Plaguetime 18: NOBODY EVER SAID ON THEIR DEATH BED, “I WISH I’D SPENT MORE TIME AT THE OFFICE…”


It seems that the benefits that are supposed to be had from ‘retirement’ – ‘the never-ending weekend’… ‘freedom and rest…after decades of hard work’ – are not to be thought of as inevitable. Poor health and ‘decline in cognitive functioning…’ seem to be associated with retirement, though not, of course, for everybody, according to Ross […]

PLAGUETIME 17 Slap-happy Painting


I’ve just finished reading JBPriestley’s book of small essays published in 1951 called Delight. It is truly full of delight. In her biography of JBP, Dulcie Gray wrote: ‘…Priestley was lucky to be writing at a time when essays were popular – he was one of the last great essayists…’ I was lucky enough to […]

PLAGUETIME 12


Five years ago I visited Simon Weir who still lives in Burley, Hampshire in the cottage where his father Peter Weir lived till he moved to Needs Ore, Beaulieu. Peter Weir was born in 1915 and I had written a personal account of his masterpiece The Island as a Centenary Celebration and which can be […]

Plaguetime 10


Rain Upon Godshill Nothing is truly real in this world but living creatures… (JBPriestley 1939) All the talk about ‘not going back’ to the toxic normality that existed before [the Plague] will be tested by the ruling class’s insistence on reasserting a world where their profits and their power prevails. (Socialist Workers’ Party 5th July […]

PLAGUETIME 9


I write a fairly regular ‘essay’ in a series called RANSACKING THE PAST for display on The British Haiku Society Website. Sometimes I dredge books of my own early haiku for ones I could have done better (most of them) and write a critique, sometimes I look at old articles in Blithe Spirit (the BHS […]