Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Having been in the Wilderness for two years fighting the ravages of a Masters dissertation, I am now back, refreshed and victorious.
Lets see what 2013 has in store....... let battle commence!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Well, I've had a bit of a break, and now I'm back.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Well, I've been considering the concept of space recently. Not the 'final frontier' type, you understand, but that area we put aside for ourselves, whether that be a garden, a room or a public space where we can find that special inspiration, contemplation or relaxation. Recently we were on holiday in West Wales and came across St Non, on the coastal path near to the city of St David's. This has special significance in the Celtic- Christian world, and is now dominated by a 'retreat', a safe place where, assuming you are in the 'gang' as it were, you can go and commune with your god. The area has a fence around it and a sign telling casual visitors such as me to keep off the terrace - politely reminding the would be intruder that that space is for residents only. After that, I became aware of just how restricted we all are, signs everywhere read 'Keep Out', ' Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted' 'Permit Holders Only' . I was even politely told off by a well meaning old gentleman for walking my dog on the outside of a local cricket field. The dog was even more restricted than me, as she was wearing a lead. We all need a sense of freedom, a sense of safety in our own space, where we can do our thing, whether it be writing, reading, creating music or just being. Sadly, the more we are restricted by imposed barriers the less we connect with the world around us making us aliens in our own world. I'd considered creating a space for writing at home, in a spare room, so that I can concentrate. But, to be honest, I see that as self imposed barrier, no different, perhaps worse, than those that are all around us. So, no special space for me - wherever I am, that's my workstation. Now, where's that big bag for notebooks, guitar, laptop.............

Monday, 21 June 2010

Well, here I am again with another reflective, referential rant.
I'm starting to collect quite a bit of writing 'stuff ', you know, notebooks, pens, leaflets advertising this and that. I decided last friday I needed a bag for it all, somewhere to keep it all neat and tidy. Previously, I used an attache case, a nice leather one I've had for years but somehow that just isn't 'me' anymore. I can't get my flask in it, and it makes me look 'official'.
Ah, ah, I thought, 'I have a computer shoulder bag in the car, that'll do nicely.' When I got the bag out, I noticed that it was full of work 'stuff ', stuff that well, to be honest, I just do not need anymore, old folders and documents that are out of date. I don't even keep my computer in it and never have. 'I know' says I to myself, 'I need a box to put all that in, then I can use the bag for my scribbling paraphernalia'. (The attache case can be used for something else).
Low and behold, in the car, next to where the bag once sat, was a box. The box was full of more work related tat, which, just like the contents of the bag, was largely redundant.
As I started to go through the stuff in the box and the bag, I got to thinking how reluctant I am to get rid of old things that have no particular use. Yes, I recycle and yes I give stuff to charity, but it seems as though the rest, I keep; in boxes and bags. A quick look around the house proved me right. I have tons of the stuff. And I have loads of boxes and loads of bags, ' a place for everything and everything in it's place' , except that most of it is rubbish and outdated.
On saturday, at my writing group, I won a small bag in the raffle, which stereotypically could be thought of as a young girls toilet bag, as it was pink and came with a mirror, which was also pink. Several comments were made, including the suggestion that I use as it as a pen case.
It got me thinking. I wonder just how many of my attitudes and ideas are outdated. Does my view of who I am and what I do and believe need a spring clean? Am I setting self imposed hurdles to my progress in the form of piles of acquired attitudinal junk? Am I using my boxes and bags for the right reasons? Indeed, do I need them at all?
It's time to start thinking outside the box. In the future, that will be my bag. Sod the cliches.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Well, it's been a while!!
I've been really busy with this thing called 'life', and I've not had much time for blogging.
I have a colleague off long term sick, both cars have been off the road and I've had some really unusual clients to work with. Then of course there was the election!! We all plough a furrow, and it's really easy to get stuck in that rut (metaphor salad, anyone?) so that we can't see the wood for the trees. The last meeting of Wrekin Writers was the turning point, and this past few days have been the first opportunity I've had recently to stop and reflect and think about my relevance in the world.
It's that reflection that's been really interesting. I've re-considered my politics, what I do my job for, what I like to write about and in what style, and what I consider truly valuable in life, in a general sense. One of the cars has needed an MOT, and I feel as though I've had one myself!
So, rather than just do more, I'm going to reflect more in future too. It's amazing how being a bit of a pudding on an a la carte menu can stop you in your tracks!

Saturday, 27 March 2010


Well, it's been a month or so since I last posted anything. It's not that I can't be bothered you understand, but because I've been really busy. Molly the spangle has been with us for about two months now and she is doing really well. She is however extremely tiring! Two good walks a day is doing us all the world of good. I've also been trying to structure a couple of short stories, trying to put a band together, chopping wood - tons of the stuff- pawing over plans for the house extension...... the list goes on. Anyhow, we had friends to stay last weekend, the first time they'd been to our new Shropshire home. It got me thinking about parochialism, xenophobia, nationalism and all those other 'isms' that are exclusive attitudes that to some extent we all possess by degrees. All communities, whether they be racial, geographical or organisational have rules of membership, sometimes unwritten, sometimes proscribed, sometimes blindingly obvious; it's what binds them together and prevents invasion by unwanted 'others'. We took our friends to a local village pub where we usually enjoy a warm welcome. No change there for Jane and me. There was however, a faintly stifled comment overheard at the bar -'they all look the same'. You see, our friends are Hong Kong Chinese in ethnic origin. They are also second generation born and bred Brits, with University educations, and excellent jobs which add value to society. Not surprisingly, our friends, thoroughly nice and decent human beings rose so far above it, it was to them invisible. It was more of an embarrassment for us as their hosts.
This childish and unenlightened comment by one person is of course not representative of the wider community view. However, the broadly held and expressed opinion that soon to be built affordable houses in the locale are a bad thing does come closer to demonstrating parochial paranoia.
Some of the reasons expressed are well founded. Others, such as 'we'll have to start locking our doors', and the implication that the new residents will in some way be not the right 'sort' of people are particularly distasteful. But for me the most amazing is the widely held belief amongst locals that their dog mess is in some way cleaner than that of visitors dogs. I have not yet seen a local clean up after their dog, and there is plenty of ground evidence to prove they don't, yet when the farmer recently had aborted calves attributed directly to dog faeces, well, it must of course be from the dogs of people visiting. God help us if these people move in, bring their dogs and are different because they all look the same. God help us if we have we have to confront our fears, prejudices and delusions. God help us if we have to realise that we are all 'others' to someone.
I enclose a pic of Molly because she is black, female and of doubtful parentage. Her breath and faeces stink and she is at times willfull. Amazingly, despite these attributes most people who meet her think she is quite cute and like to make fuss of her. Go figure.