The House of Sir William

I’ve been here before… A long time ago, yes, but I’ve been here before. I can’t say where it is, it’s too close to Hell to name, but I have been here before. An elderly relative used to live not far from this park and a chunk of my childhood is embedded here. It always seemed green, even in winter, not dead and cold like it does now. The canal which cuts through this place then seemed sedate and queenly. Now it’s clogged, diseased, and cuts a sorry figure as it limps on towards the river. The massive railway viaduct cutting through, still shunting trains up to Manchester, was bolder and cleaner. It was less covered by guano and graffiti. Maybe this is memory cheating me, but this place was much when I was younger. Continue reading “The House of Sir William”

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Lawrence, Italy and a Changing World

D.H Lawrence may be most famous as a novelist, in particular for the (at the time) controversial ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ but he was actually one of the most versatile writers of the early twentieth century, travel writing being one of the many forms (besides novels, poetry, essays and short stories) which he put his hand to. Twilight In Italy is the first collection of these (the others include Etruscan Places & Sea and Sardinia) and the majority of the book concerns the time he spent living with his mistress, Frieda, in Gargano, Lake Garda, in nineteen twelve and thirteen.

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A History of My Lifetime | 1993: Violence and Consequence

On the first of January another wall came down. This was not, as had been the case with the Berlin wall a few years before, a physical barrier. Instead it was a metaphorical one. It was a trade barrier and its removal was the birth of the thing we call the European Single Market. There had been a customs union in place since sixty eight but in eighty six a deadline, ratified within the Single European Act, was delivered. At the end of ninety two that deadline passed and Europe went forward into ninety three a very different place. This was because the removal of the trade barrier and creation of the Single Market did not just allow the free movement of goods and physical products, but also allowed for free movement of currency, of capital, and more importantly the free movement of people and services. It brought, to a certain extent, the borders of Europe crashing down. Now a man could go anywhere within the soon to be European Union. He could work and live wherever he wanted, from Cape St Vincent to Cape Wrath. He could offer his services, be they medical or mechanical, anywhere.

At the end of the year NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, would be signed by President Clinton. The London Convention banned the dumping of Nuclear Waste at sea. The Oslo I accord saw the placement of a framework that could have lead to an end for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It even saw Israeli Prime Minister Yitzahk Rabin and Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat shaking hands when they met in Washington D.C. The world was suddenly a much freer, slightly brighter place. Or at least, that was the theory.

The dawning of a pan-European utopia and a better world looked to be in sight. However. Not all was well. Ninety three would turn out to be a year of violence and consequence.

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A Word About Fireworks

We need to talk about fireworks, specifically Bonfire night fireworks. Now I am not against them. I like a good fireworks display as much as the next person. BUT… In Britain we have a problem concerning fireworks and Bonfire night. I am referring here to private displays, or rather, the conduct of the people mounting these displays and the type of fireworks being put to use. Continue reading “A Word About Fireworks”

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