Reflections, idiocies and random thoughts

OMG.... finally it is published......

July 8 2017

So, almost one year after it was finished, Angels of Islington is in print. Its wonderful to see it as a genuine artefact - and I really love the cover - it is a pretty thing (even if much that is contained within the covers is not.......) But I do feel immensely sad that my father - to whom the book is dedicated, is no longer here to see it. I finished writing it just days before he died and I think that if I hadn't done so, it would have been a long while before I would have returned to it - and possibly I wouldn't be where I am with it today. 

Anyway - I now just want to send my baby out into the world - I know it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I had so much fun writing it, I just want to share it - and hope it will make just a few people smile - and possibly reflect on this strange many-layered world in which we live......

Good luck Zach and Sara - its all up to you now.

The Canonbury Tower is amazing

August 4 2017

Had a meeting in Islington so popped over to re-visit The Canonbury Tower. 

Not only is it the oldest building in Islington, it has a fascinating history. It's a very  intriguing building; the rather plain and unelaborate brickwork  conceals original Tudor panelling, some of which is riddled with bullet holes of unknown and mysterious provenance. Previous occupants include Thomas Cromwell, Francis Bacon, Oliver Goldsmith and (briefly) Washington Irving.  I decided to make the Tower a home for my angelic agency because it also has links to the occult, arcane and unusual - it has links to the Masons - and an annual conference on "magical and spiritual research" always used to be held there. 

It is also home to what is reputedly the oldest mulberry tree in London - which is quite sweet.

The tower is owned by the 7th Marquess of Northampton and is normally off-limits to the public. You can now book onto twice-monthly tours, conducted by Clerkenwell and Islington Guides.

The tour also includes access to the roof, which commands unexpectedly impressive views of the City and beyond. You can see Islington laid out below like a leafy forest from up on the Tower - an unusal and rather charming view and well worth the climb to see.


August 25

Two news items:

Category 4 Hurricane Harvey makes landfall in Texas northeast of Corpus Christi with 130 m.p.h. winds.

Indian spiritual leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is convicted of raping two of his followers in Panchkula.

When I was writing "Angels" I was looking at a world where humanity seems to be bent on its own destruction. Destroying our environment, murdering our fellow man because they believe something different from ourselves; a world where good and evil are genuinely in the balance. 

Seeing the things that are happening today, the truth of this terrible reality makes me so sad.... Its as if we are never able to conquer that instinct to destroy or the desire to put our own selfish needs and wants at the forefront of our actions.

Watching the news today - the fear, the human tragedy, the vile hypocrisy makes me sad.

If all of this has flown from Pandora's box, where is HOPE?


August 28

A bit of a cliche, but where else do you turn for hope but nature and the beauties of the world?

Who can look at a sunflower and not be uplifted? 

We can't live without hope and the belief that the things we do will make a difference, that the work we do matters and that there is as much potential for beauty and goodness as there is for cruelty and evil.

I'm not suggesting that the fact of the sunflower makes the rapes and the hurricanes anymore acceptable -nothing could. But I do believe that having something beautiful to focus on enables us to re-charge and to regain the energy of spirit and confidence of purpose to continue to do the best we can.

A load of..........

September 19

Boris Johnson

Michael Gove

Theresa May

David Davis

Need I say more?

Like a fish on a bicycle.....

September 21

The old saying goes "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle". I can remember wearing a badge that proclaimed just that when I was rather radical student of Politics and Philosophy at Durham University.... 

I also wore one which read "Whatever I wear and wherever I go, yes means yes and no means no". I still feel quite strongly in favour of the latter.

Does a woman need a man?

Does a man need a woman?

Not really - not if you are defining "need" in the sentences above in the same way as you would in the sentence "A plant needs water".

But I think the words are more about a person's reaching out for the love and support of another human being - and for me this is a fundamental need.

It doesn't need to be gender specific - love, as they say, is love. And at the risk of sounding like an old hippy, I think the world would be a much better place if we made much more love - and far less war.

Moving to the front line

September 26

Of course we are all aware that death and life are two faces of the same coin, in the midst of life, we are in death, etc etc ...

 We don't need Tim Rice songs to tell us that - but that doesn't really prepare us for when someone we have known for most of our life - someone older, a person who could teach you, share their experience, make mistakes you could learn from - isn't there any more.

As they go gently (or screaming) into that good night it moves us, the next generation, into the front line.

I mourn for the loss of a woman who was funny, difficult, passionate and driven. Often not nice, but always honest - and who welcomed me into her home when I was a very lost and angry teenager.

I share the grief of her daughter who has been, for over forty years, one of my dearest friends.

And I pick up the mantle and walk - a tad nervous, but determined - into the front line......