Sunday 29 May 2016


Running to find the zone  - Part 2 was the title of my last running blog nearly ten weeks ago. I've changed it to take account of circumstances as you can see. Now my Part 3 celebrates the fact that I have succeeded in running to keep running. Let me explain.

A week after my 34:30 minutes local circuit run in mid-March (see Running to find the Zone - Part 2) I fell prisoner to the Stivian cold virus that was doing the rounds. That put me out of training - running or gym - for two weeks. I managed a run in early April around the local circuit in 36 minutes on the morning of the day I attempted later to give my 76th pint of blood. I failed the finger test. I was still slightly anaemic after the cold virus. Fair play, I thought. Now I can concentrate on my

Feeling the pain in my fastest ever half marathon since my first in 1989 (Bungay Half Marathon 02:08:04)
Norwich 2008 - 02:19:39 was my adjusted time.

training and not have to take three weeks out because of the blood donation. Little did I know. We went to the theatre a few days later and saw the Kidz R Us production of Avenue Q. At this point you need to read my blog entitled 'Rough Sex in St Ives' to understand how much we enjoyed the production. Now this blog I'm talking about was composed in around two hours on the Saturday morning after the show. At the dining room table. For the first time with the computer downstairs. I forgot to look after my back. Disaster! Blogger's Back was self-diagnosed the next day.

It took a physiotherapy session with Ben Donaldson and a chiropractic appointment with Tanya Read to get me through the next two weeks but by the very end of April I had managed a recovery run in 36:40 minutes around the local  circuit and was back at the gym. But ten days into May and I was

Saturday 21 May 2016


As the self-appointed biographer of Jago Stone the artist (1928-1988) I take my moral responsibilities seriously. My task is to tell the story of Jago as fully and as honestly and as fairly as I am able to do, respecting my sources and always mindful that Jago had other roles than that of the artist. He was a partner, a husband, a father, a friend. There were and are those who did enjoy their encounter with Jago on their life-journey - and those who did not. Such complexities lead to ethical concerns for me that will inform the biography that emerges. That is my promise as I have indicated before.

In this blog, I want to explore in more depth matters that I raised in the Jago Stone - Part 2 blog. For the sake of clarification I need to tease out further the ideas that shaped my treatment of sexism and misogyny in that post. My ethical concern is that no one should be in any doubt as to what it is I am saying in this controversial area.

Detail from 'The Makers of Sweet Smells' - Jago Stone - June 1970

Let me explain more about the Everyman 1991 documentary 'Do Men Hate Women?' that I watched live and then used in the classroom for over a decade as part of the 'Sexism' unit I had designed. Contemporary Religious Studies teaching in schools was, and I hope still is, all about helping young people understand more about the world in which they are growing up - and their own beliefs - and what shapes their ways of making sense of those worlds. I believe this documentary made an important contribution to that understanding.

The narrator in the documentary - the female detective superintendent - took six 'experts' from various areas of contemporary life and explored the question of the relationship between men and

Saturday 14 May 2016


This week's blog explores what has gone on under the surface of St Ives in the past and what is happening today, politically, under our very noses but buried - under the surface of our perception - unrecognised.

First, the mining focus.

We moved to our terraced house, situated off the Stennack, coming out of St Ives, uphill, heading S.W., in January 2013. By the summer of that year, I had written the piece that appears this week for the first time on my website. It is called 'Under the Surface of St Ives.' Do read it in its entirety if you can - it provides a remarkable insight into St Ives in the past thanks to the stories of my two sources, John Toman and Jim Hodge. The picture below shows the old Stennack school, the Board School, built in 1880 on the outer margin of St Ives. The river and road are on the other side of the school, unseen in the photograph. The houses you see now do not exist. Instead the landscape is dominated by the spoil heaps of the Trenwith mine. This is an industrial landscape. Men were mining under the surface as the shutter opened on the camera to take this shot. Men were making their living. Men who were to die before their time, some in accidents, some through the substances they inhaled.

The St Ives Board School, built 1880, now the Stennack Surgery, looking south and towards the spoil heaps of Trenwith mine.

I make the point in the essay that there is little recollection now of mining's 18th and 19th century heyday in St Ives. 'Once the memory of mining passes beyond your grandfather it almost passes out of mind.' Certainly there are few visual reminders now. But we should not forget. It was only with the advent of the Edwardian age at the beginning of the 20th century that a new kind of sensitivity

Saturday 7 May 2016


Yesterday, Friday 6, in the early hours, the result of Thursday's St Ives referendum was revealed. The town and its surrounding areas had just had the opportunity to vote on a St Ives Neighbourhood Plan that had been drawn together after nearly two years of consultation to present a consensus of public opinion within the 12,000 strong community in the St Ives area. In the magical name of 'Devolution', Neighbourhood Plans have surfaced across the country. They allow a small measure of legally-binding local control over the planning process. But in the St Ives Neighbourhood Plan something remarkable enough to attract national media attention appeared. Along with the detail that sought to protect buildings and spaces of heritage and cultural value, and meet the needs of an ageing

Voted best place to live in the UK - (if you can afford to)

population, and safeguard trees, woodlands and hedges. We are talking about the St Ives Plan's 'prime residency' policy, applicable only for new builds, that would prevent them being sold as second homes, in order to help provide affordable housing for local people trying to acquire their own first home.

The result of the referendum was as remarkable as the measure itself to exclude second home owners from the ownership of new builds. The local press had carried stories that gave much attention to the cries of property speculators and builders. The Cornishman opted for the headline: 'Will St Ives say 'no' to local plan?  The answer was emphatic. St Ives said 'Yes!'