Snowdrops at Candlemas

For such diminutive plants, it was a Herculean feat. After something like a month of frost, with the ground as hard as bell metal, and then with fresh snow falling, our old friend galanthus nivalis made it through in the nick of time. I find snowdrops always take me by surprise. After days of watchfulContinue reading “Snowdrops at Candlemas”

Epiphanies and Robberies Chapter 1: January 2023

She had finally said it. After months of trial by separation, the verdict had been reached. The marriage was over. Spending time together at Christmas for the sake of the children, or in some forlorn hope of reconciliation, had failed monumentally. It was no fun being around a distracted academic who throughout the holidays compulsivelyContinue reading “Epiphanies and Robberies Chapter 1: January 2023”

Floods in the garden

As the Christmas guests departed and the old year stumbled into its last few days, I was looking forward to a period of quiet contemplation, one or two pleasant walks, and a chance to check out upcoming tasks in the garden. It wasn’t to be. Just as the cheerful farewells were being said and theContinue reading “Floods in the garden”

Tony Bonning: stories, music and journeys

I first encountered Tony Bonning early one Saturday morning, years back, at the Moniave Folk Festival. He had a children’s session coming up and meanwhile was in the middle of the village entertaining the slowly surfacing festival goers with his own lovely mixture of songs, wry remarks and curious diversions. Over the years he hasContinue reading “Tony Bonning: stories, music and journeys”

My mother and the Christmas cactus

Now and again I have a sad reminder of a specific time when I upset my mother rather badly. There may well have been other occasions when I did something unkind or ill judged, but this one has stayed in my memory. Mostly dormant, it re-emerges at intervals, to provoke and disrupt. Just as itContinue reading “My mother and the Christmas cactus”

Ageing and illness in a turbulent world

For nearly all of my 77 years on this earth, I have lived in the Dumfriesshire parish of Kirkmahoe. Not easy to find on a map, it’s a delightful place of rolling green pastures that slope down to the banks of the River Nith, just as it nears the end of its watery journey andContinue reading “Ageing and illness in a turbulent world”

The Hare, the Heron and the Professor: a story for ‘children of all ages’

Late one Spring evening, with the sun’s rays slanting low in the sky, the Professor took a walk around his garden. He paused for a moment to admire the view to the hills beyond. Then something in the grass caught his eye. Lying next to a stone that had been warmed in the sunshine wasContinue reading “The Hare, the Heron and the Professor: a story for ‘children of all ages’”

Five days at the Fringe: first performances of Cicely and David

Here’s my journal of 16-20th August 2022 at the Edinburgh festivals. The shows are back with ‘in person’ audiences and the place is buzzing. Meanwhile, I’m in a dual state of excitement and trepidation. The reason? 16th August will see the premiere of my first play: Cicely and David. It tells the story of aContinue reading “Five days at the Fringe: first performances of Cicely and David”

My play reaches the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The year was 1947. David Tasma was just 40 years old. A Polish migrant who had fled his homeland weeks before the Nazis invaded, he’d spent the war years living on the margins of London life, eventually finding employment in a Kosher restaurant in the West End. When peace came he hoped for better things.Continue reading “My play reaches the Edinburgh Fringe Festival”