Alexander Averin

Thursday 12 April 2012


Hope is the thing with feathers on that perches in the soul 
and sings the word without the song and never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson


For once the morning news item was a
real awakening; I heard of hearts honed
with love, many supermarket shoppers
vieing with each other to purchase blocks
of wood engraved with Hope for charity,.

Later.  Waiting in the queue I peered in
others’ trolleys.  I spotted Blocks of Hope
propped up on their shopping. Blocks of Peace had
sold out and were on order (the waiting
list is growing). My pulse and pace quickened:
I had visions of blocks of recycled
wood taking over the world; it seemed the
stuff of dreams as I raced to grab a block
of beech, a plaque of pine, or some such piece
of born-again wood, With prize in hand I
waited my turn to check out; I  became
inspired as I pondered the alphabet,  
fired by the power of feelings and words.

Ask, Believe,Care, Dare.
Embrace Faith, Grace,
Hope and Inspiration,
Justice and Kindness,
Love and Mindfulness.
Nurture Open-Mindedness,
Peace, Quiet,
Retreat, Silence,
Truth and Understanding.

Value Wonder.

It all started with Hope,
(without it we are nothing).

What will you buy today?

Cait O’Connor

Sunday 8 April 2012

A new poetry book

A major new collection from one of Ireland's leading poets: moving, funny and wise.

I heard Paul Durcan speaking about this book and much more on RTE (Irish radio) last week which I can pick up on my radio here in Wales so very clearly - aren't I lucky?

Paul Durcan's twenty-second collection finds Monsieur le Po├Ęte on the road in Paris, New York City, Chicago, Brisbane and Achill Island meditating upon the sanctuary of home and what it means to feel truly at home.

Regarded by many as the great poet of contemporary Ireland, Durcan is on top form here as he contemplates the fall of the Celtic Tiger while railing against bankers and 'bonus boys'. There are poems of love lost and won and poems in memory of friends and relatives who have passed on but there is also joy to be found in the birth of a grandson and there is praise too for the modest heroism of truckers, air traffic controllers and nurses, those 'slim, sturdy, buxom nourishers' of fallen mankind. If for Sartre 'hell is other people', for Durcan 'heaven is other people, especially women.

Here is an excerpt: one of the poems which may resonate with you, it certainly does with me.

Auntie Maureen

A grain of sand I am blown on to a
clump of heather and I see
alight large above me a butterfly
with black and orange stripes.
It’s Auntie Maureen aged ninety-four
smiling down upon me
and she is saying
‘While you were sleeping Paul, I died.
Isn’t it the most glorious morning!’”

Paul Durcan

Friday 6 April 2012



On an early morning drive to Brecon today, around a bend into view the Beacons appeared. They were out, lined up in their usual positions but were covered in April’s springtime snow. Many times I have seen them clad in white, either heavily laden, beribboned, or lightly dusted but today their dress could be likened to a wedding gown of pure embroidery and laced by such sunlit beauty it took me by surprise.  It is indeed a cliche but it did literally take my breath away and reduced me suddenly to tears, it was as if a piece of music had moved me and the Welsh mountains had touched me, like a song.

Far too many days I had been searching for something; inspiration had been scarce, there were no ideas, words were elusive, there were no lines, not even glimpses. I had turned to music and listened away my miserable mornings which lightened my moods and my nights.  By candlelight I had sought out precious, much-loved poets who only made me want to sit and try (in vain) to write or deeply disturbing novels which only brought out my anger.

Today is Good Friday and I shall remember this drive, this day,when I had no camera and only my memory to store the image and the feelings it evoked. (Never before has a view reduced me to tears save when I leave my sacred Ireland and gaze upon its coastline as the ship leaves port).

Perhaps in recognition of my experience this Eastertide, tonight’s Full Moon shines in on me and for once does not disturb but soothes instead the restless stirring in my soul.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

What Am I Doing?


Doves in my garden
(Pics taken through my (dirty!) window)

Dear Diary,

What am I doing?

I am:

Listening to:

My Last Fm station with lots of my favourite tracks.  You can listen too – go to the side panel of my blog and scroll down to the Music bit. Click on my Playlist in the top left hand corner and when a page opens dismiss the message that says something doesn’t exist. Then go to Library Radio or if you can’t find that go to Music. Play my library radio and my music will play continuously – I skip those I don’t want to listen to (a few are slotted in by ‘obscure’ artists, not many). I know a few bloggers who do listen to my music while working, why not have a go and tell me if you like/don’t like. Or any song suggestions are always welcome.


