If you go to my gym when I'm working out, you'll know I have tattoos. If you're anywhere near me two days after I've had a new one, you'll be aware of it too - because I complain a lot. They're itchy when they heal!
Some people love tattoos, my mum dislikes them (although she seems interested in mine), and some people have them but decide they don't want them a couple of years later.
I still love all my tattoos, my newest one most of all... because of the memories I've been left with.
A few months ago a family member was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, and soon afterwards, my sister-in-law came across a local charity tattoo marathon in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Nine of us jumped at the chance to show our support.
We turned up en masse and selected our tattoos from the range of sixteen designs. We got our tats, watched each other get theirs, drank cider and ate chips. And we laughed... a lot. It was a beautiful, sunny day to remember for a long time to come.
It's hard when someone you love is given a diagnosis like this, and it feels good to be able to help in some small way. But most of all, it's brilliant to have family who are willing to come together to do some amazing things like this.
I got these birds on the back of my leg, just above a very old one. In fact, my last tattoo was 2007, but I've definitely got the bug back. Watch this space!
I'm not usually a hoarder. If you look around my house, there are a few over-crowded shelves and there's a cupboard that doesn't shut properly, but nothing a quick straightening can't fix. But one thing I've always done is keep old drafts of stories and novels.
Last night, while having a major procrastination session, I sorted out my filing cabinet. In some cases, I had six, seven or more copies of the same story. Worse, some of those copies were exactly the same. So I started to shred... and shred... and shred.
I found some gems - a handwritten first draft from a story I published in 1996, and a few fantastic openings or random lines that I'd forgotten about, which have already sparked some ideas.
But most of all, I found space. All I have to do is write enough to fill it back up again!
It was quite interesting to go back over some very old work. Some of it was awful - terrible - and it was reassuring to see how far I've come since I started. I kept a couple of those early stories, but threw out the rest - sometimes there's no point holding onto things that don't work anymore. I haven't quite brought myself to shred the novel I keep returning to (yes, 20 years later, and I'm still considering re-working it again), but I think I have to. For my sanity, if nothing else.