Blog - People In Mind

Living History

There was some excitement in the class of seven-year-olds. We were to welcome two new members in our class. I didn’t think more about it until I passed two strangely-dressed women at the school gates; their hems too long and their faces deeply lined, they looked much...

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Just Stones

When driving through the patchwork of green fields and grazing sheep in North Yorkshire  this weekend, I marvelled at the hard simplicity of the stone walls. Once these hillsides and valleys crossed by fast-flowing rivers must have been as strewn with stones as the...

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Just Stones When driving through the patchwork of green fields and grazing sheep in North Yorkshire  this weekend, I marvelled at the hard simplicity of the stone walls. Once these hillsides and valleys crossed by fast-flowing rivers must have been as strewn with...

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Iran in Retrospect

‘Is Iran a police state?’ I asked Ali, our excellent guide. He hesitated. The organisers of our tour of Iran asked us not to name anyone we would like to meet there as we are requested to do on our visa application. Any meetings should be arranged through our guide....

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North of Tehran – the Caspian and Beyond

Tehran, we were warned, would be characterless. It was. There was no heart to the town which seemed like a lot of villages which had spread and amalgamated into an amorphous mass. I remember endless streets that all looked the same as we went from one museum to...

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Echoes in a Persian Garden

Whenever one wonders where the idea of a garden started, one finds that the Garden of Eden was first realised in Persia and travelled the world woven into prized carpets. That must explain why the gardens in India, from Kashmir to Agra, were created by Muslim...

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Events Crowding In

  Time to think has raced past me week after week while I organise a house clearance and experience how discouragingly difficult it is to find space to put furniture, bedding and too many objects while deciding whether to keep them or not. When still in the midst...

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Hello from Isfahan

I am writing this before going to a most beautiful garden in the hotel which is a huge former caravanserai to listen, in English, to those of famous Persian poets​. ​We flew to Shiriaz, a rather nondescript​ town with single storey buildings hidden behind shops...

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The Time to Let Go

An unsafe upholstered armchair, an old microwave and kitchen cooker, old utensils, chairs and curtains consigned to the rubbish tip. Books in piles on the floor beside framed pictures leaning against walls, all awaiting their fate. The removal van is coming in two...

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THE  Place to Be

The grandson of the last manager of the House of Powolny invited us to a celebration in our local Beverley theatre cafe. It was a memorable occasion. The first in a line of immigrants, Ernst Adolf Powolny left Saxony for Leeds in 1859 aged 17 to seek his fortune. He...

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Amazed!

  Spring is here! The snowdrops have faded but daffodils are on road verges, roundabout and in woodlands, with celandine. Hedgerows are just tipped with green and every day I see the sticky buds on the chestnut tree across the road getting fatter, about to burst. So...

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AGM and the Ukuleles

The year has come round with the Annual General Meeting for the Friends of our local country house. Officers for the coming year were re-elected unanimously as so often happens, but no treasurer. I wanted to suggest paying a local accountant to help a volunteer as few...

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Unravelling

In ‘Red, White and Blue’ I wrote about the Union Jack. It is unravelling with the June 2016 Referendum majorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as London wanting to remain in the EU while England and Wales voted to leave. Some say that Presidents Trump and...

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The Gadarene Swine

In my wanderings in the Middle East I may have visited a district east of Jordon where the episode of the Gadarene swine is said to have taken place. As recounted in the New Testament, Jesus was accosted by a madman. Jesus freed him from his ‘devils’ which entered the...

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The Red, White and Blue

Some years ago I was enjoying a dinner party in New York when our host raised a glass to ‘the Red, White and Blue’. Bewildered I raised my glass with the words ‘bleu, blanc, rouge’ echoing in my mind. At a pause in the conversation I asked who or what we were drinking...

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The Gunpowder Plot – What Price Peace?

The TV crew is outside the Minster and I am tempted to watch it – a sort of distant bystander – rather than concentrate on the structure of my next book. Others gather on the pavement hoping to glimpse a famous actor, bewigged and booted, before he strides through the...

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Pyrotechnical Tempest

Next to the Globe theatre in London on the Southbank is the Sam Wannamaker Theatre, or, as I feel it to be, a theatre such as Inigo Jones would have designed in the early decades of the 17th century. Wooden seats, walnut backdrop and candles burning, then as now....

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Too Many Things To Do!

All my friends seem to be saying it. Where does one begin? One moment I feel like finishing off a particular task. That might make me feel better, but it takes longer than I thought and I haven’t been able to start clambering through another pile of papers as planned....

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NEIGHING LIKE A MARE

It all started two years ago when the bilingual 5-year-old son of a friend pointed to my nose and said,  ‘There is sangue.’ I thought he wanted to know what sangue meant, so I said, ‘blood’.‘Yes, blood,’ the small child persisted, so I went to look at myself in a...

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The Consequences

I sit thinking. Pen and paper on the table in front of the window overlooking Beverley Minster. The sky is blue. The red cross of St. George on the left tower hardly flutters. The sun is setting and I watch a shadow climbing horizontally up the west front as I...

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