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.

Tuesday 30 April 2024


There's little to report today. Last night, I had to leave the group (Slough Writers) early as I didn't feel too well. In addition to feeling generally unwell, my upper legs protested about keeping still while I was listening to manuscript readings.

Today, a couple of books arrived from Amazon, along with an electronic dictionary/thesaurus. I think it's going to be invaluable.

Sunday 28 April 2024


 Here's another good book for amateur and aspiring writers of creative nonfiction: "You can't make this stuff up - The complete guide to writing creative nonfiction from memoir to literary journalism and everything in between." by Lee Gutkind. An easy read and excellent guide.

Saturday 27 April 2024

Saturday 27/04/24

Nothing much to report over the last few days. I've not been very well and staying mainly in bed where I've been studying the sixth and final module of my course 'Creative Writing Nonfiction' with the National Centre for Writing, part of the University of East Anglia.

I've been able to have a short profile and photograph included in the 'Authors' section of the 'Gay Authors Workshop'. This should be added within the next few days.

Just a reminder of my secondary website, which is www.dannydog.co.uk. Take a look and tell me what you think!

Tuesday 23 April 2024



Project: Bodie's Book

Today, I've been working on a few things. For some reason, some of my programs haven't been working correctly, so I spent quite a lot of the day fixing these. Mostly good now.

I could now convert a copy of my fifth and final assignment as an 'article' for Bodie and I added the above artwork which was drawn by Bodie himself.

I'm now into the sixth and final module of my course, and it looks really difficult, but I'll give it a go.

Sunday 21 April 2024

World Creativity Day 2024


Get creative with the 'National Centre for Writing'.

I'm chuffed. I've just completed and submitted my fifth and final assignment; 1,500 words on Bodie Best. Bodie is a 19-year-old non-binary person with a variety of complex psychiatric needs including autism.

It's been a challenging, yet interesting project. Due to my disability, I couldn't easily travel down to Dorset to interview Bodie (apart from which Bodie can't cope with 'face-to-face' with people that he's never met before). We kept in touch, and carried out interviews, by telephone, messenger, and email.

I'm delighted with the outcome. Much of the work was done while I was suffering from the side-effects of a change in my medication, but nevertheless, I'm absolutely delighted with the outcome!

Saturday 20 April 2024

Gay Authors Workshop


The Gay Authors Workshop was founded in 1978 and is an association of LGBT+ creative writers – poets, dramatists, essayists, fiction, and non-fiction writers.

The aim is to support writers by providing opportunities for them to meet, read, discuss, and develop their work.


A few days ago, I set up a website dedicated to my unpublished fiction, non-fiction, and poetry at www.dannydog.co.uk . One of the fictional LGBT+ stories is 'Under the Night' which you can read here: http://www.richardhill.co.uk/ddog/underthenight.pdf . One is an LGBT+ poem entitled 'Outing' and can be found here: http://www.richardhill.co.uk/ddog/theouting.pdf . And a final LGBT+ poem, 'That's how it is' at http://www.richardhill.co.uk/ddog/thatshowitis.pdf I hope that you enjoy reading them.

Friday 19 April 2024

Friday 19th

MP's are debating the 'Animal Welfare' bill today, in particular the theft of dogs (and cats). In anticipation and in advance of this, I wrote and published a feature in 'Dogs Today' magazine.  The story is of 'Wayne May/,  who has reunited over 2,000 stolen dogs with their owners. Title: 'Until the day I die'. http://richardhill.co.uk/waynemay.pdf

My good friend Mark Starkey, a web developer from High Wycombe, kindly edited the 'Non-fiction' page on www.dannydog.co.uk so that the lists are in two columns. Check it out. at http://www.richardhill.co.uk/ddog/nonfiction.html

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Wednesday 17th

I've been studying for, and writing the fifth and final assignment for my course. 1,500 words on a topic of our choosing. I'm writing about 'Bodie Best', a 19-year-old non-binary person with autism and a variety of complex psychiatric conditions. The deadline is 5th May. I'm halfway through the fifth module of six.

I'm at the end of my three-year contract with Motability so it's time to get a new car. These last three years, I've had a Kia Picanto which I've been very pleased with, so this time I'm going for the same.

I'd be lost without a car, and on the benefits I receive, I couldn't afford it. Deposit, insurance, breakdown, recovery, servicing, etc. Altogether, I just wouldn't be able to cope. That's where Motability comes in. For a mobility portion of my PIP (Personal Independence Payment) Motability pays for everything. All I have to pay for is petrol. It's a lifesaver. According to the Motability Salesperson at Kia Slough, I'll be getting the car in mid-May. I can't wait!

Here are some links that may be of interest:-

Hope this helps.

