New illustrated book draws on swans, Mowbray Park and pink slices in Sunderland during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown

An author has published a beautifully illustrated book of 50 poems based on nature during lockdown in Sunderland.

Ian Mole, 68, was born in the city and grew up in the Thornhill area, but has lived in London for the past 50 years. He is back there now but, since Covid first took hold in March 2020, he has spent more time in Sunderland, including much of the coronavirus lockdown.

His mother, Audrey Brunton, sadly died from Covid in April 2020 and he had to sort out her affairs. Circumstances forced him to spend a great deal of time alone which gave Ian, a compulsive writer, the opportunity to compose poems.

The result is the 100-page book called A, Meets B in a Dandelion Lake, a collection of poems about nature in Sunderland, each accompanied by an illustration from artist Katie Bendela.

Ian Mole has written A, Meets B in a Dandelion Lake.

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The book’s title is an anagram of author and illustrator’s names, which Ian says took him “nearly all night to work out".

The poems’ titles reflect their nature-inspired subject matter and include: Sunset in Sunderland, The Swans in Mowbray Park, Rainstorm in Sunderland and Pink Slice – which compares the sunset to the well-known Wearside delicacy.

Ian, a retired English teacher who has worked in Poland, Greece and London, also conducts guided walks in the capital, as well as writing as much as ever.

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Author Ian Mole with a copy of his book A, Meets B in a Dandelion Lake.

He said: “I’m always writing poems. I can’t stop writing stuff.

“I had to stay up to sort my mother’s house out, which took the best part of 2020. I couldn’t come back to London anyway because of Covid restrictions. So I’ve been in Sunderland more than London over the last two or three years.

“I was there by myself nearly all the time, so I had plenty of time to commune with nature, as we all did.

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“Some of the poems rhyme; some of them don’t. They’re mainly quite short. Topics featured are animals like hedgehogs, squirrels, lots of different birds, insects, sunsets in Sunderland and the rain.

The book is on sale now.

“There’s one about a domestic cat. I thought I’d include him because he lives just up the road.”

A, Meets B in a Dandelion Lake costs £7.50 and is available from Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, National Glass Centre, online and the Love Supreme shop.

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Katie Bendela's illustration for Ian Mole's poem Snails.
Snails, by Ian Mole.
Katie Bendela's illustration for Ian Mole's poem Mam's Flower Pot.
Sunderland author Ian Mole.