Mine isn’t really a writing day, it is a drawing day and it varies according to the time of year. I can draw by artificial light, but I can’t colour or paint by it, so I always hope to finish a book before the clocks go back. In the summer it is wonderful, I can work until 9pm if I want to, but in the winter I try to get on with it in the morning. The summers are very carefree because I can go out for a walk during the day, knowing I can work the rest of the day.
I need to walk in order to think about work. I feel lucky to be alive at this time: I’ve had two cataract operations so my sight is fine and I’ve got a new hip so I can walk. I live in Barnes, west London, so I walk along the river or to the duck pond or into the village. At the moment, I walk after dark so as not to waste the light. I like it too: everything looks good in the dark. The other day I got to the end of a book, which I’d worked particularly hard on, I’d only had one day off in the last month, and though it’s always nice to finish something, this time I felt strangely triumphant. So I went out for a walk at about eight in the evening and suddenly there were fireworks going off all around me. I hadn’t realised it was Guy Fawkes night. All these fireworks were going off and the church bells started to ring. I thought: this is very kind, but it’s only a little picture book. It was such a happy thing.
Hours: on a good day, 10.30 till about 5
Drawings: I’ve discovered rather late in life never to stop when you think you’ve finished; always start on the next thing so there’s something to work on the following day
Refreshments: endless coffee. It’s nice that they’ve decided it’s good for you now. I also have a Martini Rosso on ice with lunch. It gives me energy to keep going in the afternoon – at least that’s what I tell myself