Goodbye Mr McKenzie – and thank you!

In nearly forty years as a teacher, I was fortunate enough to work with many colleagues who inspired, motivated, and encouraged me, and, unwittingly or otherwise, guided the direction my career would take. I was also blessed with many pupils who, for various reasons, were similarly inspiring. In addition, there were  folk outside of schoolContinue reading “Goodbye Mr McKenzie – and thank you!”

Fielding in the Deep

As elite cricket hurtles its way towards a soulless cashfest of English Premier League proportions, there are still to be found reminders that cricket, at its best, is about far more than professional sport and corporate backing. One such reassurance is found in Jake Perry’s excellent new book “The Secret Game – Tales of ScottishContinue reading “Fielding in the Deep”

When I was 17…..

It’s easy to be cynical about the sixties in retrospect. The explosion of “youth culture” was largely manipulated by scions of the Establishment freed from the need to do National Service. They made the money, and the creators took the fame, often to their detriment. But that’s not the whole story. I was a teenagerContinue reading “When I was 17…..”

P stands for Paddy, I suppose.

Driving through the pretty village of Coldingham yesterday, I found myself thinking of one of its former residents, the late journalist, Ian Bell. This in turn led me  to remembering a friend’s comment: “You write so well about dead people!” It was meant (I hope) as a compliment, and it is true that the wordsContinue reading “P stands for Paddy, I suppose.”

Two documentaries – a life apart.

On Tuesday July 18th 1967, as a fifteen year old,  excited at the start of school summer holidays, I sat down to watch a BBC documentary on Dickie Rock, lead singer with Dublin’s Miami Showband. I had a special interest in this film because  the year before, on my first “teenage holiday”  to Ireland, IContinue reading “Two documentaries – a life apart.”

Things Fall Apart: British self delusion, Yeats and Chinua Achebe

Born 5 days before the death of George V1 you could say my life coincides more or less exactly with what was originally hailed as “the new Elizabethan Age” And right there is an indication of the endemic self delusion from which “Great Britain” has suffered throughout my life time. This is not an attack,Continue reading “Things Fall Apart: British self delusion, Yeats and Chinua Achebe”