‘Mr Dick sets us all right’

Today is the tenth birthday of our dear friend and biggest brother, Newman Noggs, so just this once – instead of speaking about him – I shall let him speak for himself, on this most auspicious day: I am not sure why I have been asked to talk to camera but I am always happy…

The dews of comfort

tIt has taken a very long time – and it’s been a tedious and painful haul, for everyone involved – but I am now almost completely over my horrible abscess. Lancing the enormous thing left a gaping hole at least two inches in diameter, through which my chest wall was clearly visible. Kemo Sabe winced…

Turbulent times

Today has brought the worst weather of the season so far: gale force winds, squally, driving rain, and a sky one minute black as night, bedecked with rainbows the next. Rising as always in the darkness, after a night in the kitchen huddled beside NuNu on the big bed, we suffered from a chillier than…

The greatness of small things

In our garden, bushes bedecked with bird feeders chuckle with the noisy conversations of sparrows and dunnocks. Chirrups, quarrels, confrontations, reproaches, warnings, laughter and gossipings: they’re all there, creating the hubbub which, at certain times of the day, makes the garden a cathedral of noise. Then, just as quickly as it started, the noise stops,…

Strangers and foreign lands

We recently travelled all the way up into Scotland, to Cromarty on the Black Isle, which is two shipping areas above us here in Tyne. This view looks out to sea between the headlands known as the Sutors, where the deep waters of Cromarty Firth open into the vast Moray Firth, and on this beach,…

In Memoriam: 21st October 1966

Fifty years ago today, half a million tonnes of waste from the Merthyr Vale Colliery slid down on to Pantglas Primary School, in Aberfan. The slag heap engulfed the school as the children were beginning their lessons, killing 144 in all, of whom 116 were pupils. It was one of the worst peacetime disasters in…

Departure day

  To the ones who stay (After the martins have gone and Mahler continues to play) Up on the wire they congregate A few left ‘We’re already late’ . . .   The Jackdaws are the ones who stay They watch their nest holes every day They gaze at empty chimney holes Then grub about…

Enemy within

First thing this morning, ten days after my operation, I re-joined the others on our dawn beach trundle. To welcome me, a golden yolk of a sun crept above the horizon and blessed our little band, reunited once more. It seemed so long since I was last on the sand with the boys, that Thursday…

Going for gold

I have not been well these last few days. In fact, I have been as unwell as I can ever remember: unable to eat, unwilling to jump the small distance into my place on the sofa and, when we went out yesterday morning, for a shorter trundle than usual because Kemo Sabe knows me so…

One season following another

Although the heathland meadow behind Bamburgh Castle is bejewelled with wild flowers of all kinds and though it is only the end of July, you can feel that summer is already preparing to move on – particularly when the weather’s dull or drizzly and rather sorry for itself – and the ebullience of the busy…

Away with the fairies

‘Has Newman had his pill?’ This question, asked morning and evening, is one to which Uncle NuNu himself now greatly looks forward (if he hasn’t yet shouldered his way into position before it’s even asked) when he hears the words, so keen is he to get a treat at the same time as the dispensing…

Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow: 141 days of horror

I know that memories are long, and the loss of even a humble creature like myself will endure in the lives of those who loved me – so long as they have breath. But when those who love us are gone, who is left to remember? Our significance  – or lack of it – is…