Alexander Averin

Friday 29 June 2007


Poems, raindrops and the power of thought.

Dear Diary,

Here are two poems, the first was sent to me as a daily poem from Poetry Chaikhana.

Wendell Berry is new to me but I have discovered that he is both prolific and ’green’; an American writer of both poetry and prose. I love discovering new poets, all thanks to this wonderful web we live within.

Sabbaths 1999, VII

Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.

With the ongoing havoc
the wood this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight.

The sky
is grey. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
not quite.

What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly
falling, and is pleased.

Wendell Berry

Elaine Maria Upton is a contemporary poet, also American.


Every time you see a tree
or dream a cloud,
there is that in you of the tree
there is that in you of the cloud.

The saguaro dreams in drought
and endures. The cloud dreams
our woe --sneezes, cries.
The rain falls

Elaine Maria Upton

(For those who are ignorant like me I discovered that the saguaro is another word for cactus).


It is a shame but we are not now going away as M has a chest infection and we have had to postpone our visit to Surrey and Sussex. Such is life. Others are enduring far worse at the moment.

But blessings will have to be dredged up.

Strawberries - it’s their season again but (Is it me?), why don’t they have the flavour they had in the ‘old days’? Should I have to buy organic ones?

Hairdressers, hair straighteners and Frizz-Ease. I have only just started using these (last two mentioned) wonderful aids and joy of joys they help to smooth and straighten out my unruly and thick hair that is so prone to curls and waves especially in this, shall we be kind and call it damp. weather we keep having.

Photographs, the camera. As well as my own camera and its ‘digital powers’ there are so many images sent each day from far and wide.

Early nights and how good they make me feel the next day.

New songs.

Geraniums. I bought some more yesterday. I had a very enjoyable trip with my daughter to our favourite garden centre and I also bought another David Austin rose, a deep pink one, a repeater and very fragrant. I also bought another hardy Irish-type fuchsia, and a French lavender.

Light evenings. Lately it seems to be staying light all night here. We are so lucky that we have no light pollution.

The photographs I have posted are of Aberaeron and are for Snailbeachshepherdess really. I loved her phrase ‘sugar almonds’ to describe the coloured houses of this Welsh seaside town.

A lot of folk seem depressed at the moment due to the rainy weather and especially the lack of sunshine. It may be my Irish blood but I love rain. I know I am unusual and very lucky not to suffer from SAD. I never moan if it rains or call it bad weather (I’m with Billy Connolly on that). All life forms need rain and we hay fever sufferers especially revere it at this time of year. The first week of Wimbledon is ALWAYS wet, the second is usually what they love to call ‘a scorcher’. I wilt in the heat and my favourite season is Spring. I like warm, moist weather, the sort you get in West Cork where the land is warmed by the Gulf Stream and palm trees and the like are plentiful. I have roots there and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it is my most-loved part of my much-loved spiritual home.

I enjoy walking in the rain and love to see my garden plants getting a good drink, hearing the otters splashing, seeing wild ducks swimming past, obviously enjoying it too. I suppose I love all extremes of weather and couldn’t live in a country where the weather was without variation day to day, always hot for example or always cold come to that. I love storms, strong winds, snow. I love blue skies too and sunshine, don’t get me wrong and I agree we could do with some more of those at the moment and my heart goes out to those affected by these terrible floods.

Changing the subject but still talking of ‘hearts going out’ and our Sunday night get-togethers.

Physicists have discovered that everything in the universe consists of just particles of matter - energy, all in different forms and that thoughts are also energy. I am no metaphysicist; science was never my best subject at school but I believe in the power of our thoughts. Sending positive energy at a specific time for example by a group of people can only intensify that energy.

I believe in the power of ‘thought energy’; some call it prayer and may attach it to their own particular organised religion, their own particular version of ‘God’. Call it what you will, it has helped me in the past when Christian prayer groups have prayed for me. I know the benefits of ‘distant healing’, M and I both use this to try and help loved ones far away and even if it works for just one person it is surely worth it.

I love the phrase ‘Our thoughts are the world we live in

Problems are all about perception, change your perception and you change the problem. Try and turn negatives into positives. Hard sometimes, don‘t I know it.. However…….

The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our lives.
Louise Hay

I will sign off now,

And as the dear Dave Allen used to say:
May Your God Go With You,

Bye for now,

Sunday 24 June 2007

Books Again and The Sea.

Dear Diary,

The photos are of Jamie Owen and Derek Brockway from BBC Wales, their books and the BBC Bus. (details in this blog below).

In the previous blog below you will see a poem and a picture I picked and posted in the early hours of this morning. Rather foolishly I started up my Norton Anti-Virus scan system as I keep getting an annoying pop-up on the computer. Once I started old Norton I didn’t like to stop him and it took ****** hours so I started dipping into poetry books as is my habit. I picked one of my favourites from a book that features Irish painters as well as Irish poets.

I can’t believe I have been blogless for over a week. It’s been one of those weeks, things to do and things on my mind. Playing catch-up, or rather wanting to but not doing so. Work has been very busy too which is good but still tiring. I didn’t even make the party on Thursday as it was my late night at work and I was exhausted. But I did have all the music set up for you and I hope you enjoyed hearing all your requests and had a good sing-a-long and dance-around.

I couldn’t even have a drink on party-night as I had to go to bed early and sober. Four of us from the book group had to go to Newtown to the BBC Wales bus which was doing an outside broadcast by the Jamie Owen programme. We had to talk about the two books we’d been asked to review for Welsh Book of the Year. Mr Cassini by Lloyd Jones was the novel and Growth Rings by Christine Evans was the poetry book we were asked to read, two of the shortlisted titles.

Mr Cassini was an excellent book; I can’t recommend it highly enough. It tells, in a series of dreams the story of a man’s journey to dredge up a lost and buried childhood. It is a surreal novel, multi-layered, highly original, intelligent and full of Welsh myth and magic. It must win the prize as far as I am concerned. (Please make me happy and go to BBC Wales arts page and vote for it on my behalf… or at least read it). If you are Welsh you will love it I am sure but even if you are like me just a mere incomer (having lived here only seventeen years) you will probably also enjoy it. However I have to say that not all of the book group loved it as much as me; some did, but even the group members who thought it ‘weird’ did concede that it was very well written. Perhaps then I could liken it to Marmite and call it a love it or hate it book. But it is a very rare book that appeals to everyone and why should it?

