Who

 

DEREK TURNER

Scribbler. Lincolnshire

“I wonder that so many people have written, who might have let it alone” (Dr. Johnson)

This is where the masochistically inclined can find a few of my articles, and details of various books. I have written on subjects ranging from arts to topography, for the Times, Sunday Telegraph, EconomistDaily Mail, Spectator, Guardian, Literary Review, Irish TimesCountry Life, New Welsh Review, Unherd, Chronicles, American Conservative, Modern AgeUniversity Bookman, Bournbrook, The Agonist, The Mallard, The LadySpectator Australia, Spiked, and others. I accept blame for several novels – A Modern JourneyDisplacementSea Changes, with more aborning. My first non-fiction book, Edge of England: Landfall in Lincolnshire, was published in 2022, and well-received. I have had poetry published in the Australian magazine Quadrant, and the Greek literary journal, Oδós Πavós. I am generally interested in British and European arts, history, literature and topography, ecology, folklore, and the history of ideas.

I have recently started giving (mercifully short) Youtube monologues about overlooked books, in a perhaps doomed bid to accommodate myself to the age of the image – a series known as “Speaking Volumes“. In spare time, I edit The Brazen Head, an online gallimaufry of culture and ecology.

I lurk in an obscure corner of one of the obscurest of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, but can be found at editor[a]brazen-head.org

There’s no escape even on X – @DerekTurner1964

My Amazon author page

37 Comments Who

  1. allan pond

    good to see this Derek, i’ll investigate further when i’ve more time on the pc. at present i’m having a digital love affair with Titania Mcgrath.

    Reply
  2. Dianne Williams

    How I love the self-deprecator!
    I look forward to reading more from your pen (metaphorically speaking, of course).

    Reply
  3. Paul Armstrong

    Glad to find your site. Miss the old “Right Now!” days. Sad to see Allan Robertson is no longer with us.

    Reply
  4. Steve Moxon

    Just now looked you up to see what you’re up to, and I see you’re putting out novels.
    * Would still be chuffed to meet up again some time! — am now living out in the sticks (scenic very hilly Yorkshire gritstone land with lots of tress) having taken over the family home. You’d be welcome to visit / stay.

    Reply
    1. derek

      That would be great, Steve. As soon as the current nonsense is over (assuming we survive, of course!) we’ll sort out a state visitation. There haven’t been any novels recently, but one’s with my agent, and another’s nearing completion. I look forward to hearing what you’re doing. Send a message via Facebook

      Reply
  5. Vlad

    Hello,

    Where can I find old copies of the Right Now! magazine?

    Hoping that Derek sees this message.

    Regards,

    Vlad

    Reply
  6. Ken Popple

    Hello Derek – I moved away from Lincolnshire in the 70’s and have just returned after living here, there and everywhere. As a returning gift a good friend bought me your wonderful book which I’m hugely looking forward to. If you have time (of course you do, there’s a lot more of it in Lincolnshire) please have a look at my ode to Lincs – I think you’ll enjoy it… Ken

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyCYBZC8Yxo

    If the link doesn’t work please search “Land of mud and sky – Ken Popple” on Youtube. Yes I’m pushing it I know.

    Reply
    1. derek

      Hello, Ken, and thanks for your kind comment. Thanks, too, for “pushing it”, because your ode is excellent! I wonder why I’ve never come across it before. Do you write many songs, and do you perform publicly? Do let me know. In the meantime, thanks again, and all best, D

      Reply
      1. Ken Popple

        Hello Derek – thanks for the kind remarks. I play now and again at open mics. My next venture is hopefully in Louth at Riverside theatre on Wednesday 10- it’ll be a mixed bag of song and poetry I believe. Your article btw on Boston in Unherd was a good but uncomfortable read for a conflicted liberal like myself. It’s my home town, although I don’t live there now but all my family do. My final thanks: as an English teacher I was delighted to learn the word tergiversation from your Lincolnshire book! All the best. Ken

        Reply
        1. derek

          I have only just seen this comment! Apologies. Of course I missed your Louth appearance. Let me know of any others, please. I’ll try and keep a more attentive eye on my comments, and you can always e-mail editor@brazen-head.org. As for Boston, it’s a wonderful but unlucky town, much put upon by recent fate. I’m sorry if my article was discomfiting. As for tergiversation, always glad to be of glossarial assistance, and revive vocabulary fallen into abeyance!

          Reply
  7. David Blake

    Hello Derek. Have just finished reading your fantastic book on Lincolnshire. I left the county at 18 way back in the 1970s and it’s great to see the place so well-served; I must get back and explore the bits I missed.

