Hello, and thank you for visiting my site. I hope that you'll return often and always find something of interest about my world and what inspires me to pick up a pen. (This is a figure of speech, unfortunately. My handwriting is terrible!) Here's what I've been up to recently...

Good news!

For one thing, I’m back on my feet, although still having to take it easy. A slow plod is the best I can manage so far, but I’m working on that. It’s wonderful to be fit enough to resume normal activities, including meetings of Ripon Writers’ Group and Write-On! Ripon. (The latter group, following the much regretted closure of Ripon’s Curzon cinema, now meets at the Claro Lounge in the Market Place.)

Secondly, with Swanwick Writers’ Summer School 2023 only a few week’s away now, I’m delighted to have come second in an associated competition. Prolific crime author Val Penny and her publishers Spellbound Books set the challenge to write a story with the theme of revenge. Mine, set around a baffling murder in Amsterdam, has given me £100 off the cost of my place at this year’s School.

Amsterdam holds many fond memories for me and I was a great fan of the original Van der Valk television series with the late Barry Foster, both of which influenced the story.

There is also a Whitby connection and a nod to singer John Leyton, who provided inspiration for one of the main characters. Who of my generation could forget his haunting rendition of ‘Johnny, remember me’?

12 July, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Bye bye, halluces valgi!

My Latin is rusty to say the least, so I hope I’ve got the plural right in the heading to this post. Hallux valgus sounds much more glamorous than ‘bunion’ and I had one on each foot operated on a couple of weeks ago, which is why I now only see the light of day when taken out in a wheelchair. (That’s not strictly true, because I can hobble out into the garden, but I’m aiming for the sympathy vote.)

Apart from the post-op pain, the details of which will probably surface somewhere in my writing at a later date, my abiding memory is going to be of the vulnerability of the wheelchair bound. The men of Team Cobbett have been magnificent, but I now know what it’s like to be fearful of being bumped into or let go on a slope, feeling the need to apologize for getting in other people’s way and having conversations conducted over my head. Only four more weeks of this to endure if all goes well, but it’s given me a fresh perspective on the needs of those less fortunate, with whom I can now empathize as well as sympathize. Not quite a Damascene moment but close. 

Thinking about that, I’ve just reread Susan Coolidge’s What Katy Did and enjoyed it just as much as when I was a child. A century and a half separate Katy Carr’s experiences from mine, but there are definite parallels to be drawn and it’s a very good read.


If you can’t be famous, be infamous. Wheelchair bound after a tragic accident, revenge is on Kaz’s mind when she joins the school trip to Paris…

I also thought about the heroine of the children’s book I brought out a few years ago. which is still available from Amazon. The plan then was to follow up Kaz’s story and my recent experience might give me the motivation I need to do just that. Watch this space!


31 May, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

A-quizzing we will go!

Wednesday saw the first meeting of a new quiz team drawn from local writers. Divided into two groups, we took it in turns to ask and answer  questions prepared in advance and brought along to the gathering.

It was a very convivial evening and, I hope, the first of many. The idea is to have a pool of people willing to compete in local quizzes, of which there are many, under our (as yet undecided) group name. Something along the lines of the Eggheads, where a few members at a time take part. 

Our pool is still very much open to new people.


13 May, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

An Afternoon with Alan Bennett

Alan Bennett Joins Lineup For 1001 STORIES at Leeds Playhouse

What a wonderful afternoon I had at Leeds Playhouse ‘in conversation with Alan Bennett’. Not on my own, of course. The session was sold out and Alan certainly didn’t disappoint. Frail physically now, his mind and sense of humour seemed as sharp as ever as he read extracts from his diaries and fielded questions from the audience. Apart from a woman on our row who insisted on whooping every time applause was called for (and sometimes when it wasn’t) and couldn’t wait to get hold of one of the roving microphones, it all went very well. There’s always one, isn’t there!

