Other Things We've Survived: Reflections from an allotment

As the ‘just in time’ supply system of the major supermarkets, together with a mass change in shopping habits, has left empty spaces on supermarket shelves lately, there’s been a good deal of ‘so you think this is bad’ talk from those of a certain age on social media. Like a Monty Python sketch but […]

Just Breathe and the Springtime Will Arrive Anyway

Just breathe and the springtime will arrive anyway.This is difficult, though the light is growing now,To not shake your hand when we meet,Or wrap our arms around each other, let alone kiss.In a land without leaders or steady advice. But we’ve made our own way before, And we will do again, won’t we?’Together Alone’ like […]

One More Spring

“Follow me into just one more spring…” The song had been running around my head since I’d sat in the house listening to Scott Walker singing it this rainy Saturday afternoon just gone. A song of the deepest longing that has yearned through my life these fifty years past, for all of those springtimes. It’s […]

Life is short: Happy Birthday to me

My partner Sarah’s just had a birthday, one due to be spent doing something she loves, being out in her beloved sea kayak off the coast of Wales. Well as you’ll read, that didn’t happen. Instead she spent two happily quiet days walking on a beach, gardening and reflecting on life and death. ‘The fact that I work […]

Autumn Arrives Quietly

Autumn arrives quietly, like it does When summer is over, Cutting back to be done As growth slows down And all the children go back to school. Autumn arrives quietly like a friend Coming round To talk endings and die back, While beginnings arrive And all the children go back to school. Autumn arrives quietly, […]

Gardens in the City

A meditation on hospitals, allotments and the National Health Service. While I’m writing this I’m listening to the ‘NHS Symphony’. A new choral work commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of our health service. It contains a collage of sounds from two Birmingham NHS hospitals, routine sounds and major life event […]