    Reply
    1. derek

      Hello, David. Thank you very much for this very kind comment; it’s vastly appreciated. The subject and I hit it off quite well, I think! I wrote far more than I needed to, so who knows – maybe one day there will be a follow up. Whereabouts did you live? Thanks again, and all the very best for Christmas. Derek

      Reply
      1. Michael Robinson

        A couple of weeks ago I was walking from the Eastgate bus drop to the Cathedral cafe and thought I do not want to live anywhere else than this. My home in Sudbrooke, and Lincolnshire. Yet I am a geordie and have lived in Sussex and travelled extensively. I relish the history and everything about the county. It’s my place.
        This Christmas week included:
        19th: a return visit, after years, to Gunby Hall to enjoy the Christmas decorations, but also to be fascinated by the life of Emily Langton Massingberd.
        23rd: At Lincoln Archives handling her letters to her father.
        24th: A wander in the Cathedral, brought to a premature end, by the fire alarm.
        26th – last night: blown away by the opening pages of the “The Edge of England” – a surprise present from my son, who lives in Manchester.
        I will relish reading more. Thank you for writing it and standing up for the area that so few can pin-point.

        Reply
        1. derek

          Thank you very much for this kind note. A Christmas devoted to Yellowbelly Studies – I approve! I’m delighted you liked the book. As you will have noted, I’m a blow-in myself. One advantage of being an outsider moving into a place is that you are less likely to take it for granted. There is, of course, a strong sense of local pride amongst native-born Lincolnshire people, but it is usually tacit, rarely communicated to outsiders. I am glad to do what I can to highlight the county’s charms and significances; it’s a microcosm of the whole country, and an increasingly embattled identity. Good luck with the rest of the book, and best wishes for 2023.

          Reply
          1. Michael Robinson

            Many thanks and best wishes to you for 2023 – as we see our world seemingly falling apart.
            I have sent our shared messages to my son in Manchester – it was he who bought me your book for Christmas.

          2. derek

            I’ve just seen this. Thanks for troubling to reply, and I’m glad you cc-ed your public-spirited son! All the best to you, and to him, for 2023.

  8. Colin Moore

    Wishing you a very Happy New Year coupled with av’Thank you’ for the mention in ‘EDGE OF ENGLAND’ (page 119). With best regards from the nonagenarian at Croft.

    Reply
    1. derek

      Thank you so much, Colin (and Happy New Year back). How splendid to hear from you. I am delighted you saw your mention, and I’m just sorry I never asked your name, after all your kindness in showing me around. You are a worthy keeper of the keys for a fantastic and unique church; long yet may your association continue! Again, thank you, and all the very best. Derek

      Reply
  9. Graham Goodlad

    Have very much enjoyed your study of Lincolnshire, based on an amazing breadth of sources and so evocatively written. I was born in Lincoln and brought up in Spridlington, one of the least known Cliff villages, but have lived most of my adult life in the south for work reasons, and your book brought it all back. I have family roots in the Isle of Axholme too – one of those urn tombs at Epworth you mention was an ancestor. One small thing to draw your attention to, though, the last execution at Lincoln was at the Greetwell Road prison, not the castle. You don’t mention the Victorian prison (you can’t cover everything of course!) but it also held for a short time Irish republican leader, Eamon de Valera. Thank you for writing about our neglected county, and best wishes.

    Reply
    1. derek

      Thanks very much, Graham. I’m very glad you liked the book, although I’m vexed to discover the error about the execution. I should have used more, err, despatch in that section! I was sorry not to be able to mention de Valera, but I had to cut a lot of text near the end to fit within the limit, and EDV was one of the victims. If there is ever a follow-up, perhaps his forbidding features may look out from those pages. Thanks again; your kindness is vastly appreciated

      Reply
      1. Graham Goodlad

        Impossible to cover everything Derek, and I thought your priorities were right. A follow up volume would be great. Still more hidden corners to illuminate – Buslingthorpe (interesting knightly effigy and brass, birthplace of Roger Scruton) and on a lighter note, Market Rasen (Bernie Taupin, ‘Saturday night’s all right for fighting’) and doubtless many more from our little known county.

        Reply
        1. derek

          Lots of hidden corners and odd connections indeed! I had no idea RS (Whom I used to know a little) had been born in Buslingthorpe; for some reason, that never came up in our conversations. I do know the church there, though. I mention Taupin briefly, and had hoped to quote some of his lyrics of Elton John’s song about Grimsby, but song lyrics are cloaked in copyright restrictions, and an e-mail to him asking for permission went unanswered. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to revisit him, and much else, some day.

          Reply
          1. Graham Goodlad

            I don’t think Scruton’s family lived there long, to be fair. A shame about Taupin and the copyright issue, hadn’t thought of that. There’s also Jim Broadbent at Holton cum Beckering and the associated theatre there. Aviation – Scampton, which I gather has now closed, and the East Kirkby recreated WW2 bomber station with Lancaster etc. So much just in mid-Lincs!

