Our Singing Curriculum

Choirs are mushrooming across the country. I first joined a choir at the tender age of six and I’ve never really shaken it off. Tuesday nights are special for me. I look forward to the camaraderie of the choir, the collective endeavour, the hope that we will crack this tricky piece, the soaring sound of … Continue reading Our Singing Curriculum

Detecting the curriculum: Holmes, Hirsch and Jim Hawkins

Driving back home along the M5, my son and I are listening to Sherlock Holmes. Watson is stunned by Holmes’ all round ignorance, and gives an informal school report: “Knowledge of literature – nil; philosophy – nil; astronomy – nil; politics – feeble; botany – variable (well up in belladonna, opium and poisons generally, but knows nothing … Continue reading Detecting the curriculum: Holmes, Hirsch and Jim Hawkins

Dolphins and Butterflies

My young son and I cycle around Strumble Head, in wild west Pembrokeshire, squeezing through tall, mossy hedgerows on tarmac made glass-smooth by years of sheep droppings. We leave our bikes on the dry Prehistoric drystone wall and walk round the peninsular towards the lighthouse. The wind hugs us tight to the cliffs and as … Continue reading Dolphins and Butterflies


Newts Tipton 1974: burnt rubber smell of factory along the canal, Empty of birdsong and trees. I search for newts, trail Towpath cinders in the tunnel. Scan The green-spotted slick surface Broken by bike-wheels and yellow-handled trolleys. Net-high ready for the joust. Waiting for wet bubbles And the dart-wriggle to the surface. Newt: Part-fish, part-eel. … Continue reading Newts


Pirates Buckets full of crabs, Decent shrimp, bigger fish than we've a right to land With that children's bamboo net; and a baby eel. Satisfied, smug and sat, hands flat upon Four inches of warm waves and corrugated sand I'm braced against the unexpected sun As lazy, loud gulls wheel above my head. Secretly my … Continue reading Pirates