My latest book Souvenir of Tynemouth is now available online from Moonkwayk Studio’s store on Etsy:

The store also sells the other books Anne Proctor and I have created as well as a sample of Anne’s artwork .


Another trip to the Cramlington Writers’ Group this morning. What an amazing group of writers! They push themselves individually and collectively. I like the way they work. Thanks to them all for an enlightening and creatively inspiring session.

Cullercoats-based writer Jennifer Wilson has got into the swing of National Poetry Month again. She enjoys the exercises set and showed me the result of one of them over coffee recently.

She fed all my haiku (six of ’em) from 2013’s anthology, Pieces from Eight into a special Heath Robinson Haiku jumble upperer computer and it spat out the following.

It’s not 5-7-5 Haiku format but we’ll let it off. It was created by machine not man…click on the link to read the poem…

So why create a book about Tynemouth Station? Why write about the building, the wildlife inhabitants and the weekend market?


I’ve spent the past three years helping Ylana First run the legendary Tynemouth Station Book Fairs. They take place on the west concourse of the station four times a year in April, June, August and October. First one of the year is in just over two week’s time on April 26th.

Through Ylana I’ve discovered the history of the station and the long battle by its ardent admirers to save it from demolition. It’s a beautful building. Look…

tynemouth station

As well as the bookfairs there is the regular Tynemouth Station market every Saturday and Sunday. I started off as a browser, then a stallholder and now I still go and browse even if I don’t have a stall.

I enjoy setting up and running a stall. It involves weekday prep, early starts on the Saturday and Sunday, filling the car, queuing up to park, unloading and setting up stall and then the day begins! It also involves lots of tea, food and chats with punters and stallholders.

I’ve made friends at Tynemouth Station market. I’ve also made artistic links. It’s where I met and started talking to Anne Proctor. If it wasn’t for meeting we wouldn’t have created our books including latest one Souvenir of Tynemouth.


Through this connection I got talking to Gail Curry of Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC and we now run our Poetry with Friends sessions in North Shields and Whitley Bay.

Happy Planet

I also met Jules Fleur, floral artist extraordinaire at the market and she creates floral sculptures for Free as a Bard evenings at Whitley Bay’s Jam Jar Cinema. Then there’s Christine the Jam lady, Dawn Routledge fantastic glass artist, Val with her scarves and cards (much-missed hope she comes back to market), the local card lady, the placemat chap, Abbie with her beautiful china, all the bookdealers, especially Pete Swan, fount of artistic and musical knowledge and the summer choc ice monitor.

Then there’s bread man from Durham, John with his hot tea, the Ouseburn Coffee gang, the wood turners….

Why create Souvenir of Tynemouth? I think I’ve answered the question.

Book Stall Tynemouth 1

My latest book, Souvenir of Tynemouth is getting positive feedback from readers.  The book is my fourth biblio collaboration with the artist and printmaker Anne Proctor.

Souvenir of Tynemouth is a celebration of Tynemouth Station: its past, present and future users and inhabitants. It’s handmade and is beautiful.


The book is available from Anne’s Sunday stall at Tynemouth Station’s weekend market and from my occasional Saturday stall at the same market. I will also sell it at future gigs.

It will soon be available from Moonkwayk Studio’s Etsy store along with our other books and Anne’s artwork.


I help organise poetry appreciation groups with a difference in North Shields and Whitley Bay. The Poetry with Friends groups are run by Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC  based in North Shields.

The artist behind Happy Planet, Gail Curry, has just announced some Naturally Creative Classes to be held by the sea in May, June, July and September.

Happy Planet

Here are the details:

The following three classes are being held at Low Hauxley on the beautiful Northumberland coast, which cannot fail to inspire, with its windswept beach, concealed woodland and all manner of wildlife.

Release Your Own Creative Powers
Everyone has creative powers, give yourself a day to nurture your inner child and embrace your own creativity with a series of relaxing activities inspired by nature. 
Spiritually Creative
In collaboration with Elaine Maughan of Elemental Changes, we will be hosting a day of relaxation, guided meditation and a felting workshop to design and make your own personal Mandala.
An Introduction to Wet Felting
Making felt is one of the oldest and most natural crafts in the world. It involves beautifully tactile, gentle processes. I will teach you the fundamentals of felting and you will create a piece of original art in a day from ethically sourced materials.
Happy Planet
For more information visit


Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay Library on Thursday just gone, April 2nd. Classic session. Regulars plus one newcomer contributed to amazing conversation and shared A grade poems.