          2. derek

            Roger’s father was in the RAF, I believe, so a peripatetic childhood. Again, poor Jim B had to be edited out for space reasons – but he’s still in there in the overmatter. I’ll definitely return some day

  10. Malcolm Hall

    Not sure if this is the right place to leave these comments, but I’ve just finished ‘Edge of England’ and wonder if you’re aware of one or two slight errors?
    On page 367, the title is Duke, not Earl of Rutland. Page 378, the speed record for Mallard was on 3rd July, not 7th, and it was set to the south of Grantham, between Little Bytham and Essendine. Confusion may have arisen, because the record run started north of Grantham Station.
    Lastly, where are the machine guns in Wyndham Park? I’ve never seen them, although there is a replica pair in the form of a relatively new memorial sculpture.

    Reply
    1. derek

      Hello, Malcolm, and thanks for your interest in the book. It’s always galling to find errors, even when they are just typos, as I like to get things right. I try to be big enough to be grateful whenever they are pointed out! Seriously, thanks for these pointers; I’ll incorporate them if I can into the paperback edition, due out in autumn. Earl instead of Duke was sheer carelessness, and I am presently kicking myself hard; I can’t remember offhand where I culled the info about the Mallard, but will check. It might be someone else’s original error, but of course even if it is, I am still at fault for not taking more care. The Grantham machine guns were always replicas (the ones you have seen); I should have made that clear. Congratulations on your acuteness, and thanks. Derek

      Reply
      1. Malcolm Hall

        Thanks for the reply Derek. It just happens that two of the points I raised happen to be interests of mine, and the other (the Duke) just hit me in the face as it were!
        Although I’ve lived in Lincolnshire for over 50 years now (I’m originally from Derbyshire), I found your book VERY interesting, and its added considerably to my klnowledge of the County, so thanks.

        Reply
  11. Christopher Hill

    I came across your book by chance. Knowing little of Lincolnshire I have found myself absorbed in Edge of England, thanks to your wonderful combination of scholarship, sympathy and poetic prose. I look forward to new discoveries and sharing some of your pleasure in the county.

    Reply
    1. derek

      Thank you! It’s very kind of you to take the trouble to tell me so. It seemed to me to be a book that HAD to be written; I’m very glad if something of my enthusiasm came through. Of course, it fell short of my own expectations, but then all semi-conscientious writers feel that way about ‘finished’ work. I am now pondering a follow-up book that builds on some of EoE’s themes, although what exactly I’m still not quite sure. We shall see. In the meantime, thanks again, and best wishes. Derek

      Reply
  12. Alan J Ford

    ‘Edge of England’ – Brilliant! The best book written about our wonderful county BUT there is a very large mistake! The Machine Gun Corps was in fact raised at Belton House and not in Grantham!

    Reply
    1. derek

      Thanks, Alan (and hello!) Thanks, too, for the information about Belton House. The three books from which I gleaned or in which I checked that information about the Machine Gun Corps all merely said “Grantham” as the place of foundation, and didn’t bother distinguishing it from nearby villages. They clearly meant something like “Greater Grantham”, or “in the Grantham area”! I can correct the text in time for the paperback edition if needs be. Can you supply chapter and verse, please? Thanks again, and best, DT

      Reply
  13. Stephen John Watters

    My wife bought me “Edge of England” as a birthday present and I am so grateful she did.
    I was brought up in Lincolnshire and have spent 71 years here apart from my service in the forces. The first 5 years after leaving school as a deep sea fisherman sailing out of Grimsby until we lost the cod wars and the town died.
    I have been to most of the places you describe and your book took me back, seeing and hearing and feeling old memories. To me, Lincolnshire is not only a geographic location. From the sky (which I call “Lincolnshire grey” to the fields, to the coast and to the sea Lincolnshire is a “feeling”. You captured all of that. Thank you. When I started reading the book I didn’t realise that it would be a page-turner!
    I will continue to visit and walk those wonderful Lincolnshire places, but on the days I “don’t fancy it”, I will pick up “Edge of England” and just re-read a section, that will take me there.
    Many thanks and best wishes.

    Reply
    1. derek

      Dear Stephen (if I may!), Thank you indeed for these comments, which are almost embarrassingly kind. What can I say except that I am very glad my book managed to convey something of this extraordinary county’s essence to a REAL Yellowbelly? I am acutely aware of gaps and omissions; some places were treated summarily, and some never even got a look in (if I ever do a follow up I shall repair some of these omissions), so it’s gratifying to be told that I got some things right at least. Thank you again, and all best wishes for Christmas and 2024. Derek

      Reply

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