Steve’s the star of A Northern Soul, a film by Sean McAllister, a Hull insider, about the city’s year as a City of Culture. It was the complete antidote to a week of crazy Brexit shenanigans. Instead of fractious politicians out for what they can get, here was a man determined that poor kids in Hull get their share in the city’s year in the spotlight.… Read the rest
On this day of remembrance, I honour my two grandfathers who fought in World War One. I am grateful for the sacrifices they, their brothers and their families made.
I never met my Kiwi grandfather John Gibson, who died before I was born. He volunteered to fight for the British Empire, sailing to Cairo in October 1914 with the Wellington Mounted Rifles. New Zealand army records show at least two of his brothers also joined up, and that his eldest brother Fred was killed at Messines in 1917.… Read the rest
It’s still the holiday season in my house which is my excuse to repost a thoughtful piece from Psychology Today by Dan Mager about getting comfortable with uncertainty.
I don’t think we need any of the big side-swiping life events he describes to unsettle our foundations, for me the uncertainty of life with Brexit and Trump is already enough to disturb my sense of security. He describes well the sense of groundlessness I’ve experienced these past months which has stopped me writing.… Read the rest
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It is a wonderful time of year to head into the woods, in that moment when the bright leaves are opening but before they block out the sunlight for the other woodland plants and flowers. I spent a few sunlit days walking in North Devon, my favourite being a walk near the confluence of the East Lyn and Hoar Oak Water at Watersmeet. There’s a delightful trail through the sessile oaks down Tilly’s Ridge,where the bent branches twist and stretch towards the sun where it touches the steep valley.
“It’s sad”, said the woman coming out of her driveway with her two young children. “A tree is such a big thing, it is sad when it dies.” A large bough was caught in a violent swirl of wind in a recent storm, splitting the trunk of a huge tree close to the road, she’d had to call the tree surgeons to finish the job. It took them hours, they were still working away chopping the wood into tidy circles when I walked back past six hours later.… Read the rest
No apologies for a third consecutive piece on plastic. I find I’m well behind the curve on this one, and I’m cheered to find so many other people are campaigning to cut their plastic use already. One of my neighbours spoke up at our residents’ association meeting last month: ‘What are we going to do about plastic?” She wondered what we and other residents’ groups could do together to nudge our shops into using less plastic?… Read the rest
It’s interesting how long you can cheerfully ignore something that’s been nagging away at the back of your brain. And suddenly the world conspires to bring it to the front of your mind so forcefully that you can no longer dismiss it. Yes, that is what just happened to me about the way we all use plastic: as if it was in some miraculous way disposable instead of being something near indestructible that is going to plague our children’s children and our planet.… Read the rest
“C’est trop tard”, “It’s too late”, said the elderly woman behind the grocery counter on Tartane’s beachfront. She’d just handed me a chopped up pineapple in a biodegradable cornstarch bag, and I’d complimented her on not using plastic bags. French law applies in Martinique, as a Departément d’Outremer (DOM) and since January 2017 French shops can no longer hand out any plastic bags, even for fresh produce. I would have taken the pineapple away bag free, but I knew the small knife in my rented apartment could not cut a pineapple.… Read the rest
It’s a question I‘ve been asking myself in the past months: how should I live? If I live as long as my father, I’m going to be here for another 30 years, and I want to live a good life. I’ve set out some rules for myself here, in the knowledge I will break them most days. But I will also try to build on them each day.
I found myself watching the television through my fingers last week.
No, not the latest Donald Trump outrage, which can certainly have the same effect, but seeing a 52 year old man’s dreadful debut as a motivational speaker, in the BBC TV series Employable Me.
Andy, a motorsport businessman who’d had a stroke 6 years before, had a good story to tell, but it quickly became uncomfortable to watch him. He started off by showing an inappropriate (half naked) photo of himself, talked for 10 minutes about his life before his stroke and had no clear message to share with a sympathetic audience.… Read the rest