Whilst I've worked in the rail industry for over a decade, I am first and foremost a rail traveller. And although I am currently living in Madrid, I am a regular traveller on the European rail network. So when I first heard about the proposed HS2 high-speed rail plans, one of my first thoughts was "what will this do for me?"
I have seen no better symbol of boundless consumerism than the giant horse statue in the middle of Leeds Trinity shopping centre. It buckles under a sack distended, I imagine, with the dubious harvest of a thousand Chinese factories, the poor beast's hooves scrabbling to stay upright upon its narrow plinth. Quite what the developers were thinking I do not know...
It was quite overwhelming to find the roots of our story were as the result of one incredible lady's inspiration and determination - and what a coincidence that Alfie Tate, one of the characters in the book had drawn a bird on his copper leaf, in memory of his teacher, because they had both "jumped for joy when they saw the first swallows of summer."
Valentines Day. Love it or hate it, once February hits you can't escape it. Shops everywhere bombard you with images of cupid, love-struck couples and cards featuring admittedly nauseatingly cute kittens mewing "I love you" whilst the question on everybody's lips is "What are you doing for Valentines Day?"