Updates about the website, what I’m working on and anything that could be of interest to my readership.

GCSE Selection Printable Doc Up

Just a quick one to say that a booklet with all the poems from the new GCSE selection (Songs of Ourselves – Volume 1, Part 5) is now available on the holding page.

This means I am underway and you can expect my first analysis shortly!

Read More »

New Selection On Its Way... Slowly

Dear loyal readers,

Just a quick post to let you know that I am alive and active. Currently I am compiling the poems for both the next GCSE section and A2 and I will soon make them available on the site.

After that I am planning...Read More »

Update: Still Alive

Dear loyal readership,

I hope you all had a splendid 2016 and are all set for an even better 2017.

This is certainly the case for me as I have gone from being a world drifter to a family manner with some degree of stability looming in the...Read More »

Visual Overhaul

Dear all,

You’ve probably noticed by now that every time you load a page the design is completely different. I’ve changed the website theme and been fiddling with ways of making it easier to navigate and read posts.

Hopefully it is coming together and starting to...Read More »

Always Back Up

Dear all,

You may have noticed a few problems with the site in the last few days/week. I can assure you that it wasn’t my fault, but one of the plugins for the site had a bit of a tizz and left us offline for a couple...Read More »

New Baby, New Country, New Job

Hi all,

Just a quick post to let you know why I am so quiet at the moment and to outline my plans for the next year or so.

At the beginning of July I relocated from Uzbekistan to the Netherlands and this time I think...Read More »

1,000,000 Reasons to be Happy

Morning all,

So, we are now in the thick of exam season and where the hell have I been? Unresponsive to comments, website crashing for a day, no new posts for a few weeks!

I am sure this has been enough to drive you mad with...Read More »

No More Essays for a while

Hi all,

Just a quick post to say that I am completely swamped at the moment with marking at work, planning and getting back into the rhythm of things since my lovely three-week break.

As such I am going to say that for the time being...Read More »


Dear all,

Apologies for my neglect, but I was awfully busy last week.

Babies are hard work and as I’d been away from my wife for months before going back for the birth, I wasn’t going to spend a great deal of time sorting things on...Read More »

Baby born

Hi all,

Sorry for my silence, my baby boy was born on Thursday and I’ve had my hands full. Mum and baby are fine, but we are all a bit tired.

His name is Percy.

Thanks for your understanding,

Mr Sir

...Read More »

Donations and update

Hi all,

I trust you are all well. Unfortunately I am not as I am still waiting for the bloody baby to arrive! Hopefully in the next couple of days.

Anyway, I’ve been busy with the site in the meantime with the Just an advanced warning that I may take some time to reply to comments and requests for advice for the next few weeks. I’m finally flying back home to see my wife and hopefully see my little boy enter the world… although I’m not sure I actually...Read More »

Oh No! ... It's okay now!

Hi guys,

Sorry for the downtime, but I had completely forgotten about renewing my hosting and have been trying to get it sorted today. It is sorted, as you will no doubt have gathered if you are reading this post.

I hope this was simply an...Read More »

Update - I've been a bit lazy

Dear all,

Let me start with an apology. I’ve been dreadful after my little spurt the other week and haven’t done anything on the site. I promise to be more attentive soon, but it will have to wait a week as I am off to see my wife and...Read More »

AS Poems and More on the way

Hi all,

I’ve been a little quiet on the website, but rest assured I have been busy. I’ve now compiled all the poems for the next lot of AS students, which is attached to the contents page.

In addition, I have been busy...Read More »

Call to Arms! (Have you got a poem I'm missing?)

Dear all,

I’m sure you are wondering what I am up to like Willy Wonka locked up in my metaphorical chocolate house of wonders. Well, I can assure you it isn’t half as exciting as making an ever lasting chewing gum.

As well as playing around...Read More »

Happy New Year

Dear all,

Yes, yes,  know I am horribly late with this, but better late than never!

2016 promises to be a year of two halves for me as my wife has left me (for six months) to go and have a baby in the Netherlands, while...Read More »

New iGCSE Poetry Booklet

Morning, all!

A little treat for you this morning, particularly those of you who haven’t purchased Songs of Ourselves: Volume 2.

Below you can download my booklet of all the poems formatted beautifully and with loads of space for annotations when printed.

Read More »

Rossetti done and dusted (sort of...)

Yes, yes, yes, yes! I love her to pieces, but I am so tired of writing mammoths posts and am really looking forward to getting back to the iGCSE poetry. Monna Innominata was my last poem from the collection, but I am aware that I’ve got a few...Read More »

Bloody Finished!

Thank the Lord!

I’ve finally finished Goblin Market and it has almost killed me. It’s approaching 11pm in Uzbekistan and my wife has been in bed for a couple of hours, but… priorities!

It is a huge 8,300 words (give or take a few) and...Read More »

Breathe: it's done!

Just a quick one to any AS levelers, well done on getting through your exam today. Take this evening and give yourself a chance to recuperate, then one last slog through the weekend and you’ll be done and ready to celebrate in style with the summer holidays.

Just a quick one to wish GCSEers good luck for tomorrow’s exam. Make sure you read the questions carefully and make the right choice, don’t try to break down everything in the poem, instead focus on the most significant and interesting bits that help you answer the...Read More »

Update - Mucking around with the menus

Hi guys,

Loads of free time on my hands now due to a poorly advised second round of mock exams at my school. Quite peaceful though and you’ve probably noticed my post rate going up quite a bit recently: I’m aiming at popping out a proper post...Read More »

iGCSE Poetry All Done!

Just a quick one to say it is all done now.

I will try to get the comparison chart thingy done by the end of this week or next, but my plans have been disrupted a little bit as I need to go to Switzerland on a...Read More »

Update on posts today and my schedule

Hi all,

I’ve been pretty active today, trying to clear up odd jobs and things I’ve been meaning to get round to. This is basic stuff and new posts tend to be analysis or lesson resources I’d simply not got round to uploading.

