The closing date for voting in the Woodland Trust's Tree of the Year Competition 2018 (and, in particular, our nomination for Scottish Tree of the Year) has now closed and we will have to wait until November to learn the result.
Another TillVAS excavation has come to an end at Mardon Farm where we further investigated the Iron-Age settlement that we looked at last year. Ditches, cobbles surfaces, pottery sherds and even flints probably from Neolithic soil infill.
What a long, dry spell we have had since May—not like the south of England but very good for Northumberland. Lots of plant watering needed, whilst allowing the grass to go brown. Recent showers have quickly greened the grass. Another marvellous holiday in Cyprus in May with sun all day and everyday; swimming and snorkelling, meeting up with our family and visiting ancient churches, monasteries, attractive villages and archaeological sites. I have put a few photos in the Gallery.
2018 sees another book in course of preparation. More details later.
A current project which has taken up much of my time but is just coming to an end, is the inspection and recording of historic buildings in connection with the Branxton & Crookham Village Atlas Project. This is a community project administered by the Till Valley Archaeological Society with the aid of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. In addition to the Historic Buildings Group, there are three other groups of volunteers dealing with archaeology, social history and oral history. There is more information on the TillVAS website—there is a link below.
My fourth book on local topics, Breamish and Till: From Source to Tweed, is available for sale, published by the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS)(www.tillvas.com), ISBN 978-1-291-58938-2 Price £10. Net proceeds of sale go to the Society.
Information about this and other books, articles and poems can be seen on my Books & Books (cont.) pages and copies of some may be bought by clicking on the blue link at the top of the Books page and following the instructions.
I was born in Birmingham and was brought up and went to school there and in Croydon. I am a graduate of London University and of the Open University and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. I lived and/or worked in Croydon, the City of London, Surrey and Hampshire before spending most of my working life in local government and in the oil industry in Aberdeen and north-east Scotland before moving to Lyme Regis in Dorset, then to the Scottish Borders and now just on the other side of the Border in Northumberland. The photograph shows more of the stunning scenery close by—this is a view in the upper Breamish valley amongst the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland. The main occupants of this landscape are the Blackface sheep.
For sixteen years I was a part-time, volunteer Warning Officer in Aberdeen with the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation which was concerned with home defence, especially against nuclear attack. In the past, I have been Chairman of an Abbeyfield Society sheltered home for elderly people, Chairman of Governors of a primary school and have been involved with other voluntary work. I am a member of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London, a member of the Royal British Legion and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. I am now a writer and a member of the Till Valley Archaeological Society.
I am married to another writer and we have two married daughters and their families who live in Edinburgh and Cyprus. We have three granddaughters and one grandson, all apples of their
MY INTERESTS: history, local history, archaeology (actively), reading, hill-walking (particularly the Lake District and Scotland), old buildings and building techniques, trees and travel (particularly the Western Isles, Scandinavia and Australia). I belong to several national and local organisations in connection with these interests.
Music: classical music for strings, middle-of-the-road pop, folk, or whatever is on my iPod.
Films: Particular favourites are 'The Dish', 'The Castle' (two hilarious Australian films), 'Zulu' (a classic), but my taste is wide-ranging from thrillers to musicals to good war films to comedies to historical and contemporary dramas.
Books: For the desert island, an omnibus edition of the works of John Buchan. At home, again wide-ranging—classical, historical fiction and non-fiction, historical biography and anything to do with Australia.
My motto (the one that I strive to comply with!): DO IT NOW, NOT LATER!