I've been fairly lucky in recent years. I've had lots of opportunities to spy on people.
You see, it was Brigid's post about nosey parkers that got me thinking. I really found myself nodding along as I read, recognising that as writers we do tend to store up interesting details to use in our books.
Which got me thinking about morris dancing again.
I belong to a fantastic group of dancers, musicians and -perhaps most importantly - friends. We dance north-west clog morris, for fun, for fitness, to keep traditions alive, and either collecting for charity or performing at events for a small fee to cover travel. We're an eclectic group of people, each with their own story, told and untold. And, yes, I secretly pine to write a "morris" book, not about the dancing, but about a group of women brought together in the stamp of the clog, and the interwoven stories of their lives.
But the things I know, that I've seen and been told, have been shared not for research or to help me with books, but because we're friends. So, when I write the morris dancing story, have I been taking advantage of my friends?
Photos courtesy of Chris & Gill George, and Ally McGurk