Foraging for Poems

A little over 20 years ago we lived in Norway. I remember arriving in January 1996 and how blue the sky was here after close to ten years in the Middle East. That first weekend we ventured out with the children who stared open-mouthed at the icicles that had become crystal stalactites there on the … More Foraging for Poems

Eight weeks in and it is definitely time for a retreat

The first few weeks in a new country are always a whirlwind of overwhelm. Not only do banks, doctors, local registration, public transport cards bikes, car and somewhere to live need to be organised … but for us, this time, back in The Hague since March, there’s more… One: transit accommodation. Being officially just Ian … More Eight weeks in and it is definitely time for a retreat

Finding my homeland

“Some places make you feel more full than others,” said Palestinian author, Nathalie Handal at last weekend’s third Georgetown Literary Festival in Penang. The theme of the weekend was irresistible to me – Hiraeth – a Welsh word that means longing for a homeland that is no longer there. Undoubtedly, this island is a place … More Finding my homeland

The art of sitting

I’ve never been much good at doing nothing but I know it’s good for me. Nevertheless, the older I’ve got, and the wiser (!), the more I recognise the value of mindfulness. But it’s harder than ever these days since the SmartPhone. Whereas I once would have sat in a waiting room in contemplation, it … More The art of sitting


It’s that Friday in the month that we hold the Writers’ Café. Always a special day for me and one that I only miss if I am out of town. Nothing else keeps me away. It was back in the early 80s before I was married, before I moved abroad and I’d actually started to … More Torn

Sinking in

Sinking in One year on I hold out my arms tip back my head and float, at last, on my South China Sea. Now aquamarine, bejeweled island of treasures flour-fine sands stamped black with feathered palms. Malaysia. Now you hold me in your hands, becalmed. At peace. I’ve sunk down into ‘settled in’. I sigh, … More Sinking in

A quirky return

Ian and I have just popped over to Holland from Malaysia to attend our son, Sam’s, graduation ceremony from University College Utrecht. Even as I write that sentence I realise how crazy it must seem to those who have never lived abroad. We ‘popped’ 7,000 miles for a few days for a two hour event. … More A quirky return

The sun also rises

It’s been weeks since I willingly watched dawn slowly scale the limits of this world yet today I find a cooler air licks at my calves as I sit back and see what magic may unfold.   The monochrome cityscape rises tall and cold behind this palm, acacia green, birdsong simmers in the trees, lines … More The sun also rises

Twelve Week Scan

New life began  then. When  I took flight  from whence  I’d lived and loved  on flatter, cooler, calmer  soil. Where bright colours  speckle squares of earth  in spring.   I look down from  here, where  pillows of palms  froth and bubble  like barbed wire,  steel grey in the mist  of monsoon air.    Beyond the … More Twelve Week Scan