When I was at secondary school in the 1960’s, I had a teacher of English called O’Hanlon. His nickname was Pud, but I don’t know why. He was a dishevelled, cantankerous and bitter man with silver hair, and I think he drank a lot. He also had an immense passion for literature. Whether it was the prose of Shakespeare or the verse of Chaucer or the poetry of Burns and Pope and Goldsmith, he could bring the words alive. I caught some of Pud’s passion back then. Like him, I became a lover of words. I wanted to write. I wanted my words to come alive and be noticed and be meaningful. But those ambitions were quelled with the passing years. The business of life just got in the way. And then I retired, and the passion stirred. I came across my early writing: the complete manuscript of a novel; a travel journal I had begun, but never finished; stories I had accumulated, some nearly forty years old. It was all there, preserved, secreted in the darkness, gathering dust. I had written the stories for pleasure. When I re-read them, they gave me pleasure again. I decided to complete that journal and to breathe new life into those stories. This collection is the result. Thanks, Pud.
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