I grew up in a sweetly parochial corner of the south-west coast of England, where the beach was my main exploration ground, in fair weather and poor. There I learnt how to kick limpets off a rock with a welly in order to gouge the pale, tremulous flesh out of the shell for use as bait and how to get a grip on the ferocious little velvet swimming crab without being gripped back. Though my parents had more interest in my rockpool findings than my schooling, they gave me a journal when I was five, and I began exploring the world of words. In the same year, the death of a kindly great-uncle allowed us our first family trip abroad, to Paris. I gradually awoke to the realisation that there were many other domains to explore, both physically and linguistically.
After attending Exeter College, I moved to Paris at 18 to study French Language and Culture. A master in Media led to a job as a press analyst and abstract writer until life in France began to feel too sedate and I moved to Beirut, becoming self-employed by the same token. Moving from a nanny state to a DIY nation provided many reasons to laugh and to wonder. Ginger Beirut began as a collection of short pieces on Lebanese life and culture as seen by an outsider. Its aim was to provide a few insights and a taste of life in this voluptuous, generous country, and it led to work for the BBC programme From Our Own Correspondent.
Life has moved on and I now write from Andalusia in southern Spain, in a town which mixes the wide buggy-friendly pavements of Western Europe with the jacaranda, the warmth and the easy ways of the Mediterranean.
Ginger Beirut was selected as one of Lonely Planet’s top blogs and many articles have been featured on their site.