Out of the Window.

Doves and snowflakes. The flakes are sometimes huge and have been swirling all day but none have  landed because the wind is so strong. I don’t think they could reach the ground if they wanted to. Much needed moisture for the plants and the water levels too.  I have made sure all the birds have enough food because I know many are busy feeding their babes.


Pics of my doves, some are above.  We have two tall pines in the garden and in the one there are two wood pigeons  nesting and in the other are the pair of precious, gentle doves, they are our neighbours every year.


Windows Live Essentials –thanks to Country Girl   who says she uses it to post photos on Blogger and they are posted ‘big’. I don’t know why but Blogger only posts my pics real small. I have had a quick go with Essentials and so far it hasn’t worked but I am on the case to learn how to resize the pics before posting.  Any help would be welcome!  So many bloggers out there manage to put up ‘large’ photos but I am hopeless.


Brushing up on my French because I am going on a trip to France with my daughter later in the year; we are searching for my husband’s grandmother’s roots in Pleurtuit, Normandy and other parts.  I only have French ‘O’ Level and am reading the dictionary while I wait for sites to load etc.  I also have French language learning CD’s in the car but have not been allowed to drive for six weeks (which are up tomorrow, yippee).

Also learning how to use my new camera. I have gone from a little Nikon point and shoot to a more expensive type one (after much pressure from M to treat myself). I now have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 24X Optical Zoom 14 mega pixels HD (whatever all that means). It has a Leica lens which I gather is something special.

Excited about:

Something I can’t mention just yet.


The Help by Kathryn Stockett ( a must-read – has she written anything else I wonder?) and Selected Diaries by Virginia Woolf. Thoroughly enjoying both and look forward to the books I have on order from the library (see side panel for titles).


That I am 100% introvert. Have you watched the TED video below about the subject? Susan Cain’s book is one I would like to read. Her website has a quiz whereby you can ascertain how introvert/extrovert you are. I came out a complete intro.  Pondside left an interesting comment  on my post. 

Sometimes I think that blogdom is full of introverts masquerading as extroverts. 

(I know what she means). 

Elaine Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Person is a good one to read if you or your child is introverted.

Angry About:

This could be an ongoing section as every day something, or more than one thing, gets me wound up. Feel free to add your own wind-ups in the comments section.

Today it is the fact that English libraries are once more trying to go down the road of getting rid of librarians and replacing them with volunteers. 

Also the fact that Big Brother is now wanting to monitor our emails, texts, Tweets etc. and to hold courts behind closed doors. 1984 is still becoming a reality it seems.

Wishing for:

Inspiration to write, writer’s block has set in rather.


The Herman Cake.  Or Hermione as I prefer to call it as I feel she is feminine. Or Friendship Cake as some may know it but it actually originates in Germany so the name Herman is probably more correct.  I can’t give you the recipe as you have to receive a yeast-based ‘starter’ to get the cake going and only a friend can give you that. Would that I could send it to you online.


Playing catch-up in the  garden. Having not been able to touch it for six months I am now well enough to go out and clear all the dead stuff away, albeit in slow motion. It has taken days and days and I have had barrows and barrows of the stuff but at last it is all done. Next job is weeding and then when all danger of frost has passed (not for a long while) I shall be able to start planting etc.

Genealogy – this is ongoing – doing my own and others' trees is never-ending but so addictive and I am learning so much about history along the way.

Happy about:

Regaining my appetite and now I just have to regain all my lost weight. My energy is returning too though I am really tired by the evening, but then who isn’t?

If you’ve read this far, thank you.

I must sign off with a tribute to the wonderful poet Adrienne Rich who sadly passed away last week.

God rest her soul.


You show me the poems of some woman

my age, or younger

translated from your language

Certain words occur: enemy, oven, sorrow

enough to let me know

she’s a woman of my time

with Love, our subject:

we’ve trained it like ivy to our walls

baked it like bread in our ovens
worn it like lead on our ankles
watched it through binoculars as if
it were a helicopter
bringing food to our famine
or the satellite
of a hostile power

I begin to see that woman

doing things: stirring rice

ironing a skirt
typing a manuscript till dawn

trying to make a call

from a phonebooth

The phone rings unanswered

in a man’s bedroom

she hears him telling someone else
Never mind. She’ll get tired.
hears him telling her story to her sister
who becomes her enemy
and will in her own time
light her own way to sorrow

ignorant of the fact this way of grief

is shared, unnecessary

and political.

Adrienne Rich

Bye for now,

Bell Jar - Louise and the Pins