R and I were on air live and Jamie asked us questions. Only a few minutes but nerve wracking especially as he didn’t ask the questions I was told he would. I waffled on as best I could, left out most of what I meant to say but never mind. I wouldn’t be as nervous another time now I know what it entails. Then at the end of the programme the four of us from the group were recorded discussing the poetry book. We talked for fifteen minutes and they will edit it down to four minutes and it’s going out next week.

We sat on the bus for an hour and a half and were able to watch Jamie do the programme, play some great music and interview the other guests who were a local historian, a Welsh monk and a Welsh National Orchestra conductor. A very interesting morning. Derek Brockway the weatherman was there too. (Only the readers in Wales will have a clue who I am talking about, I apologise). We call him Uncle Derek at home as he has such a sweet way about him (good looking too!). Jamie has the loveliest voice; as I sat on the bus I likened the sound of it to melting chocolate and Derek of course was the sparkling wine to go with it (so I was thinking of you all).

Next weekend I am off to Lewes in East Sussex to stay with C, my newfound sister. We have only known of each other’s existence for a short while and B and T my (adoptive) brother and sister-in-law are also coming along for the weekend. We are going to visit an architectural exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea (my brother is an architect) and have a meal in their very nice restaurant which overlooks the English Channel. Then it will be back to Lewes for a spot of the craic. My sister was brought up in Tralee, lucky girl, so grew up by the sea in Ireland, our native home.

I never like leaving my little country haven in the summer months. Only Ireland, the sea or my family, old and new, can tempt me away. I suffer from homesickness, it’s a family trait I am told.

There is something about the sea and the vastness of the ocean which fulfils an elemental need in all of us I think; perhaps it is because we are meant to have originated from there? Everyone I know seems to want to live by the sea. It certainly appeals to me, being able to look out at ‘nothingness’ and watching the ocean in her many moods, both wild and gentle. My Moon is in Scorpio so that is why emotionally I am drawn to be by water. It’s probably why I love my little river cottage so. But my little river can also rage and roar, you would never think so when you see her in Summer, when she ’shrinks’ to the size of a brook. I will dig out and post some pics of her in flood. When she rises she is truly frightening then, so powerful, noisy and fast flowing, you wouldn’t stand a chance if she took you away. (just like me really :-).

I’m going to stop now, my blogs are always too long. Why can’t they be short and sweet? Less often says more after all. N, my dear writing tutor has taught me that. But I have been away for a while so forgive me. I’m going to catch up on blog reading if I can get on the computer, might be difficult as my two menfolk are hovering. And later I will be writing some more of the old ‘life story’.

At eight o’clock tonight I will be joining in and sending healing, love and hugs to those who need it, the purple coo folk included. who will know who they are.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this action spread and more people round the world sent peace, love and healing to their fellow humans at the same time once a week? And lit a candle too.
(From a Distance is playing as I write this, coincidence again?).

Although I don’t belong to any religion I believe in the power of thought.

The universe looks less and less like a great machine and more and more like a great thought.
~Sir James Jeans, physicist.

Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger
than any material force, that thoughts rule the world.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Before I go here is a (sea) poem.

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sails shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume and the seagull crying.
I must go down to the sea again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife:
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover,
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

John Masefield

Bye for now,

Saturday 23 June 2007

A picture and a poem, That's all for now.

The picture is Disappointed Love by Francis Danby, an Irish painter (1793-1861)

Here is an Irish poem I love, more famous now as a film bears its name.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

There's music in my heart all day,
I hear it late and early,
It comes from fields are far away,
The wind that shakes the barley.

Above the uplands drenched with dew
The sky hangs soft and pearly,
An emerald world is listening to
The wind that shakes the barley.

Above the bluest mountain crest
The lark is singing rarely,
It rocks the singer into rest,
The wind that shakes the barley.

Oh, still through summers and through springs
It calls me late and early.
Come home, come home, come home, it sings,
The wind that shakes the barley.

Katharine Tynan

Friday 15 June 2007

Back Again

Dear Diary,

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness
Chinese Proverb

I wake slowly and it is hard to come back to the real world as I have been dreaming deeply and for a change I have had enough sleep. Too many late nights had caught up with me again and I fell into bed exhausted last night.

But it is a beautiful morning. Sun gleaming on the river, swathes of hardy geraniums in pink and purple adorn the garden, an impressionistic treat. And my new washing line! More on that later, I bet you can’t wait.

I am enjoying the juke box choices but isn’t it annoying when it stops when you go off to comment? But I am putting it on as background when I go to the Common Room or when I am surfing around, emailing or even doing my yoga. M seems to be enjoying it too. I think I need an Ipod. There are already a couple of tracks waiting on Jukebox 2 that someone asked for (sorry I forget who; too late for the first round.

My current favourite on there is Hallelujah by Allison Crow, I couldn’t find it by K D Laing, the version that someone (forgive me but I have forgotten who it was but she said it made her cry). She recommended hers to me but I only found this version by the Crow woman, new to me, but boy can she belt it out! She is Canadian so Pondside will surely know her. I have just found Crowe singing it on YouTube. Canada certainly has some wonderful writers and musicians. Sarah McLachlan is another singer I love. Below are some reviews of Tidings an Allison Crowe CD.

Tidings, Allison Crowe (Rubenesque)

This Canadian singer is more of a rock belter than her countrywoman Sarah McLachlan, and this 2005 album has more of a spontaneous feel to it, with only her piano, bass and percussion for backing. There are no originals, and indeed she even picks some non-holiday tunes for their complimentary tone, so we get things like Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," the Stones' "Shine a Light," McLachlan's "Angel" and the Beatles' "Let it Be" and "In My Life." Regulars include Joni Mitchell's "River," "Silent Night," "In the Bleak Midwinter," "First Noel" and "O Holy Night." There's something to be said for this unadorned approach -- for example, you might just feel comfortable playing this all year round. Maple Music kindly threw in a DVD of her playing live, but you have to be in the fan club to get this.

Tidings: CD Review
Sophia Gurley, The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music (USA)
August 2006
Ecto priority:
Highly recommended
Allison Crowe's powerhouse vocals are front and centre in these holiday and cover songs, giving them a lot of life and presence. In addition to the songs on the ep version, this includes: an impressive cover of Joni Mitchell's "River", two Beatles covers, and three additional carols. Ectophiles will find this a strong addition to their collection of seasonal albums. The combination of traditional carols with carefully selected covers is especially enjoyable.

