I was very lucky in my working life. I couldn’t put it better than Mary Poppins’ friend Bert the chimney sweep: ‘I does wot I likes, an’ I likes wot I do’. As a girl I liked books. I liked libraries. No, I loved books and I loved libraries. I volunteered in the school library, in the local public library; I trained as a librarian, I studied, and qualified; I worked in public and university libraries, until one fine day I found a niche where my profession met and matched another passion: poetry.
Life has changed immeasurably for many of us since the arrival of Covid. Not only have we had to properly examine how vital and indispensable our essential workers are, and finally understand who they are, but we’ve come to appreciate more than ever the role of unpaid labour and the things that don’t get done … Continue reading Not Giving Up Giving Back
Kriss Nichol, aged 71. Kriss is a writer and long-serving Autumn Voices staff member. You can also read a little more about her on our team page. Tell us 4 important facts about yourself: I have had several career changes. I started out doing office work at 16 as a Civil Servant, stayed at home … Continue reading Quick & Quirky Questions with Kriss Nichol
If I offered you a slice of bread smeared with goo which had been regurgitated by insects, would you accept? Does bread and honey sound more appealing? I’ve been reading about cleptoparasites, inquilines and parasitoids: exploiters of bees. Technical vocabulary can be as off-putting as explicit descriptions of food production. Put simply, in the complex … Continue reading Noticing nature: writing
Orlando is a cat. In human terms he passed sixty this month, so is now eligible to be a member of Autumn Voices. His ‘staff’, Sallie and Robin, have filled in the QQQ for him because he’s too busy doing more important things… like catching up on his sleep. Coming soon: Orlando’s new, regular Autumn … Continue reading Quick & Quirky Questions with Orlando
Yesterday, I listened to the clamour of wintering geese and watched Swallows preen hard-used flight feathers. Sometimes, it’s enough to delight in sound and sight, but often, questions come to mind, unbidden, persuading me to listen more carefully, look a bit longer. Watching birds, I automatically ask, ‘What’s it doing?’ ‘Defending territory? Nest-building? Feeding itself? … Continue reading Noticing nature: asking questions
Ken Cockburn is a poet, translator, editor and writing tutor based in Edinburgh. After several years at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, he has freelanced since 2004, working in schools, colleges, care and community settings, and collaborating with visual artists on book, exhibition and public art projects. He runs Edinburgh Poetry Tours – guided … Continue reading N is for noticing
‘At least one good thing has happened this year,’ said a friend, ‘I’ve got to know my neighbours better.’ It’s important, isn’t it? If neighbours greet us by name and stop for a friendly chat, it can cheer us up. What about our non-human neighbours? Can you name the trees you pass? The birds you … Continue reading Noticing nature: by naming
A healer with a unique understanding of the human mind told his worried followers to consider the ravens and the lilies of the field. Roll on 2,000 years and Phil Hammond, an NHS doctor, prescribes CLANGERS: eight habits for a healthy life. N is for noticing the beauty around us. ‘Try to be as still … Continue reading Noticing nature: sitting still
In primary school I dawdled on my walk home, gathering conkers or twirling sycamore seeds. I fed our garden birds and pestered sea anemones in rock pools. Attempts to find a wildlife career were thwarted until I met my husband, Rick, and together we wrote several books on early naturalists. Then, from 1997 until 2017, I … Continue reading Guest blogger for April
Mary Irvine, aged 76. Mary is one of Autumn Voices’ most regular contributors. Tell us 4 important facts about yourself: I drifted into a career in education rather than planning to. I became Head of Compensatory Education in Senior High and then moved to teach A-Level English and oversee S.E.N. in a Sixth Form College. … Continue reading Quick & Quirky Questions with Mary Irvine
Last week I said that when I’m ninety-nine I’d like to do something as impressive as Captain Tom Moore. That’s if I can live an active life until then.
Born in the Midlands, educated in Yorkshire, worked in Glasgow as a publisher and journalist, Simon has also lived in Sicily and Cyprus. Now spends most of his time in the Highlands wandering around knocking on doors as an interviewer.
There’s a new mood in the air, a call to action that’s different from BC – before Covid. Maybe it’s the enforced stillness allowing us to view in a new way those things that aren’t right. Or perhaps the individual sense of threat we’ve all experienced has stimulated a desire to act. In many spheres, … Continue reading (Be) Active – Older People’s Activism
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