I wrote this piece for my MA in Writing, Nature and Place. It was originally published in Peninsula Magazine.
The journey from Plymouth to Penryn begins at my kitchen table. I set up my laptop, make myself a cup of tea and type Plymouth into the search bar of Google maps. I’m dropped down into the middle of the Royal Parade. I do a 360° turn, it looks to be a thoroughfare with shops on one side and a church on the other. Google Street View works by showing a yellow line along the road you are on. Arrows pointing backward and forward allow you to select the previous or next image, enabling you to “travel” along the road. I click on the arrow pointing east and set off under a grey and overcast sky. I reach a roundabout and try to navigate my way round it. It’s disorientating and I have to stop and check I haven’t missed my exit. I’m beginning to realise this journey is going to be a long and arduous process. Continue readingFrom Plymouth to Penryn via Google Maps
It rained on Saturday. I don’t mean that there was a brief shower. I mean it was raining when I woke up and it was still raining when I went to bed. The sky was so grey and overcast that the light never seemed to get beyond pre-dawn levels. All day it felt as though the whole world was ready to go back to bed again. I tried going for a walk but quickly turned back after a car drove through a large puddle and soaked me.
The University of Nottingham’s Park campus is currently playing host to the Art In Your Park exhibition, with art works dotted around the campus. This week, on a walk round the lake on campus, I came across a few of the exhibits. The exhibition is supposed to explore ‘the enduring bond between nature and culture’, but I thought it was interesting the way nature (and possible people) were interacting with the art works, with parts falling off or being blown around by the wind. It certainly added some interest to my usual lunchtime walk! Continue readingArt In Your Park
I want to write about my year of being less afraid and how it has helped me become a better writer, but it is hard to write about fear. It is hard because fear is so close to the bone. When you start writing about fear you also run the risk of sounding like a self-help book. But I suppose that is a line all writers have to tread. The best writing is not just written, but felt, and that brings with it the possibility of clichés. Continue readingHow being less afraid has made me a better writer
The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust recently held an Urban Safari – a 7.5km guided walk around some of Nottingham’s many urban nature spots, including parks, wastelands, woods and a city farm.
It was a really enjoyable day out – it was a great opportunity to see some parts of Nottingham I probably wouldn’t have visited otherwise and to discover just how much nature there is in the city, as well as meeting some lovely people.
There have been a few occasions now where I’ve googled a bird’s name and instead of the bird, the top result has been a celebrity. It always gives me a chuckle, so I thought I’d share them. Continue readingBird… or celebrity?
Autumn might be the season for impending hibernation, but it is also about new beginnings. It is the start of a new term at the university and the campus is packed full of students, holding maps and reassuring pieces of paper. My sister also just started university, so I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic for my own university days. It hardly seems believable that seven years have passed since I started at St Andrews. But then it hardly seems believable that I’ve been in Nottingham for a year. Continue readingNostalgia and new beginnings
Yesterday was the first day of autumn. For the last few weeks it’s certainly felt as though autumn is approaching. The temperatures have been dropping and the leaves have been turning. But on Sunday I woke to a clear, bright blue sky and it felt as though summer was making one last go of it. A warm sunny day is always an imperative to get out on my bike and that was exactly what I did. Continue readingColwick Country Park
I like this time of year. I like the dying days of summer and the shortening hours of light. It felt especially autumnal today, with big blustery skies and a coat-cold wind blowing.
I decided to spend the afternoon at Attenborough. I haven’t been for a while now and all through those intervening weeks I’ve felt its pull. I’ve been imagining those paths and waterways and cycling along them in my mind. Continue readingA windy afternoon at Attenborough