The Phraser has tapped away another year … thanks! It’s knowing there’s an audience that gets the writing out from somewhere between my ears and into cyberspace.
It has been a stretched eighteen months of writing with Zimbabwe, land of my birth, still taking up much of the space. Quite a chunk of that has been taken up by two interviewees.
The first is Tom Benyon OBE. He has developed the charity, ZANE (Zimbabwe a National Emergency), into a discreet and highly effective way of getting the right sort of help to the elderly and vulnerable in Zimbabwe. Tom has walked miles, and networks endlessly, to ensure that strangers, neglected by governments, are given hope and the dignity of knowing that someone cares.
The second is Meryl Harrison. Her work on behalf of Zimbabwe’s animals remains passionate and positive. It has been a great privilege to meet her and to try to highlight some of what she did, and continues to do, to try to limit the suffering of animals caught up in chaos.
In London, through the work being done by The Migrants Resource Centre, I’ve been lucky enough to meet and interview some new Londoners who have come to the city with torn lives, then stitched them together and taken them on to new horizons. Two women of note are Shabibi Shah – poet, writer and community leader – who fled from Afghanistan with her small children in the 1980s; and Sylvia Velasquez who had to leave Chile in the 1970s to avoid the clutches of the Pinochet regime. Both women, alongside other commitments, now pour their energy and talents into helping others who have washed up in London.
On the food front there have been some interesting experiences. I’ve had a day tasting dishes from around the world and then meeting the chefs who created them in Camden Lock Market’s West Yard. I’ve also travelled down to the Leckford Hutt near Stockbridge to interview Germain and Glanis Marquis at their French Pantry and cookery school.
Several restaurant reviews have appeared including one in November 2012 of SOJO, in Oxford – a restaurant which, this November, was chosen by Giles Coren, the Times’ restaurant critic, as one of his top fifty places to eat.
In more rural England I have met and interviewed: the watercolour painter Rosemary Miller; the former archdeacon, The Venerable Adrian Harbidge; and the performance poet, Jem Rolls. It was Jem’s father, Peter Rolls, from the West Street Writers, who generously gave me some of his writing to help get this blog on its way.
Thanks to all who’ve read the articles and to those who have taken the time to comment. Your interaction is greatly appreciated. Special mention has to go to Clive Handy for his support and for allowing me to interview him, and to James Maberly for his encouragement. James is an artist, sculptor and writer (amongst other things) and his recent book is for all those looking for the courage to trust their instincts .
Blogging has turned out to be alarming, demanding and interesting. Thanks to everyone who’s clicked in. If you’ve any suggestions for interviews please let me know. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally – thank you WordPress.com – you’ve made the jungle much easier. The message below is from them.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,500 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.