MY daughter was conducting a training session in Jakarta last week. She thought it was going well until she turned to write something on the whiteboard, heard a scramble and looked around to see her students rushing from the classroom.

“It wasn’t the most inspiring part of the training course, but I didn’t think it was that bad,” she said.

It turns out that, because she was standing and her students sitting, she did not feel the earthquake that had them rushing out into the street.

Her father, who has tried for years to persuade our daughter just to come “home”, where it is safe, was even more concerned when we discovered that this had been a 6.0 earthquake which caused quite a bit of damage and at least one death – but not in Jakarta itself.

Still, it was in Indonesia and that was close enough to a near disaster for my poor husband.

Of course, she was almost relieved it was an earthquake. The alternative would have been a crushing blow to her self-esteem – the thought that there had been a mass walkout because of her teaching.

I understand rejection. I have experienced it in many forms.

One of my colleagues has just unkindly commented on the size of font on which I write. It is not kind to mock the afflicted but at least I am no longer a one-eyed reporter. After recent surgery I now have equally bad vision in both eyes!

I suggested that the reason I have arthritis in my thumbs is not from years of typing but fewer years of using my thumb to click onto the next page on my Kindle. The font is so big I am suffering from repetitive strain injury.

“I have to be careful what I am reading in public because everyone else can see it,” I said.

And that reminds me of one of my humiliating rejections – by Mills & Boon.

I decided anyone could write a Mills & Boon romance. The money that authors made was fantastic and would pay for the constant trips I needed between New Zealand and Britain so I could visit family on both sides of the world as often as I wanted.

Not only that, but I would be able to write basically the same story several times over. All I needed was to change the location.

I’d lived in Scotland, England Zambia and New Zealand and South Africa. That was five novels right there, full of simpering heroines, sardonic heroes and a lot of what was the Mills & Boon formula (in short, boy meets girl in exotic location, girl hates boy, girl and boy fall in love and make mad passionate love – without going all the way, of course, or at least not until they are married – and live happily ever after).

Version one, set in a game reserve in Zambia, was rejected!

I got a nice letter back in which I discovered my “research” – reading as many Mills & Boons, bought from as many secondhand bookshops and church bazaars as I could find, was out of date.

The modern Mills & Boon women held high-powered jobs and didn’t need a man. Damn feminism!

To end on a positive note: I have been accepted when I should have been rejected. I had a job on Jackie magazine. With my usual ind-depth research, I went to the interview knowing nothing about publishers DC Thomson.

I had just come from South Africa and had heard about the strength of unions in the UK so when I was asked what I thought of unions I enthused greatly – only to be told that DC Thomson did not, at that time, employ union labour.

When I applied for a job on the Times & Star , by the way, editor asked what I though of the wind turbines along the coast.

Fresh off the plane from nuclear-free New Zealand I replied: “I suppose it’s better than nuclear.”

Sellafield? What’s that?