Allison Crowe: Tidings
Cover Corner by Tom Weel: Beatles Unlimited (Netherlands)
May/June 2005 (BU 181)
Allison Crowe’s name appeared on Art Monkey’s compilation “It Was 40 Years Ago Today” (BU177) and here we have her own seasonal album, with some obvious traditionals (Silent Night, The First Noel, a.o.) The other somewhat contrasting half consists of two Leonard Cohen songs (including the fantastic Hallelujah) and tracks written by Joni Mitchell, the Stones and Beatles: In My Life and Let It Be, which also appeared in a slightly different version on the above mentioned sampler. In an acoustic setting, where she gently accompanies herself on piano (on only three tracks she’s joined on bass and drums), her vocals are the most intriguing aspect on every track. She easily flows from dark, soulful and firm to an occasional high note (Mitchell’s River) or long vocal draws (as proven in the final album track, a startling version of Sarah McLachlan’s Angel). By giving Let It Be the gospel flavour it deserves and with an emotionally sung In My Life, the two Beatles songs fit very well in the album’s concept. This all leads to only one conclusion: don’t play this during Christmastime… play it the whole year through!

I just adore Leonard Cohen’s lyrics, well you can’t call them lyrics they are pure poetry.

I have missed and haven’t read a blog for what seems like ages, let alone written one. I have popped into the Common Room from time to time, I don’t want to miss anything, some things make me smile or laugh, some can bring a tear. All human life is there but what a great community we have. But Life gets in the way of writing sometimes doesn’t it? Family stuff, chores, reading and work mainly. All have conspired to keep me from blogging. Today is a day off and it is a free day so, as I savour my mug of tea that always brings me to my senses, I think about what I am going to write.

I am determined to get on with it today as I have to finish my assignment for my OCA course. I am writing my ‘life story’; it’s an adoption memoir really and a record of my search for family, for future generations to read. For my assignment I have to write about Moments of Consequence and their influence on my life; well there have been so many of those. I will have to try and be selective.

Our book group met this week and we discussed ‘Diary of an Ordinary Woman‘. As it is also our Purplecoo choice I will say nothing yet. Suffice it to say that an enjoyable, lively evening was had as usual. A few of us are going to an outside broadcast on Radio Wales next week on Jamie Owen’s programme (only Welsh readers will know who I am talking about). We are reviewing Mr Cassini and Growth Rings, two of the short listed titles for Welsh Book of the Year. One of us will speak about one of the books and then another will record an interview for the following week. I have been asked to speak but have suggested that two of our members do it, I would surely dry up on air! We have two lecturers and a barrister in our group so they should find it a doddle to do.

Growth Rings is a slim volume of poems, several of which I like very much. I will post one or two for you at a later date. I would have to be honest though and say that I wouldn’t rate it as the winner of the prize. Mr Cassini, the novel, however, is another matter; I love this book and can highly recommend it. Yes it is of Welsh interest so if you are Welsh or live in Wales it may resonate with you more but apart from that it would still get my vote for its originality and its intelligence. It is very cleverly written, a multi-layered modern fable, crammed with history, myth and magic. Having said that I do feel that it is a book that people might either love or hate. I have requested Lloyd Jones’ previous books through the library including his latest title Mr Pip and look forward to comparing them with Mr Cassini. Being in a book group or being ‘made’ to read a book that you wouldn’t normally pick up is a blessing sometimes as you discover gems that might otherwise have been uncovered.

Our writing group also met this week. The subject we’d had to write about for homework was ‘The River’. I cheated and took an earlier blog entry that I wrote about how I found my cottage-by-the river. (As I have said I have been busy lately). Our next theme is a lovely subject - ‘The Forest’ - chosen by H, our new fifteen year old member who is such a gifted poet. I think I will go down the woodland route. Why do I find forests a wee bit scary but love woods and feel they are peaceful and magical? Is it a size thing? Already I am thinking my contribution will be a poem; I am thinking fairies, magic and the like. I would like to be buried in a wood (when I am dead I hasten to add!), they are my favourite places along with seashores.

Talking of poetry, as I love to do, I have signed up to a (sacred)poetry site that sends you a sacred poem daily in your email. Poets from all over the world. One of my all-time favourite poems is on there. ‘On Angels’ by the late Czeslaw Milosz, which can be found on an earlier blog of mine.

For those of you who also love poetry and want to sign up this is the link. There are three of Milosz’s poems on this bit, including Angels.

Talking of which I have ordered some Angel Oracle Cards; I feel I’ve been led to try them. I will still use my Tarot cards, but though they are accurate they are so ancient and I feel I need to get some ’fresh’ untarnished cards, free of absorbed energies from my past. New ideas inspire me and dear Faith’s angel cards have proved to be very accurate. I think my granddaughters would like them too, they should be easier to ‘understand’ than the Tarot.

Has anything else exciting happened you may be wondering? Wait for it. I at last have a prop-er washing line, a prop-er line! I have taken down my rotary drier which was sitting in what I optimistically call my gravel garden. My new line is a wind-up one which stretches from a tree to a post near the river bank, much tidier, windier and the gravelled area will look much more attractive. I have a ‘thing’ about washing lines; they are getting a rare sight these days as so many people use tumble driers (I don’t own one, they are an unnecessary strain on energy resources). I love to see and smell washing blowing in the wind and I did start taking photos of them to make a sort of historical collection. However I was a little worried that people might think I was a little strange asking permission to take photos of their washing! I am on the lookout for photos and paintings of them so if any of you have any ideas please let me know. My daughter, who lives on a farm, has what I call my ‘favourite’ line which stretches across a woodland from tree to tree,

And so to Blessings.

It is said that if you appreciate what you love then what you need will come along effortlessly. Here's hoping then.

Let’s start with Beverages, hot and cold.

Tea, (Jacksons of Piccadilly green tea with lemon is my latest fave)

Clipper Fairtrade organic instant hot chocolate is another craze of mine.

So Good chocolate Soya milk.

Chocolate cream desserts from the supermarket (probably crammed with E numbers but I am addicted).

(Do you see a theme here?)

For a change let’s have a seasonal favourite.



lists - a blessing you ask? Only if you promise to put THREE things on your list every day for YOU to look forward to.

And last but definitely not least:


I’ll sign off now as I want to catch up on reading blogs. I especially look forward to reading everyone’s homework!

And then I will sit down to write……..

Before I go,

Instead of a poem here is a favourite quote by Marilyn Williams, often mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela as he used it in a famous speech. I made the same mistake myself.

Our Deepest Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

by Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

Now I must get this show on the road,

Bye for now,

Monday 11 June 2007

This is a test, I am having trouble posting pics.

