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
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
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?
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?
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?
I’m trying to stay calm. I’m doing my very best. We had so many good experiences last week. As life opened up – just a little, with caution – we went to the Wetland Centre and from the hides we saw a lapwing and an egret as well as an abundance of sand martins flying… Continue reading How do they do it?
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
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
I remember how, when I was quite small, Mum suggested I describe a flower. I don’t know why she said that but I know she wanted me to look very closely and be entirely exact about every detail. So I started to write a description. I went on and on and on, scribbling with a… Continue reading Words and Meaning
Whatever normal was, this isn’t it. And yet life is lovely again and friendly and still slightly scary. We know by now that air is dangerous, that breathing carries risk and that often it’s kinder to turn your back than to speak to the fellow human you pass in the street. And yet we venture… Continue reading Re-opening