...the beasts are chained and subdued, serenaded by a man playing one of four pianos rising from the sand like stranded ships...
Here’s a list of Father’s Day presents, culled at random from the internet: drones, ties, DIY tools, thermos flasks, ties, home brew sets, wireless speakers. All of them, to a greater or lesser extent, underline the image of the man of the house as someone whose natural environment is outside the house, whether it’s in … Continue reading Let’s ditch the sexist myth of the hapless male
I'm delighted to announce that my memoir, All The Time We Thought We Had, will be published by Birlinn, provisionally in the spring of 2018. What's it about? In the first place it's the story of how Magteld died of breast cancer in 2014, within two years of first being diagnosed. It's about how our … Continue reading Announcement
“We cannot cope alone,” wrote George Monbiot in his essay on the age of loneliness, published in The Guardian two years ago. Human beings are social animals: we crave the support, approval and love of like-minded individuals. But society in the last 50 years has become steadily more atomised, with a relentless focus on individual success. … Continue reading Loneliness: the secret circle of hell
Have two years really gone by, my love? When I think of us together it seems like five minutes ago and another time zone at once, as if I'm watching a live television broadcast from the medieval era. I look through a telescope in search of you, but all I see is flickering lights. Are … Continue reading Above and beyond
In one of my first letters from Magteld, a couple of months after we met, she asked when my birthday was. The missive arrived on August 31st, the morning after my 19th birthday, so I was recovering from a late night in a campsite bar swilling cheap Italian lager by the bottle. She told me hers was March … Continue reading Birthdays
I came across this summary of grief recently in an interview with the Dutch poet Pieter Boskma: “Immediately after the death of a loved one, grief is a kind of friend: so long as the grief is there, the departed is still close by. Your grief connects you with him or her. Later on grief becomes an enemy … Continue reading Intimacy
What would she think of us, I often wonder, as we meander through our daily routine. Get up; shower; breakfast; boys get dressed as I make the sandwiches and pack the school bags. A rota in the kitchen keeps me straight on what gym kit is needed. Then brush teeth, climb on the bikes and … Continue reading What would she think of us?
Grief is cyclical, I keep reading. The first year is the worst, a succession of broken milestones – the first birthday without her, the first anniversary without her, the first Christmas… and so on. But it doesn’t come in cycles so much as waves, building up on the horizon before crashing and surging towards you, … Continue reading Alone