Extract from “Escape From Winter”

I’ve spent most of this last month back in cold, rainy England. Even though it happens every year, I’m constantly surprised at how August really is nothing special in England. In my memory it was always great, but I suppose that that was probably an assorted collection of days from June, July and September. Ho hum.

Anyway, in all that time, I have done no writing, except a journal with my twin brother, as we travelled around Wales, England and Scotland. Perhaps I could find an amusing extract from that and post it here at some point.

In the mean time, here is a little manuscript researching I’ve been doing. Yes, oooooooh. You see, my grandmother came round to visit my parents, and brought with her a whole host of materials and photos she inherited from her father. His name was W.M. Ridgwell, and is the inspiration for my pen name. (At the time, I didn’t know the name was without a central “e”, and I’ve been constantly debating since then whether or not to change my pen name, the problem being, it’s part of the web address and I can’t work out how to change that.) He wrote two published books – one I think a vanity publishing (if that’s the term) of his autobiography, and the other “The Forgotten Tribes of Guyana”, from his time as Organisational Adviser to the United Force of Guyana. My grandmother brought with her a third, unfinished book. Its name is “Escape from Winter”, and it is part autobiography, part guide book for the Canary Islands, composed in a Franco-ruled, pre-mass tourism time, and designed to encourage those elderly Brits who suffered from the cold to migrate. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I’m really enjoying it, partly for an insight into a relative, partly to see how times and writing styles have changed, and partly from a Spanish-speaking, historical perspective. It’s great to find myself bonding with a relative who died when I was 7, and seeing what we had in common and what set us apart.

Continue reading “Extract from “Escape From Winter””

“Beach Pebbles” and Audience Participation

Good morning good morning. I’ve got several projects underway, but unfortunately, none of them is near enough to comletion yet. Since I’m about to go out and relax on the beach all day (don’t worry, I’m taking my notebook!), I thought I’d post this old one. It’s one I’m very fond of, but there’s one line I’m not completely happy with.

I’m confident this won’t shatter me totally, but here’s a challenge for you, the reader. Try to guess the line I’m unhappy with, and if you can, give a reason. Post in the comments. And if I’ve told you before what the “bad” line is, then send me a message or something somewhere else. You’ll spoil the fun.

Hopefully, it’ll be an exercise in going back over a work I was comfortable with and making it BETTER – so don’t hold back.

Beach Pebbles


Beach Pebbles


I realise it has always been this way,
The bill is handed over me, to you.
Directions given that I understand,
but given to your face, which blankly nods.

He’s taller, someone says;
it’s more than that,
as on the beach, we peck for
the smoothest stones.

The light is fading
but we don’t notice.
The chill wind forgotten,
cool sunlight on your face.

Unstudied, casual, your arm
curves with the stone
– the little discus takes aim
and rises over crashing foam

and patting, patting, defying,
its spinning curve lifts
Against all nature, flying,
cresting the next white drift,

then gone.
A skill I have never possessed,
We laugh at the sinking failure
When I follow in your steps.

Listening to your smiling eyes,
Your silhouette between, below
the setting sun and blue horizon,
I face the truth that there is
something comfortable in your shadow.