About …

I am a writer who spent most of my working life as a journalist. I used to write offbeat commentary pages for the Eastern Daily Press, based in Norwich, England, and earlier a weekly piece called Square One for the Church of England Newspaper – hence the title of this site. I am also a poet, a walker, a chess player, a driver, a husband, a father, a grandparent, a guitar player, a reader, a TV watcher, a pensioner and a Christian, among other things. I love Norfolk, Scotland, the coast, deserts, rivers, mountains and almost everywhere I find myself, though not necessarily in that order. I like to look at things sideways, wherever possible. I have published seven  poetry books: Mist and Fire (2003), Off the Map (2007), Running with Scissors (2011), Stillness lies Deep (with Joy McCall, 2014), Iona: The Road Ends (2015), Waving from a Distance (2017) and Under Cover of Day (see below). I have been a member of the poetry group Chronicle and edited a book on the Pastons in Norwich, which contains directions for a walk, a bit of history and some poems by myself and others. It’s called In the Footprints of the Pastons. Click here for more information on the Pastons.

I also enjoy photography, without being in any way an expert. Some of my pictures can be found on Flickr, and some are included in Stillness Lies Deep and Iona: The Road Ends.

Poems under cover

My most recent poetry book, Under Cover of Day, has been published by Paul Dickson Books. It is available from pauldicksonbooks.co.uk or from Amazon, priced competitively at £6.


Latest article

Tripped up by road works

I fell over yesterday. It was nothing. I’ve done it before, but I have to admit to a strong feeling of concern as my forehead hit the pavement rather hard, and blood started flowing. When I say flowing, I mean oozing.

I had been trying to avoid a young woman (not something I do often) and at the same time skip round a heavy road works item that had strayed on to the pavement. I know road works are designed mainly to obstruct cars, but clearly they’re expanding their repertoire. 

I was a bit stunned and lay there for a moment. Don’t let anyone tell you that people in distress are ignored: as I got to my feet I was quickly joined by several young women and a roadworks contractor, all of whom were extremely solicitous. One woman, who worked in the hospital, wondered if she should call an ambulance. I said no. I don’t like to cause trouble, especially for me. I’ve been to A&E before. 

My wife was if anything more stunned than I was, because of course she didn’t know what I had managed to achieve in the way of injuries and broken limbs. Happily my guardian angel had been alert; so I hadn’t broken anything. Nothing visible, anyway. I did have a bit of a headache, and one of my fingers was an interesting shade of black. 

My spontaneous care group decided against the ambulance in the end, and one of them located a nearby chemist on her phone. She thought I could get help there. I thanked them all profusely, and people began drifting away. 

So my wife and I strolled up to the chemist. I’m not sure if “strolled” is the right word, but it was fairly slow. Unhappily the pharmacist was on a lunch break, and no-one else could help in a practical way. One of them thought it might be illegal. However, they did sell us some wipes and some plaster and some painkillers. Oh, and some bottled water. They weren’t allowed to give me a glass of water, because, well, I’m not sure. But they clearly couldn’t. Possibly because it was a branch of a nationally known chemist, and… well, I’m not sure. Again. 

I don’t blame them. I expect they had rules. But their response contrasted sharply with those who had rushed to help me in the street. 

I was not feeling too bad by now. My wife was also starting to recover. So we wandered down the lane to have tea (or was it coffee?) with a friend, who had been waiting patiently and had kept us a seat.

I had a reasonable sleep, and today I don’t feel too bad, though I have to admit to feeling a bit dizzy when I tried to undo the trapdoor to the loft. My wife insisted on going up there instead of me. So that was all good. I do feel a bit tired, though. Back to normal, in fact.

Latest poem

Looking for Narnia

Looking for Narnia 
you stand outside the wardrobe
in gloves and blankets

but there is nothing to see;
the door is shut 
and the cupboard is filled
with things you may need some time, 
blocking the way through

Gazing into the distance
you try to see snow and light
or a messenger from the north:
maybe a lion
or an eagle
or a witch

Some other country
would suit you, as long
as its magic 
was only 
in your head

and the door