Lost Entitlements

They don’t want you driving these once you’re 70

In 2009, the BBC programme Watchdog reported that DVLA were removing entitlements from driving licences reissued after a change of name or address. Some drivers found they had lost the right to ride motorcycles and even had to re-take their motorcycle driving test because they were unable to prove they had passed it years ago. You can understand the outrage. And now I’m annoyed too… (read full post on Blogger)


The Peter Rabbit Plate

PeterRabbitPlateDecided to stay in bed after not sleeping because of a painful throat and a constant stream of mucus running down inside threatening to choke me. What with shivering and various aches, I felt terrible. But Mrs D. cares for me well. She asked if I wanted anything. A cup of tea and a couple of plain oat cakes duly arrived. It was all I could face. The only thing is that when you are not well you are supposed to get the Peter Rabbit Plate. The oat cakes were not on the Peter Rabbit plate…  (read full post on Blogger)

Review – Stan Barstow: The Watchers On The Shore and The Right True End

BarstowWatchersOnTheShore BarstowRightTrueEnd

Stan Barstow
The Watchers On The Shore (3*)
The Right True End (3*)

Two sequels that continue Vic Browns story from where we left him in A Kind of Loving, trapped in an unfulfilling nineteen-fifties marriage in the Yorkshire mining town where he grew up, and managing a record and electrical shop which the owner had implied would eventually pass to Vic. The Watchers On The Shore and The Right True End take us into the nineteen-sixties. They capture something of the changing social context that allowed those like Vic to escape the restricted lives of their parents. (full review on Blogger)


IvyAn early memory. One warm autumn day, Mum took me into town in the push chair. We would have gone past a cinema (since demolished), a post office (now a beauty clinic), a garage (shops), some bombed buildings (more shops), a school (a community centre), a flour mill (a supermarket) and a church (derelict), and turned into a leafy avenue of fifty-year-old trees (long felled). It is all very different now. (read full post on Blogger)

Rewriting Rewritten Writing

One of my first university jobs was as a research assistant to a very eminent professor. He was well known in his subject to students and academics both at home and abroad, and to the interested public through magazines such as New Scientist. He was the author of a large number of academic papers and editor of a best-selling textbook that had been translated into other languages including Japanese. I was elated to be offered the job and jumped at it, but that feeling did not last long …   (read full post on Blogger)

Review – Alan Sillitoe: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

SillitoeTLOTLDRAlan Sillitoe
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (4*)

What made me pick this volume of nine Alan Sillitoe short stories so soon after reading Saturday Night and Sunday Morning? I must be a glutton for punishment. Most of the characters are distinctly unpleasant.

This is the suffocating world of working-class people before post-war consumerism and expansion of opportunity. You wonder, like Ian Dury or Kate Atkinson perhaps, how close you came to any one of these lives being your own … (read full review on Blogger).