Actually, the Guy Fawkes they were going to set alight had been a good Catholic boy – for a moment I considered asking the Vatican for permission to attend – but I rather fancied the fireworks afterwards.
The park in Cleveland Square is actually a private garden belonging to the houses in the square. Clutching a glass of mulled wine, I observed the hundreds of guests.
No, they weren’t like the Bonfire Night revellers who, at that very moment, were trying to burn down nearby…
Posted on November 10, 2015 at 12:44pm
Can a book make you change your mind? That’s what occupied my thoughts after reading the new Ted Hughes biography by Jonathan Bate. The publication of this English biography almost coincided with that of Jij zegt het (It’s you who says it), a Dutch novel about Ted Hughes by Connie Palmen.
Yet the picture of an egocentric man emerges from this biography. A man who on the one hand enjoyed the company of royalty and celebrities, and at the same time wanted to hold on to being a simple…
Posted on October 30, 2015 at 3:05pm
Recently, someone asked me what it is like to be a poor poet living in a very wealthy London neighbourhood. ‘I see the funny side of it,’ I replied, ‘and it’s rather nice.’
The idea that keeps worrying me is that a class war will finish off this wonderful country. That people, in their droves, will spray paint on cars and expensive shops, hit people who are reasonably well dressed over the head, and set fire to the lot.
I agree that denouncing people on the basis of the…
Posted on October 12, 2015 at 9:32am
During World War II, there were ‘Engelandvaarders’, people fleeing to England, and who used small boats to cross the Channel. Alternatively, they travelled through Belgium, France and Spain to Portugal or Gibraltar, and then on to England. They were made very welcome.
Recently, I travelled back from the Netherlands to London by train. In Calais the train came to a halt. ‘People on the track,’ it was announced through the intercom. ‘There will be more information in twenty minutes’…
Posted on September 22, 2015 at 10:01am