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About Rachel



I grew up in a farming community.  The first time I fell off a horse was rounding up cows bareback with Jane Bastable, whose dad was a dairy farmer. I came off at a gallop and the ground was rock hard that summer. I couldn’t breathe for a few minutes, but I got back on. I love horses. I learned the lie of the land from the back of a horse.

There's a lot of christianity in my family, but if you add in the likelihood that my mother’s family has gypsy roots and the certainty that in my dad’s family were many blacksmiths, it explains me better.  

We started to go to the Scottish Highlands on family holidays when I was ten. We saw a golden eagle and a beautiful red stag, learned to row an old boat, lived in a fisherman’s caravan on the edge of a loch, cooked on a campfire.

I had a good teacher when I was in my last year primary school, his name was Mr Burn, he used to be in the Merchant Navy. We loved him. He read us Alan Garner books and Stig of the Dump.

We were at Secondary school when Punk Rock happened. Me and my two best friends, Sue and Carla went to wild gigs in Bristol, wore Rock against Racism badges and put together a punk band.

I managed to get my O’levels, but after a few months at college I left and worked for CSV in Moss Side Manchester. Moss Side was buzzing in 1981, it wasn’t long after the riots and there was great community stuff going on. When Sue came to visit we went to see the Fall at The Band in the Wall. That stands out in my mind.

Back home again, my friends were involved in theatre, I was lucky to be invited to join them, we performed in the Lake District,  at Edinburgh Fringe and Glastonbury festival (back when 25,000 people seemed like a lot.)

Turns out I wasn’t going to be a great actor though and by my early twenties I was back working with horses ... on the edge of Dartmoor. It was the  hardest work/longest hours/best fun and I fell in love with the moor and a man, who I went on to marry. He’s a hill farmer on the edge of Dartmoor and we raised three fantastic sons.


I’ve always loved space … the space to think for myself, the space created by a story, fresh air on my face.  I get claustrophobic in strange ways, the sudden urge to break free of anything that makes me feel trapped, hemmed in and go where the wind blows fierce and the rain falls horizontal and climb a great big hill. It has led to adventures, it has led to mistakes.

In 2010 I trained as a copywriter. I worked for environmental groups, did some subbing for Greenpeace “Connect”; managed the launch of a new walking trail across Wales and wrote commercial copy for the launch of a hydrogen fuel cell car. I love stories. For the past four and a half years, I've been a carer for my mum, who has Alzheimer’s and writing The Reporter has been a way to step outside the four walls around this part of my life. I’m 60. Time flies.

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