  • Leisure by W H Davies
  • Tell me, Sarah Jane by Charles Causley
  • The Voice by Thomas Hardy
  • High Flight (An Airman’s Ecstasy) by John Gillespie Magee


  • The Mermaids by Leslie Mountain
  • Easter 1916 by W B Yeats
  • The Old Familiar Face by Charles Lamb
  • The Shout by Simon Armitage
  • April’s Fool Day by Kenn Nesbit
  • Not Waving but Drowning by Stevie Smith

stevie smith

  • Two Cures for Love by Wendy Cope
  • Lustre by Leslie Mountain
  • To Iron-Founders and Others by Gordon Bottomley
  • Come to the Edge by Christopher Logue
  • Ballad of the Bread Man by Charles Causley
  • By the Sea by William Wordsworth
  • The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth

We decided Leisure should be “our” poem:

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Between poems we discussed families, education, careers, politics, Poldark, seahorses and noted the subtle links between our poetic choices.

We take a break for Easter and return to Whitley Bay library on April 30th. No theme but but please pre-book, so we know how many people to expect. You can book via email to

I’m looking forward to supporting Kevin P Gilday at the Cumberland Arms on Friday with his The Man Who Loved Beer show.

kevin p gilday

Described as “part spoken word performance, part drunken monologue – ‘The Man Who Loved Beer’ dissects a life experienced through the haze of casual alcoholism with all the riotous nights out, sexual misadventures and profuse vomiting that entails. Oh and the fear, don’t forget the fear.”

The Man Who Loved Beer is also a song by Lambchop and that’s a good enough reason to include a pic of TV classic Lambchop.


Back to  Friday evening and there’s also support from singer/songwriter, George Sharpe and poet Vinny McHugh.

The evening kicks off at 7.30pm in the upstairs of the Cumberland Arms in Byker.



The Counsel of Trees is a fantastic poem by Vicky Arthurs. I shared it at Poetry with Friends at The Mission tonight. I’d set tonight’s theme at our last session. We had discussed local councils so I suggested Council/Counsel as tonight’s theme.

We shared a range of poems by Robert Browning, Alice Walker, Spike Milligan, Michael Longley, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, Hentry Normal, Hillare Belloc, Pam Ayres and everyone’s fave poet, Anon.

alice walker

Poetry with Friends regulars Harry, Elizabeth and Ken shared their own poems. Subject matter ranged from the sea, eclipses to the wisdom of Nana.

The next Poetry with Friends at The Mission will take place on Tuesday 21st April. The theme, suggested by Harry is “Names”.

We’re a very friendly group and new attenders are always welcome. The only thing we ask is that you book a place, so we know how many people to expect.

You can book via email to

Happy Planet

Anne Proctor and I’s latest book, Souvenir of Tynemouth is now on sale. Buy it from our stalls at Tynemouth’s weekend market.

Here’s a shot of the first print run!

souvenircover003For more information about Anne’s work visit her blog


Sinead O’Connor, Bjork and Sir David Attenborough popped up in conversation at yesterday’s Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay Library.

We had lively debate encrusted with fantastic poems delivered beautifully. Highlights for me were newcomer Jeff/Geoff’s amazing poem about penguins, Joyce’s reading of A Policeman’s Lot by Wendy Cope  and Elizabeth’s astonishing rendition of Eliot’s The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock.


We also enjoyed poems by Amy Lowell, Josephine Scott, Shakespeare, Robert Browning, Kathleen Raine and others.

NPG P1680; Kathleen Raine by Rollie McKenna

Our next Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay will take place on Maundy Thursday, April 2nd at 11 am in Whitley Libary.

In the meantime we have Poetry with Friends at The Mission this coming Tuesday at 7pm. The theme is Counsel/Council.

For more information on both Poetry with Friends groups please visit

Happy Planet


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