Blog Archives

Alternative realities

(Also available as a podcast here) When I was three or four years old my mother used to get me to sleep by telling me about the animals curled up in their burrows and the birds closing their eyes in … Continue reading

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An optimistic note

(Also available as a podcast here) ‘Put it this way – if it was a horse I’d have to shoot it.’ John, the piano tuner came today. It’s an old joke of his. It’s an old piano, too. Although the … Continue reading

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Wild things

(Also available as a podcast here) Five months ago, at the end of April, I wrote here about my reactions to the early stages of Covid and lockdown. From where we are now, that time seems almost like an age … Continue reading

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No return

(Also available as a podcast here) Two weeks ago I wrote about how I was experiencing life in lockdown. This post reached the second-largest number of readers I’ve ever had, the largest being for the post I wrote the day … Continue reading

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In limbo

(Also available as a podcast here) It rained late this afternoon. In the silence that followed the birdsong was almost deafening. What do they notice, I wondered. A change in the air? Fewer people? Less noise? Finely attuned to their … Continue reading

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Good news from the front line

(Also available as a podcast here) Front lines are on all our minds right now. I think of poetry as language’s front line, the place where things can at once be at their most considered and their most intense, raw … Continue reading

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Songs of hope

(Also available as a podcast here) At this time of year when the air is still and cold, mist gathers over the River Tay and hangs above the salmon pools, making ghosts of the venerable beech trees that line the … Continue reading

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Brexit Day

Last year, when I began to write about my great-great uncle, RB Cunninghame Graham, I decided that I would keep him, and politics generally, off the pages of this blog. Today being Brexit Day, I have posted about him and … Continue reading

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Making sense

You can now listen to each new post, including this one, as a podcast. I am also gradually adding selected posts from the archive. Click here. If we look for milestones to prompt reflection and personal stocktaking, few come better … Continue reading

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The company of wolves

Twenty-five years ago I published a novel called The Mapmaker. Set in 1349, the year the Black Death reached England, it tells the story of two young men who are driven from their village and find themselves following a mysterious … Continue reading

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