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Sorting out the Book Shelves

Sorting out the Book Shelves

I reorganised my bookshelves during lock-down. I’m a bit anal about it, collections by author, compendiums by country – drives my wife crazy. I think she’d prefer them by colour. I was easily distracted and an hour’s task lasted weeks. Buried in the shelves I found gems, such as three collections by Pat Ingoldsby, who…

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The Front Line

The Front Line

Big issues hit home when personified by small gestures. I’m thinking here of the people who clap the NHS, bang pots, shed tears, smile for the front line. And now we’re more aware of the other unseen, the second line: pharmacists, posties, delivery people, police, those behind the counter. Put a name on any of…

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Bringing the Baby Home

Bringing the Baby Home

I was in Ireland with my grandkids recently. My youngest daughter, who lives in Manchester, phoned me beforehand and said: “D-a-d” which has three syllables and usually means trouble. “I’ve got the dates confused,” she said, responsibility distanced by blaming the dates. “My school friends are gathering for a weekend in Belfast and I wondered…

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Mediums in the Pub

The landlady of our local pub introduced me to two mediums recently. They said they were devout Christians as if that explained some oddity. They were on a mission. A woman had lost her son and wouldn’t be happy until she held his hand again. “When did she lose him?” I asked. “1750,” was the…

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Three Men in a Pub

Three Men in a Pub

There’s an outbreak of poetry around Christmas. I love it. We’ve a special evening in the Village Hall in Liddington with carol singers from Bristol University followed by festive poems, and then there’s Santa (bless his Wiltshire accent!) It’s always a sell-out and I highly recommend it. In the weeks leading up to the event…

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Wootten Rivers Hash Again

I was the hare on two visits to Wootton Rivers this year. Snow came down overnight before the first visit in February and the temperatures was -14. Only a few stalwarts pitched up but we had a great run. Unfortunately one of my friends, John, broke his wrist on the ice about 100m from the…

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Ye’r Mans for Tea

Ye’r Mans for Tea

I wrote in a recent article that my friend, Paul Waites, composed a poem for my birthday. I said it was so good I entered it into a competition. Many of you have asked what happened next. Well, he didn’t win but poetry judging is obtuse – and I’m a bad loser! But back to…

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Big Poetry Weekend

Big Poetry Weekend

Every year Poetry Swindon runs a weekend with local and visiting poets. This year it’s branded “The Big Poetry Weekend” and there are some good names. What to recommend to my regular readers? Poetry has many channels and sometimes it’s difficult to navigate. Some poets wallow in complexity with no consideration of an audience, some…

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