Bluebell woods, trees and low sunshine in the distance

Dark Angels Note 148

Dearest Friends

Welcome back to our weekly Friday Note.



This week marks the birthday of English writer H. E. Bates (16 May 1905 – 29 January 1974).

Herbert Ernest Bates started his writing career on the Northampton Chronicle at the age of 16. This first stint as a journalist was short-lived; he quit after just two months as he didn’t like the work. He then began work on his first novel (published in 1926) while working in a factory, and went on to write short stories for the RAF, a country life column in The Spectator and a column on gardening in Living Magazine.

Even if you haven’t read any of his 11 novels, 300 short stories, or any of his poems, plays or books on country life, it’s likely you’ll have heard of the Larkin family – the family central to his novel series which started with The Darling Buds of May.



“The Larkin’s secret is in fact that they live as many of us would like to live if only we had the guts and the nerve to flout the conventions.” – H. E. Bates.

From a junkyard juxtaposing a beautiful bluebell wood to a ramshackle lorry full of a remarkable family, read more about the real-life inspiration behind Bates’ creation of the Larkins.



In the above article, Bates mentions a local place that gripped his fascination. He knew he had to write about it.

Is there somewhere you pass by often that intrigues you, that keeps catching your attention because of its peculiarity or because of its stark contrast to its surroundings?

Maybe you already know some of its history. Even if you don’t, try spending a few minutes making notes about the place and why it intrigues you.



Keep sending us your poems, writings, links and writerly whatnots that you’d like to share with the wider Dark Angels family.





Words Are Seeds, 19-23 June 2023

Five days of writing, rituals and nature connection at Bore Place over the summer solstice. We’re expecting a lively, stimulating and playful experience, with plenty of time for individual pondering, wondering and wandering – and writing.

Find out more here.


Hearts, Inspired, 16-21 June 2023

Join us for a 5-day writing retreat on Whidbey Island, in the US Pacific Northwest. We’ll explore writing, creativity and inspiration through guided writing, personal projects and time in nature.

Sold out – join the waiting list.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings

Join us for a reflective hour of reading, writing and communing led by Neil Baker. Everyone is welcome; in fact, invite a friend along. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on.


Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here.

From everyone at Dark Angels