About Me

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I am a 68 year old 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. 14th December 2023 Booked onto the ' National Centre for Writing' course 'Creative Non-Fiction - An Introduction' beginning on 12th February 2024. You can see the articles that have been published in the 'LATEST WORK' section of my website.

Thursday 22 February 2024

Long time no 'speak'!

I've been a little quiet here as I've been busy with my other projects and assignments. I've been working on Module One of my course and writing my assignment.

"For our first assignment, then, I’d like you to see what you can deduct from a spell of people-watching in a public place."

"So, please write 300–500 words about the scene you have been privy to (or previously witnessed), the conversations you've overheard, or the imagined lives of those strangers you’ve observed walking past you."

Here are my interactions with my instructor:

Richard Hill
Richard Hill
8 days ago
I have a question: Due to my various 'disabilities', I'm unable to get 'out and about' to 'people watch'. Can I instead write about people that I know (or have known)? I would of course change their names to 'protect the innocent'!
Edward Parnell
Edward Parnell
7 days ago
Absolutely! That in itself is a really interesting exercise, so please do that, Richard.
Richard Hill
Richard Hill
2 days ago
I'm happy! I was worried about this assignment. However, I've managed it. It may not be any good, but I've managed it!
Edward Parnell
Edward Parnell
a day ago
Well done, Richard - and I'm sure it will be good! But, the key with writing is getting it done at all. We then have a starting point to rewrite and tweak.

And here is my completed submission:-

RichardHill_Assignment One

18-year-old Spence has a fleece hoodie on today, just washed by his girlfriend, Ann.

It smells calm and cloudy, fresh out of the tumble drier. He gets down on his knees to

play with Poppy, his ten-year-old Jack Russell Terrier. Poppy’s blind and finds her master

by his body odour, but is a little confused as he’s wearing body deodorant and dressed in

that overpowering hoodie. But, she finds him and submissively rolls on her back for a

“tummy tickle”. Spence obliges, and she reacts with a passive whine of pleasure.


‘Are you going to pick up your prescription?’ asks Ann. Spence nods and speaks to his

dog in a silly childish voice. ‘Is that nice, Poppydog?’ If she were a cat, she would be

purring but just looks up with sightless eyes. ‘Is Poppydog going to be a good girl for

daddy till he gets home?’ asks Spence in that baby-talk tone.

He stands and turns to speak to Ann. ‘Right. I’m off now, love. Kiss me.’ Ann kisses him.


‘I hope you make more than yesterday. And don’t forget to pick up your script.’,

she reminds him. Spence opens the front door and leaves.


He hates taking the lift, but following a football injury a few years earlier, he can’t cope

with the stairs, not even going down. He presses the “down” button and waits.

‘C’mon, c’mon’ he impatiently mumbles. He hears the clatter of the lift approaching.

It comes to a standstill and the door scrapes open. It smells of stale piss. It descends. It’s

not a very nice day to be begging on the street. It’s that kind of misty drizzle that gets

under your collar.


Fifteen minutes later, he’s arrived at a parade of shops, one of which he’ll soon be begging

outside. But first, he’s going to the chemist where he’ll collect his methadone. For the past

few weeks, it has been dispensed by a nurse at the health centre. But now, he is coming off

heroin, to which he’s been addicted for a  few years.


His “weaning off” heroin is being strictly supervised by his doctor. But now Spence is

considered stable and responsible enough to self-medicate at home. Yesterday's dose, the

last to be administered by the nurse, is wearing off and his body aches for more, and soon,

after he visits the chemists nearby he’ll be ‘topped up’.

-OPENING ENDS-

394 Words


This is based on a young man I knew that regularly (regardless of the weather) used to beg in the doorway of a mini-supermarket near me. It will also be based on the lives of three heroin (one recovering) addicts I knew/know.


Tuesday 20 February 2024

Got it!

 I've started the course 'Creative Writing Non-fiction' and worked my way through Module One. I've also completed my first assignment which was 300 - 500 words of an opening to a book. The deadline is this coming Sunday, but I've completed it early.

As for my health, my left leg continues to hurt, sometimes it's agony. I have a weekly morphine patch on my chest and take Oxycodone about 3 to 4 times a day. I also have some morphine-based gel to rub into the affected area. I do exercise four times a day, once under the supervision of a physiotherapist. My walking is improving slowly, but I still take short slow steps with a walking frame.

Saturday 10 February 2024

Learning Zone

 On Monday 12th February I begin a 12-week online course run by the National Centre for Writing part of the University of East Anglia. The course is entitled 'Creative Writing - Non-fiction'.

I'm currently setting up my laptop to enable me to participate as smoothly as possible.

As I'm still recovering from my fractured femur surgery, I may be taking the early part of this course from my bed.

Friday 9 February 2024

I'm home!

 Yes! It's true! I came home yesterday! I'll post more in the coming days.

Tuesday 2 January 2024

A depressing day in the New Year.

This evening I tripped over in the lounge, banged my head, and fractured my other (left) femur. It was an agonizing wait for an ambulance. When I first called 999 to request an ambulance, I was told that the current wait time was 12 hours!. I called back a couple of hours later as I'd started getting chest pain and they upgraded me to 'high-priority' for which the wait time was 4 hours, however, the first ambulance arrived about 2 hours after the second 999 call. They had no 'gas and air' nor were they equipped to deliver IV morphine and they had to call for a second ambulance.

Putting me in a 'split stretcher' was sheer agony as I was being wheeled into the ambulance. I was taken to Wexham Park Hospital. As I'd banged my head, they first of all put me in a CT scanner. Later, they x-rayed my hip which showed that I'd fractured my femur.

The following day I had to have an operation to insert a titanium rod and screws into the top of my femur. (Intramedullary nail (IM Nail) fixation). I spent a short time in the recovery ward before being transferred to Ward 1. After a few days, I was transferred to the rehabilitation ward (Jubilee Ward) at Upton Hospital where I stayed until my discharge on Thursday 8th Feb.

Monday 1 January 2024

Happy New Year!


It's here!
2024

Had a quiet day. Woke up late. Spent the afternoon watching 'Yes Prime Minister' followed by 'Edwardian Farm'.
Now having a relaxing evening.