maurice spillane

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The Coronavirus Graduation

The Coronavirus Graduation

Paul Waites was Vice-Chancellor for the day and I was Professor of English. You couldn’t make it up. Two friends, Katy Crowley and Kelly Newton, had been granted a BA and MSc respectively, but because of COVID-19, there was no ceremony. The degrees came by post. You couldn’t get duller than that after all the…

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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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Voices from the Coronavirus: Isolation through poetry, gardening and meticulous planning

Voices from the Coronavirus: Isolation through poetry, gardening and meticulous planning

  Maurice Spillane is a poet living in Liddington. He has several books published. His background was in the software sector as an entrepreneur until he semi-retired. In recent years he has been a mentor to young entrepreneurs who he’s in contact with regularly during this crisis. His wife, Fiona, is a leadership consultant and…

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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

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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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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