About my writings

Introduction

My writings include two published books, "Musings from Maulden" and "More Musings from Maulden" - both of which draw on observations and religious reflections from my personal experiences and travels - and other writings such as short stories, poetry, haiku, articles etc.

My Background

I was born in Hampshire where I lived and worked until 1979, before moving to West Glamorgan and then, in 1981, to London. In 1984 I moved to Bedfordshire, where I lived for 34 years before moving to Cambrisgeshire in 2018. I was Confirmed in St Albans Cathedral in 1986 and, amongst my other jobs, between 2007 and 2015 I worked in a Diocesan Registry serving a number of Church of England Dioceses.

Background to my Published Books

I have always been interested in the written word. Being fortunate enough to live in rural Bedfordshire whilst at the same time travelling for business or pleasure to many different locations - nearby and further afield - I thought it would be good to record what I was encountering around me and to look beyond the obvious to see the hand of God in play. Thus I began writing weekly articles, which I submitted punctually each week to "The Church Times". Unfortunately these articles were never published so I brought them together in my first book "Musings from Maulden". That publication seemed to be well received and thus I was encouraged to continue to pen my weekly musings but also to photograph some of the locations and surroundings. This formed the basis of "More Musings from Maulden", containing over 60 colour photographs which, I hope, enhance my own descriptions .

Incorporating references to my then home village of Maulden in Bedfordshire, surrounding locations and places further away, the two books are descriptive works covering a variety of topics, particularly God as deity, the Church of England, Anglican Religious Communities and the natural world.

The beauty of writing about real life experiences and encounters is that these can be so varied. Further, they can set off wildly divergent chains of thought, leading to the discovery of all sorts of fascinating facts or the recalling of interesting memories or demanding an opinion, a response, which one might not otherwise have even considered. Another driver to my writing has been to open to others the largely hidden world of monasteries and convents. Many people think such places disappeared for ever in the United Kingdom with the Reformation and are amazed to discover they still exist, especially within the Church of England. Although these communities receive many guests in the course of any given year, what actually takes place within their cloisters and chapels is something which greatly intrigues those who are only vaguely aware of their existence. Peppered in my writings I have sought to shed some light on these communities and to highlight how their impact so often extends far beyond their own walls. 

My factual writing style is inevitably descriptive, as I have endeavoured to share with my readers what I am seeing and feeling and thinking, wherever I happen to be or in what I am encountering around me. I trust readers also see a sprinkling of humour in there. More than that, though, I would hope that my books are inspiring, not just in a sense of bringing pleasure to those who might be jaded or careworn but, primarily, inspiration to see the glorious world of nature all around; inspiration to perceive churches as more than just buildings; inspiration to travel: to look beyond the horizon, beyond the obvious; inspiration to see God at work in His world and inspiration to seek out the byways and to linger, to be surprised and fulfilled by discovering the unexpected and the unusual. Also, I hope the books might provide inspiration or, at least, encouragement to visit some of the monasteries and convents mentioned therein, to go on retreat, to become a pilgrim. 

Influential to my "Musings" books are the likes of Jack Hargreaves, Phil Drabble, James Herriot (real name: Alf White, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in 1984) and, particularly, the weekly column written in "The Church Times" by Ronald Blythe. I also recognise influences from literature as wide ranging as John Buchan, Evelyn Waugh, P.G. Wodehouse, Dorothy L. Sayers and, of course, the Bible.

Background to my Short Stories

Some of the inspiration for my short stories came from the Anglia TV Series "Tales of the Unexpected", itself written by a variety of authors, including Roald Dahl. My short story "Pursuit" evidences the influence of John Buchan's "The Thirty-Nine Steps", although I did not set out intentionally to imitate Buchan's style or story.

Haiku

I composed a series of Haiku for Good Friday and Easter 2016. One of these was selected for inclusion and discussion in the Good Friday 2016 Podcast from Things Unseen. The reading and discussion can be heard here

Poetry

One of my poems "Miracles Beyond" was chosen by United Press (in April 2016) for inclusion in a book of religious poetry called Aspects of Faith, whilst my poem "Our Glorious Monarch" was also chosen by United Press (in May 2016) for inclusion in a compilation of poetry called "Our Glorious Monarch".

Contact

I may be contacted by e-mail here and am available to give talks about my writings or aspects therefrom (particularly about Anglican Religious Communities) and for interviews.