This second Hew Cullan mystery begins two years after the events of the first.It is 1581: Hew has returned to St Andrews on the death of his father, a man rendered a stranger to him through time and distance.
Today marks the day when the undeniably mighty Armada, reeling from a night attack by fireships and blocked from retreating down the Channel, was pummelled by English ships and scattered northwards by storms. Unable to regroup, they tried – and many failed – to get home the hard way, via Scotland and Ireland.
“You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” [a]
This one is, I think, for my friend, Joe Gifford.
Back in the heady days of the beginning of this project, I likened close reading to autopsies and archaeology.Today, I present you with a sexy new metaphor: close reading IS the red pill in The Matrix …
It’s often said, often bitterly, that we get the leaders we deserve.After all, ’we voted for them’, right?Or at least broadly 100,000 have: in a population of 65-million-odd, way less than 1% have made Boris ‘Bolinbroke’ Johnson our Prime Minister.Quite clearly ‘the will of the British people’ in the twenty-first century is a highly elusive and nebulous concept.
Right here, right now, the question of the type of leader we want, need, or deserve is as urgent as it has been since the end of the Second World War.As is the debate about whether we prefer harsh truths or comforting lies …
Dying in 1587, just as Shakespeare probably got going, Mary Queen of Scots has been a peripheral figure in my reading, writing and teaching over the past few years.Perhaps unjustly.In her book, ‘Elizabeth & Mary:Cousins, Rivals, Queens’, Jane Dunn fascinatingly posits that one queen can only be defined by contrast to her rival.
Don’t knock teacher holidays until you have tried the profession for a few years. You’ll soon realise that half-term weeks are misnomers, and should be labelled ‘admin / sleep’ weeks, and large chunks of the longer holidays are eaten up by marking or planning. We’re not actually that much better off than other professions when it comes to quality time pretending your job doesn’t exist.