Those who know me well will know that I don’t like being away from home and therefore when I go somewhere it is usually for a reason. This week we went to Knaresborough in Yorkshire for a very good reason — to meet a very special person.

Dr James Graham has been poetry expert on Writewords since it began, and I do not use the term ‘expert’ lightly. James has commented on literally thousands of poems over the years. He always comments several times on each poem.  He sticks with it. He helps all who come to learn at Writewords to become the best poet they can be and he does it with patience, care, compassion, erudition and enthusiasm, and many, many of us owe him a debt of love and gratitude that can never be paid. He has been first (and sometimes the only person) to see almost everything I have written in the past 12 years.

So when James suggested we meet up with him on his way down to Yorkshire from Ayrshire, Noel and I decided to drive down and join him in Knaresborough. Conversation drifted through a lovely dinner, then great breakfast at The Dower House — good hotel by the way), on to lunch at The Mitre, steak and ale pie!!!

wandering through thewonderful RHS Garden, Harlow Carr

Of course we had to stop in at Betty’s where they have their own tea and coffee blends, a cookery school, and cakes to die for!

And back for dinner again at the hotel. What didn’t we talk about? And yes we had breakfast with James before we left and could have gone on talking. In fact I hope we will! It was just — au revoir for now.

When we left him, James was off to another garden. He told me he hadn’t had enough trees yet.

James is author of “Clairvoyance” and “Becoming a Tree”. Brilliant poems. You should buy these!

There you see… It’s always worth leaving home to spend time a great friend you’ve never met! Thanks James. See you soon we hope x