Reviewing the year past, previewing the year to come

As we approach the end of 2017, and the time has come to offer seasonal greetings to all my friends, I reflect on what’s been a busy but productive year for me. I try to keep up with posting blogs on my website but the many demands on my time often supervene, which is why (apart from poor time management) my blogs are so irregular.

Seldom does my diary allow me to take an evening off, let alone a day off! I remain secretary of our creative writing group and I’m on the committees of the village cricket club and Chapel-en-le-Frith Arts. (Chapel Arts now has an upgraded website: – well worth consulting if you’re looking for artistic activities in this area.) Apart from fairly frequent solo storytelling gigs around the region I regularly attend storytelling groups here in Glossop and in Hebden Bridge, Buxton and Matlock. I’ve had one or two more short stories published in magazines and my comic novel National Cake Day in Ruritania is due to appear sometime next year; I’ve now signed and returned the contract and I await critical discussions with the publisher’s editorial staff. I still smile at the recollection of my new one act play, Bequest, presented at last summer’s Partington Theatre Festival, which caused me to perform on stage for the first time in my life. Editing work continues to pour in: loads of medical scientific manuscripts this past year, plus three novels. It’s hard work but it provides income.

Recently I became an ‘author’ for the excellent Wonders of the Peak website (, which is run from Buxton Museum with support from Derbyshire County Council. The ‘wonders’ include factual information and short illustrated essays about history, archaeology, geology, buildings and architecture, etc. – and folklore, a ‘theme’ put in place partly at my behest. Needless to say I’ve contributed several pieces related to local folktales! This input is in part intended as preparation for my grant application, jointly with Tim Knebel of Peak in the Past (, to support a project in which we intend to create short films based on folktales and historical events in the south west of the Peak District. If our application is successful, the films will be made public through the Peak in the Past website and also provided to community groups and schools in the area.

More of the same is promised for 2018, all being well, though to add to my commitments I now find myself the judge of a short story competition and tutor for the creative writing group in Chapel! At least the regular requirement to walk my neighbour’s fat dog and to do her heavy shopping every week makes me get out and about more than I otherwise might. Sometimes it’s a pleasure just to take my eyes off the computer screen and exchange the cloistered environment of my office for fresh air in the big wide world – even in winter weather.

 A very happy Christmas and New Year to all my readers.




  • It sounds as if 2018 is destined to be another busy and productive year. Keep gulping in that fresh air and exhaling it through the blog! Best wishes. Phil

  • John Parker 19.12.2017 - 22:30pm

    Mark, What a busy 2017 you’ve had. Hope you enjoy 2018 even more. Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year.

  • So good to check in and see you so productive and busy! Life in the US is chaos right now, new humiliations every day internationally and a prevailing feeling of helplessness among those who recognize shame, but we have a few victories. Alan has nodules on his lungs and he is getting a CT scan every three months right now. We suspect having been given vaccinations while sick with a UTI to be complicit with his deterioration. Still, we survive. Merry Christmas, my friend!!!

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