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!


Letters from famous people have been avidly collected for more than 2,000 years. Many of those treasured in Greek and Roman libraries had as much authenticity as the Hitler diaries; graphology had not been invented, and forgers drove a lucrative trade. I don’t possess a sheet of Basildon Bond on which Paul McCartney confides his … Continue reading SECOND CLASS MAIL


As some readers will know, I have recently given a course on ‘Shakespeare’s Bit-Parts’. This was intended as a tribute to his generosity in giving even the lesser members of the acting company something interesting and worthwhile to do. Here are a few more tiny roles which I didn’t have time for:___________________Richard II is a … Continue reading A HANDFUL OF SHAKESPEARE CAMEOS

Take no chances with the crackling

 It is my belief that The Taming of the Shrew and The Comedy of Errors should be considered together, as deliberate parallel portrayals of women who display unreasonable independence in the former case and unreasonable possessiveness in the latter. These apparently opposing characteristics in fact cause them both to chafe at social conventions which they … Continue reading Take no chances with the crackling