We decided we’d too many books and made a mountain. But what to lose? I’ve a decent collection of poetry books that …

Friday 6 October Nigel and I landed in Kathmandu after midnight from Dubai. I’d been here before and smiled inwardly at the …

Wednesday 11 October Nigel and I shared a room at each stop. He’s not good in the morning. “Are you awake, Nigel?” …

Wednesday 18 October Today was the start of the festival of Dashain when everything closes, and the Hindi people go home to …

We haven’t had a living poet dominate the English-speaking sector since Seamus Heaney’s death left a huge gap ten years ago. His …

Rocky

“How old is Rocky,” a friend asked of my black Labrador. “Eight,” I replied. “I suppose you’ll be getting a pup to …

I wrote this column in the “Garden of Dreams” in Kathmandu, a glorious day during the Hindu festival of Dashain. I’d come …

I was on a hike with three grandchildren when I asked them to stop. “I’m sorry,” I said, “you’ll have to speak …

Now and again I come across a cleric who has all the answers but doesn’t allow interaction. I want to put my …

Saving a Life

I saved a life recently. I tell you this because CPR works. I often wondered about Heimlich who developed the Heimlich manoeuvre …

There’s nothing more depressing in an English village than a pub closed for months. The edifice is sad, looms larger as months …

Simon Armitage wrote “An Unexpected Guest” for the Coronation. The concept is an ordinary person witnessing history: She’s treated herself to new …

Hannah Linden

When novels are written in the first person, readers do not assume that the author is the narrator. It’s not like that …

I met a woman from Ghana, Ama, when volunteering. Ghanian names are based on the day of birth and there’s quite a …

I was chair in a local Wine Group this past year and it was delightful. We’ve been going for ten years with …

I’ve dark feelings when winter clouds are grey and miserable over Swindon. Even the dog is laconic, still wants his walks, happy …

The writer, Maeve Binchy, was renowned for her literary soirées. Her guests were allowed ten minutes to talk about their ailments and …

Christmas last year was memorable for all the wrong reasons. We had our regular event, “Carols and Poems” in the Church Hall. …

Sometimes you meet a young person, and you know you’re in the presence of talent. My friend, Olivia Tuck, is such a …

“France?” said Terry. “I’ve never been outside Swindon in my life. No, tell a lie. I went to Wootton Bassett once.” He …

You’ll hear about Philip Larkin in the coming months. It’s his anniversary. Like most people, I loved his lines: They fuck you …

Transferring skills to another is a special gift. It cannot be over-valued. I’ve done it myself – mentoring young poets, but also …

I love browsing the stories and photos in Archives. I’ve met some of the retired photographers and love their work. They are …

I got covid for a second time recently. Well, a slight exaggeration as I’d had it for only two hours. My wife …

I booked a hotel in Paddington Basin recently. I came out of Paddington Station and looked it up on Google maps. An …

I have two local friends who were 90 recently, Joy Vincent and Barbara Carey. Unfortunately, there was no celebration because of Covid. …

We need a laugh this month. My friend, Stuart Lavis, sent me a video of Scottish poet, Walter McCorriscen, who won the …

If you travel roads near where I live before 8am, you’ll encounter a blonde vision. The colour of her hair through the …

I live in a cottage that was the epicentre for Swindon’s cobblers, back in the days. My father used to repair our …

I’d a few pints with two friends, John Dale and Ian Handey, recently. They are both in their 80s though you wouldn’t …

Hazel May, my dear friend, this story has to be told. Now, before I begin, let me say that Hazel is a …

When I was young there were three people who were revered – priest, schoolmaster and doctor. The first lost his way, the …

Paul Waites was Vice-Chancellor for the day and I was Professor of English. You couldn’t make it up. Two friends, Katy Crowley …

Every year Poetry Swindon runs a weekend with local and visiting poets. This year it’s branded “The Big Poetry Weekend” and there …

I wrote in a recent article that my friend, Paul Waites, composed a poem for my birthday. I said it was so …

I’m sure some of you know Milton Campbell from Stratton St. Margaret. You’ll understand the link here with his first name, Milton. …

I love it when there’s a bit of colourful distraction on a Hash. Kathy led the way with her exquisite summer clothing, …

Brian

My friend, Brian, is in the terminal cancer zone but he is handling it well. Recently his family chipped together and bought …

I spent the last weeks above the Arctic Circle in Greenland. The attraction was the Polar Marathon followed next day by a …

2017 Polar Marathon (and a HALF)

It took place in the Arctic Circle, north of Kangerlussac in Greenland. The Great Bear Challenge was to run the Marathon on Saturday …