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The Caretaker...

Timothy Spall played Pinter's The Caretaker at the Old Vic, which is currently running until May. His performance was first rate and he excelled at the grunts of an old homeless man keen to manoeuvre his way into a roof over his head, albeit a very leaky one. However, looking back, I realise I had always viewed Davies the caretaker as more of a Steptoe character. If I had to make a complaint it would be the two intervals, when one would have done. I once drafted a novel that featured Davies making a home for himself in the Berkeley Square gardens, where a 'nightingale sings'. Not sure what happened to that particular MS, but I'm sure a virtual copy of it exists, ready to take a fresh look at.

Since my last post in February we have moved - into one of the very many new homes being built in this neck of the woods. We are in Goring-by-Sea (which is still Worthing, alas!) but we have a lovely view of Highdown Hill from the kitchen and bedroom windows.

Next week I am off to the mother country, Eire, for five days, taking in Mayo, Roscommon, Cork, and Limerick - and also Waterford being that there was the closest hotel to Mitchelstown in Cork. Ireland does a brisk trade in hotel rooms, it would seem. I'm sure there should be a literary themed post to pen whilst there. Scant words this time, but more anon.

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Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

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I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.

-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston Universi…

Booker Shortlist announced

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