I’ve been looking for a quiet place to write away from the distractions of home (think snacks, endless wifi and a wild peacock so loud I’m quite certain he’s heralding the apocalypse).

Here’s a good list of quiet places to write in London, but my doctor flatmate alerted me to a little known gem perfect for this purpose.

Hidden behind this slightly forbidding façade is a lovely medical library, complete with wood-panelled walls, padded chairs and thick wooden tables.

The only sound you’re likely to hear is the soft tissue of medical students’ heads hitting those thick folders of notes in desperation. There are lots of power points and large tables in comfortable alcoves on two floors (possibly three, I was too scared to venture into the basement).

It’s centrally located, between the St Paul’s and Barbican stations, and unless you’re a medical student there’s no wifi access, so perfect if you lack discipline like me.

Just mumble something about proliferative retinopathy if someone asks you why you’re there.

Do you have a favourite writing space?

Where: St Barts Hospital, London. Walk into the central courtyard, then follow the signs to the Robin Brook centre. The library is to the right next to the entrance.

Opening times: Monday-Friday 9am to 9pm and Saturday 1pm to 8pm during term times. Opening times vary during the holidays.

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I knew I had a better story for the World Nomads travel writing competition.

Last year I went to Koh Rong island. Ageing Korean buses through the Cambodian countryside. Sugar palm trees and paddy fields, thin cows and sleeping dogs on the road. Karaoke blasting over the air conditioning. Shared pineapple from a plastic bag. A moto ride winding through Sihanoukville hills. 3 hours on a rusty ferry. Tree houses swaying gently in the wind, sand like icing sugar. The great mass of a buffalo swimming towards me, in the encroaching dusk, the bulge of its eye as it strains against the rope, how quietly it moves through the warm, clear waters.

I’ll write it another day. But in the meantime I’ve made a little video – all filmed on 35mm on my Lomo Kino. Hope you like it.

“There’s an exhibition of neon at La Maison Rouge,” said my sister between two mouthfuls of chocolate cake.

This is how I found myself wandering through several rooms full of brightly lit sticks after a long, bracing walk along the Canal St Martin.* Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the invention of neon lighting, the exhibition features over 100 pieces from the 1940s to the present day. Here, a Camerounian hair shirt hangs limply in a halo of pink light. Turn a corner and you’ll find a broken up poem in a glass cabinet. In another room stands a chamber of red lights, receding away into nothingness.

Is it the odd layout or the (un)savoury fumes emanating from the pop-up Rose Bakery stand? For a medium that is so colourful and brash, the exhibition falls unfortunately flat, with a certain whiff of art school mixed-media brief about it. The standout piece was ‘Untitled’ by Jason Rhoades, a joyful and exuberant installation of neon words describing the female sex. Collected at the artist’s studio in LA during parties called “Black Pussy Soirée Cabaret Macramé”, the words are strung up on cables and electrical devices hanging from the ceiling.

Queef. Sushi Taco. Sagging bacon cones. Worth the price of admission alone.

If the bright lights get too much you can retreat to the comfort of the video projection area, and watch neon tubes falling one by one from the ceiling of a sordid empty room. Soothing.

*If this sounds delightfully Amélie-esque, let me redress your impression, reader. It is arguably the most shit-strewn stretch in Paris, and that is saying something. As an added bonus we were also followed by street cleaners intent on pressure hosing said doo-doos in our general direction. Non merci.

When: 17th February – 20th May 2012

Where: La Maison Rouge, 10 Boulevard de le Bastille, 75012 Paris

Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am to 7pm, late-night Thursday until 9pm