Café Martél

Café Martél, Verona

This is where I am writing most of my ongoing novel. It’s quiet at this time of year, the coffee is good (well, naturally, it’s Italy), only ten minutes’ walk from my home and, best of all, it doesn’t have WiFi. But doesn’t a writer need internet access? Yes, writers do, we need desperately to know the ratio of arsenic to hemlock and brandy Mr Hurst might have used when he got tired of living with the Ugly Sisters and that kind of thing but, in my case, the internet is a rabbit hole. I start with a perfectly reasonable ‘quickie’ question like ‘When did marcel waves become fashionable?’ and two hours later I’m engrossed in accounts of early nineteenth-century autopsies and writing a whole new story in my head while the present one isn’t half finished.

I can’t leave Elizabeth Bennet in Florence realising, at last, she’s deeply in love with Mr Darcy while knowing it all to be impossible, can I? So I turn my phone off because I don’t have unlimited data and endless hotspots here, and put dots for the things I don’t know. Then later at home I get online and fill them all in.

Fridays With Fanny

Mr Bennet missed his second daughter exceedingly; his affection for her drew him oftener from home than anything else could do. He delighted in going to Pemberley, especially when he was least expected.

  • Chapter 61, Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen.