This book is an anthology of published and unpublished prose and poetry written over a period of more than 40 years. It is presented in four sections:
- The first – ‘Hey You!’ – consists of a short set of early poems written between 1964 and 1970.
- The second section is a reprint of a booklet published in 1988 entitled ‘Hanging in the Balance’ which received very favourable reviews in the climbing and mountaineering press. Terry Gifford, the Director of the International Festival of Mountaineering Literature judged that
- ‘… this brave, fragile pamphlet of four essays and six poems… is the best writing I’ve read in ages. Better than whole books of empty narrative, this little bit of autobiography climbs through the important things in life.’ (High Magazine, 1988).
- A leading British rock climber and published poet, Ed Drummond, also gave a very positive review in Mountain Magazine (1988)
- ‘… Who can say when or how hope springs? Today, like a ray of sunlight, a small book has landed on my desk … it may already be a collector’s item. For there is a breath of humanity in this book’.
- ‘Hanging in the Balance’ has long been out of print and is reprinted here in full.
- Section three is entitled ‘Away and Away’ and comprises four essays and ten poems. Among the latter, ‘Two Glasses’ was Highly Commended in the 1989 Mary Wilkins Memorial Poetry Competition and ‘Attempting to Interfere’ won First Prize in the Yeovil Literary Prize for Poetry. The Yeovil Prize judge, poet, novelist and BBC producer, Daisy Goodwin, described this poem as having
- ‘… a distinctive voice…’ and being ‘… mysterious but repaying a close reading’
- The final section, ‘Peninsular Days’, consists of four essays that describe various segments of the South West Coast Path, a 630-mile walk undertaken in stages over 8 years by the author. This walk follows the spectacular coastal scenery of Devon, Cornwall and Dorset in a continuous line from Minehead to Lands End and then Poole Harbour.
Collected together, many of these pieces cohere around themes of risk and danger, tests of commitment, and the exhilaration in being alive. Presented alongside the joys and challenges to be experienced in human relationships, many of these themes serve as metaphors for the others.