April 9 2017

Non-Fiction Sampler

‘The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life; Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate.’ Robert Browning

In his book The Freelance Writer’s Handbook Andrew Croft declares:

‘One of the great joys in life is learning new things. It’s why writers are in business …’

plaque_at_ulceby_war_memorial
Two bomber crews remembered

I have to agree. In my view, payment and a name in print is simply icing on the cake and due reward for a writer’s toil, but the cake’s ingredients often represent a far more poignant prize. The enthusiasm to tell a story, research it fully and write it well can be profoundly gratifying. Some pieces leave deep and enduring impressions which stir the emotions when recalled.

For me, one such piece concerned the aircrews of two Lancaster bombers which tragically collided over my home village during a foggy December evening in 1943. Prompted to do so, I transcribed the entire article on my blog back in October, 2015. Here’s the link to the piece, titled Black Thursday.

What follows are some extracts from other pieces I’ve written. Each brief opening paragraph represents a subject of particular interest to me. My aim with this page has been to reflect those subjects I care passionately about and to show that I am able to write passionately about them.

Much Ado About Hedgerows – Lincolnshire Life Magazine

Championing county hedgerows

Here I explored the history of hedgerows, their importance to us and the environment, threats facing them and the steps being taken for their preservation.

The beauty of our countryside owes much to its patchwork panorama of criss-cross hedgerows, so much so that to many people they are an essential feature of Lincolnshire’s landscape. However, despite being planted for sound, practical reasons, they have since been regarded as a nuisance. It is not surprising then, that the last sixty years has seen a decline of this valuable resource at an unprecedented rate.

Two Thousand Feet of History – Lincolnshire Life Magazine

Two Thousand
History as seen from a microlight

A summer evening’s flight in a friend’s microlight aircraft over Lincolnshire’s north-eastern corner prompted this piece. It described a few of the area’s historic landmarks as seen from high above.

Unlike some of its neighbours, Lincolnshire doesn’t make a big issue about its past. It hasn’t claimed to be the cradle of a nation or hijacked national heroes such as Robin Hood, and although it was the birthplace of historical heavyweights such as Isaac Newton and Alfred Lord Tennyson — to name but two — it doesn’t make a song or dance about it. Nevertheless, this unassuming county is steeped in history and some of it, whilst not being immediately obvious, merely lies beneath its fertile topsoil.

Two-thirds of the article covers the area’s ‘lost villages’ — deserted medieval settlements, surviving only as disturbances in the farmland, visible only from the air. Within the two-page feature I described their appearance and explained the cause of their demise, closing with:

… they are no longer truly lost but dormant. Nevertheless, neither the dull rumble of traffic along nearby roads, nor even the resonance from aero-engines from overhead, can ever awaken them from their timeless sleep.

Open for Visitors – Lincolnshire in Focus Magazine

Open For
Far Ings nature reserve, Barton-upon-Humber

My love of birdwatching and developments at a local nature reserve, here on the south-bank of the River Humber, led to me writing this. The title – a play on words – suggests that the expanding reserve was, indeed, open for visitors, but also open to the influx of migrating birds due at that time.

Far Ings reserve, west of Barton is one of the area’s success stories, not only because it represents one of the main Bittern sites in the UK, but also sensitive management coupled with an ambitious vision are serving to create a win-win situation for environmentalists and local authorities alike.

Verges on the Edge – Lincolnshire In Focus Magazine

A name in print_1
Another vitally important wildlife site under serious threat

I returned to the theme of country landscape preservation for this one. Written using a similar approach to Much Ado About Hedgerows, this item reveals our verges’ history, importance, threats facing them, and steps needed to reverse their decline.

One country saying states ‘spring has come when you can cover five daisies with your foot’. In Lincolnshire however, where grassland meadows and pasture have fallen to approximately 8% of their former area, and roadside verges are under serious threat, that saying is rapidly losing its relevance. Whilst many of us may not feel the impact of the loss of meadows, can we truly imagine a county road without its verges?

These then are samples of my non-fiction. Each item has been approached with enthusiasm, meticulously researched and written with care. They’re also the result of many years spent learning the writers’ craft. If you have need of a writer and feel I can write for you please contact me. I’d be delighted to hear from you.