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Journey into the Mist
Anni Telford



I’m a native of the wonderful city of Glasgow. A great sprawl of a city, with incredible red and blonde sandstone buildings, the Clyde, the Burrell, the Citizen’s Theatre, the Art Galleries, what seems like thousands of parks and a sense of humour which never fails to amaze me it’s so dry and self deprecating. 

Try this one – helps if you speak Glaswegian!

A man looks in the baker’s window, and then goes into the shop. 
“Is that a doughnut or am a’ rang?” He says to the woman behind the counter. 
" No, yer right the first time, it’s a donut," the woman replies.
A wee bit later the man goes back into the bakery and slaps a fifty pound note on the counter. 
“A meringue,” he says. The woman looks round to make sure there’s no one about.
 “No, yer right, but come back at six when we’re shut.”

Glasgow was a wonderful place to grow up in. We played out until the streetlights came on, roaming about the backyards and side streets until our Mammies called us in for supper and a quick wash before bedtime. We played with tops and whips, had roller skates and street skipping, played rounders and went to the Rosebuds and the Bluebells. We were posh because we had our own inside bathroom and toilet; many of my friends and neighbours shared a toilet across the landing and had to go for a bath at the steamy.

I went fishing at Barrhead reservoir for brown trout or off the pier at Fairlie for mackerel.  Weekends we caught the bus out to roam the shores of Loch Lomond or wandered the parks. Holidays were spent ‘doon the water’ on the Clyde estuary at Largs, at my Great Aunt Marie’s or the great golden beaches of Ayrshire or sometimes pony trekking up in the mountains of Argyllshire. We caught the ferry over to the Great Cumbrae or Arran and explored their glens and coasts; spent hours peering into rock pools and capturing the miniature inhabitants. It was blessed. 

I was distraught when I didn’t get into Glasgow Uni. to read literature. They asked me why I wanted to do it and I said I wanted to write. Apparently that was the wrong answer. Never mind, let’s not be ‘twitter and bisted.’ Maybe they did me a favour; I have met some wonderful people and lived in so many places I feel now that I wouldn’t have missed it all for the world. Well...maybe some bits were a bit shitty but generally it’s been great.  Even the shitty bits had their moments!

When I didn’t get into University I went off to teacher training college. That was a serious mistake and I discovered that groups of children generally are to be feared. Worse than wild dogs or piranha, children have sharp teeth and the sort of hunger for inflicting pain that makes a Great White look fluffy. I moved to England and studied fashion design. What a weird business fashion is, we spent most of our time watching old movies and striking poses. I staggered out of that and became a croupier dealing blackjack and roulette. 

This was fun, much more fun than being a trainee teacher or student, and then I made a life changing decision and accepted a post as a student nurse. Not blood and bandages though, that would be too easy, a mental health nurse.  The rest, as they say, is history. I got into Cognitive Behavioural Therapy before it became fashionable and practised and taught it for years, first in nursing schools and later in Universities.  And after a wonderful career as a cognitive behavioural psychotherapist and academic here I am writing. So that’s the work life described, what about the hobbies? Well when I lived in Devon I swam or surfed, drew, grew veg and went walking. 

I moved to Sheffield, met my partner of twenty some years, and after living in the Republic of South Yorkshire and having a wonderful time in that great city, moved to Derbyshire. Here I went horse riding and took up dog agility for about ten or twelve years. Now there’s an expensive hobby. By the time you’ve bought, trained and fed the dogs (one is never enough!), bought the van to transport the dogs in, the caravan for you all to live in at the weekend shows, all of which charge for entry, forked out for the diesel and bought all the booze to drink with the club whenever anyone wins you’re out a pretty penny. With four dogs we once spent £18,000 in a single season. No wonder I’m broke. 

Mind you it was fun at the time, what I can remember of it at least. We would finish work early on Fridays and dash home to hitch up the caravan, drive for hours to set up in a field, throw up the awning, walk the dogs and then drink several bottles of vino with members of the club that we would greet like long lost friends even though we had seen them the previous day at training. The next morning we would get up at 7.00, walk the dogs, walk the courses, run the courses, walk the dogs, eat some dinner and drink more wine. We would sit about talking about how we had got on that day, how we were hoping to do the next day, gossip, get pissed and fall over.  Then we would repeat it all again on Sunday with the exception of eating dinner etc. On Sundays we would finish running the courses, tear down the awning, throw everything back into the van and drive home to arrive at work the next day completely exhausted and ready for a kip at lunch time. It’s a grand hobby. 

Dog clubs are funny things though. People seem to forget that this is a bit of fun and treat it like life and death. There are some people who would burn their own granny to win a rosette worth 30 pence and a trophy that cost £1.40. Then there are others who invest in the social side of things, and couldn’t give a rats tail about winning really. Nice when it happens but not going to beat on their dogs, partners, friends or anyone else if they don’t.  They’re probably the most fun but seem to be getting fewer and fewer. I think they are all dying of liver failure. Had a laugh for a bit writing a monthly column for the Agility Eye called Nostradogus, the predictions of an Agility Dog, with my partner Andy. That was amusing and only one person, Kate with no eyebrows, ever guessed it was us.  Kate may pop up in one of my stories some time. 

I still have my partner and my dogs, six border collies to be precise (see, and love their little white paws, but no longer do agility on the grounds I’m too old, too fat and too broke. My knees just won’t take it anymore and besides, there are more interesting things to do in the real world. Instead I do the garden, walk and train the dogs and write. Oh yes, and I still drink the vino, and the vodka; perhaps the occasional whiskey, but you would expect that of a Glaswegian.