Sunday 10 June 2007

Homework. Music Matters and More

Dear Diary,

A very hot morning, who needs to go to the South of France? Sorry Sally, I didn’t mean that, I love France. There are probably only two other countries that I could live in, they are Ireland of course and France. I’m sure I was French in a past life - anyone else out there have past life memories?

Above are some photos of our dogs, the garden, the river and the field. I had fun yesterday taking snaps in the glorious sunshine. I haven’t taken any photos for ages but, inspired again, I have decided to set the camera up on a tripod today and take some zoomy-in ones of the wildlife visitors as they arrive, just for you to see.

I was up very late last night, well till the early hours actually. I really must learn to stop burning those candles at both ends. I could do it when I was young but now, apart from anything else, I go around looking like death warmed up if I don’t get enough hours in Dreamland.

I’m hoping that this will be a short blog today. I can hear you all breathing a sigh of relief. I am always amazed at those of you who persevere and manage to read all my ramblings.

The first birds I see today are a pair of very healthy-looking crows feeding under the table. I have never seen crows there before. Four more arrive. There is a saying in our house that if you see a lot of crows they are rooks but we think these are definitely crows, probably a family. I will look up the symbolism or perhaps dear Equs will tell me. I fear it may be something ‘dark’ but not to worry. I will take it that they are just after the food today.

Talking of their food, do any of you know the cheapest source of bird food? One or two friends have suggested websites to me where you can order bird seeds and nuts in bulk but I am not convinced they are any cheaper. We buy ours from a local farm supplies shop. Any suggestions would be welcome.

M has asked me to post this very old rhyme for you so here goes.

Four seeds to sow
One for the rook
One for the crow
One to rot
And one to grow.

The books have arrived from BBC Wales. They are ‘Mr Cassini’ by Lloyd Jones. He was at the Hay Festival I am told though I didn’t attend. It’s a novel and I’ve just started it. I won’t say a lot now except that it is really original. That’s a delight and I am not turned off by it, quite the opposite in fact.

The other book is a volume of poetry called ‘Growth Rings’ by Christine Evans. Funnily enough I posted a photo of the cover of this particular book in my last blog entry before I knew it was the one coming here to review. I have read all the poems but I have yet to do a proper review; suffice it to say that there are some I like very much.

Quick blessings

An easy Sunday. There’s something about Sundays isn’t there? Relaxation in the air. So relaxation will be number one. Easy like Sunday morning, now there’s a song title coming on……

An (easy) cold lunch to be enjoyed in the garden later.

The sharing between us of our music and other ‘interesting things‘.

A nice cotton floral skirt which I bought in the Red Cross shop yesterday. Price? £3.99 and it fits perfectly; the elasticised waist of course is a boon, perhaps that should be a blessing in itself! It is turquoise blue, white, navy and PURPLE so will go with a variety of tops.

Music requests. Keep them coming.

You may have seen in the Common Room that I am asking for your music requests. I have had some from a few of you and you will see/hear them on the Purplecoo Requests Player on this page, top right. I will post a list of who requested what when it’s complete. I’m dying to add more so, If you haven’t sent me any PLEASE do and keep a frustrated DJ happy. The choice so far is varied but I can honestly say I like them all. If you can’t think of a particular record then just send me a favourite singer/group and I will pick one or two by them.

I have done as I was asked and my homework is set out below. The first eight people I think it is (?) who read this blog and make a comment are also tagged and will have to do the same. Write eight interesting/unusual/quirky facts about yourself and then tag eight others.

My homework

I was adopted at the age of fourteen months, had an unhappy childhood and after many years of searching I found my roots. I have six half brothers and three half-sisters. I am writing the story at the moment. Ireland is my spiritual home.

I love driving and porridge. I hate my photo being taken.

I enjoy my own company and also the company and communication of animals (and some humans).

I can’t draw, I worry too much, I don’t get enough sleep or exercise. I get depressed when people close to me are sad.
I deplore arrogance, greed, intolerance and untruths.

The most important thing in my life is my family. The best days of my life were when my two children were born. My greatest fear is that they should die before me.

I have had two, unrelated, brushes with cancer but I am as fit as a fiddle. I am an Arian, we are renowned for bouncing back.

I have also had very near brushes with death as a result of two separate falls on the stairs at home. I have suffered no after effects from either.

I am looked after by angels.

Did I say this was going to be a short one?

I’ll sign off now and wish you all a very happy, very sunny Sunday.

But before I go a quick poem by a young poet from West Cork.


I come before the water;
what satisfaction it has
in ebbing and flowing,
pining after lost land
yet giving and giving
to the storm ridge,
inheriting for its labours
an empty beer bottle,
rejected driftwood,
royalties of its endeavours.
We'll go to it anyway,
though it is the definition
of utter madness to
dwell on past indifference.
Some have oceans of
knowledge to feed their
tears, while not a
glass to justify their joy.
This is no night to drown in,
no world to give in to.

Leanne O’Sullivan

Bye for now,

Friday 8 June 2007

Beauty and the Circle of Life

Dear Diary,

(First part written on Thursday).

A sunless morning I am afraid but there is some good news on the radio. About biodiversity of plant species and habitats. Biodiversity, there’s a grand word, everything has to have a ‘fancy label’ these days or a logo.

(Don’t get me started on logos. I will just say have you signed the online petition?)

I listen to a story about a rare beetle called the wormwood moonshiner, what a wonderful name that is. Apparently it is only to be found in the middle of an industrial estate somewhere, I forget where, just as well really. Best to keep the location a secret I would think. Apparently every public body now has to take regard of what ‘biodiversity’ is to be found on their patch which can only be a good thing. with regard to planning consent, things like that. It is time we humans had regard for the other life on this planet. As a species we have not been here very long and we won’t be here much longer if we carry on as we are. But the Earth will remain.

I wrote recently about the importance of bees to human survival and Bill Oddie was talking about the same subject on ‘Springwatch’. Apparently humans would only survive for six years if bees were wiped out. Six years! So please plant as many bee-loving plants as you can.

The jay is always the first bird I see now in the morning, sh/e is around an awful lot. I must check out the symbolism of this beautiful bird. (M keeps reminding me that they are related to the crows but I try not to associate the jays with their ‘bad habits‘).

It’s amazing what you learn from Radio 4; I always said it was like an education when I listened as a full-time mother bringing up my children.

Apparently there is a ‘fidget’ gene, recently discovered, which explains why some people put on weight and some don’t. Fidgety people stay thin. Well it could be because they live off their nerves? But that could be a gene thing. I think we are like we are because of our genes and not from our upbringing but then I have special insight on that subject.

