With the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Kingsley, I posted recently about his contribution to a sense of 'place' in this corner of North-East Hampshire where I live, which referred to one of his works ("Prose Idylls, New and Old"), and how it described the 'rough commons' terrain of the area. Since that post, … Continue reading The Hows and Whys of the Hampshire heaths
A curious railway company, running 'funeral trains' between its own terminus just off London Waterloo, and Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey provides the backdrop to a fantastically atmospheric detective story ["The Necropolis Railway", Andrew Martin (2005), London, Faber & Faber]. Brookwood was the largest cemetery in the world when it opened, and remains the largest in … Continue reading Necropolis Railway took me to a dramatic ultimate destination!
I don’t pretend to be a serious historian, but I do take an interest in the identity of my local area. I was born in Farnham, on the Surrey/Hampshire border, and spent the entire 18 years of childhood growing up in Yateley, in Hampshire – the town to which I returned some four years ago … Continue reading Kingsley – making it quite a place
As with the main dynamic of this book, when reviews of “Lanny” by Max Porter first started appearing, it was as if I could hear this book talking to me, and I knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed at all. A number of themes spoke to me. The first and over-riding … Continue reading Lanny
There hasn't been a review of a book appear round these parts in quite a while. It's not been for the want of investing energy in attacking the pile of 'must read' books by the side of my bed - hopefully I will get around to reviewing them soon. But as soon as I had … Continue reading Till the Cows Come Home
Radio is my best friend. I know it is the same for many people. BBC Radio is a particular treasure. Having worked as a press officer in BBC Radio back in the mists of time, I know all too well of the public service mission that the various stations have a duty to deliver, as … Continue reading Late Junction – we must not lose this connection
To mark the start of "Real Bread Week" (23rd Feb - 3rd Mar 2019), I did everything in my power to pass on the 'sourdough bug' to my 10 year old niece Olivia. I'm not sure whether sourdough baking is more poetry or science - looking after the starter culture; autolysing the dough; the rhythms … Continue reading Real Bread – is flour, water and salt really poetry, science, history – or politics?
In the summer of 2018, I got volunteered together with other local residents in helping to create a neighbourhood plan for our local area - Yateley, Darby Green and Frogmore, in Hampshire. My specific area of interest is 'Getting Around', whether that is transport in all its shapes and sizes, or provision for those of … Continue reading Better connectivity could mean trams and light rail
As ever, it has been a tough call pulling together my top tracks of the year, but in what has been a difficult year due to deaths in the family, and against the backdrop of stagnant cesspit of national politics, it has been a usefully therapeutic exercise. I've included links to videos of my twelve … Continue reading Best of 2018
A recent independent inquiry - Civil Society Futures - published its report in the middle of November, called "The Story of Our Times: shifting power, bridging divides, transforming society," which said that civil society must up its game, or risk complete irrelevance. I usually abhor acronyms, but it came up with one - PACT - to … Continue reading Making connections