A Harrier

A song dedicated to the beautiful North Norfolk coast and to bird watchers everywhere. Ruth and I knocked this up one holiday. The inspiration was the sight of a horse staring over the fence as we drove along; he was obviously counting the cars on the North Norfolk coast road. With apologies to Paul Simon.



Give us a cuddle, we’ll have our packed lunches together.

I’ve got some Nescafe here in my flask.

So we bought a pack of Wagon Wheels,

And Mr Kipling’s Cakes,

And walked off to look for a harrier.


“Cathy”, I said as we boarded the Hopper in Titchwell,

“Hunstanton seems like a dream to me now.”

It took me three days to hitchhike from Sheringham,

I’ve come to look for a harrier.


Laughing on the bus, playing games with the faces-

She said the man in the camouflage hat was a twit.

I said, ‘Be careful, have you seen the size of his camera?’


Toss me a Jaffa Cake, I think there’s one in my knapsack.

‘You ate the last one an hour ago’.

So I looked at some Garganey,

She claimed Temmink’s Stint,

And the geese grazed out in an open field.


“Cathy I’m lost”, I said, though I knew she was knitting.

“I’m empty inside, I could fancy a pie.”

Counting the cars on the North Norfolk Coast Road

They’ve all come to look for a harrier.

The Valley of the Shadow

Arras, April 9th 1917

Today marks the centenary of the opening of the British and Canadian offensive at Arras, on the Western Front.

Hawtin Mundy of New BrHawtin Mundyadwell, Buckinghamshire, fought and was captured in the battle. His powerful memories were recorded late in life, inspiring community drama and song that ties modern Milton Keynes and its inhabitants to its past.

Here is a part of Hawtin’s moving testimony:

Hawtin’s description of the battlefield at Arras was carefully turned into song by Paul Clark for the play Days of Pride, and has never failed to move audiences each of the many times it has been sung since. Continue reading



A song lyric written for my friends Dorien and Ros. Dor had the title and the idea: based on a (fictitious) university romance as viewed from thirty years. I added Cambridge and Dorien’s own mathematical studies into it.



We sit on a camomile lawn
And drink freshly made jasmine tea.
Theorems and constructs are born-
Indivisible numbers like “Just you and me.” Continue reading

The Mark of Tommy

mark of tomThe Mark of Tommy

To be read out loud; the voice of the Bull Rat something like Ray Winstone advertising online betting.


Tommy Cat is mooching homeward in the alley-
Finds his way is darkly barred by something fat.
With his extra special sense of smell
And super-fine night vision
He identifies a bloated old Bull Rat. Continue reading

Sonnets on being disabled

Six Sonnets on Being Disabled
Written in a burst in one day, over a year before I finally  received my diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS. I was already in a wheelchair and pretty confused about what might be the matter with me.
Continue reading