I have been married 31 years today. We don’t celebrate or anything, in fact most years the date passes and is gone before we realise it. Our wedding was just as low-key; we both wore jeans, only two relatives were present (and our new Dobermann puppy) and then a few drinks in the pub and off on a camping trip to Dorset. Ah those were the days… I saw (and still see) marriage as a piece of paper and felt I didn’t need that to make me commit to someone. We lived together before getting married and I only consented to a wedding because I wanted to start a family, times were different then :)

Yesterday I saw a parent woodpecker feeing her baby at the table. Now a magpie has come; that is unusual. They are around in plenty, in fact they nest in next door’s woodland, but they rarely visit our front garden. He fills his crop at an alarming rate and then flies off; he obviously has babies close by too. As soon as he is away the jay returns and does the same thing. He goes and the collared dove appears. It’s almost as if there is a queue somewhere up in the treetops. As I have said before, one doesn’t need TV here; there is so much drama taking place just outside the cottage.

My son S was up at 4 am. He has gone to Pembrokeshire with my son-in-law as they are shearing some of his sheep that are kept away ‘on tack’ in West Wales. S will be catching sheep I guess and wool-wrapping, that sort of thing.

I have been contacted by BBC Radio Wales as they want our library book group to review a couple of books from the Welsh Book of The Year Long List; they are sending some copies to me straightaway as our deadline is 21st June. I have checked out the list online ( and am very impressed. That over-used phrase comes to mind ‘All are worthy winners’ but it looks to be true in this case.

Wales Book of the year Long List 2007

The Long List for Academi's Book of the Year was announced on World Book Day, 2nd March 2007. The list consists 20 authors from Wales 'marking themselves out as world writers'.

The judges of this long list for Welsh writing were John Rowlands, Gwion Hallam and Elinor Jones. In English writing the judges were Carolyn Hitt, Katie Gramich and Patrick McGuinness.

Welsh Language Long List

Ychydig Is Na’r Angylion (Gwasg y Bwthyn) by Aled Jones Williams
Yr Hunangofiant (Y Lolfa) by Alwyn Humphreys
Un Bywyd o Blith Nifer (Gwasg Gomer) by T. Robin Chapman
Harris (Gwasg Gomer) by Herbert Hughes
Grawn Gwirionedd (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas) by John FitzGerald
Valentine (Y Lolfa) by Arwel Vittle
Ffydd Gobaith Cariad (Y Lolfa) by Llwyd Owen
Pili Pala (Gwasg Gomer) by Catrin Dafydd
Esgyrn Bach (Y Lolfa) by Toni Bianchi
Dygwyl Eneidiau (Gwasg Gwynedd) by Gwen Pritchard Jones

English Language Long List

Running Late (Hutchinson) by Diannie Abse
Ethnicity and Cultural Authority: From Arnold to Du Bois (Edinburgh University Press) by Daniel G. Williams
Growth Rings (Seren Books) by Christine Evans
The Man Who Went Into the West (Aurum Press) by Byron Rogers
The Climbing Essays (The In Pinn) by Jim Perrin
Mr Cassini (Seren) by Lloyd Jones
The First Wife’s Tale (Shoestring Press) by Merryn Williams
The Cut of the Light (Enitharmon Press) by Jeremy Hooker
The Night Watch (Virago) by Sarah Waters
Send My Cold Bones Home (Parthian) by Tristan Hughes

We are being sent one poetry book (hooray) and one prose, not sure yet which prose one but it will be in English as none of our group speaks Welsh which is a shame. When they come I will have a good excuse to sit by the river and read while keeping one eye out for the ‘Glas y Dorlon’ the blue of the river.

Request Time

I keep switching the music playlists on the blog page. I am building play list 3 so if any of you have a particular favourite let me know and I will add it. (Am I a frustrated DJ do you think?).

Now Blessings...

Some writing my daughter has sent me, both some of her own work and also a poem by Gibran which I will post for you at the end.

The bees, need I say more?

And with bees comes honey.

Hay fever has started but thank God I don’t suffer like I did when I was younger. Giving up dairy produce has really helped as has taking local honey daily in the months leading up to June. It also helps with the symptoms. But when it gets bad I do resort to medication; Piriton works well but it makes me dozy, (dozier than usual!) and really spaced-out. But then sometimes that is quite a good state to be in!

The house martins who are growing fat and flying back and forth outside the open study window as I write,; they are within my arms’ reach . It always amazes me how they avoid flying into the cottage through the wide-open windows.


I was drawn to do a bit of ‘oracling’ this morning and I opened a book at random. The page opened at information about gems and crystals, on the Amethyst page. These stones are meant to be calming in grief and to grant deep restful sleep. I am going to buy one for E who has lost her only daughter. The funeral is today.

I was re-reading sections from John O’ Donohue’s ‘Anam Cara’, recently as it is always a comforting book. My newfound sister bought it for me so it is even more special. This is what I gleaned today.

It talks about death as being always within us, both in our negativity and in our fears. Our need for control is one sign of fear. Also another sign is the fear of being ourselves and always trying to live up to some ridiculous ideal (do these ring any bells?)

The way to face any fear is to

Shrink it down to one question:

‘Of what am I really afraid?

This shrinks any fear.

Fear only multiplies if allowed to keep its anonymity.

The Celtic mind resists linearity and thinks and dreams in circles.

Birth, Death. Rebirth, that is a circle.

The dead never disappear but live amongst us while remaining just out of our sight.

I hold that thought, especially today.

I will sign off now with the beautiful poem my daughter sent me (by Kahlil Gibran).

Beauty XXV

And a poet said, "Speak to us of Beauty."

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?

And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle.

Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us."

And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.

Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us."

The tired and the weary say, "beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.

Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow."

But the restless say, "We have heard her shouting among the mountains,

And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions."

At night the watchmen of the city say, "Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east."

And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, "we have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset."

In winter say the snow-bound, "She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills."

And in the summer heat the reapers say, "We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair."

All these things have you said of beauty.

Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,

And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.

It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,

But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,

But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.

It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,

But rather a garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.

But you are life and you are the veil.

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.

But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

Khalil Gibran

Bye for now,

Tuesday 5 June 2007

A New Day

Dear Diary,

Don’t let the Sun catch you crying
Gerry Marsden

I think this song is a sign.

I thought I’d do a quick blog before I start my no-work/holiday day.

