Welcome to our blog. We’ve called it Staircase 9 17, because during our first year at Pembroke, Claire lived on Staircase 9, and Sam on Staircase 17. Many an evening was spent crossing the quad to each other’s staircases, to share ideas with one another and other friends too, mostly over enormous cups of tea. More often then the conversation was about how we might approach the latest essay assignment, or how we could find time between the next day’s seminar at the English faculty and our tutorial back at Pembroke to stop for some cinnamon toast in the covered market. But sometimes we wondered too how our lives would turn out, and how in our own small ways we might make a difference in the world. And here we are again, in very different places, in a very different world, sharing ideas and wondering some of the same things still.

About us

Claire

I live in Wales with my husband and have a grown-up son.

Which character in a book do you find most inspiring?

My literary role-model (in my favourite book) is Flora Poste who ‘tidies up’ at Cold Comfort Farm.  However, I’m told by my family that I remind them of Fotherington-Thomas in the Molesworth books – “Hullo Clouds! Hullo Sky!”

Any ambitions?

In an ideal world, I would speak Italian fluently and spend six months of the year in Tuscany (or perhaps Sicily).

Anything else to add?

Wise words I try to live by: Be brave and be kind.

Sam

I live in upstate New York with my husband and young teenage son. I look to Claire for parenting wisdom.

Which character in a book do you find most inspiring?

That’s a tough one. I think it might be another Sam – that is Samwise Gamgee, in The Lord of the Rings. Not just because of his name, but because to me he’s the embodiment of humility and friendship, loyalty and love.

Any ambitions?

I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book. Or be a travel agent.

Anything else to add?

We’re heading to Tuscany this summer. Claire, I will scout out a villa for you.