A chance stroll in the woods in the early days of August. A tepid, blustery wind whips around the birches, setting free their progeny in a warm, gentle seed-fall. Tiny specks of brown fertility slip down the backs of shirts, itching and inaccessible. Eco-friendly confetti sized for elfish nuptials, it peppers passing heads and transforms […]

English. What does it mean, now? There’s been much fretting over recent years about that question. Scottish, Irish, Welsh – each nationality has its own identity. Whether you see a caricature, a historic hangover, a modern revival, it’s there – but English? I suspect it’s partly the penalty for years of ‘English’ being synonymous with […]

In a recent post (not that recent, actually, because I’ve been busy, as you will see) I waxed lyrical about the joys of printing and pressing. I have since done some typesetting and hand printing of short extracts from my own writing at the small, calm, inspiring workshop of the Juniper Press in Liverpool. The […]

Sound.  Touch. Smell. Taste. Why do people love print? Real print, I mean, letterpress print. I was pondering that question last Saturday as I milled around with youngsters, oldsters and in-betweenies enjoying some welcome spring sunshine – and the latest open day at Rufford Printing Company in Mawdesley, Lancashire. My thoughts returned to the question […]

This post for my other site ‘Memoirs of a Husk’ took so long to write (I was jetlagged too) that I have cheated and simply re-published it here rather than writing a purpose-made post for Maid in Britain. Do persevere till you get to the singing dog 😉 There was rain and wind and troubled […]

What does it take to turn an idea into a poem? Into a story, a polemic or a play? That, I’m afraid, I can’t answer fully, though time, skill, experience – and imagination – are obvious prerequisites. But what does it take to turn those poems, stories, plays and polemics – or a long forgotten […]

I had a slight case of textile mill overkill earlier in the spring. But after a few weekends spent stressing out over the weekend papers, the lure of the loom proved too much. Burnley’s Queen Street Mill was calling. I’d no idea what to expect. I knew it was a working mill museum. I knew […]