to jump start your writing habit and complete your first draft. To help intrepid writers on this creative journey, author-based community Reedsy has announced Vancouver-based writer Shaelin Bishop and Jenn Gott, who’s author of a six-part epic fantasy series The Beacon Campaigns, and an open-ended superheroes series called Hopefuls, will be hosting host NaNoWriMo writing events every Thursday in November.

In their YouTube live streams, they will guide prospective writers through a series of writing sprints, giving you a boost of productivity and the opportunity to keep yourself accountable by sharing your progress with other writers.

Saturday 15 October 2022

Saturday 15 October

 I've started on the 'fiction' section of my OU course. I've been doing 'characterisation' of my character 'Spencer'.

I've made a list of his details:

Personal Details

  • Born: Sunday 02 June 2002 - Age: 20 years - Star sign: Gemini

  • Gender: Male - Sexuality: Straight

  • Place of birth: Landor Road, Stockwell, London SW9

  • Place of residence: Langley, Slough SL3

  • Occupation: Unemployed (Beggar)

  • Income: £15,410 a year (in benefits)

  • Pets: Jack Russell Terrier - ‘Poppy’


  • Height: 6’ (72”) 1.83 m - Weight: 11st 6lbs (160 lbs) 72.57 kgs 

  • Eye Colour: Brown.

  • Skin Tone: Medium.

  • Glasses/Contact Lenses: Glasses for watching television.

  • Prominent Features: Tattoo of old girlfriends name on inner forearm (Sally).

  • Distinguishing Marks/Scars: Scar and stitchmarks on left shin (Football Injury). 

  • Hairstyle/Colour: ‘Fade’ (short haircut that is tapered down to the skin on the sides and back.) Black hair.

  • Style of dress: Jeans · Branded Shirts · Nike Trainers · Bomber Jacket. 

  • Jewellery: Sun Rise Dial ring on right hand index finger. Engraved Pattern Hoop Earring in lobe of left ear

  • Health Conditions / Disabilities. Asthma / Slight limp in left leg (Football injury)


  • Parents: Father (Andrew): Electrician - Mother (Lynne): Health Centre Receptionist.

  • Siblings: Older Brother (Mark).: Younger Sister (Alison).

  • Best Friend: Steve Edmonds.

  • Other Close Friends: None.

  • Partner: Ann (Live-in girlfriend).

  • Enemies: Paul Thompson (Loan Shark). Gary (Dealer).


  • Catchphrases: ‘Geezer’ & ‘Bruv’

  • Pessimist.

  • Introverted.

  • Conflict avoider (except when drunk).

  • Detailed Personality Description: Likes to be liked. Dislikes confrontation even with his girlfriend Annette (except when pissed). ‘Confident’ when drunk. ‘Soppy’ and ‘Slushy’ when high. 

Traits and Interests.

  • Hobbies: Football (But doesn’t have mates to play with). Tropical fish aquarium.

  • Football: Supports Arsenal (The Gunners).

  • Dislikes begging but needs must.

  • Can’t cope with job interviews.

  • Sometimes shoplifts for alcohol.

Favourite Music

  • I'm Good (Blue) David Guetta, Bebe Rexha.

  • Left and Right (Feat. Jung Kook of BTS)Charlie Puth.

  • Shivers Ed Sheeran.

  • Levitating Dua Lipa.

  • Unholy (feat. Kim Petras) Sam Smith.

  • 2 Be Loved (Am I Ready) Lizzo.

  • The Motto TiĆ«sto, Ava Max.

 Favourite TV Programmes

  • Sex and the City

  • Friends

  • New Girl

  • The Carrie Diaries

  • The Big Bang Theory

  • 90210

  • The O.C.

  • 2 Broke Girls

  • RuPaul's Drag Race UK


  • Frightened of ‘medical’ needles.

  • Doesn’t drive.

  • Enjoys swimming but hasn’t been for years.

  • Sometimes unfaithful to his partner. Casual sex with other women.

  • Has unprotected sex most of the time.

  • Sometimes begs with ‘Poppy’ his J.R.T.

  • Has smartphone but doesn’t let anyone see it when begging.

  • Wears multiple layers of clothing for begging when it’s cold.

Thursday 13 October 2022

Thursday 13th October (Afternoon)

Today, I've been previewing Week 3 of my OU course 'Building Characters'.

I really want to build the character of a lad that sits begging outside my local co-op.

This is an image I got off the net that closely resembles him and that I'll use to create a 'spidergram'. I have loads of questions about him that would enable me to build a 'character profile' of him.

I wrote a poem about him (before I began this course). Here it is :-

Any spare change please?

A young man begs alongside the supermarket doorway.

“Got any spare change please?” he asks.

Some fumble in their bags and rags and hand him some small change.

Who is he? Who is his father, mother, sister, brother?

He smiles with glistening, sparkling yet distant eyes.

A handsome young man, reasonably dressed.

“Got any spare change please?” he asks.

One stops and declares “No cash, but anyway, you’re nowt but trash”.

Each day got through, means there’s more too,

Of beggars like this who ask for what we’ve earned.

But still this young man holds out his hand.

“Got any spare change please?” he asks.

Whatever strife has shaped this life. What has he seen of pleasure and pain?

His politeness and pleading gives more meaning.

To this haunting, fascinating yarn.

He sits in weather fit for a penguin.

“Got any spare change please?” he asks.

A difficult time he says he’ll be fine, despite interest rates arising.

Disturbing sight, but what of night. Where does he go to sleep?

Behind closed doors, he may be back where he started.

But what of the money he has raised?

“Got any spare change please?” he asks.

Will he use it for food if he’s in the mood, or…

Maybe a smoke, or is this a joke, preceding something stronger.

He may have ambition, but what’s his position?

And one hands a sandwich to him.

“Got any spare change please?” he asks.

With regard to, it’s simply hard to give money you might spend on coke.

What you need is food, you’re not healthy dude. And so she went on her way.

The food set aside, hand open, he repeats his pleading mantra.

In the early evening, he’s nowhere to be seen. The echoes…

“Got any spare change please?”.