Not that the evening did much for me either. I remain a firm fan of Morpurgo, but anecdotes of his childhood - ritual humiliation at boarding school, a father who walked out on him as a baby - confirmed what I have long suspected. A happy childhood is a useless grounding for a creative adulthood: most of the best children's writers had early lives which were scarred by the loss of a parent and marked by constant uprooting. The closest my children have ever come to misery is being denied a Nintendo. Am wondering if we should divorce for the sake of their creative development. Otherwise risk raising a clutch of bank managers.
And now they won't even be able to look back with loathing at the memory of oxtail stew (am convinced it was the childhood trauma of neck of lamb with pearl barley that came between me and accountancy). There was a wonderful back-of-the-bike-sheds camaraderie around the beef counter at Waitrose last week: felt a definite French Resistance style frisson between me and the man who was rooting around for bones among the packets of chuck steak. But actually it was news to me that oxtail came from a cow - I thought that it belonged to the ox. It had always seemed to me slightly immoral that we killed a creature simply for its tail and kidneys, but to be honest I had never stopped to wonder why you didn't ever see fields of oxen. This double shock - the non-existence of oxen, and the non-availability of their tails - maybe just what I needed to kick-start me in to writing that novel.Reuse content