Blog - People In Mind

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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In the Garden with the Delphiniums

Since sending the manuscript off to its day of judgement I’ve been taking time off in the garden. Plants mature daily, the delphiniums in particular. When I started in this little town garden, I could sit in the seat at the end and look back over the roofs to the...

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What has happened to Joseph?  

Joseph was our guide on our tour of Syria five years ago, just before the outbreak of war. Since then I’ve often thought of him, hoping he and his family would be safe. He is average height, slight and looks like many others around the Mediterranean. Quiet and...

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Green with Envy

I’m crocodile green with envy when I learn that my writer friend Steven doesn’t do any revising. He’ a genius! He thinks and thinks about what he’s going to write for days, even weeks, and when he feels it’s ready, he writes the one and only version. The final one....

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Grumpy Eliza

An amazingly peaceful morning in the company of grumpy Eliza, once John and his red diary (he hates the ideas of a smart one) had been sent away. No dates until after lunch. No disturbances... except for a cup of coffee perhaps? Good to hear from you, Jan, but sad...

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Paving the Streets of Hell

2016 is to be the year I finish the most important novel I’m ever likely to write. It’s a summation of my life’s efforts, already in the first draft but begging to be ruthlessly edited. It has been to a professional editor and returned with the partly expected...

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