Launch Event News

A great launch reading today for "Oak Tree Alchemy"! We had around 35 people in the function room at The Oak Tree in Helperby, North Yorkshire. I know all nine poets who read really enjoyed the afternoon, and I hope our guests enjoyed it too. They certainly seemed to. As always, we were well looked... Continue Reading →

Scots Pine

Scots Pine   there is a whisper in the air silence-pure a mountain breeze caresses attentive leaf-bound boughs swaying regally   picking a cone from the ground you wonder aloud if they have always been there these trees these cones   "if you take one home does it open and close with time?"   obscurely... Continue Reading →

Does it matter when in the day you post?

I used to think the answer to that question was 'No'. From the point of view of principle, I argued with myself that it shouldn't matter; that a post - if it were good enough - would get the 'reads' whenever you posted it. But I'm not sure that's true. Especially if you live in... Continue Reading →

‘The Quotidian’ – a short story

The Quotidian "Your friend turned up the other day in one of those old t-shirts." "A red one?" "No, blue." "Impossible. He didn’t have any blue ones." "The old ones got confiscated - it was felt the logos were unnecessarily provocative. We gave out new ones." "He didn’t say." "Why should he?" "Anyway, how do... Continue Reading →


Willow   on the river the moon reflected fractured and rebuilt by the movement of the water only to be fractured and rebuilt again   in the summer-evening still apologies for waves lap at the punt   it feels poetic as if ancient others transported here would be able to wane more graciously than the... Continue Reading →

Houston – 6 (“over and out”)

Such a splendid start to the day, walking into H&M in the Galleria and hearing Billie Marten's new single "Betsy". I'd never heard it before and instant knew it had to be Billie. Completely brilliant. [If you don't know Billie, then please check out her marvellous CDs. 2019 her breakthrough year; she has some gigs in... Continue Reading →

Conversation With My Muse

In honour of National Poetry Day in the UK: Conversation With My Muse   When you come is it to rescue me from deserts or to remind me of the tomb? Reassembling parts of a life harvested through imperfect eyes my impoverished graces dovetail the frame of a bloomed mirror. Inadvertent lies are the unwanted... Continue Reading →

Houston – 5

There is an amazing feeling; one that perhaps only those of us who write get to feel in the unique way we do. It's the feeling of 'finishing'. Believe me, it's not as banal as it sounds. For the last few days I've worrying away at a story. You will know this if you've read... Continue Reading →

Houston – 4

Cosmopolitan. Really?! I suspect Europeans think of themselves as more cosmopolitan, more 'connected' than Americans. After all, we've so many countries and so many people jammed in together, so little room per person, that we have to be cosmopolitan don't we? Yet in the hotel restaurant over the last couple of days I've heard languages... Continue Reading →

Houston – 3

It's a long time since I've felt virtuous at 6 in the morning..! Never mind that I've just undone all the good of a gentle 30-minute workout with waffles and bacon in a plate the size of a boat..! And now, before I Uber off to work, the chance to spend 30 minutes reviewing what... Continue Reading →

Houston – 2

Update #2 will be short - and mainly about food... One of my favourite breakfast things in America is French Toast with bacon and a little maple syrup. When I asked for this in my hotel this morning I was met with an incredulous "Is that all?". So I said yes. The French Toast and... Continue Reading →

Houston – 1

I know this post isn't strictly about writing, or books, or reading - but you never know. Who's to say that something won't happen over the next few days that proves to be the unexpected trigger for a poem or short story or even - who knows! - a novel. Speculative, tangential, use whatever word... Continue Reading →

All the right words…

There is a fantastic moment in a 1971 sketch with those late, greats: comedian Eric Morecambe and conductor André Previn. Previn is conducting a small ensemble in Grieg's piano concerto; Morecambe is at the piano. The musical intro is great - unlike Morecambe's playing. Previn stops 'the band' and comes over to the piano: "What... Continue Reading →

Houston – Prelude

For once it didn’t seem to matter that we were going to board late; there was just about enough entertainment in the pantomime of people trying to get to the front of the queue - as if the plane was going to leave without them! Beforehand, I had sat in the lounge trying to etch... Continue Reading →

The books are here!

Copies of "Oak Tree Alchemy" arrived in good time for our launch event and reading at 3pm on Saturday 6th April at The Oak Tree in Helperby, North Yorkshire. The books will be on sale the same day on-line and by order through any good bookshop worldwide. Exciting!

“The Reservoir Tapes”

This is an interesting one. "The Reservoir Tapes" is almost a 'prequel' to Jon McGregor's "Reservoir 13", and actually made its debut on BBC Radio 4. And you can see why. It's made up of a series of monologues that would be perfect for radio. Or, come to think of it, maybe it's a sequel...... Continue Reading →

It’s not “a hobby”…

I was in the kitchen at work the other day when a colleague said something about writing books being "a nice hobby to have". Work (defn.) - what you have to do to pay the bills when you'd rather be doing something more meaningful..? It was, of course, small talk, and it was good of... Continue Reading →

Nothing to write about? You’re not trying…

In fact it's almost the opposite; there's almost nothing not worth writing about..! I'm sitting in the casual bar of a reasonably up-market hotel as I write this. In front of me a panoply of characters and interactions, of dialogues and intrigues, of mystery and emotion. Actually there's a whole short story collection right here!... Continue Reading →

Late Frost

Late Frost   Surprised by the renegade day you had expected the temperate, a welcome more fitting for late May.   This chilled air has the tell of a first date bound to fail.  In the gathering grey, nothing shines, your prospects dimmed as the dial’s sharp shadow declines with the sun.  Sails untrimmed you... Continue Reading →

Another American Adventure…

This time next week I will be on a plane over the Atlantic heading for Houston, Texas. I haven't been to the States for about four years or so and I'm really looking forward to it! I love going to the US, and I've never been to Texas before, so I'm really looking forward to... Continue Reading →

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