First I want to thank those many kind people who sent me comforting messages yesterday. Now I know how it feels to be on the receiving end; it now seems that quite a few of us have benefitted from the support of purplecooers at difficult times. What I can’t get over is how special this group has become, a group that was formed hastily ‘on this side’, formed out of necessity rather than a planned goal/idea. Thank you CL. I find myself now talking to my friends about all my new friends in Cyber and! Good luck indeed. Thank you again.

I slept deeply, heavily, like a log as they say and woke to another fantastic sunny morning.

We enjoyed a family birthday meal for S last night; I cooked lasagne with Aberdeen Scotch mince - (Oh did I just write that? It should have been Welsh beef but there was none in the Co-op!) which we had with green salad, cherry tomatoes and tasty Jersey Royal potatoes followed by a strawberry and summer fruit, double cream and crushed digestives, cinnamon and sugar puddy thing with Joe’s (Welsh!) vanilla ice cream.

We ate our meal outside in the garden and enjoyed wine and beer and then later watched the girls playing on what V optimistically called the lawn and on the river’s bank and stepping stones. S is a typical Gemini, a child at heart, he relates well to children and he played football with them on ‘the lawn’ and though the atmosphere was bound to be subdued it was certainly good to be all together as a family. S is a very popular uncle, he even camped out with two of them on Friday night after much of the girls’ pleading, begging and even resorts to bribery! We were en famille on Friday evening too, sitting outside at the farm, enjoying a few beers and tasty salad and nibbles. It was another glorious evening, so warm, and the views from the farmhouse garden were spectacular. We felt close then and this was before any bad news came. Last night it was even better to be together, we all felt the fragility of this life, reminded again that any of us can be here one minute and gone the next. The cause of the poor girl’s death was, as I suspected it might be, a pulmonary embolism which for those of you who may not know is a blood clot in the lung.

S had visited his friend and the family and although he didn’t show it I know he was naturally deeply upset. The funeral is on Friday, the day before the local wedding of a best friend of the girl who died, the first of two weddings coming soon, both of her friends. How tragic is that? And what a sadness for the bride on Saturday. That’s life isn’t it? Cruel in the extreme sometimes but one’s thing for sure it toughens us up and makes us all better for it. Another-for-sure-thing is that all the community are affected and all the community will support the grieving family now and in the days to come.

We watched the comings and goings of the numerous birds; the doves were a little nervous as we were sitting near the tree which houses their nest but eventually they settled down realising that we were not going to harm them.

After dinner I took the girls next door to see their TV recording of the Great Tit family who live in a nest box in their garden. For about two weeks they have had the screen on ‘round the clock’ addictively watching the birds from the hatching of their six eggs to the time my J & J now feel is now imminent, when the remaining four chicks will leave the nest. Only one egg failed to hatch and one chick died for no apparent reason. The girls were as impressed as me. I want to get my own camera for next Spring and it would be a wonderful idea for a future present for the girls. My neighbours and I joked about how we could have our very own Springwatch programme, such is the variety of wildlife in our environs. M could be Bill Oddie, he has the beard and J could be Kate we thought, she has the same natural curls.

I spent a couple of hours in the garden yesterday morning chasing the ever-present weeds. It did me good to be outside and last night when V and family had gone home I did some more. Then I took a mug of restorative herbal tea and sat by the river. I stayed out until darkness fell, getting on for eleven clock. Peace came dropping slow. Nature is a great soother.

On to brighter things now, I’m sure you are all fed up with reading sad news.

Now for some good news!

I saw a bat last night, yes just the one! I’ve said before that when we first moved to the cottage, ten and a half years ago, there were loads of bats but, sadly, their numbers have decreased to almost nil. I am tempted to get some bat boxes but can’t see how they would attract them as there are lots of places here where they could makes homes.

The weather forecast is good for the rest of the week. This part of Wales seems to be getting the best deal. I’m off to buy some green paint (inspired by Le Petit Pois!) I am going to paint our glaringly white one. There’s a lot of painting to be done indoors too, the front porch for starters is so tatty, both inside and out. Very bad feng shui.

So back to blessings.

Number One has to be Purplecoo, Children, Chocolate and Wine friends who have blessed my life.

Paint which can cover a multitude of sins.

Genes Reunited. I seem to have struck lucky in one branch of my tree with info from one new contact made. I have found a County Durham branch which I have been told can be traced back to one family from Weardale. And the person has details going back to the 1400’s. I will be chasing that up for sure. (Suffolk Mum if you are reading this I am beginning to suspect that we must be related!)

I also made contact yesterday with another member of my ‘real’ family so that was some more good news yesterday.

Finally the blessings of:

Nature, the Earth, Birdsong,

Sunset. Sunrise.
There’s no doubt in my mind that L has gone to a better place than this. It is her mother and the grieving family that I am sad about.

My daughter is choosing some music to be played at the funeral.

These are three poems I have sent to her mother.

If I were in her shoes, they would bring me some comfort, albeit a shred.

All Is Well

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household world that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.

Henry Scott Holland
Canon of St Paul 's Cathedral
David Harkins

I am standing on the sea shore,
A ship sails in the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her
Till at last she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says:
"She is gone."

Gone! Where?
Gone from my sight - that is all.
She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her
And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me,
not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
"She is gone",
There are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout:
"There she comes"
- and that is dying. An horizon and just the limit of our sight.
Lift us up, Oh Lord, that we may see further.

Bishop Brent
1862 - 1926

If I should go tomorrow
It would never be goodbye,
For I have left my heart with you,
So don't you ever cry.
The love that's deep within me,
Shall reach you from the stars,
You'll feel it from the heavens,
And it will heal the scars.


And now it is Angel by Robbie Williams. I know they are working overtime, a lot of them live on this site.

Bye for now,


Monday 4 June 2007

No blog today

It should be a perfect morning.

Sunshine, stillness and the grass is sparkling with dew.

The old cliches keeps recurring. 'You never know what's round the corner','Seize the moment'. Events in life ram it home.

Yesterday, as soon as I had posted my blog I thought all was right with the world. It took just a phone call to change that. A call to my son from his best friend to tell him that his only sibling, his older sister, had died suddenly and unexpectedly whilst away in Bristol on a wedding anniversary celebratory weekend. I don't know the exact cause as yet but she apparently had chest pains and went to the hospital. She was 28, only a year younger than my own daughter. She was at school with both of my children.

Any death here in our small community touches everyone; one gets used and of necessity in my case, almost hardened to hearing of other folk moving on to the next world. For usually they are old, loved by many, from huge families and have lived good and happy lives. Funeral services are usually filled-to-bursting with many, many mourners standing outside because the tradition is a fine one, the same as in Ireland; everyone attends as a matter of respect and support for the family.

