When I was at school I used to love painting and I loved art, that was until I was 13 and I got the worst art teacher in the world. She was the sort of person who was always right and really seemed to love telling her students that everything they did was wrong. Art exhibitions were particularly memorable. More than once I remember painting a picture I liked and thought fitted the exhibition guidelines only to have her change things to the way she wanted before she’d allow it in the exhibition.

I had that same teacher three out of the four years I did art in secondary school and as soon as I was able to I gave up art because I hated being told that everything I did and liked was wrong. Despite being turned off art at school I did spend some time working for a sign writer only to find that my skills as a free hand artist were wasted because signs no matter how large or small were done with a projector and it was little more than paint by numbers. Hardly surprising that for my creative flair I turned to computers and for more than twenty years had been able to create art I like without paint.

Even less surprising is how the dislike of art and painting that was injected into me in my early years now sees me ignoring painting around the house. The last thing I painted around here was our first daughters bedroom before she was born eight years ago. So while I apologise to my wife and kids because they are living in a house that needs painting I also offer anyone who does like to paint a character in my next book named after them if they come and paint the rooms of our house.