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The crowd lining Southampton docks cheers as the refugee ship noses into port. The battered old liner is low in the water, its bilge pumps spewing furiously, and its decks are packed with small bodies, waving arms, two or three faces squeezed at every porthole, boys hanging half-out in their relief and apprehension. Four thousand […]
I’m more of a cat person. The poo. We wouldn’t be able to travel. Too much hoovering. Too much poo. The eldest’s afraid of dogs. Mandatory walks even in filthy weather. THE POO… All of these perfectly legitimate objections to getting a dog, which I trotted out one after another in response to first the […]
Two years ago, after a trip to the SeaCity Museum in Southampton, I found myself coming out of the library with a tall stack of books about the Spanish Civil War and pre-WWII Southampton, and the tendrils of an idea taking hold in my mind. Tucked away near the exit I’d found a small exhibition […]
The night before the Golden Wedding party, I am fighting a lump in my throat as I look through the pictures of my mother-in-law as a girl, a bride, a young mother. These are pictures of someone with her life ahead of her, someone still innocent of loss and pain. This is a girl who […]
Two years ago, I bought a beautiful glass bowl on the Isle of Wight, something with no function or purpose, a thing I bought simply because it filled my eye. Today I unwrapped it from its tissue paper for the first time. Placing it gently on the mantelpiece, I experienced a fleeting moment of fear, […]
When I was growing up, it was an indicator of toff-dom if someone still called their mother ‘Mummy’ after the age of around six or so. We all called ours ‘Mum,’ without exception (unless we were being sarcastic, when it was: ‘Moth-errrr‘). Although the transition to Mum-ing was self-conscious, it made us feel a little […]
Tales from the not-quite-Isle of Portland (Part 1 here) The story that most captivated me, when I began researching for my novel, was that of Hiram Otterand Hallelujah Bay. The names alone are enough to make you prick up your, erm, eyes, am I right? West Weares The story goes that in 1890 or […]