About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Saturday, 16 April 2016


Common Purpose Challenge--Manchester and Bangalore

"We are crowd sourcing ideas to make Bangalore and Manchester better places to live and work. We want real world solutions - big or small - that will improve areas of city life such as governance, environment, economy, technology, housing, sports or youth engagement."

When I read those words on the Common Purpose challenge website, I knew this was something I wanted to get involved in.  As a creative writing lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, I am involved both with the work of The Manchester Writing School and the Manchester Children's Book Festival.

View from The Writing School window
Here's the idea I came up with: 'Children Need Books'.

"In the Manchester Writing School, we passionately believe that creativity should be at the heart of every child’s education, and are committed to ensuring opportunities for reading, writing and storytelling for as many children and young people as possible.
We also believe in encouraging and equipping writers of children’s books—fromThe Hungry Caterpillar through to The Hunger Games, stories can fire the imagination and change lives.
 Idea for 3-5yr Internship to promote Books for Children" 
(For more information: https://challenge.commonpurpose.org/ 
Please do register and vote for my idea by Tuesday 19th April)
Just before Easter - by one of those rather wonderful coincidences - I was offered the chance to go on a brief visit to Bangalore. It was just for a week, and could only ever be a quick taste of life in Manchester's Common Challenge partner city.

Everyone told me that India would be an onslaught on all the senses--but nothing prepares you for the reality. It struck me as a chaos of colour and scent and traffic. (Just a few glimpses below.) It was wonderful meeting people and gaining some insights into life in Bangalore. I've just arrived home; but my head is still full of the sound Indian music and car horns; the scent of jasmine and eucalyptus and spice; and all those spectacular splashes of colour. 
Flower Market

In a rickshaw

Wedding party at the Bull Temple

Everyone ALWAYS sounds their horn.
It was my first visit to India, but I hope that the Common Purpose Challenge means it won't be my last.

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