Old Friend

I went to a local comprehensive, about three miles from where I lived. It collected up the kids from a radius of scattered villages in the Chiltern hills, delivering them on rickety Taplins or Chiltern Queen coaches in a chunter of diesel each morning. One year, I think when I was in the second or... Continue Reading →

No Ghosts

  I was on a long drive last weekend. It was tedious and came on the end of a busy few days. I pulled into a motorway services, parked, turned off the engine and draped a large dark blue scarf over my head and upper body to take a reviving nap. I wondered what this... Continue Reading →

Local Roots

On Monday I will be appearing at the Henley Literary Festival at an event on the theme of Local Roots. I grew up in the Chiltern Hills in a village called Stoke Row which is not far from Henley. The landscape is part of Twice the Speed of Dark  - not quite (as the cliché... Continue Reading →

Dragonflies and Sea Frets

(Or: Applying The Essentialising Filter ™️ of bereavement) It is now a month since my father died. Grief came in unanticipated form, insinuating itself subtly, damply, into the walls, floors and ceilings, draped light as a sea fret over the roof tiles and filming the windows. It is as though my present and my past... Continue Reading →

Ravelling

My grandfather died of a broken heart six weeks after my grandmother. He had not expected to live without her, instead had meticulously planned for her comfort and security on what seemed to him to be the predictable certainty of his own death from a heart attack. But cancer doesn’t like predictions. Cancer, with its... Continue Reading →

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