February morning / the 7.18 to London

A press of metal on metal, the simplest trick and yet the most important, so soft and true we might be starting on runners in the snow, leaning something heavy against a tree. Any man’s walk, his run, now a dash by a free horse, steady, incrementing around a bend and we are travelling. A […]

Read More…

Swimming for England (extract)

One week before they flew to Turkey he met Eric for a final training swim. It was dusk and warm. As he waded into the cool water he was overwhelmed with despair. When he put his head down into the dark water and began a slow crawl towards the centre of the lake voices of […]

Read More…

Notes on the Common Good & Community Organising

These notes describe what I learned during a day (23 March 2018) in London spent with the Labour peer Maurice Glasman and the American community organiser Arnie Graf. The day was convened by Maurice Glasman to discuss his Common Good philosophy and to hear Arnie describe how to build powerful community organisations. Maurice Glasman It […]

Read More…

Notes on Tokyo Airport

Air-side in the Asian Café Bowl Bowl, a mug of creamed coffee and a madelaine for comfort for I am tired and Tokyo’s mass-produced pastry is wonderful, light as air this one, promising little but holding fat almonds sweet as butter. This café is crazy, there are waitresses shouting over tannoy announcements and folk drinking […]

Read More…

Open water

All afternoon the sea pushes into the land, plating the estuary to cloud swelling the river high enough to salt the skirts of the valley trees. Deeper inland creeps the sea’s fingers, gloving the mud creeks, blunting their sharpness with brimmed water. Crabs scuttle uphill, rafts of sea-weed eddy, a hovering merlin whistles high tide. […]

Read More…

The guerilla planter

He is paused, boiler-suited against the work to follow, observing the day fail around him. A light strip in the west lends him eyes and when the town’s dark circumference reaches his boots he gathers up his tools – a sack of tree whips, one old spade, and goes roaming. Roaming in the gloaming. He […]

Read More…

The Mirror Pool, Centenary Sq., Bradford

Broad ford Bradford A water start, Beck-crossing to a city. And go now to the mirror pool, its north sky silver shining pandemonium, sulphur-smelling and skinned with soot and wool thread. The pool reflecting folk laughing, the faces of folk fretting, fighting, folk unheard – folk just turning up. Folk out of danger, Folk looking […]

Read More…