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.

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.

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Latest article

Some little known Covid facts. Or are they?

I don’t know very much about Covid, and I’m beginning to think that nobody else does either.

I’ve been told a number of things about the dreaded virus – by apparently sane people – that don’t make an awful lot of sense, but then if Covid is a nonsensical virus, perhaps that makes sense. If you see what I mean.

It seems that Covid is extremely nasty and can kill you. I know this is true, because it killed my cousin and has made some friends very ill. But at the same time you can have it and show no symptoms, which to me is the same as not having it.

I, for instance, do not have Covid. I think. Of course, I may have it, but then I may have smallpox, dengue fever, mumps, syphilis, hay fever, chicken pox and leprosy – but without the symptoms. It would be best if I wear a vacuum suit and a mask, and self-isolate. You never know.

By the time you read this, I may have Covid with full-blown symptoms, which would serve me right. But I have had a double vaccination; so I’m hoping that might work.

On the other hand, is it a real vaccination? A friend told me the other day that it wasn’t, and that they were just putting stuff in me. Of course, vaccination is putting stuff in you, but I didn’t like to say that, as I am quite fond of her.

Another friend suggested that the Government wanted everyone to get the Delta variant so that they were immune for the coming winter, but I find it hard to believe the Government is that organised. For the same reason I don’t believe it’s all a cunning plan to cut down the world’s population or to introduce microchips into our bloodstream and turn us into a controlled, fearful collection of would-be mice. Of course, I could be wrong: it would explain speed cameras.

Then there are the very silly rules, which may or may not be legal. It’s all right to sit down and eat or drink without a mask, but if you stand up, you have to wear one. It’s OK for crowds of sports fans to shout and hug each other, but of course it’s far too dangerous to sing in church, unless you’re wearing a mask. I mean, really?

And I don’t really get the pingdemic. Surely deleting the App would solve the whole problem?

That probably shows how little I know. But I don’t really want to know any more. I’ve stopped watching the news. I don’t see how cases of Covid can apparently go up and down the same time. Of course, I go up and down at the same time, but that’s the road humps. Or possibly one of the lesser known Covid symptoms.

Latest poem

Beyond the masks

Beyond the masks and the skull
outside the walled garden
through red and yellow
toward sky space

you walk across endless green
and into blue:
the ancient hall lurks in the background
behind distorting mirrors

You do not age at all:
you are as I first saw you
falling in love with the future
praying unprincipled prayers

You bring me back
to the fountain of fire
time and again
your words as silent as ever