But the death of someone so young is heartbreaking. Her parents, who live close to my daughter, have suffered a lot of problems in the past which just makes it even sadder.

Sometimes I wish I was not so sensitive. At times like this, and it is maybe worse now I am a 'certain age'I get very emotional as I always feel others' pain. The mother-child separation thing too is especially painful for me. And outliving a child, to my mind, is the worse thing that can happen to anyone.

It is my son's birthday today, he will be 26 at eighteen minutes past one, (funny how you remember the time of their births isn't it?). Yesterday he had to comfort his friend who was calling from Essex over the phone and when S told me the news his eyes filled with tears, for he too is a sensitive soul. But we should not fight tears, I always tell my daughter that they are e-motion, energy in motion, they have a purpose. It seems to be a British thing, being uptight about showing pain, stiff upper lip and all that.

So I find it hard to blog today about what seem mundane, everyday occurrences and all blessings seem elusive. Instead I will write a letter to the parents who have lost a daughter. That will be harder than any other form of writing I have had to do for a long time.


Sunday 3 June 2007

Thoughts on Dreaminess

Dear Diary,

They only sell you what you buy

Gary Jules

Chris Isaak is with me, just what I need on a Sunday morning.

Now there’s a dreamy song if ever there was one, the classic which is ‘Wicked Game’. You will notice I have the unplugged version on here too. All are magical, the song, his voice and fantastic guitar playing.

Some folk are calling my blogs ‘dreamy’. I am suitably flattered but I wonder if the writings have those kind of energies as I often write them during my ‘waking’ state, in that limbo-land between dreaming and properly waking. In the first moments of coming-to I feel paralysed; then I can see and hear but I can’t speak or move. Then comes the slow return to normality (or in my case near-normality maybe!) and then that lovely dreaminess takes over. Insights, ideas, mullings they arrive then and I reach for the pen.

(Somewhere over the Rainbow - IZ)

I love this online music player, I can flit from song to song, pick whatever takes my fancy and you can do the same!

Raglan Road - dear Patrick Kavanagh.

There were no poems in the last blog entry, it feels undressed again and I am bereft as I read no poetry yesterday and it seems I haven’t written any for ages.

So there may have to be a double dose today.

Yesterday was a bit of a wasted day as I had a headache which lasted all day. In hindsight, I was foolish. As it wasn’t an unbearable head pain I stupidly tried to get rid of it without resorting to taking some super-dooper Co-codamols.(Isn’t hindsight a wonderful virtue, I wish we used more of its cousin foresight, wouldn‘t our lives be less complicated?) It was also a bad hair day, a-no-clothes-to-wear-day (they are all in the Ironing Mountain). So I felt irritable all the day long. I used to get a lot of migraines but thankfully am free of them now but often at the end of a working week. or at the start of a holiday, a headache will descend upon me at the beginning of a day and will last all day. It’s a ‘step off the treadmill’ thing I guess. I know other people who suffer in the same way.

So no writing was done yesterday, not much of anything was done. No chores, so the place is a tip, no shopping so the fridge is well nigh bare, no walks, no gardening, no blogging, no commenting. By the evening I told myself I was well enough to do a distance Tarot reading for someone and miraculously the pain lifted as soon as I started working with the cards.

I felt the presence of the angels.


I did manage a bit of reading yesterday, in between napping. I am reading ‘Plotting for Beginners’. If, like me, you are shall we say, ‘of a certain age’ and you write you may well find it funny.


The camera. The digital camera especially. I can just about handle that, I just frame the scene, point and click.

My new 2Gb memory stick, bought very cheaply on 7day which should hold the entire contents of the family‘s computer. (Wish I could buy one of those for my brain‘s memory!). All I’ve got to do is learn how to save it all. I know how you stick it in the USB port but that’s as far as I go. I am sure a kind soul out there in the ether may be able to help me?

Binoculars. I’ve gone a bit ‘techy’ in these blessings. Quite unlike me, I am the most un-techy person around.

My pack of Tarot cards. Old but still faithful and proving to be amazing in their accuracy.

Good health. Why is this the last today? To my mind it is the Number One of all Blessings, without which nothing else can be fully appreciated.

But as it’s Sunday I will slip in one or two more.

Rest and the freedom and the ability to do so.

The pure, fresh Welsh air which is wafting through the open bedroom window, caressing my face.

And so a poem, yes it’s well known, but it’s one I love and an English one.


WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

W. H. Davies

And now two Irish poems about County Kerry. The first is about Cromane, the place on the western coast of Ireland where my dear mother was born (God rest her soul).

I stumbled across these poems on the Internet by accident, but then there is no such thing as an accident they say………..


I push through withered sedge, past upturned boats
wildfowlers have long abandoned to the rain,
and at the water’s edge begin to scan
grey mud, grey lough, the marching sky’s grey soak
for winter flocks of plover the murk still cloaks
in driving squalls. I hear them first, that run
of fluted calls. Then, before they can turn,
take off, they’re there – and gone, like whisps of smoke.
I’ve lost them – and this incompleteness hurts.
Until far out over the empty lough
they wheel back into view. Like feathered sighs,
their fluent strokes relate swift air to earth,
wild sea to stone-walled fields, smooth to rough,
the trace of winter to a winter sky.
Cromane, Kerry, western Ireland

Sea Cave

Out where it first fists Europe,
Atlantic has hammered, salt-scooped
this sea crypt, cliff cellar,
from a fingered Irish headland. Today,
as I row in under a black wall of rock,
the cave’s waters are lulled,
a bright lens on depths
of blue-white sea anemones,
red wrack, translucent parachutes
of jellyfish sinking faintly
through the membranes
of the deeper past.
My great-aunt rowed here, eighty years ago,
throughout the Great War,
to townet her indifferent specimens –
tiny medusas, budding hydra;
squeezing in like me, oars shipped,
past the pillared Altar Rock,
up to where the cave narrows
to the strange canals
smoothed deep under the headland,
pink sponged, amniotic,
sucking salt breaths in
and out; in and out,
dissolving history.
Looking back, she would have seen
her green island framed for a moment
in rock, and flashing sea, and sun;
northwards, glimpsed Dingle across waters
that heaved Roger Casement
from his German submarine.
Easter 1916; and the night
the British hanged him as a traitor,
he wrote his mother
how he’d landed back in Ireland –
wading out of the sea
onto a dawn strand
fringed with primroses, violets.
Tremors in those quiet waters,
rumour of storm,
a distant quiver off the land
of tiny black seeds of poppy,
generations stirring themselves slowly,
redly, along the valleys: Laune,
Liffey, Lagan, Somme.
Where Europe ends, this sea cave
is still cathedral cool,
its hushed waters embracing
all we have committed to the deep,
and to the softness of corruption and
the mighty workings of its salt-stained resurrections.
What lives on here swims
small and beautiful.
And as I back my boat out again,
past the Altar Rock,
warm sun strikes as a blessing
lazy sea, tiered cliffs, the immensities
of the oceanic West; and celebrates
each springing tide, each high,
each ebb.

