Sunday 19 June 2022

Father's Day Memories

 On the evening of Father's Day I am remembering my own Daddy, Billy Wetherill, who died when I was nine years old when my life changed radically. But he still remains lodged near my heart two generations later. I wrote this poem about him and published it in my collection With Such Caution. You might like it.

4 Billy: A Daughter’s Tale
We walked along, your giant’s hand in mine,  long fingers poking inside my hand-knitted sleeve.
Remember the nights she left the house for work?
You sat and read the paper as I scaled your knee
settling, birdlike, into that rustling space.
Remember how we cut out pictures
and pasted them into the Panjandrum book?
Remember how you read us stories -
your voice going up and down
like the waves of the sea?
So very sorry you don’t know my youngest –
like you he’s  highly numerate - you
did not see him standing tall for Tai Kwan Do 
(white clad and obliquely oriental)
or cricket-ready, complete with pads
and helmet and faceguard protection.
It’s a lifetime since I passed your dying age
of thirty seven,. And now I contemplate
how very young you were  when
you abandoned your life and mine,
when - to my nine-year self - you seemed eternal.
It has taken two generations
between then and now  for me
to ventilate  the retrospective pain
of losing you too soon.

My father died when I was nine and I see now that our relationship was the template for my whole life.


                                                 On Amazon:

Thursday 16 June 2022

New Aspects of Personal Freedom

 One consequence of these last three years - involving as they have the destructive and distrantimg advent of Covid in addition to an increasingly disabled partner needing 24/7 personal care - is that I have only rarely been able to get out of the house. In consequence the world   outside of my door has become a mysterious unvisited place.

Any time to give attention to my lifetime vocation for creative writing has been squeezed into only very small spaces. Even so I have managed to use these spaces to complete a collection of newly conceived short stories – Siblings – and as well to nurture them into a broadcast over Christmas in collaboration with Bishop FM. As well as this I have embedded the short stories into a book which is now available on Amazon.  (The post below describes this process.)

But I suspect that now, perhaps, things are changing. I have managed to organise two afternoons a week when the very competent C will mind both house and partner for two hours. In this time I can be my own self, walking in the park, walking on the High Street, drinking coffee in a café. And writing.
We had a practice run last Monday when I went out on my own into my beautiful town and sat in the Fox’s Tale – my favourite café. I was buzzing with the freedom of it all. I drank a little, ate a little and then I picked up my pen and, very quickly, wrote a series of lines as a finger exercise (see below).

After that I turned the page in my notebook and wrote very quickly for 90 minutes, drafting a series of sequences sketches which will certainly play their part in this year’s new novel set in 1963. 

All very good stuff – as my son would say. Then I came home to find that my house and its precious occupant were still standing.

I certainly feel like a page has turned in this writer’s life.

In the Fox’s Tale (1)


is coming out of the door

and knowing all is safe

in the house behind me.



is walking down the ancient street

neatly split between sun and shadow

making my way among strangers

and giving this one directions

to a certain a bank. He smiles.



is eating avocados, and drinking

cappuccino with chocolate sprinkles

sitting beside a young man with a laptop

and wondering about his research as

he hums in time to the music in his ears.



is chewing a warm bagel

watching the world, and

relishing being outside and alive.




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