19 May 2017, Posted by Nick in Features, General, Journalism, Menswork, Parenting, Spirituality, 0 Comments

A life-changing friendship


First published in The Porch Magazine In memory of my dear friend and colleague, DAVID DRYSDALE, who inspires me daily to embrace who I am and live life as a gift. I FIRST met David Drysdale in the year of my 40th birthday, at a time when being a man still felt to me like a guilty admission. As father of a newly adopted son, I was determined to defy gender stereotypes and throw myself joyfully into shared parenting, but I found the exhausting front-line reality was triggering all kinds Read more [...]
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06 Nov 2014, Posted by Nick in Features, General, Parenting, Psychology, Spirituality, Urban Worrier, 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , ,

My Adoption Journey


In National Adoption Week, NICK THORPE reflects on the most challenging and fulfilling experience of his life... MONTHS before we met our son for the first time, I knew in my gut that I wanted to be his dad. The description from the social worker chimed for both of us: “A lively, sociable three-year-old with a sunny personality and a streak of mischief, C loves to talk about his feelings and listen to story books…” My wife and I put in our application, made a DVD to introduce ourselves, Read more [...]
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30 Oct 2013, Posted by Nick in Features, General, Journalism, Spirituality, 0 Comments

Sorcerers’ Tales


RENATO Cardenas lives alone in a bleached wooden house, shielded by pine trees and the kind of mysterious smile you might expect from a wizard. Not that he will admit to being a wizard. "I've heard that people call me El Brujo Cardenas," is all he will concede, tantalisingly, as he ushers us inside, amusement twitching at the corners of his pointed grey beard. He has good reason to be reticent. According to the luxuriant folklore of Chiloe, this mist-shrouded archipelago a few miles and Read more [...]
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27 Sep 2013, Posted by Nick in Adrift in Caledonia, Book Reviews, Books, Features, General, Journalism, 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Exploring Dangerous Truths


Great to see John Rae finally getting the recognition he deserves on his 200th birthday.  Never heard of him?  Me neither, until I came across the story of Britain’s most undervalued Arctic explorer a few years ago in Orkney. Born in Stromness, Dr Rae's accomplishments tower above those of many of his more famous Victorian contemporaries. Starting his career as a surgeon with the Hudson Bay Company, he was the first to identify the last link in the elusive Northwest Passage between Atlantic Read more [...]
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29 May 2013, Posted by Nick in Books, Features, General, Interviews, Journalism, 0 Comments Tagged , , , , ,

A Quiet Hero


You've probably never heard of Sir John Crofton, but if you value your lungs, you should certainly toast him. It was Crofton, half a century ago, who discovered the first 100 per cent cure for the age-old scourge of tuberculosis. Crofton, too, who pioneered the global method currently being used to fight terrifying new drug-resistant strains on Europe’s doorstep. With his campaigning doctor wife, Eileen, he also laid 30 years of groundwork for Britain’s first smoking ban in Scotland. And Read more [...]
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08 Mar 2013, Posted by Nick in Features, General, Journalism, News, 0 Comments Tagged , , ,

Confused in Venezuela


WATCHING the vast and emotional crowds at the funeral of Hugo Chavez today reminded me of the last time I was in Venezuela - when the masses took to the streets for a very different reason. It was April 2002 and I was heading for the Orinoco delta to write an eco-tourism feature for the Sunday Times, when the news broke that Chavez had been deposed in a coup after mass protests in Caracas. It was a surreal and confusing experience following the turmoil on television from my cabin in the rainforest. Read more [...]
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20 Dec 2012, Posted by Nick in General, Psychology, The writing life, 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Critic Meets Child


Written as encouragement for those taking part in the Safe Space charity Write-athon  * * *  “A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” Thomas Mann I laughed with relief when I first heard this wise quotation from the great German novelist. I can never quite relate to those who talk cheerily about the way their work “just flows out”, because the truth is that my first draft often emerges with all the lightness and fluidity of a house brick. Read more [...]
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16 Mar 2012, Posted by Nick in Book Reviews, Features, General, Interviews, Journalism, Spirituality, 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jeanette Winterson interview


One of my favourite books of 2011 was Jeanette Winterson’s memoir Why be Happy When you Could be Normal? So I was delighted to get the opportunity to interview her recently for Third Way Magazine. Anyone familiar with her award-winning Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, in either its novel or BBC TV serial format, will remember the bold landmarks of the writer’s thinly-disguised autobiography: the terrifying adoptive mother, the gospel mission tent, the collision of lesbianism with fundamentalism. What’s Read more [...]
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06 Mar 2012, Posted by Nick in General, Spirituality, Urban Worrier, 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Start Clowning Around


Not so long ago, I signed up for a clowning workshop called “Spring Fool” (www.thefoolstory.com). It was one of a series of adventures in the lost art of letting go (later chronicled in my book Urban Worrier), and I comforted myself that it couldn’t possibly be any scarier than wingwalking on a bi-plane. But actually, clowning turned out to be uncannily similar to diving at 150mph towards the ground, in a psychological sense at least. Clowns, I discovered, die and resurrect themselves many Read more [...]
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28 Nov 2011, Posted by Nick in General, Interviews, Journalism, Parenting, Spirituality, 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A chat with Annie Lennox


I’ve long admired Annie Lennox, both for the gutsy emotional honesty of her music and her commitment to human rights campaigning (not to mention my Eighties nostalgia for all those insanely danceable Eurythmics riffs). So when I got the chance to interview her for the December issue of Third Way magazine, I decided to dig a little deeper to find out what has shaped her philosophy of life. Here are some of my favourite moments from our 70-minute conversation… In 1984, you were married briefly Read more [...]
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