The blue remembered hills.

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It’s half ten of a Sunday evening. We’re in the living room and my wife and I are looking forward to a bit of vegging out on the couch and watching the next episode of a TV series we both like. Her head is atop a pillow which rests on my lap and my arm … Continue reading

Warriors.

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It’s a funeral and it’s a hard day. We’re all blacked up and milling around. I spot him and see him, and know enough to get there quick. He’s basic, mad and sad and I can see him smouldering, towering in his frustrated rage. I want to keep him safe. Unusually for him, he’s already well tanked … Continue reading

Remembering NoIdea.

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Today is the first anniversary of our friend’s passing. He had many admirable qualities, not least of which was his stoic fortitude in the face of adversity. It took me a couple of years to realise it, but the reason he’d be up so late at night in a chatroom with me wasn’t because he … Continue reading

That stuff, is it beautiful?

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Some articles you owe, they’re a debt you have the need to repay and this is one of them. April, as TS Eliot wrote, is the cruellest month and I’d agree, if only because it contains the anniversary of my father’s death. This April, I will finally settle that debt and walk away. One way or another, I will … Continue reading

About Henry.

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“So, wotcha think about this King Edward the Confessor geezer?” he asked. It was Henry blagging his way through some history homework for the only teacher he ever made any effort to please. The teacher used to let him hide in the book cupboard at the head of the history classroom when the Deputy Head … Continue reading

Not all lives are measured in years.

Monks walk past a soldier to attend a Buddhism ceremony praying for peace called Krong Pealy at Preah Vihear temple compound atop Dang Reak mountain

This is a guest article by one of our regular commenters, Blackswan. It grew out of a conversation we had about the relatively unknown people we admired and when Swannie mentioned him, I admitted I’d never heard of him and being intrigued by the snippets I’d been told, asked if a thumbnail sketch to share … Continue reading

The silver apples of the moon, the golden apples of the sun.

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There’s a lot of stuff you can get away with in the armed services but being a bad leader of a group of men who know they’re going into harm’s way isn’t one of them. They have trust in you or they don’t and you can tell that from their faces. The skinny 25-year-old young … Continue reading

Sir Patrick Moore (1923-2012), an appreciation.

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The Germans have a word we don’t have in English, and it really doesn’t translate very well because of that lack – Lebenskünstler. In a typical Teutonic fashion, they jammed together two words which each nearly expressed what they were after, and created a new word, which denoted exactly what they meant. Leben means life and Künstler … Continue reading

The day of days.

It's a long long bloody beach, with no cover and all of it overlooked by high ground.

I caught the tail end of a news item last week about a space rocket launch, I think taking supplies to the International Space Station. It only got a mention, because it also was carrying up the ashes of the actor James Doohan. The name might mean nothing to you but if I said he … Continue reading

About Harry.

One in, one out.

I went to a christening today. It’s been a long time since I’ve been inside a place of worship. Things have changed a lot. The toddlers were allowed to walk around and actually called up to the front so they could really see what was going on. No hushing or shushing. There were several babies … Continue reading

On a fine woman, swans and a moment long ago.


  My mother passed away suddenly but peacefully in January of this year. It didn’t make the Times obituary columns, so I’ll do it for her but in my own way, which helps me take my leave, though she and my father, as the greatest influences in my life, will always be with me. I … Continue reading