Sunday 21 April 2019


I love the challenge of cryptic crosswords and in recent months I've been cutting my teeth on the self-declared 'fiendish fun' of Alamet's crossword on Saturdays in the Morning Star. Try yesterday's puzzle: 2 Down - Living near the surface of quiet glacier moving endlessly (7). 'Quiet' will be 'p' - that's easy. It took a while to realise that it was the letters of 'glacie' without the 'r' on the end that were needed for rearranging ('moving') to make 'pelagic', defined as 'inhabiting the upper layers of the open sea (chiefly of fish)', often contrasted with 'demersal', defined as living close to the floor of the sea or lake.

From the pelagic to the bottom of the boat

All of which brings us to my focus: fishy matters. Some weeks ago, I published a London Marathon training blog-post that featured graffiti on a huge fish shed in Newlyn that I noted as I ran. Here's a link to remind you or bring you to the story for the first time - press here. The graffiti had been removed the next time I ran past but the grievance against the Newlyn big-wig fishermen would not have been erased so easily. I assume this so-called 'mindless act of vandalism' was a protest by a

Saturday 13 April 2019


In this blog-post I am using material that I have already published in my April Mailchimp newsletter about the research into the life of Jago Stone and his forthcoming biography. If you have already seem much of this, please enjoy a second view; for those of you coming to this story and these images for the first time, I hope you feel as delighted as I was when all this was gifted to me through cyberspace. Many of you will be American and have RAF/USAF Upper Heyford connections. I am sure you, in particular, will appreciate Jago's close connections with the base.

Here is the relevant text from this month's newsletter:

In this Mailchimp edition, I am pleased to share a tale and images that first came my way through cyberspace on Monday, March 18, this month. 

Untitled - Jago Stone (1980)

Hollie Hetz from Virginia emailed me this message:

'Good morning,

I am messaging you because I picked up a painting by Jago Stone at a thrift shop the other day. I thought since you authored a biography about him you may have information or at least be interested in seeing some photos.

It is lovely. I teach art and some days call myself an artist. I spotted the painting on a shelf under some random stuff. It had been removed from the frame but has a sticker on the back stating that it had been framed by Huntleys at New Street, Deddington. 

Anyway, if you have any information about this work I would love to know more. Thank you for your time.

Hollie Hetz'

And Hollie had sent me eight images of this single painting. There they were, underneath her message, waiting for me to download and enlarge - and discover more. Perhaps you can imagine the thrill of being 

Thursday 11 April 2019


A week or so ago, on Wednesday evening, April 3, in the newly refurbished St Ives library, I listened to Jo McIntosh as she presented the story of her life, in particular highlighting the last twenty years since graduating from Bath Spa university and becoming a textile artist. Jo's main focus was on the project - The Wharf Road Tapestry -  that has excited the imagination of more and more people within St Ives and now - thanks to cyberspace - artists across the Pond too.  

I'll begin with a general photo credit for all the images in this blog-post - my sincere appreciation to Carolyn Saxby, Leo Walker and St Ives in Stitches. 

The Cabin - detail from the Wharf Road tapestry created under the guidance of Jo McIntosh

The story of the St Ives Tapestry project begins in 2016 when Jo first encountered the work of Lisa 

Sunday 7 April 2019


In Part One of this series exploring Cornwall under the tourist surface, I placed our county in the context of the national consequences of the Conservative Austerity programme that has had such disastrous consequences for the state of Britain. That Austerity programme was the product of the Tory elite's devotion to an economic theory - neoliberalism - that holds that markets need to be as free as possible and the role of the state therefore needs to be reduced to its barest minimum. Corporations and people will then pay less tax - and everyone ends up better off. Make no mistake, it is a failed economic theory. The rich get richer - but inequalities deepen and the poor suffer as never before. Our welfare state now depends on charity. Those wonderful, far-sighted and compassionate people who were responsible for the creation of our system of welfare for all during the 20th century would be horrified to see how far the Tories since 2010 have turned the clock back in the direction of less civilised and humane times.   Press this link here for Part One.

In Part Two, I detailed some of the consequences of the Austerity programme as it works its nasty way through a Penzance housing state and its families. Press this link here for Part Two.

Now in Part Three, I am sharing what I have discovered about food poverty and other consequences of the Austerity programme in the idyllic seaside town of St Ives where Louise and I live. Last Monday evening - April 1 - I attended the AGM of the St Ives Community Fund. Online I had seen that a guest speaker, Chris Wallis, was giving a talk on the St Ives Food Bank. For me, as a Labour Party activist, this would be a golden opportunity to find our more about a matter of which I knew little.

We had become residents in St Ives in January 2013. Within a year or two of our arrival, I remember walking through the church grounds of St John's in the Fields, the C.of E. church at the top of the valley side I ascend each day with Ella our canine on her daily walk to the field in which she can run. Pausing outside the church hall, I read on the notice board that a food bank operated here on a specific day and also at a couple of other sites in the town. That was the sum of my knowledge until last Monday.

St John's in the Fields, St Ives

Colin Nicholls is one of the seven trustees of the St Ives Community Fund and a leading figure within the St Ives community - a prominent member of the Town Council and an important local retailer in

Friday 5 April 2019


Every week, during this period of training for the London Marathon 2019, my long run takes me through Penzance by the waters of the bay. The views are wonderful. This post is about the scandal of child poverty on a specific housing estate around half-a-mile from my running route. My source is a Guardian newspaper article, dated 24 August 2016. The situation described in that year won't have fundamentally changed - see last week's blog-post, by pressing here.

A tourist view of picture-post-card Penzance

Nicola Slawson is the journalist whose name accompanies this Guardian article. I learned that:

  • the child poverty rate in Penzance is 41% - on a par with parts of inner-city London, Birmingham and Manchester - compared with a national average of 25%;
  • Seventeen areas in Cornwall rank among the 10% most deprived areas in the UK and Treneere is the most deprived of these areas;
  • In the grey houses of the 1930s estate, where many of the area's 1,225 poorest children live, families survive below the poverty line, either unable to find work or only employed in low-paid and/or seasonal jobs - poverty on Treneere and in other parts of Cornwall, notably Redruth