6 May, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Wodehouse in Wonderland

Today’s show at York Theatre Royal featured a tour de force from Robert Daws as P.G.Wodehouse, better known to his friends as Plum. (Apparently that came about due to his inability as a small child to pronounce his given name of Pelham.)

I’d seen Robert on television many times as Bertie Wooster’s friend and fellow Drone Tuppy Glossop as well as in person when we both worked on ‘The Royal’, but this was the first time I’d heard him sing, which he did very well. As the show progressed, I realized how little I’d actually known about Wodehouse either, including the fact that he’d written musical comedies for Broadway in collaboration with Jerome Kern.

The second half of the show was darker, as it dealt with the aftermath of Wodehouse’s WW2 internment by the Germans and subsequent accusations of treachery when broadcasts intended only for the United States were played on British radio.  There was also the tragic death of his much loved stepdaughter Leonora and his long exile from his homeland. 

The thunderous applause at the end included considerable whooping from some members of the audience, including the lady who’d been seated next to me throughout the performance. We hadn’t exchanged a word, so I shall never know whether she was just an ardent fan of Robert’s or always carried on like that. Not as odd, perhaps, as the couple on the other side who’d arrived wearing face masks but removed them to enjoy the show. 

22 April, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Poetry reading at Boroughbridge Library

This was my first visit to Boroughbridge Library, which is wholly run by the community nowadays.

The main part of the evening was taken up by York Radio’s poet laureate Olivia Mulligan (below), but Nicky, Sudip and I from the Write-On! Ripon group were also invited to read some of our work to a small but appreciative audience.

22 April, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Blithe Spirit

Always a supporter of local AmDram, especially when one of my friends has a leading role, I went along to the opening night of the Masham Players’ latest production. It’s a very wordy play and, as one would expect from anything written by Noel Coward, full of quick fire witticisms. To appreciate them all, I should have to see the play again, maybe several times, but the set was very effective and I particularly liked the way the ghostly apparitions were portrayed.

22 April, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

A croquet taster

When our local croquet club advertised taster sessions, I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. Common sense told me that we were unlikely to be playing with live flamingoes and hedgehogs,  but further than that my knowledge didn’t stretch. However, always up for trying something new, off I went.


The game was more complicated than I’d imagined, but knocking a ball through a hoop wasn’t too difficult. Until, that was, I discovered that the practice hoops were considerably wider than those used in actual matches.

Shall I go again? Maybe, but not until my back, shoulders, arms and hands stop aching from the rigid stance. Perhaps I’ll be better off just turning the experience into a piece of writing. Watch this space!

18 April, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Purely social

Write-On! Ripon certainly knows how to relax with good food and good company. 

It’s just a shame that Beverley, Kevin and Dan missed being captured on camera during our evening at Ripon’s Claro Lounge.  

15 April, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Write-On Ripon! Unleashed

It’s over a year now since I joined Write-On! Ripon, a group of lively individuals who meet every Tuesday afternoon to share work and swap ideas. We’re eternally grateful to the management of our local Curzon cinema, which allows us the use of their Lounge every week and their basement aka our Cavern of Creativity every couple of months or so for an open mic session.

Last night’s was particularly successful. Not only did we have poetry and prose of various kinds but also the first public performance of Caroline’s play for voices, which was inspired by the Salem witch trials. Several of us volunteered to read parts and it went down very well with the audience. The injustice of such trials, with no one wanting to be out of step with their neighbours, has been repeated many times during the course of history and it still takes a very brave person to stick their head above the parapet.


7 April, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Check Out My eBooks
Supporting artists, or ‘extras’ as they’re more commonly known, are the unsung heroes of television and film. Maggie Cobbett recalls the ups and downs of twenty years of ‘blending into the background’.
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The 20th century has just dawned when David is apprenticed to a Yorkshire coal miner. But what of the younger brothers and sister he has been forced to leave behind in their London workhouse? Will he ever see them again?
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