Memoir writing that rings a bell

One of the most striking things about the Ty Newydd writing centre is the silence and darkness at night. Light pollution is minimal and the whitewashed stone walls are so think that even a lively breeze rustling the surrounding trees is inaudible once I’m tucked up in my room in Hafoty, the old stable block. So after a demanding but satisfying day of workshops, walking, eating, socialising, reading and possibly even a little writing, nothing keeps me from sleep. Until the rude awaking of the fire alarm.

Taking into account deterioration of various joints, it’s rare nowadays for me to apply to myself the cliché “leaping out of bed”, but this is literally what I do. Instinct kicks in and the combined ear-splitting wail and flashing light bombardment has me out of the door in seconds, slipping into a pair of handy shoes and grabbing my jacket from the hook on the door in one fluid movement.Continue Reading

Mass Tango in Husum and the kindness of strangers

If people sing together, it’s good for them. If people enjoy the hospitality of strangers, it’s great for body, soul and mutual understanding. Imagine how doubly beneficial it was, therefore, to be welcomed into the home of a fellow singer during my choir’s recent visit to make music with our German counterparts, the Theodor StormsContinue ReadingContinue Reading


Just like my own offspring, the ducklings were late arrivals. And they’ve also now flown the nest. Or waddled, rather. Having calculated, with the help of my RSPB guide, that their hatching date should be 3rd May, we were relieved to return on the 1st from a week in Yorkshire to find that all wasContinue ReadingContinue Reading


The start of the new financial year puts me in mind of the expenses scandal, whereby an esteemed MP considered it perfectly legitimate to claim the cost of his duckhouse against taxes. In early April this year, our own humble garden is the scene of an unusual occurrence. A favourite jaunt of ours is toContinue ReadingContinue Reading


For years I’ve had a recurring dream.  It’s not the same location every time, but the scenario definitely reflects a theme.  The context varies in fact from places that I recognise to those that I’ve never visited in real life. Often the setting is a mish-mash or an unlikely jumble of incongruous places and faces.Continue ReadingContinue Reading

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