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Tuesday 16th

I spent the morning adding to and editing my manuscript 'Bodie Best' (pictured above with his hampster 'Arnie'). I've added a couple of paragraphs with more of the 'positive' aspects of autism which Bodie supplied, and which before I had very little knowledge.
I spent the early part of the afternoon, trawling through websites belonging to various opticians in and around Slough. I finally chose Specsavers at 194-196 High Street for appointments for me and Simon in a few days.

I'm spending the afternoon just 'chillin' out and watching s**t television and having a nap.

Sunday 14 April 2024

Desiderata - my favourite poem/prayer


Max Ehrmann

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann © 1927

Sunday 14th

I've inserted a warning on the 'FICTION' link before visitors can access my story 'Indebted'. It reads:- 

The following story contains material that may be offensive to some readers.

It contains content that deliberately depicts racism and outdated racist stereotypes for the purposes of fiction.

If you accept this caution and wish to proceed, please click here*. The story will open in a new window.

If you prefer not to please return to the previous menu by clicking here.

And then the disclaimer:

* I aim to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for everyone. I want to challenge all forms of oppression including those based on race, ethnicity, nationality, creed, gender, sex, class, sexuality, gender reassignment, learning ability, physical impairment, mental illness, HIV status, age, occupation, income, wealth and unrelated criminal conviction.

I aim to design my activities, services, and decision-making processes specifically to encourage and support participation from people who face disadvantages in society, including women, BME people, disabled people, LGBTQ people, and people on low incomes.

I felt that I should insert this step so that readers may find parts of 'Indebted' offensive and racist in parts, although it works out alright in the end.

I submitted it to a competition run by the 'Slough Writers Group' of which I'm a member. It wasn't placed, but this is what the judge had to say about it: "The narrative arc is strong and contains dramatic surprises, the character is consistent, well developed the dramatic "shift" in realisation and insight is well handled."


Saturday 13 April 2024

Saturday 13th

I spent the morning updating richardhill.co.uk and dannydog.co.uk . I had terrible problems getting the HTML coding correct. Here's the new 'home' screen for www.dannydog.co.uk .


Watch Dannydog's left eye for a few seconds (on the computer screen). It twinkles!

Thursday 11 April 2024

Thursday - Article

This is a biggy today! I thought that I'd publish my short story about Bodie Best:-

Bodie Best

Bodie Best is a 19-year-old non-binary person with a variety of complex psychiatric needs including autism. Autism is a disability caused by differences in the brain. People with autism often have problems with social communication and interaction and can be restricted or show repetitive behaviors or interests. Bodie explains how autism affects him: “It affects me socially. I struggle with communication and am a little socially awkward. I get a lot of social anxiety and it affects my communication, so I can struggle to talk sometimes and I’m not very good at texting and things.” 

One of these ‘differences’ is immediately noticeable in the way Bodie writes. He writes at what seems a hurrying speed as if he’s writing down his thoughts before he loses his train of thought. Subsequently, his writing is devoid of correct capitalisation and proper punctuation. Despite this, he writes in detail. For example, he recently wrote: ‘I’m autistic, i was diagnosed age 14, my autism means I am sensitive to sensory stimuli, I struggle socially, I’m hyper empathic, i have executive function difficulties, I don’t understand sarcasm well. But now, instead of crying when I get sarcasm wrong, I now laugh, and instead of having panic attacks when I don’t understand something socially I *try* and laugh it off.’ 

People with autism usually have a hard time understanding sarcasm and may take sarcastic speech literally. This makes it challenging for them to understand when people are joking and teasing. Bodie says: “I can’t always talk and struggle with nonverbal communication and communication in general.”  

Bodie’s ‘difficulties’ aren’t just limited to writing. He says: “I struggle making eye contact, I struggle with transitions. I struggle to read peoples facial expressions and body language. I need and crave certain sensory input such as deep pressure.” For some autistic people, such as Bodie, ‘deep pressure’ can be calming. It can help them balance their perceptions. This is the sense that helps someone work out where they are in space. Bodie, receives his ‘deep pressure’ normally from one, or another, or both of his ‘assistance’ dogs, ‘Curly’ and ‘Rex’. 

Both dogs have helped diminish ‘sensory overload’ episodes by doing tasks such as ‘deep pressure therapy’ among other things“Both Curly and Rex lie on my stomach. They apply some body weight on you,” says Bodie. “It’s a bit like a pressure blanket. It’s quite calming.” 

According to the National Autistic Society (NAS) people with autism often struggle with gender identity. They say: ‘Some people identify as the sex they were assigned with at birth, others don’t.’ They go on to describe how some people identify as neither female nor male. Bodie prefers to identify by the pronouns ‘he’ or ‘they. 

