Essays & Articles

    What is the difference between an essay and an article? Well personally I don't think it matters too much. I don't think it really matters whether you call a piece of prose an essay or a short story for that matter, as long as you're clear in your own mind as to what is fiction and what is non-fiction - and that the reader can be when it matters. No, I don't think that trying to pigeon-hole is always very helpful.

    I do, though, have definite ideas about what is an essay, and what is an article, but won't bore you with them here. There's really a kind of spectrum between essays and articles. It's up to you to decide which is which, or indeed what should be called something else. But don't worry about it too much.

    The articles and essays which currently appear on this sub-section are:

An essay examining existentialism from a literary point of view.
 

A straightforward factual article, originally written for Carmarthenshire Life, on the ancient river craft still to be seen on Afon Tywi and Afon Teifi.
 

A piece on the Landsker line, the centuries-old but all but invisible dividing line between North and South Pembrokeshire. I believe the Landsker is the only 'border' of its kind in the UK.
 

A personal account of the viewing of the solar eclipse from West Cornwall on 11 August, 1999. See also TIME PASSES.

An exploration of the historical links between Brittany and Wales.

Did Conan Doyle's Dartmoor devil-dog have its origins in the Welsh border country?
 

In a tiny way, this was an attempt to counterbalance the misrepresentation that George Orwell has received from the popular media (c.f. TV shows like Big Brother and Room 101). It's a short essay on the title of his masterpiece of political fiction, Nineteen Eighty-four. This piece originally appeared in the short lived and now long-forgotten publication, The Reed Review back in 1991. With a general backwards drift in liberty, it has even more relevance now than it did in 1991, 1984 or even 1948.

I included this piece on the website at the time of the release of the first part of the 'prequel'. It was something I originally wrote in April, 2002.
 

An article about a wayward ancestor of mine and his adventurous life in Wales, Chile and Australia. This was published in the December, 2008 issue of the Family Tree magazine and is still in their copyright. I am grateful to the editor, Helen Tovey, for giving permission for me to use it and for her practical help.

A short essay exploring the complex relationship between poetry and popular music.
 

Written in the late eighties, this is a record of a visit to a remote farmhouse at the head of the Usk Valley.

An account of the early days of the Great War. It focuses on the death of one of the soldiers, my uncle (and, no, I don't mean 'great uncle').

A historical and personal account of the Charles Bridge in Prague. You can listen to a special version of the jazz classic Basin Street Blues by the Prague band Jazz No Problem.

The history of Kenfig Castle and the ancient Borough of Kenfig and their stormy relationship with the native Welsh and the local sand dunes
 

The early days of the Penderyn Whisky Distillery

A personal account of the viewing of the solar eclipses in June 1954 and March 2015. See also Eclipsed.

The story of 'Blackie' Blackwell and his wait to get into the RAF in WWII, told through his diaries.

An exploration of personal- and place-names, with special reference to the County of Pembrokeshire.
 

An autobiographical piece. What do Oscar Wilde, the colour yellow, and a violent playground game have to do with each other?