I am currently in a very small village in southern France called Labastide-Esparbaïrenque. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s name has more letters than the village has inhabitants. But they’re all very friendly; the villagers and Kerry and John who run La Muse, an artists’ retreat in a beautiful stone house tucked into the village on one side and with views over the hills of the Montagne Noire above Carcassonne on the other. You can go for inspirational walks here, in wild terrain where there are no buildings, no roads, no electricity pylons – just miles and miles of winding hills and rivers. Hard to believe you’re in a major European country. You can sit round the table with the other Musers (that’s what they call us), you can try to get the recalcitrant bloody fire to light. But above all you can do what you really came here for and as far as I’m concerned, that’s rest and write. Luckily for me, Mr Right is holding the fort 450 km away in Lyon, juggling Clapperkin, Fashionista and the Duracell Kid with her trampoline lessons. He’s even learned to use the washing machine (I kid you not). And I should perhaps also point out that he’s also going to work. That’s why they (I) call him Mr Right 😉 All that means that I have the luxury of waking up with no alarm clock and only having to decide what I want to do all day. I am happy to say that a lot of my days have been spent getting the beginning of a novel out of my head and onto a hard drive and I’m excited to say that I have already written five chapters – or 10,303 words. Amazing what you can get done when you have some time on your hands. I’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s a bit like what I see when I look out of my bedroom window here – it’s looking good!