Another nice mess …

Watching the melancholy film Stan and Ollie, well acted but sad made me realise how little I know about the men whose old films made me laugh so much as a child. They were favourites of my Dad, and I played them to my own children, so influential were they. The film focused on the […]

Review: Neurotribes – Steve Silberman

This was a substantial read, and at times a meandering journey, but for someone interested in neurodiversity (a fairly modern phrase) it is an important history of autism and a reminder that neurodiverse people are about as different to each other as neurotypical people, if not more so. There is no ‘typical’ autistic person. Rainman […]

A little Hartland history …

This info comes from a slender pamphlet called “Farthest From Railways: An Unknown Corner of Devon” by R. Pearse Chope, originally written in 1934. It seems Hartland Parish, despite being one of the largest in Devon, amounting to 17,000 acres in size, is too hilly for a cricket ground, is bounded by the Atlantic (already knew that […]

Paddy Ashdown.

It is always sad to hear of the death of someone people respect, and more so someone you have met. Paddy had bladder cancer diagnosed in October, I believe, so his illness was short but devastating in its impact. I’m not a Liberal Democrat by nature but I did meet Paddy Ashdown a couple of […]

Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832

  Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. 1808. My journey to Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott, was originally more a meeting with old friends than anything especially literary. However, there was the bonus of a small Turner exhibition at his house for Turner, at the behest of […]

The War Poets

Poetry expresses a huge depth of meaning in very concise language. It has always intrigued me that the horror of World War I, where around ten million people lost their lives, delivered to us such very fine poets whose impact has been immense and possibly eternal. In a hellhole punctuated by the incessant racket of […]

Hello sleepyhead!

Once upon a time, I read my horoscope: Others are in awe of how much you manage to do. She laughs – out loud. Writing this, it was 1.06 am. The previous day, I woke at 4 am. I rolled over and dropped back into a light sleep. Then, by 4.30, the sky was turning […]

Heathcliff, the anti-hero

Resurrected and rewrote this one. Although I never found it easy reading given its complicated, disjointed style, for many years I shared the widespread delusion that Wuthering Heights was a love story. Won over by the brooding Laurence Olivier performance in the film, I too thought that the darkness permeating the entire novel related to […]


There is a great deal said and written about friendship. It is really hard to define, meaning different things to different people. Given the universality of social media, many of us have Facebook ‘friends’ who are people with whom one largely shares an interest (or several) and in whose lives you are interested. It does […]


Most of my deleted unread emails talk about changing my worldview, developing my intuition, and becoming mindful, my best self.  No offence to those who find navel gazing useful (and I have been guilty of doing too much of it myself) but it strikes me that all this contemplation of self, this constant sense of […]