My Blog

Gardening and writing

Berwick has always had its small farmers and gardeners. Pass through the town walls via Cowgate – the clue is in the name – and you find yourself in Magdalene Fields, part of the ancient Liberty of Berwick, that lie between the town and the sea. Until the Enclosures...

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The End

  Writing a novel is like being in lockdown; it feels as if it will never end and then suddenly it’s all picnics and barbecues. After months of struggle redrafting the final section, of long mornings feeling ‘I can’t write another word’, the text of ‘Revelation’, book...

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How to be a hermit: St Cuthbert and self-isolating

St Cuthbert is, of course, the patron saint of self-isolators. He spent eight years on Inner Farne, a small island off the coast of Northumberland and provides a great example for those new to the practice. Despite his isolation, he became famous for his saintliness...

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Hnefatafl

This beautiful piece of worked glass, unearthed during Dig Venture's excavation this summer on Lindisfarne, has been revealed to be a rare archaeological treasure. It is tiny, the size of a sweet, and could easily have been discarded as a pebble. But archaeologists...

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Winter Solstice

Lindisfarne, 22nd December 2019. It is gone eight o’clock in the morning on this least-light day of late December, the winter solstice. I am standing on the whinstone ridge above Holy Island harbour, waiting for the sunrise. The Heugh, as the ridge is known, is at the...

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The Early Birds

  It is mid-December, and when I leave home in the early morning there is not a hint of light in the sky. It is black and raw and cold. In the summer I would bike it but today I bundle up in a thick coat and get in the car, run the heater to defrost the windows and...

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