Writing is a journey, both imaginary and physical. My first book took me to the Arctic to 'catch the colours' of the Northern Lights. Then I hunkered down to catch the wind-blown voices of polar explorers on Shackleton's 1914-17 Endurance expedition. More recently I'm obsessed by space: the race, the rockets, the final frontier.

Hear a BBC Radio Leicester interview about my space poetry at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03wfpyp
Explore my digital narrrative PHILAE'S BOOK OF HOURS, published by the European Space Agency, at:

My prose-poetry collections FIREBRIDGE TO SKYSHORE
and MAD, HOPELESS & POSSIBLE are both published by Original Plus Press at:

Contact me for signed copies or bookings at:

Visit the writers' development service I co-run at: https://www.facebook.com/TheWritersShed/

About Me

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Leicester, East Midlands
As a storyteller, my work crosses boundaries of myth, science, history and spoken word. It has been presented in the British Science Museum, Ledbury Poetry Festival, National Space Centre and the European Space Agency website. In 2014 I ran a digital residency on WW1 for 14-18NOW and Writing East Midlands. I teach Creative Writing at De Montfort University and have experience of leading school events, workshop tuition and mentoring. In addition, I co-run The Writers' Shed, a service for writers, at: https://www.facebook.com/TheWritersShed/

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sea-dog Shanties

Send a writer to the sea-side and they come home with shells and a bundle of scribbled notes. My birthday treat this year was a weekend in Norfolk. Here's some of my ramblings:

Friday eve, Hunstanton

The sea is dragging its chains tonight
out-of-tune hounds baying in the fog
lunging at broken walls

detonating a salvo of sound-bombs
a trip-wired mine-field barbed with salt
ghostly no-man's land

shaking ruffled skirts along the shore
a ragged chorus-line staggering
into a memory of the can-can

Saturday Morning

The sea is a doubtful rumour this morning. The world beyond the cliffs vanished into fog. The muffled quiet of the strand is unbroken by wandering beach-combers and dogs. Even the rotting of its cast-offs is muted – more scent than stench today. It is a dream-scape in which time drops away: soft footfalls thudding into sand, a flock of birds cheeping tiny as insects. A long-ago tide heaped this border of razor-shells – pink claws of crab, limp star-fish, bloated wrack – dark clods of sea-peat from another epoch. I scavenge a few scooped shells the colour of amethyst, coral, porcelain blue – and a tiger-striped feather. As the winter sun cuts a disc in the gloom, we trudge back to the pier before we too are emptied.

We stayed at a wonderful B&B barely 2 minutes from the sea - Cori House. And Hunstanton's multi-coloured cliffs and endless beaches were no less enchanting in November's fog. Terrific swoops of starlings at tea-time too.


  1. I love Hunstanton and I love your shanties too. There's little more atmospheric than a beach in the fog.

  2. Who would have thought it? We had a wonderful day rambling about in the mist. And Hunstanton seems a well-kept secret - closer to Leicester than Skeggie - and far less brisk!