On camping

We have just returned from a few days’ camping in Wales. Camping is an acquired taste, I know: some people love it, some can’t bear the idea. When I was 10 I went camping with the Guides in Knebworth. When I returned I sat with my mother at the kitchen table and said: ‘I don't care if I live to be a hundred. That is the worst weekend I will ever spend in my life.’ continue reading

A genealogical map

A few weeks ago Dave and I went to London to see Peter Brötzmann play at Café Oto in Dalston. It was a great night (except for the fact that the pre-gig interview overran somewhat and left us no time for a proper meal), and we’d booked a hotel not far away so we had a relaxed wander back there and didn’t have to rush for the last train. The next day I insisted that we walk into central London along the New North Road, Shepherdess Walk and Bunhill Row. It was a lovely sunny day, and I wanted to see some of the streets where my ancestors had lived and died. continue reading

On beginning a blog

One reason I’ve not started a blog until now is that I have never been particularly happy with my prose. I don’t enjoy writing where you can see the join. With some writers you can see the cogs working: you can visualise them sitting at their desk, pen in mouth, staring out of the window, reaching for the thesaurus, grasping for the right word. With some you could even describe their prose as laboured. continue reading