Locating the Word

photo at pixabay

From the programme for Words by the Water, Sunday 18 March, 4pm (£9)

Angela Locke has run writing retreats on Iona for 20 years, a place that offers powerful inspiration. For Ian Hall it was the sale of Thorneythwaite Farm in Borrowdale, his childhood home, that prompted his extensive research into the farmstead’s 1,000-year history. They discuss how writing can be animated by a sense of place.

Thorneythwaite Farm, Borrowdale (Orchard House Books) & Whale Language: Songs of Iona (Indigo Dreams Publishing)

Homework for 22 March


Write a non-fiction Nature Column in 300 words. This will involve your powers of observation over a period of time. It might prove to be a bit philosophical, and / or reflective / meditative, or simply observed fact. Use of your personal life-experience might call upon work-related experiences and so on.

The book The Long View (Somewhere-nowhere Press) was mentioned as a resource and inspiration. From the programme for Words by the Water, Tuesday 13 March at 4pm (£9)

What do trees witness? What do they mean to us? What is being done to protect them and increase tree cover? Writer Harriet Fraser and photographer Rob Fraser visited seven ordinary trees in extraordinary Cumbrian locations over two years in all weathers, night and day in the company of school children, ecologists, land managers and tree specialists.



Book this date: 21 April

Julie Carter is a hugely valued member of Mungrisdale Writers. Julie’s friends will be thrilled with the array of book recommendations to be found on the back cover of Running The Red Line, the front cover of which presents an outstandingly evocative painting. But the reflection that most rang bells with me is that from Professor Peter Wright, a psychologist from the University of Newcastle:

An extraordinary book in which the author takes you on a journey during which she offers you so much of herself that you feel at once privileged and grateful to be invited along.

This is the Julie Carter – doctor, psychologist and champion fell-runner – we know at Mungrisdale Writers, someone whose life and writing “offers you so much of herself …”

Saturday 21 April, 8pm, The Skiddaw Hotel in Keswick. This is a book I’ll be first in the queue for. I too feel “privileged and grateful to be invited along.”

I’ll hope to see you there!

Simon Marsh
Media & Publicity Secretary, MWG


Mr Feis


Mr Feis has a kid at home, where he’s dad,
But he was at school then, when
He was with his other children.
He put his body between those children and a gun,
The last thing he could do,
To do his job.
The last thing he would ever do.

He stepped forward, arms outstretched,
Because sometimes the heart acts,
Before the head has time to think.
In his home there is now, a vacancy,
In another place,
There will be a welcome cry.

Lorraine Mackay

Then and now and will be


And on the hillside
where we stood
the something that passed
between us
as though it were a
tidal current was already
as old and as new as the
Ancient of Days – in the
retrospect and in the
there and then and now
and in the prospect of
all eternity

That light, that current –
illumination and anticipation
launched a something that
is the everything
Immortal –
Yes, something to be
like a song among the stars,
laughing and crying
held safe and aloft and
flying –
on that hillside
held and holding

you and I encountered a
Divine Love and knew it to be
an Undying
in us, primarily
in those graced moments
but also in whomsoever –
and all are ultimately
capable of simply
letting go, and smiling and
then the final thankful sighing –
oh, little one, yes, you
great one

Elevated, celebrated: I love you

Simon Marsh – for JMT, 1960-2018, on the eve of her birthday