To the river Avon via Grateley station

Beyond Wandsworth the Salisbury train gathers speed, the bright red upholstery putting up a stink in the July heat. A parched park gives back brown space between high-street shopfronts playing gold against the faces of bare-shouldered men and women queuing easy for evening fried chicken. Summer gardens snap open and close London purses showing their […]

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Raising boys

Against the mountain weather Jake is wearing a balaclava. Braced, completely concentrated, he is inching down the piste, Jake is eight and his thighs are wobbling with the effort, so that sweat licks down his red hair and his little skis rasp on the ice. Keep going Snake! I shout. You’re a beauty. Waiting for […]

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Leaving Switzerland

Beneath luminous mountains runs the black autobahn. It is dawn and I am going along with my right hand on the steering wheel and my left reached back to hold my daughter’s hand. She is sitting still, staring through her dark window looking out for the year ahead, thinking of what has just been, of […]

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Fruit cage

Fieldfares flutter its fine netting maddened by the scented air, their hard eyes looking for holes into this open-air larder where currants and berries sit bright as jewels under the green leaves.

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The deepwater port at Piraeus

At Piraeus’s deepwater port ends Europe where Themistocles built his navy sheds and high walls against the Persians, walls to protect the precious Athenian way of life. Now Europe ends in concrete and quayside cranes made elsewhere, raised over the sea to process containers sat waiting in the sunshine. An international ship approaches slows and […]

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Swimming for England (complete)

“And time passes, it is only life itself that never changes – when we are all gone the clouds, the gone the clouds, the stars, the cities will still bustle and hum with no thoughts at all for who lived for a bit and then disappeared.” John Hickman, 1960 Chapters The Bosphorus Page 3 Alcatraz […]

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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 […]

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