However, I’m going to have...Read More »

Invitation to collaborate!

Hi guys,

Your latest comment has prompted me to make a broad appeal. This is particularly to Literature teachers, but students by all means feel free to chip in.

It is really useful to have one place where we can all go for resources, example essays or examination...Read More »

Down time

Hi guys,

I’m back, or more exactly the site is back. It seems I forgot to renew my hosting and had 48 hours to find a credit card (difficult when you’re in Uganda stranded from everything) to pay or everything would be deleted.

All safe for another year now, but...Read More »

Nice article

Just a quick one for any iGCSEers.

Following my post about ‘The Planners’ earlier in the week, I came across this lovely article about the transformation of Singapore that the poem concerns. Well worth a read, even if it probably won’t get you any extra marks.

Read More »

Update - Comparison Grid finished

Hi all,

Have had a little time to play around with the website today as I am off school suffering with tonsilitis. Nice! Anyway, added a couple of things, but most significantly I’ve finished the Comparison Grid for AS poetry.

Let me...Read More »

Happy New Year

Hi all,

Hope the New Year finds you well. As you might have noticed the website has been a bit quiet of late, which means I’ve been busy or distracted. Work has been rather demanding of late and we had visitors over Christmas so tapping away on...Read More »

100,000 view celebration!

Thanks everyone for reading, I’m delighted to reach this milestone, but appreciate you probably don’t give two hoots!

AS booklet and final piece of analysis has been delayed by bloody reports – 150 sodding reports!

...Read More »

AS Analysis Booklet

It’s Friday! Thank the lord!

Big spikes in viewing figures this week, which I guess means that November exams can’t be too far away: best of luck to all of you who are sitting it!

With only one more poem to finish off the analysis for,...Read More »

Update: Composed Upon Westminster Bridge done!

Hi all (whoever bothers to read this non-analytical section),

Just a quick one to inform you that I’ve sorted out Composed Upon Westminster Bridge now (previously it had the notes to another poem attached) after the second or third person mentioned it....Read More »

A2 Level Analysis

Right, new term has started with lots of nice shiny pupils and a nasty looking timetable and NO PLANNER! Yet…

Anyway, we’ve discussed which texts are best suited to our kids and it’s looking likely that we’ll be studying ‘As You Like It’ and Christina Rossetti’s ‘Selected...Read More »

Happy holidays

What a lovely eight weeks it’s been! I hope you are as refreshed and rejuvenated as I am. If you’re reading this then I guess you’ve not just finished your exams, but if you have then I hope you did well. My classes excelled and I was really...Read More »

9 thoughts on “Blog

  1. Hello Sir,
    This is a really good website. For all my literature work, I always refer to this website. Additionally, the analysis done are also very good, it helps me understand the poem in a completely different light. For all my exam revision, this website is what helps me the most. Thank You a lot!

    However, in class, we are currently working on the poem, ‘Coming Home’ by Owen Sheers in the IGCSE Poetry section. I am unclear about the second stanza of the poem, I have many doubts, especially about the line with, ‘frozen breath snagged…’ Please help me out.

    Thank You.

    • I’ll presume you’ve read my analysis and focus specifically on the one area you highlighted in your comment. If there are other bits and bobs, let me know and I will try to make them clearer.

      The whole of the second stanza is describing a father out in the garden working on sorting the hedge out. When it says ‘frozen breath snagged’ it means that he is in the middle of the hedge, his breath is visible due to it being winter and it seems to hang in the thick hedge as it doesn’t easily dissipate. This whole bit of imagery is designed to give us an impression of how hard the father has had to work to keep his son on track.

      Hope this helps,

      Mr Sir

  2. Mr Sir,
    Hello – and what an excellent website! It is my ‘ go to’ place for literature teaching matters (I teach English Language and Literature in Zambia, but was based in the UK 2 years ago). The only snag is that your section on Songs of Ourselves, Vol 1, Part 5 is not yet underway …

    So, I would like to make a start on this (for the benefit of my students) and wonder if you would also consider the following ideas as a mutuallly beneficial arrangement between two teachers:

    – I would like to create a blog to support my current iGCSE Literature students and to address Songs of Ourselves, Vol 1, Part 5 in particular. I like the titles/headings/sections you use for the poems you have covered and would seek to use the same format – if ok with you? If I send you my work could you ‘vet it’ and add your ideas so we can post them on our respective blog websites?

    – if you find the above agreeable, would also be able you offer me some advice on starting a blog in the first instance? (the basics: how you decide on titles/headings for the links on your blog site) I ask this in particular because you have done this for a while and I would like my blog to be ‘ student user friendly’ but I know my blog design will likely have blindspots as I am a complete novice. Therefore I think I could benefit from lessons you have learned (either yourself or from feedback) since you started blogging for your students.

    I hope all this makes sense (?) and look forward to hearing from you. If you think my idea is naf I won’t be offended. If you don’t mind reply to my email address that would be great!

    Best wishes,

    Mrs A.

  3. Could you please add more notes on Drama if possible, like “As You Like It” and “A Man for All Seasons”, as well as notes on Stories from “Stories of Ourselves”. That would be really helpful and it would make me just come to one website for all my literature notes 🙂

    • Sorry, it is almost certainly not going to happen. The poetry takes ages to do and there are so many different texts used for the dramas that I’d be only catering to a few people, plus there is a lot of good analysis elsewhere for most of them. Just not enough hours in the day, although I would like to be a one stop shop for all literature students…

      • oohh thats alright then! i certainly do appreciate the analyses you have on poetry. they help immensely and certainly arent boring to read! 🙂

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