Sunday, 27 November 2016


Last Thursday went to a great writing group at Gaskell House. The encourage you to write between classes. This a recent piece, no surprises in it for my friends but for me its the voicing of it that matters:


I don’t know what I was meant to do. All I knew was that I had to escape my family and the small town I grew up in. I needed a job and computing seemed to be the coming thing in the late 60s.

Looking back I realised that I found out who I was retrospectively by looking back at what I did. But I never knew what I would stick at. I always wanted to be able to say ‘I am a whatever – medic, teacher, carpenter, builder, father, grandfather, husband’.

So I guess that I have gifts but I was never brought up or taught how to recognise them. First one in the family to go to university – it’s a clichĂ© but no-one told me you can never go back.

So I moved on losing friends with no care in the world. Every new step forward was the loss of the old life, like shedding a skin or sometimes becoming a butterfly.

And now another transformation is in progress. It is simple to say ‘I am retired’ but it is not a state it’s a process and I am not sure what is merging from the chrysalis.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

And I walk on - poem

And I walk on

It rained
And rained
I tried to dodge it
It caught me.

The sun came out
And so did a rainbow
My heart lit up
And I thought of you.

It rained
And rained
I took shelter
And a cappuccino
And thought of you.

You are so close to me now
If I reach out
I could touch you
I believe
But I know this is not true

It rained
And rained
And my cheeks are wet
With rain and tears
I shake myself dry
And I walk on.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Whitby poem


1.The first time I saw you
The light took me by surprise
And the smell of fish
It’s fresh crisp taste.

2.You took me to Whitby
A rite of passage
And I fell in love
Though we were never sure.

3.I took you to Whitby
We were in love
And it was part of our web.

4.And the time of the car chase
That ended in wingless flight
You forced open the car door
As the policeman looked on
God you were gone too soon!

5.I clamber up to the ruined Abbey
And feel the history
The fever and the pain
And it’s all past now

But I still have the photos
On my wall
And I wonder
Where are you now?

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Boss consults Q his spiritual director once more

The Boss consults Q his spiritual director once more

- Being the Boss has been my identity …. if I cease to be the Boss who am I?
- How about father, husband, grandfather, friend, son-in-law?
- Yes, yes, but that doesn’t do it for me!
- Oh no? Q raised a sceptical left eyebrow.
- Well ….you know what I mean… of course all those roles and people are important to me … and if anyone of them needed me more…
- You would?
- I would make myself available.
- But that’s not enough for you?
- No, said the Boss flatly. There was a silence, an uneasy silence, in which the Boss coughed but remained silent. Q broke the silence with a question.
- What would be enough?
- I dunno, maybe some new role, some project …I can’t just persue my hobbies.
- No?
- No, said the Boss decisively.
- What might God say?
- Hmm, I have been praying in my own way but there’s only been silence.
- Can you wait?
- I am not a patient man but I guess I have no choice.
Q nodded and there was another more peaceful silence. The Boss sighed and breathed out for once just resting in the silence. It was, and had to be, enough for now.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Walking down the street - poem

Walking down the street
Grateful again
For the colours of the flowers and the trees

In a traditional English café in Levenshulme
With a huge slab of Amethyst
Oh my!
The energy is still there.

Kind of flirting
With the transsexual woman
Welcoming me to the new church

Touched by such simple and small things
On my way to oblivion
But living as much as I can
In the moment
With what is in front of me

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

I move on

I move on

Walking in treacle
On opiates again
Vivid dreams
Awake and asleep

Dead bodies in the bath
And cliff edge horrors
I’m falling through the sky
Crashing towards the ground
Shit-less scared
Death is coming soon

I move on.

Friday, 8 July 2016


When I was a difficult teenager my dad blamed it on my ‘Welsh blood’. My mum had a Welsh Grandfather Thomas Lewis who was a Baptist minister. I also had a godmother Nancy who was Welsh and who I loved dearly. She was always ready to listen to me. Her father was an unemployed miner so her parents moved to Kidderminster in the 1930s for a new life. I became pro Welsh and associated ‘unacceptable’ parts of who I am with being part Welsh. For example I was, and still am, too emotional for a typical Englishman of my time! I planned at some point in my life to live in Wales and learn the language. I was horrified when I read how, in Victorian times, school children were punished for speaking Welsh in school! Then I read about how one of the unemployment marches from Wales were greeted by crowds of Welsh people who had moved to Stroud. And Manchester had a Welsh speaking area in Victorian times. Today there is still so much casual racism against the Welsh, supposedly humorous! Anyway tomorrow my choir will be singing at the Eisteddfod, again something I always planned to visit but not sing at. Wow, this is going to be special.