Mick Delap’s poems on openDemocracy are from his collection River Turning Tidal (Belfast, Lagan Press, 2003 /

I’m going to sign off now and get that ‘Plotting’ novel finished.

And then see where the flow takes me,

Bye for now,

A joke just for the children

Q: What is an ig?
A: It's an Eskimo's home without a loo

And here's one just for the adults


A newlywed couple were spending their honeymoon in a remote log cabin resort way up the mountains. They had registered on Saturday and they had not been seen for 5 days. An elderly couple ran the resort, and they were getting concerned about the welfare of these newlyweds.

The old man decided to go and see if they were all right. He knocked on the door of the cabin and a weak voice from inside answered. The old man asked if they were OK.
"Yes, we're fine. We're living on the fruits of love".

The old man replied, "I thought so...would you mind not throwing the peelings out the window...they're choking my ducks!"

Friday 1 June 2007

Two for the price of one,

Dear Diary,

Two for the price of one today. BOGOF :)

Waking is hard from deep slumber. Last night’s tiredness was the ‘exhaustion’ type after a long and busy day at work. Funny isn’t it, there are two types of fatigue; the physical-exertion-in-the fresh-air type which just feels good and the tense muscle type, more often caused by stress or overdoing it.

But there is a light in the sky!

Sunshine. Why does it lift our spirits so? It makes everywhere look better too. Do its rays stimulate endorphin production or something?

And joy of joys it is the first of my nine days at home, my do nothing days/play days which are essential for the soul. Difficult I know if you have young children, but I have been there. Those days, though hard and tiring, will not come again and they just fly by.

God I am in Granny mode again, stop me now. …


I have taken up the tarot again. The pack must be at least thirty years old and has been languishing on my bookshelf, untouched for nearly as many. It’s moved with me on my many ‘moves’ but strangely enough was never consulted in my (many) stressful times.

I have dowsed, prayed, visualised creatively, thought positively, consulted my favourite astrologer (Jonathan Cainer), read umpteen uplifting books, spiritual and more and visited clairvoyants and mediums. What for? All to find some kind of harmony, comfort, a sense of order perhaps in chaotic times? As well as to try and find the truth about my own beginnings, but that’s another story. All were tools for growth and offering in their own way some explanation, some guidance on my life’s path.

I am not in need now, I would say I have never been happier and think it is my turn to help other people. So I have dusted off the old pack and will start again on reading those signs…..

When I first studied the Tarot many moons ago, it was as they say ‘spookily accurate’, frighteningly so, even to me, not easily spooked and quite used to psychic revelations. But its accuracy was not in any way evil or negative I hasten to add.


Writing is a wonderful pastime, hobby, passion, call it what you will. At the minimum all you need is a pen, paper, and in my case a Thesaurus is useful, if you are prone to overdo some words. I do overdo the ‘f’ word (yes favourite!). Lovely, and great too, boring words like that. I hate them! But tool-wise you don’t need a lot, it must be the cheapest ’hobby’. A portable one too. Pen and paper close by are all you need really, the rest is up to the I-magi-nation. A computer helps of course to ‘bang it all out’.

I am still having fun adding music to my play lists; I am on my third list now. The feedback so far is positive but if you don’t like it or feel it interferes with your concentration you can easily click the Pause button or switch the volume control off. Music is a personal thing and personally I could not live without it! All our family are the same; my son writes songs, sings and plays the guitar. He gets withdrawal symptoms if he is parted from his guitar and we all know what they feel like don’t we?


Sunshine, Sun on water. The rainbow effect on the cottage walls of the reflection of the crystals hanging in the windows.

Poems written by my daughter which arrive in an email for me to comment upon.

Good news, yes there was some today. Journalist Alan Johnson is alive and has been seen on video.

Hope. Another virtue, another name.

I called my daughter Verity as I liked the name but also because the virtue is one of those most important to me. (I escaped the f word that time!)

Sometimes hope is all you can do. Sometimes worries niggle away in your insides and keep re-surfacing in your thoughts. But Hope is there to call on and also Faith.

Faith is a lovely name too. (Hello dear Faith).

Faith is believing in something you can’t prove.

Unlike scientists I do a lot of that. Actually most of what I believe about life cannot be proved.

You are all thinking that the next blessing will be Charity but you are wrong. Nothing against Charity of course but Time is against me.

Back to earth now.

TV . Mostly it is not worth watching but occasionally it is just what I need when I am exhausted or brain-dead after a long day at work.

I have become an avid watcher of BBC’s ‘Springwatch‘. I know I have my own version going on outside the cottage and I only have to look outside any window or take a tour around outside, but the TV programme is fascinating nonetheless, especially seeing inside the birds’ nests. I have learned a few things too; I learned that the male woodpecker has a red spot on his head. I learned that foxes are living in the city of Glasgow and have lairs bang next door to busy roads. Also a lot from Scotland about the corncrake whose numbers are increasing on the Isle of Islay.

And I had to laugh at Bill Oddie camouflaged up, sitting on a riverbank, holding out a stick so he could get close up to a kingfisher. It worked though. It’s a long time since I have enjoyed a programme so much, I hope I catch it again next week.

I am inspired to get up really early (inspired yes but WILL I?) so I can sit by our riverbank and watch for the kingfisher in a similar fashion. But instead of a stick I will sit by our bridge as I know they fish from there. Their irridiscent blue colour is something well worth waiting for.

I will sign off now as I have to go to Hay. While there I will visit that lovely Radio 4 greengrocer (whoops the ‘l’ word) but will avert my eyes from the tempting clothes shops. I'll go in the Oxfam shop instead.

There is something about Hay-on-Wye, it seems every time I go there the sun shines. The place does have special energies of that am sure. Apart from all the tempting shops and the array of book shops which are a bibliophile’s delight, there is always a feeling of positivity in the air, something I just can’t put into words and something that I could definitely not prove!

Bye for now,