Bodie writes of other difficulties: ‘The problem is the world are not accepting and meeting our needs. It’s hard to live in a world where you don’t fit the mould. I used to feel like an alien but then I met my wonderful girlfriend, Jac, and other special people who helped show me I’m loved’. 

On weekdays, during term-time, Bodie, accompanied by Rex, attends Boveridge College located near the village of Cranborne in Dorset. This is a specialist further education college providing day and residential support for young people with Autism spectrum conditions or additional social, emotional and mental health needs. ‘We prepare our students for adult life,’ reads their website which goes on to say that they work towards their goal; ‘through person-centred academic and vocational study programmes leading to independent living with employment or further study.’ Boveridge college means a lot to Bodie, ‘I started at this special needs college which I love, and the staff and students help me feel included and cared for.’ 

He goes on:’ For years I felt like I was inside a bubble and watching the world around me through the soapy exterior is blurred and I didn’t understand. I still feel like this often, but that bubble is starting to burst in some places and with some people because I feel able to be myself. This is wonderful.’ he says, ‘I’m getting to a point where I’m learning to unmask. I hid myself and lived as the wrong person for so long it severely damaged my mental health, but unmasking has saved me. It’s still a struggle but much better and easier and I’m happy being myself in the right place. I recently moved into supported living where I’m doing well, and my college is helping me, and I feel happy there. These are the main places I feel comfortable and happy being myself.  

He tells of other difficulties: “I have sensory issues. I’m susceptible to light and sounds. I have blue-tinted lenses in my glasses which help with bright lights. I always wear headphones and I usually have music playing through my headphones but if people are talking to me or I must hear someone, my headphones play a noise cancellation noise such as white noise, which helps dampen sound. 

Last autumn 2023, Bodie met me online. I was researching material for an article on ‘assistance’ dogs. Bodie, who has two assistance dogs ‘Curly’ and ‘Rex’ saw my appeal for information on a Facebook page and got in touch. I wrote articles about Bodie and his dogs for the magazines ‘Able’ and ‘Dogs Today’. Since then, we’ve kept in touch and I’ve found Bodie’s life story fascinating and slowly, we have got to know each other online.  

A few months later, in the New Year, I embarked on a 12-week online course with the ‘National Centre for Writing’. I enrolled in ‘Creative Writing Non-fiction’ which I found both challenging and fascinating. At one point, I submitted part of my articles as an exercise about “openings”. The tutor, the author Edward Parnell, commented on it and suggested that it would be a good opening for a book about Bodie, which set me thinking. I suggested the idea to Bodie. His first response was: ’I’m in 100%!’  

Hitherto, I’d not considered writing a book. But this interested me, so I began by starting to research it. On February 12th I put pen to paper and began making some notes.  

And that’s where we’re up to. Bodie has kept a diary or journal in the past, making notes about his life and experiences and is sorting through them. I am researching aspects such as autism and other mental health conditions that affect Bodie. 

© Richard Hill MMXXIV

Wednesday 10 April 2024


It's been a funny week so far. It's been a mixture of studying, reading and writing. There's not much to report except to share one of my writings that I've submitted to an anthology of work by members of the 'Gay Authors Workshop'...

The Two Brewers 

Richard Hill 

I don’t remember the weather. I was walking down Clapham High Street, a route that I walked most evenings from my home and workplace, South Western Hospital. It was quite late, around 10pm. My destination was, the Two Brewers, a gay pub that had been open for a year or so. 

Once inside, I entered the ‘dance bar’, as opposed to the ‘drag bar’. It was quite quiet, but for the Two Brewers, this was the norm at this time of the night. Evelyn Thomas's "High Energy" was being played at a zillion decibels. 

I went to the bar. “What are you having love.” shouted the muscular bearded barman, in full drag. "the usual?” I nodded. Drag queens tended to (and sometimes still do) make me cringe. I waited as he poured me a lager from one of the pumps. “60 pence please love.”, he shouted as he handed me my pint. I paid and went and stood at the corner of the bar as the room slowly began to fill. 

Much later, by now, the room was busy, heaving with men. Some cruised other men while others danced. I wasn’t there to cruise, preferring instead just to take in the ‘scenery’. By now, I was on my third or fourth pint. 

In front of me, leaning with his back against a mirrored pillar, was a young man who flashed the occasional glance in my direction. I smiled, and he smiled back. He was a goodlooking ‘straight’ looking guy with engaging facial features. He was dressed in a Levi style jacket and jeans which contributed to his heterosexual appearance. I was being cruised. Should I reciprocate? 

To cut a ‘long story short’, forty years on, in July this year, we celebrated our forty years together.