The Beech Plantation on the north face of the Pentland Hills to the south of Edinburgh

Early influences. Arthur Mee’s remarkable Children’s Encyclopedia, particularly the Astronomy, Poetry, Engineering and the Story and Language sections. Henry Smith’s 1000 questions in General Knowledge. Father’s fondness for quoting from a limited repertoire of poetry and mothers fondness for distorting the language by giving equal stress to compound words (e.g. toothpaste, bridegroom etc). Being read an abridged version of Pilgrim’s Progress in P2. Attending Sunday School in Upton Cheney.

Favourite poets include Browning, Blake, Tennyson, Owen, Hopkins, cummings, William Carlos Williams, Eliot, de la Mare.

Started writing poetry December 1991. Three chronological ‘ collections’ :- Costa del Sol (220), Mappa Mundi (139), The Yellow metal (112). First individual collection Ventriloquist Bird (51) interupting’Yellow Metal’.  

Attended extramural poetry writing courses run by Gerrie Fellows (2002-3) and Donny O’Rourke (2003-5). Donny encouraged his pupils to publish poetry collections, in this case ‘Storm in a Teashop’, with expenses in part defrayed by the Tom Wright Trust. Donny, who remains a most important influence, was fond of saying (quoting?) that a poem should have a beginning,  a middle and an ending, but with the addendum, not necessarily in that order, something it is quite hard to agree with. He also kindled the desire to write collections rather than single poems where the comment on structure is even more telling.

1938          Born at Greenway Farm near Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol

1940          Moved to Upland Farm in the hamlet of Beach in South Gloucestershire  (May 1941)

1943-8       Upton Cheney Primary school followed by Wick and Abson Church of England School

1948-56     Kingswood Grammar School

1956-63     University College London  (1956) Honours Chemistry, PhD Biological Chemistry

1963-8       Post doctoral work in Citta della Universitsa Rome and in Pharmacology UCL.

1968-2001 Taught in The Department of Cell Biology at Glasgow University

2005         Retired to Edinburgh