Habit is the ballast that chains the dog to his vomit.”

11 Jan. I should have checked the weight of the book – The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin – before I set off. It was like carrying a small child on my shoulders through the Hertfordshire/Greater London borderlands. And I was already tired. I had the usual winter blues but harder, more gnarly, or so it seemed having forgotten the hard gnarly blues of last year or the year before that or …

Edgwarebury Lane

This is an easy time of year to be a writer. No fancy … more ...

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Olde Kentishe Towne!

Captains VideosDo you remember the Captain’s Videos near the Forum but the other side of Kentish Town Road – where it forks to go up to Tufnell Park? I do – I went in there once. I’m not sure why. Anyway, it wasn’t what you think – just a gnarly old boy sitting on a barrel, spinning yarns to whoever would listen (which was no one when I went in) about square riggers and the golden days of sail. He told me he’d been shipwrecked as a lad and spent time on an island where all the toilets dispensed gin right … more ...

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‘ome & ‘aunt

I’d been here before. Nearly fifty years ago. It was raining then, too.
I didn’t see much – it was night and we dipped below the clouds for a second or two and that was that.

We had been flying at 1500 feet most of the way from Birmingham. 24nm north of Bovingdon on the 160 radial: asked Luton for radar cover but there was too much rain. Hence 1500-1000 feet. Trying to keep one eye on the ground.

I wasn’t the pilot and hindsight is a wonderful thing and we all live in glass houses &c. Now 800ft amsl … more ...

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Down Among the Dead Men

Found this whilst sorting out my diary for the new year. A short story from 2014. Not fantastic. Not rubbish either.

Out of the blue, the Mrs. mentioned she was psychic and had received a message telling me to go to the Sequoia in Whetstone where I would find something to my advantage.


It seemed I was too late. Its namesake can live for 5,000 years in the Sierra Nevada. This one hadn’t reached double figures before giving up the ghost. My grandfather, Dennis, stayed there in the 1920’s when he was courting my grandmother. Back then it was … more ...

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Wisdom, as many another priceless thing, must be dug from the very bowels of the earth.” Girolamo Cardano


The plan is to walk each of the itineraries in Geologist’s Association Guide No. 68 (The Geology of London). Not slavishly but in the spirit, after a fashion.

Walk 1. Harefield, 13 November 2015

Bad news on the train out of Marylebone: “passengers are reminded there is nothing in this mortal life except inanity, emptiness, and dream-shadows.” As if I needed reminding. I just wanted to find something – anything not wholly shit. Which is not setting … more ...

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Spring with D.H.Lawrence

When she broke forth from below,
Flowers came, hell-hounds on her heels

“Purple Anemones,” D.H. Lawrence.



I am fed up with the book. Fed up with the blog. My song bones are dry as matchsticks.

This is my arrangement of a song transcribed by D.H. Lawrence in the spring of 1915 when he and Frieda, married in July 1914, were living in Greatham, Sussex in a cottage owned by the writer, Viola Meynell. It wasn’t composed by Lawrence. There are a number of versions the first of which appeared (presumably) after the assassination of US President William McKinley in … more ...

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Messengers – A walk from Harrow-on-the-Hill to Maida Vale, January 2014


IMG_3460“Cloudy in the west and it looks like rain”

Detective Inspector Wye of S Division took the witness stand:

“I was off duty and had been in Pineapple Nursery buying ranunculus bulbs with my wife when I heard a clamour and went out into the Edgeware Road to investigate. A two-wheeled chaise was being driven furiously towards London. I saw Constable Clouds lying a hundred yards from the turnpike, moaning. As I ran to help him the chaise ran in to the back of another vehicle which was dashed to atoms and the occupants thrown in to the road. … more ...

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Friends Beyond

Friends Beyond.mp3

Maidstone to Bearsted,  Saturday 2 March 2013.

I suppose I had persuaded myself that this was work. A three-poet walk: Hardy, Thomas and Blunden (put like that they sound more like chartered accountants than poets).

Though more widely known as a novelist, Thomas Hardy turned to poetry in later life. His first volume, Wessex Poems (1898), was published when he was 58. Edward Thomas and Edmund Blunden are both poets associated with the First World War. Thomas is widely regarded as an important and influential poet today. Whilst Blunden’s poems often turn up in anthologies his reputation … more ...

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Lonely death of a renowned moor-walker

On the 5th September I continued my Colne Valley odyssey. On the train out a trendy asset manager/entrepreneur type with waxed handlebar mustachios was giving a presentation to some  pasty eating businessmen on a rail firm he’d bought from the liquidators. I was half listening, half reading The Last Tommy and half staring out of the window, wondering what Brunel would make of it all. I detrained with them at West Drayton where, five minutes’ walk from the railway,  I was surprised by something not at all unlike a long village green and a boarded up pub, The Swan, … more ...

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Colne Valley Path

Last Wednesday (29th August) I had a wet walk along the Colne Valley Path from Staines – which had a nice looking market the afternoon I was there and food smells which made me hungry.

I found the river – Thames – and Lammas Park where I sheltered from a downpour and ate lunch standing up under the overhang of a shed covered in cobwebs. Then I walked across Staines Moor: an unexpectedly peaceful strip of land  sandwiched between the M25 and – give or take a reservoir or two – Heathrow Airport. At least it was visually peaceful with … more ...

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