The fair city of Exeter has been full of beaming young faces and wonderfully proud parents this week.  It's graduation time, and very touching too.

It's drawn in my emotions for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I'm lucky enough to be an occasional teacher at Exeter, passing on what scraps I know of the media and how to go about getting a job in this curious industry.  As part of that I mentor students, and it's always a delight to see them graduating and heading outwards and upwards for the career of their choice.

It all feels like a nervous step into a fascinating new world, and so very exciting for it.  Despite me now being twice their age, I still find myself sharing the thrill.  It's a wonderful sensation. 

In fact, the teaching and mentoring work I do is probably the area of my life of which I'm most proud.  Every Christmas, when I get cards from the young folk I've helped into the media, it makes it all so very worthwhile.  I suppose it's the old story of feeling you've made a difference in life, and actually achieved something.

The other reason the graduations have drawn me in is that they're always an instant transportation through time, twenty years and more, to my own day.  It was pure sunshine, surrounded by many friends who still endure and family who I've since lost.  I think I'd better stop this little passage now before the keyboard gets damp...

However, back to the eventual point of this blog, which was something to do with these tvdetective books that I churn out.  I've been asked a few times about Dan's history, of his upbringing and education, something which keen-eyed observers have noted doesn't much feature in the series.

It is a part of his life which is important, but in a way that makes it difficult for him to talk about.  Suffice to say, as with many matters concerning Dan, it's far from straightforward.

I can't go into too much now, as it'll spoil what you'll eventually come to learn towards the end of the series.  But I can tell you Dan did go through some very formative experiences when he went to university, and in the years afterwards, which will come to explain a fair amount about his character, and particularly why he can be such a coward.

Right, enough now, before I give it all away!  How come i always manage to say more than I intend in these little rambles?  Ah, maybe that's a question for another day.

Finally then, a reminder of the excellent Murder Mystery Night in Plymouth next week (Thurs 28th July), which I'm lucky enough to be compering.  It should be a highly entertaining evening (despite my input), so if you fancy coming along, there are more details on the News and Events page -