My Bluetooth keyboard has died on me. I try on again, off again. Nothing. Mild despair settles. I have a precious five hours to add sparkle to my latest book: Pick a Story a Monster + Princess + Shark Adventure. I need pithier princess battle cries and something funny for the monster to be afraid of. This means hours of typing similar sentences over and over again. For this I need a keyboard. I can’t type directly onto the laptop because the keys are too close together and for reasons I can’t articulate this makes the writing bad.

Not the best at tech, I huff for three minutes until memory stirs. Isn’t one of the keyboard’s star qualities its ability to be charged directly from a laptop? I am pleased to have remembered this and more pleased that I didn’t ask anyone first. The drawer of my desk holds several leads. Alas, none fit the keyboard. I look up hopefully as a shrub outside wobbles but it’s only falling masonry. We are renovating and the scaffolding has disturbed the birds. The decline in species diversity is a tragedy, but as a recent ex-Londoner, (permission granted to throw apples at my head), I am gobsmacked by the wildlife in these parts. The shrub was a busy spot before building began. I once witnessed a triple face-off between a bluetit, a jay and a great spotted woodpecker.

Unreasonably, Amazon can’t deliver me a new USB lead within the next hour, but that’s okay because I don’t know which lead I need. Google tells me that there is a shop, almost amusingly called CeX, that might have such a thing. Off into town, it is!

I don’t drive, I walk. Walking time is always well spent. Problems are solved. Characters born. Recently I realised how two mermaids can ride a bike, (a tail to each pedal and holding hands for balance, simple!) My favourite view is from Camden Road. On a pavement that still screams parasols and crinoline skirts you get a breath-taking view of the city with the occasional inexplicable palm tree thrown in. I love it best in the pale dawn or when I’m dragging a suitcase back from an event at twilight.

Bath is affluent. Behold the shiny shops and toddlers totally owning Milsom Street in upmarket wellies. But like all tourist towns, it has its dark underbelly. Folk music from the Great Steppe plays on an accordion near the Abbey and a homeless man dozes under a blanket that doesn’t reach his bare feet. It’s been raining since December. Even the students have a damp feathered look. In CeX, the Gen Z server has the serenity of someone used to dealing with all levels of ignorance. He asks if I have a photo of the port. I can do one better. I brought the actual keyboard. He fetches a box and scans it without comment. Paying for something without looking at it feels weird, but the only way I can think to check if he’s scanning the right one is to ask: is that the right one? Which is a question I feel he thinks he has already answered.

On the way home it occurs that if the lead doesn’t fit, I have wasted two of my three hours of writing time. I could have physically checked that it fit in the shop. I could do the same now on Camden Road but I’m halfway home and it’s still raining. I keep walking.

Back at my desk squeezing the bag in a hastily made cup of tea the house is silent. The builders are on lunch. The moment of truth. I plug in the lead. It fits! A tiny red light I have never noticed before pops on. Suddenly a pale pink and grey long-tailed tit settles on a branch outside the window. I’ve got it! Spoons. That’s what the monster should be afraid of.

Great British Life: Pick A StoryPick A Story (Image: Published by Farshore (HarperCollins))