Final Straw

An arm thick as the final straw.
The lure
Of the not quite forbidden.
Many have ridden
Down the hidden
With fragrant bush
And unable or unwilling to turn back
Have themselves been caught
In a mire of desire,
(A secret fire
They aught
Not to have ignited
Or in it’s flames delighted.
‘Ere they found
Their desire was with sorrow crowned

“Beyond the Blaydon Races” by Alan Clothier

I have enjoyed a number of conversations with the granddaughter of Alan Clothier, (the author of “Beyond the Blaydon Races”), and it was from her that I learned of his work on the Blaydon railways.
The book’s description reads as follows:
“The area covered by this book is mainly that of the five waggonways delivering coal to their staiths on the River Tyne at Lemington from collieries at
Wylam, Heddon, Throckley, Walbottle, Hollywell and Black Callerton. The main objective has been to place the early wooden waggonways fully in the context
of their purpose and usage within the mining industry and continues with their development and the coming of railways up to the demise of the coal industry
in that district. There is a more detailed insight into the multifarious activities of Colliery Viewers whose work it is felt has not always received the
attention which it deserves. For much of this feature, the author is indebted to the wonderfully detailed work diaries of William Oliver held by the North
of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. The opening date for the Wylam Waggonway has long escaped the notice of historians and many well-known
writers have had it wrong; the author is pleased that his researches have at least narrowed it down to the year in which this event occurred. A Glossary
of Terms used in the mining industry is also included as well as numerous plans and a Chronological Listing of Events. Whatever a reader’s interests are,
they are wished as much pleasure in following up their leads as the author has derived from gathering his”. For further information on “Beyond the Blaydon Races” please visit

Countries that Ban Books and How it Negatively Affects Their Residents

Katerina Zissouli

When we think of censorship, our minds may flicker back to the invention of the printing press and the subsequent crackdown of major governmental entities — specifically, the British Empire.

However, censorship is still alive and well to this very day, with several countries exercising their power to ban literary works religiously.

While there are a number of countries that participate in this act, here is a list of countries whose crimes against literature are the most egregious:

The first and most notable country on this list is, without a doubt, North Korea. Also referred to as the world’s most secretive (and oppressed) state, North Korea is known for its dismal lack of freedom of speech. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the ruling Kim family regime is in total control of every aspect of citizens’ lives.

This particular regime is infamous for restricting the flow of information…

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A girl crying
On a train.
Me trying
To restrain
The human inclination to say
“Are you okay?”
But what right have I
To intrude on a girl who does cry?

My dog noses
I swear
His compassion exposes
The British reserve
In me.
As I swerve
Aside, and let her be.

“My Old Clock I Wind” will soon be available as an audio download

Following on from my post of 8 August, in which I said that I was exploring the possibility of having “My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems” recorded, using Audiobook Creation Exchange, I am pleased to announce that my work is now in the process of being recorded. I will, of course post here once the audio version of “My Old Clock” is available.

In the meantime, anyone who is interested in reading “My Old Clock” can find it in paperback and ebook formats on the publisher’s website

The book is also available in braille, for sale or loan from the Royal National Institute of Blind People