Category Archives: Stories

Of earth and sea

On Monday night I returned from Melbourne after a month spent mainly in New Zealand, the first ten days running Dark Angels workshops in and around Auckland, the following two weeks touring the North and South Islands. This is one … Continue reading

More Galleries | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rockall, Malin, Hebrides …

A few years ago I took up running. It wasn’t long before I stumbled on the kerb, turned my ankle and had to be scraped off the road by a passing motorist. A physiotherapist subsequently told me that injuries within … Continue reading

More Galleries | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Ends of the earth

In summer 2003 I was invited to chair an event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The book in question was by a writer I knew and admired but had never met. The event was sponsored by a small Edinburgh … Continue reading

More Galleries | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

An honest opinion

In the mail last week I received a parcel from France. It contained a paperback novel with an attractive jacket featuring bands of medieval illumination enclosing the image of a lone fortress on a hilltop. I knew at once what … Continue reading

More Galleries | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Spanish Crossings

A couple of years ago, on our advanced course in Spain, my Dark Angels partner John Simmons woke up one morning with a line in his head. It stayed with him and today, in summer 2017, it’s the opening sentence … Continue reading

More Galleries | 1 Comment

The stories we tell

In the past month I’ve spent a week in Spain with a group of eight people on a The Stories We Tell course, and a week in the Northwest Highlands with a friend I’ve known for 45 years. At the … Continue reading

More Galleries | 1 Comment

A trip to Serendip

Serendipity, once voted the nation’s favourite word, is an increasingly frequent visitor in my life. It means a happy accident, or a pleasantly unexpected turn of events. The word was coined by Horace Walpole in the mid-18th century, after reading … Continue reading

More Galleries | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Long division

A woman got onto the train the other day and sat down opposite me. She was fifty-ish, tanned and smartly dressed. She had come from the airport and was breathless. We chatted and I learned that she had been to … Continue reading

More Galleries | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Born storytellers

“We’re a narrative species,” said the scientist on Radio 4 the other day. “We understand the world in terms of stories.” He was talking about the MMR vaccine and how the stories of danger that have grown up around it … Continue reading

More Galleries | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Dreaming spires

Six years ago, in March 2011, we were about to set out for our second ever Dark Angels masterclass at Merton College, Oxford. I had written the previous week in this blog about a strange dream I had had, in … Continue reading

More Galleries | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment