We spend January walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. ~Ellen Goodman
No, it’s not me. This is a photo of the woman who is always to be found in next door’s garden and who sits by their duck pond most of the year. (Luckily she doesn’t seem to feel the cold). Probably to celebrate Christmas she has recently had a new outfit and her make-up has been re-touched; she is rather a beauty don’t you think?
It was minus 9.5 last night, I slept under a mountain of duvets and a quilt and cuddled my hot water bottle. Even so, my body was crying out for a hot bath this morning so. as it is a non-work day, I indulged its desires. I ran a bath and added some of my new lavender bath stuff that my daughter bought me for Christmas and mixed it with a couple of drops of my much-loved tea-tree oil. The water was deliciously warm and certainly got my (poor) circulation going. I have always had poor circulation, it must be an inherited thing. As I relaxed into the water I listened to Woman’s Hour which I always enjoy and I have to say it was a real morning treat. I vow to take more baths in future, either in the mornings or the evenings as they are so relaxing and warming, especially at this time of year. So that can be my first resolution, to have more baths. It is a rather pathetic one isn’t it? Other resolutions? I haven’t really made any but I must put my mind to 2009 because it is a subject for writing homework.
The river is frozen again and now there are parts that weren’t affected before that have succumbed. I keep forgetting my camera when I take the dogs for their run in the field. The birds are getting through their food at an alarming rate so we made a special trip out on Monday to stock up with more peanuts and seeds and M even bought a loaf of white sliced 'plastic' bread for them. I have to say that the message from the birds this morning was ‘What do you call this then? Not bread surely!’ They are used to M’s delicious home-made bread you see.
This is Sammy Squirrel proving that he can climb up the pole and reach the nuts. See how he rests his bottom on the iced up water tray - it must be cold!
All is quiet around these parts but I think that local plumbers have been kept very busy dealing with burst pipes. Some schools have not re-opened for the new term - two of my grand-daughters are still off school, much to their delight.
I’m reading a delicious book at the moment, it is Oystercatchers by Susan Fletcher, (a rather ‘plain’ name I feel for such a gifted writer); she wrote the excellent Eve Green, that is another ‘must-read’.
Before I go this is a poem by Caroline Bird who won a Young Poet prize recently, it may have been the Dylan Thomas one. I heard her on Woman’s Hour on Monday where she read her moving poem ‘Women in Progress’ She is a wonderful poet, so young but with such amazing talent. For a New Year, 2009 poem this one beats all.
Women in Progress
(an exaltation for the 14 year old girls in my poetry workshops)
Gemma would take her hair-straighteners
to a desert island but she’s no stereotype.
I hope she nails her sonnet (and that lad) in 2009.
Maxie has a puppy-dog hidden
in the kennel of her chest. Publicly
she thumps her jewellery, roaring ‘your mum!’
I hope she acts herself in 2009.
Salena’s best friend betrayed her. Now
she must audition new friends in the lunch-hall.
I hope she finds hundreds in 2009.
Zoe shields her largeness with her library books
- Point Horror - walks the weaker kids home
through the path of least-bullies.
I hope her mum gets better in 2009.
People think Rachel’s got a Loser badge
pinned to her hoodie but I’ve read her poetry
and she’s got the perfect simile for sky.
I hope she goes to sixth form in 2009.
Because you’ll break my heart, 2009,
if you show me again those tired teachers flexing red pens.
And a drowning poet saying ‘you could be anything’
to an oversized class in an undersized room.
Don’t show me the future in their faces:
girls waving pom-poms at the fringes of the football field,
girls feeling fat behind tills. A knockers joke
in every Christmas cracker. Tell an honest one, 2009.
Tell me the one about the woman
who dug a tunnel through the system and set forth.
She had panda-eyes but an independent tear.
I will sign off now but send you the warmest wishes,