I've been enthusiastically marking the first 'Hampshire Day' - established as the 15th July, which is also the feast day of St. Swithun, the patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. The day is meant to celebrate the diverse culture, tradition and history of communities across what is often referred to as 'the first shire'. It means … Continue reading Hampshire Day – and the importance of ‘place’
I've just emerged from another Sunday morning appointment with the politicians on the TV, accompanied by my only real constant each week, a plate of the kippers that do get my vote (and maintain consistently his satisfaction levels). This week, we really are in the thick of it with the Tory leadership contest, the revelations … Continue reading Perfidious Albion
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