Front cover of a book with the words 'The Monsters of Maumbury Rings and other poems for all ages' over a spooky photo of a grassy curved hill at night

“THE MONSTERS OF MAUMBURY RINGS and other poems for all ages” (see above) is being published. It’s on sale already in my local bookshop, Horseys of Wareham and online at Waterstones, Amazon, Hive, and The Book Depository. It can also be obtained through your local independent bookshop.

Even those put off by the word ‘poetry’ will find this a box of treasures.

Each poem is expertly crafted in a style to suit it, starting with a thrilling adventure, followed by what children think of adults, Christmas lights gone mad, an unforgettable culinary disaster, a restaurant so bad it succeeds, the climate crisis in a nutshell, a disastrous school outing, the joys of becoming a grandmother, an island that moves, what tummy buttons are for, as well as nonsense, rhyme and tongue-twisters, all enlivened by Jim Housego’s crisp and witty line drawings.


SURFACE MALE – round the world without flying.John Barclay's book Surface Male on sale

“For seasoned travellers and indeed others contemplating any form of voyage, this book is highly recommended,” writes Anthony of Southampton. “It will also appeal to a much wider audience . . . recounted with honesty, humility and humour . . . highly entertaining . . .”
Contact me for more information or to get your copy
or email

This light-hearted travel memoir poses a serious question: in a world alarmed by climate change, how easy is it to go long distances without relying on fuel-guzzling aeroplanes? Surface Male is the true story of John Barclay’s challenge to travel around the world, doing as much as possible by land and none at all by air.

In a journey that took half a year, crossing three oceans, four continents and 23 countries – by passenger liner, container ship, freighter, motorboat, train, bus, tram, trolleybus, minibus, truck, motorcar, taxi, tuk tuk, motorbike and on foot – not a drop of aviation fuel was consumed.

Journeying on his own (and off the tourist track), without the benefit of pre-planning, he faced numerous difficulties and dangers. Equipped with little more than his own dogged nature and zest for adventure, John soldiered on, frustrated by language, confused, lost and molested – often the only European to be seen. Yet he found humour everywhere and was heartened by the warmth of strangers. The experience changed his outlook on the world.

The story includes amazing scenes such as a hot night in a low dive in Mexico, the terror of a no-go area in Panama, a death-defying bus ride in Vietnam and John’s escape from the authorities in Kazakhstan. He tells it all candidly, with wit and humanity, in a crisp style that holds the attention for 32,000 miles. The fascinating photographs are the author’s own.

Interview with the author:

Presentation to the author at the book launch:


in preparation:

“Mrs Vaughan & the Gardener” and other poems for adults

Amazing Minidramas 1– three very short but sensational plays

Amazing Minidramas 2 – three more very short but sensational plays

Diary of an Incomer – my first years on the Isle of Purbeck (1998 – 2005)

Dinners, Dogs and Derrières – ten weeks in a strange country



The Iron Ball – and other weighty mattersJohn Barclay: The Iron Ball and other weighty matters CD Front Cover


See also examples of John’s writing for live performance under Comedy Material.


Leave a Reply