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Crossing Spain – wandering in the land of the bull

Villafruela is a small village approached from the south to a crossroads. No signs. No signals. No sign of life. High up on moorland, not a bar on my phone to be had. An old lady heading towards me taking her morning constitutional, quietly minding her own business to the song of the birds, was… Continue reading Crossing Spain – wandering in the land of the bull

Poetry & Writing, The Cork Board

Some sort of character…

My standard Saturday afternoon these days is one of nervous tension as I monitor the live update scores, or lack of, of my favourite football team. Whatever I’m doing I have to check a screen on a regular basis between 3 and 5 pm. However, last Saturday was a break from routine. Mrs. Monkey and… Continue reading Some sort of character…

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Four days in the life of…

I suppose I should be blogging. I have, after all, more time on my hands than I have had in recent months, though that time fills up with other stuff leaving the whole “time” thing illusory. Perhaps I should start be describing the last four days which has seen us run a number of emotions,… Continue reading Four days in the life of…

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Trip Books…. Travelling light

I remember as a youth carrying my books under my arm, or in a plastic bag, to read on buses and trains. In time, covers would become creased or imprinted by greasy fingertips. Of course, those days haven't quite gone. The buses have been replaced by cars but I still like the feel of a… Continue reading Trip Books…. Travelling light

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‘Tis these I recommend for reading ….

From the moment, as a young boy, after closing the final page of “The Red Pony” , I was hooked on Steinbeck. Today, he is one of the few authors I go back to for pure re-reading enjoyment. (As Zappa said – too many books, too little time – or something like it.) The Monterey… Continue reading ‘Tis these I recommend for reading ….

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The Returns Slip… a window into your life ….

I have just come to the end of a three week stint as a Temp in the Returns Dept. of a local book distributor, the Christmas and New Year period being a natural peak in their business. I love books, handling them - flicking through them  - stacking them neatly, so what could have been… Continue reading The Returns Slip… a window into your life ….

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The Short Story Problem…

I love short stories. I believe that as an art form it can be greatly under-appreciated. (That’s clumsy, but you know what I mean.) There is a skill to creating a short story that hooks you –holds you – and then, the toughest of all, lingers in your memory as a great novel would. I… Continue reading The Short Story Problem…

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Book Review: “Dear Fiona, Letters from a Suspected Soviet Spy” – Fiona Fullerton

There can't be many two lives more contrasting than that of a young Lancashire lad from Nelson, wrongfully charged with being a Soviet spy, and that of a beautiful young actress about to embark on a glamorous international life of stardom. A more different pair of teenagers you couldn’t find. Yet that is the unlikely… Continue reading Book Review: “Dear Fiona, Letters from a Suspected Soviet Spy” – Fiona Fullerton

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Book Review: “This is how you lose her” – Junot Diaz

In recent years, in fact for some time now, my reading choices have been driven by one key criteria. The author must not be English. Of course, there may have been the odd exception but they have been rare indeed. I know enough about England and it’s class system, thank you. I’ve had enough period… Continue reading Book Review: “This is how you lose her” – Junot Diaz

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All good things must come to an end, I guess…

It is with some sadness that the news is seeping out that Gabriel García Márquez has more than likely written his last story. It seems that the unwarranted side effect of the treatment for his lymphatic cancer is the increased onset of dementia. I guess when you are 85 there some high prices to pay.… Continue reading All good things must come to an end, I guess…