Podcast Pressure!

Well tonight I had the pleasure of joining the team at www.insidelearning.net as a guest on their podcast. They invited me on to talk about handwriting – is handwriting dead? Do we care? Of course we do – passionately – well I do anyway!

They offered to link to my blog to see some of my…ahem…writing…and I had to confess that I really didn’t have anything to offer. Spurred on by their encouragement and enthusiasm I decided to give one last big push – and give birth to the new blog properly.

So here it is; a poem – I hope you enjoy it.

Prayer for Kinshasa

A white Mercedes crunches in the dehydrated dirt:

Papa Wemba songs waft from the window,

where my casual elbow rests.

I am the hero.

My sunglasses shield my eyes, but I watch them –

the patient pilgrims that snake around the village waiting for me.

Some have come by foot, some by pirog;

braving the stare of hippos along the Congo.  

The barefooted cluster run to the car,

banging the bonnet in a percussion of joy.

‘Ya Godé! Ya Godé!’


I am home at last.


Sleep ends.

I am back in the European cool, the white comfort.

My mother’s face, on fire with pride, stays with me.

A patterned panne wraps her frail, brown body,

holding her together at the seams.

Each year I am here, she is closer to death,

living still in the shell

of a home;

a concrete box, smooth and bare.

My photo hangs in the kitchen;

next to a crucifix.

We both receive her daily prayers.

I am the way, the truth and the light.

They wait for me to end this eternal poverty.

Lord, God, I beg you –

Let there be light.

And electricity.

Let there be rivers.

And running water.

Let there be yielding seed.

And food.

Let there be a genesis of good.

On the Sabbath they will rest,

with bellies full and spirits blessed.

Provide all I take for granted in this world of excess.

Give them more instead of less.

Give me the money to save them; then

the Mercedes.



Thank you Matthew, Jay and Steve for the lovely chat this evening and the metaphorical kick up the bum to ge something on here!

Listen in to their unmissable weekly podcast discussing all things educational at www.insidelearning.net


Published at last!

Ok, don’t get too excited – it’s only 75 words – and you’ve missed it! It was on www.paragraphplanet.com on Sunday – for 24 hours! Paragraph Planet is the brainchild of Richard Hearn, it is a truly inspirational site that publishes 75 word nuggets of fabulous flash fiction or extracts from longer pieces, with a new paragraph published every day.

I submitted my own 75 word extract entitled “Kinshasa Dreams”, based on a poem that I had written. I was overjoyed when Richard tweeted me to tell me it was being put on the site! Thank you Richard!

You can submit your own 75 words directly on the site at www.paragraphplanet.com and you can follow on Twitter too – @paragraphplanet! See you there!

Not another blog!!!!

Well, here it is – my fourth blog! But this time it is not about alpacas, African Pygmy Hedgehogs or education – it is about writing. I’ve been nurturing a secret desire to be a real writer for years now – and have finally decided to try and give it a go! Eeek! I blame it on Mrs Clarke, my Primary 5 teacher, she told me I was a “budding authoress” and her comment is etched on my soul. So, twenty six years later I’d love to prove her right.

Here goes…