On being published

So my first full collection of poetry is out in the world. I’d thought I might have some kind of celebration – a glass of nice wine or some good ice cream – on the day it was officially out in the world but, as things turned out, I missed it. There was some doubt… Continue reading On being published

Judith – or Salomé

In what circumstances is it acceptable for a woman to be seen with the severed head of a man? From time to time, since seeing the National Gallery’s revelatory Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition last year, I’ve been thinking about women and severed heads. Perhaps I need to make it clear that I have never held a… Continue reading Judith – or Salomé

Freedom Day?

It doesn’t seem much like freedom. If I were out, I’d still be wearing a mask and taking precautions. But I can’t go out. It’s 30 degrees outside and I’m self-isolating. This self-isolation is for a good reason. My partner, who has been in hospital, has to return for further tests, though only as an… Continue reading Freedom Day?

Education – what is it for?

I was already an adult when ideas about education changed. It was as though we’d gone back in time to a view of education not unlike the one Dickens satirised in Hard Times. In the second chapter, under the title ‘Murdering the Innocents,’ the reader is introduced to the approach to education exemplified by Mr… Continue reading Education – what is it for?

The return of Robin Hood?

Nottingham Castle has an exciting history. It’s not only been the (possibly fictional) scene of Robin Hood’s encounters with the Sheriff of Nottingham. It’s been the real-life scene of many sieges and rebellions. Though Charles I raised his standard by the castle at the start of the Civil War in 1642, the city supported parliament… Continue reading The return of Robin Hood?

London in layers

The view changed over the years. Storms came and trees were felled. Flocks of sheep stopped roaming the park and polo-players moved elsewhere so that later generations of children could no longer collect broken mallets and balls. The primary school I attended was renamed and re-roofed. But sometimes at night the grunt of deer and… Continue reading London in layers

At a distance

Lockdown began – the first lockdown – and I was in the wrong place for any writing. Or if I was in the right place, the books and resources I needed weren’t there, the libraries and archives were closed, and I had to put my main project aside. And I didn’t feel much like writing.… Continue reading At a distance