About

I am a writer who spent most of my working life as a journalist. I used to write offbeat commentary pages for the Eastern Daily Press, based in Norwich, England, and earlier a weekly piece called Square One for the Church of England Newspaper – hence the title of this site. I am also a poet, a walker, a chess player, a driver, a husband, a father, a grandparent, a guitar player, a reader, a TV watcher, a pensioner and a Christian, among other things. I love Norfolk, Scotland, the coast, deserts, rivers, mountains and almost everywhere I find myself, though not necessarily in that order. I like to look at things sideways, wherever possible. I have published six poetry books: Mist and Fire (2003), Off the Map (2007), Running with Scissors (2011), Stillness lies Deep (with Joy McCall, 2014), Iona: The Road Ends (2015) and Waving from a Distance (2017). I am a member of the poetry group Chronicle and edited a recent book on the Pastons in Norwich, which contains directions for a walk, a bit of history and some poems by myself and others. It’s called In the Footprints of the Pastons. Click here for more information on that.

  • Iona: The Road Ends, with accompanying photographs, is available from me by hand for £5, or £6 if I have to post it to you. Contact me at the e-mail address at the bottom of this page. It is also available from Amazon, as is Waving from a Distance, which is a collection of poems written during Lent 2016. The earlier books are also still available from me.

 

I also enjoy photography, without being in any way an expert. Some of my pictures can be found on Flickr, and some are included in Stillness Lies Deep and Iona: The Road Ends.

 

 

 

Latest article

Measuring up trees in the wind

It was certainly a mistake to start writing about warm weather, as I did last time. Inevitably it has since turned damp, cold and extremely windy, and made the weather forecasters very happy – or at least enthusiastic.

At the top of our road men in hi-vis jackets (gilets oranges) are measuring up trees as if they intend to cut them down before the wind knocks them over. They taped off a footpath for a while, but as far as I can see nothing else has happened, which is Normal for Norfolk. They are probably waiting for the result of the Brexit vote so that things become clearer. Or they may simply have lost interest.

As has become something of a habit at this time of year, we escaped from Norfolk for a few days to reassure ourselves that roads were just as bad everywhere else, and indeed in many cases worse. No-one, after all, is building smart (aka moronic) motorways in Norfolk, where there are no motorways of any kind. Nor do we, like the otherwise relatively sane county of Derbyshire, have blanket 50mph limits, which make driving tedious and therefore more dangerous.

Buxton, our ultimate destination, remains as stunning as ever. I’m not sure why. It may have something to do with geometry, or the juxtaposition of curves. It may be the way it attracts snow (though not on this occasion), or encourages people to walk.

Coincidentally, one of my local councillors is also keen on people walking. He would like to have a car-free Sunday in our fine city of Norwich, but I’m afraid he just falls into the category of people who are really selfish – not, as Oscar Wilde pointed out, because he wants to do things his way, but because he wants everyone else to do things his way as well.

Cars are not evil. They are quite useful in carrying people and things to places where they might otherwise be unable to go. They also benefit the sick and the elderly, which can hardly be said of bicycles – especially when it’s damp, cold and windy.

I could also point out that if everyone in the UK stopped using a car tomorrow, it would have no effect on global climate whatsoever. But I won’t, because that would make me a climate change denier: any schoolchild could tell you that.

Latest poem

Occasional tanka

out of the sun
just like the red baron
you fire shadows
into the evening sky
tear my poor heart in two

I left the ash
underneath the altar
near the pancakes
ran heedlessly down the road
as if it didn’t matter

I try to see
the pain in your body,
your wisdom too
but all I can handle now
is the light you let fall