About Me

About Me
I am a writer, editor and gardener living in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire. I have a degree and masters in Literature and Philosophy undertaken while living in London. I obtained a PGCE in English and History and taught for two years in a secondary school in England (age range: 11-18). My writing credits can be viewed here. I have had two poetry books published and am co-translator of Alain-Fournier:Poems (Carcanet, 2016). I am an editor and associate publisher at The High Window Press.

(See:thehighwindowpress.com)

20.6.16

Outer Hebrides:a memoir

(Extract)...

A week later I drove through north and south Uist, but the constant rain dampened the machar and the beaches were blackened. I walked around the coast of Berneray which ended in a thunderstorm and an aggressive interaction with birds in natural habitats. The oyster-catchers roused the skuas and the skuas roused the gulls and I was encircled and dive-bombed. I took shelter in a bunkhouse for three days while the rain became torrential. I read a book on the history of council estates in England (an unreturned borrowed book) and a Heinrich Boll story (the Boll was taken from underneath the coffee table at Drinishader). I ate smoked fish and rice pudding three nights running, and dreamed of Anita and of a sunny Barra.

It wasnt that I didn't have travel experiences, but a pervading depression was strong enough to minimise, say, the experience of seeing a juvenile golden eagle trying to pluck an eider duck from the sea. I know that this experience alone might fill the content of a nature programme, but in my diary it is referred to as 'golden eagle sighting' and then I pointed the van in another direction and moved on. Why could I not relax? Enjoy? Throw the books away? Elect for slow travel? Talk to people. Get up and go out at 2am and look at a glittering night sky? Why couldn't I do something ostensibly touristy, like get a boat to Tiree and make a pilgrimage to the Skerryvore lighthouse? Or call into the SS Politician in Eriksay to sample the whisky that the locals had taken from 22, 000 cases of whisky washed up when a boat sank off Eriksays shores in 1941 (subsequently made into a film by Alexander Mackendrick called Whisky Galore!)? What was stopping me boarding a boat to Mingulay?...