Look up!

Writers notice things. The more we write the more we are likely to take note of. Sometimes we should change our viewpoint. When I was at school in Chester, I learned the value to the historian of looking up. Above modern shop fronts you could – and still can – see evidence of the older … Continue reading Look up!

Q & A


I was daydreaming, this morning, about the kind of things that children really love to write.  I thought that there is nothing like a clip board -and a list of names. For very young children, writing out a register is the best fun. Then you can go around the class asking an important question like ‘crisps … Continue reading Q & A


In the nineteenth century, women were allowed to go out cycling. It became a popular pastime.  It wasn’t all plain sailing, though. Women were expected to behave themselves and certainly not act in an unladylike way. . The New Times published a list of ‘Don’ts for women riders’.  Here are some examples from the list: Don’t … Continue reading Don’t!


Non-fiction has a terrible reputation in schools. I have to say it has earned it -all that endless, pointless, writing of instructions, the torture of an explanation and the dreariness of a recount or a balanced argument, painstakingly written within the spiky scaffolding of a writing frame; the convoluted excuses - or the, more honest, … Continue reading Non-fiction