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””

Happy 2nd Birthday, Blog! Makeshift

Hey guys,

It doesn’t feel right to apologise when the reason for a shortage of new material is that I’m going out and living my life, and having fun and earning money (even occasionally doing both at once).

But I will apologise, because I know that the life of a writer involves sacrifice. It involves missing out on some exciting nights and adventures, it involves sitting inside on sunny days (although I’m currently writing this in my brother’s garden, so maybe there are ways around this one).

So, sorry that, now, at the end of my second year on this blog, I don’t have much new to show you. I’ve been doing my writing thing, the forty hours, and I’m closer to thirty as I’m approaching the end of it. And, unfortunately for you, a lot of it has gone into working on my stand up comedy (which is very difficult to post here) and my Spanish (which would be boring to post here).

When the system was working, though, it was really working. A chart with hours to complete, a daily time tally of how many I’d done…. which is why, starting at the start of May, I’m going to aim for 40 hours a month, every month. Because in this new blogging year, I want to look at getting myself published – probably only in very minor ways. I want to read my poetry at poetry nights, and send short stories to creative writing groups, and all those things that most people do at university. I’m starting to develop a growing sense of pride in my work, and it deserves more of my time, you see.

Having said that, it makes it difficult to post a new piece of work. Often, it takes me a bit longer to develop pride in my work, and this one could probably still lose a verse in the middle. Incidentally (and connected to the poem), I met some wild boar when I walked around the hills of Barcelona.


The storm has passed;
emerging from his dark hole,
the boar sniffs the corners
of his makeshift shelter.

By light of day,
he tentatively explores.
He has temporary security;
he can afford time to forage.

An adult male, his needs
are few – to eat and drink,
a place to sleep,
and hopefully to mate.

He returns to the hole at dusk,
once more carefully checks
his surroundings, then
settles down to sleep.

Though winter is approaching,
he doesn’t gather supplies
or make changes to his home
as a more settled beast might.

Each morning, he sighs
and pulls a creased shirt out
of his suitcase, then, shivering,
shrugs it on and goes out.