writing & publishing

Notebook Sketches

Matlock: a strange mixture of old and new. Chrome, brass and leather-trimmed bistro bars stand alongside shabby collectible shops. Old ladies prefer the company of old ladies in tea rooms with steamed up windows, and that haven’t been decorated in years. Walkers stride through traffic with a nonchalance and purpose of street kids in Delhi or Mumbai. There are middle-aged women here uncertain how to be fashionable, too far away from the guidance of city girls. People crane their necks to read the menus in shop windows. There is plenty of selection these days. New furniture shops with shapes and textures that seem unlikely in a dale. Consumerim has arrived here, finally, and the town seems unsure how it should react to it.


A dark valley that retains a near perfect stillness against the quick-moving clouds.

Winter has stripped the land of any dignity.

A lattice of dry-stone wall across the hills.

Drizzle, gathering in huge drops; poised beneath strips of fencing, and from the tips of trees.

Disused barns, or sheds, or storehouses, their roof tiles blighted by lichens, nature reclaiming it.

The stark cry of a bird.

On the hillside: headlights from a car navigating the awkward terrain. You feel suddenly vulnerable at this invasion of the stillness.

The tops of hills surrendered to the clouds.

Silhouettes of trees expose birds’ nests.

A chill and loud wind.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.