Welcome to the blog!

The Wool-gatherer is the pseudonym of Hugh Parry. I have taught literature courses in adult education for around 30 years. A few of my victims have been with me for much, or even all, of that time. Leaving aside the personal pleasure of this, a professional advantage is that I have always needed to look … Continue reading Welcome to the blog!


Praed seemed to have it all, and do it all. Eton; a dazzling academic career at Cambridge; the Bar; Parliament, where he represented three different constituencies. He was liked and respected. He also established a reputation as a writer of clever light verse, although he did no more than dabble, confining himself to pieces for … Continue reading WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED, PART 1


Gwerddon yn yr anialwch iâ Cymreig (An oasis in the Welsh ice desert) Leaflets have been everywhere in Aberystwyth advertising the new Caersws Ice Rink. We decided to go one night with our Dutch cleaner Grietje1 as they had a promotion offering half-price entry and a free advocaat for Dutch people. All the way there on … Continue reading LLAWR SGLEFRIO CAERSWS (CAERSWS ICE RINK)


Two vignettes with (unusually for me) a cinematic connection. a)   As a dewy-eyed teenager, I was enormously taken with Joseph Losey’s film of L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between. In one delicious scene set at a village-hall supper-concert, the sort of social intermingling that the English perform with such exquisite awkwardness, the daughter of the Lord of … Continue reading W.S. GILBERT, PART 2


This posting is dedicated to the select audience at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s programme of comic verse, ‘LOL’ (one of its last productions, post-Covid’s arrival but pre-shutdown). One piece by Gilbert was included – ‘The Disagreeable Man’ – but the following was rightly excluded on the grounds of excessive length (you can decide on its … Continue reading W.S. GILBERT, PART 1