Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Night and Day

I took these pictures of St Mary's Island last weekend - Saturday night and Sunday morning, tide on its way in, tide on its way out.

Tomorrow evening less than a mile from the lighthouse there's a relaunch of the first novel of poet Julia Darling at the iconic Rendezvous Cafe.

The Rendezvous has played a key role for decades in many family trips to the seaside. And what a stroke of fortune that my husband hails from Whitley Bay! So regular visits to this special coastline continue to be a highlight in our lives.

Ten years after Julia died the event looks set to be a lively celebration of a cherished and much missed contributor to the North East writing scene.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Decency of the Irish

A happier outcome than the last report on this blog.

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won't slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

And yet all this comes down when the job's done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be 
Old bridges breaking between you and me

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.

Seamus Heaney  

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Two Nations - It's Official

Reuters: Stefan Wermuth 9/5/2015

Grim start to my birthday yesterday with the depressing news that the unadulterated Tories are back in for another five years. Bad times to continue for the National Health Service, Education, the Arts .....

Riots today outside Downing Street and a remarkable lack of reporting about it but thanks to social media the word is spreading. The people's news channels  - Twitter and Facebook -  and foreign broadcasting agencies are spreading the information that Cameron wants to suppress. Nice try Mr Cameron, turbulence ahead ......

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Spring sprung

My Auricula Theatre 

I first encountered this poem a few years ago and I've kept going back to it. It says so much about so many things. It's no surprise that the story of Persephone is so intriguing and compelling - nature, mothers, daughters, letting go, hope, despair, regeneration - all life is there. 

And that final couplet - well, what can I say ?!!

Demeter to Persephone
I watched you walking up out of that hole

All day it had been raining
in that field in Southern Italy

rain beating down making puddles in the mud
hissing down on rocks from a sky enraged

I waited and was patient
finally you emerged and were immediately soaked

you stared at me without love in your large eyes
that were filled with black sex and white powder

but this is what I expected when I embraced you
Your firm little breasts against my amplitude

Get in the car I said
and then it was spring

Alicia Ostriker

Friday, 3 April 2015

Are you on the path to mediocrity?

Hell yeah!
This question was posed yesterday on Swimming Without Stress, the excellent swimming shop with additional features where I recently bought new goggles and the stylish hat featured above.
I know the question wasn't intended in the way I'm taking it, but after a long dry period with no swimming, followed by several stop-start attempts to get back in the pool on a regular basis, the path to mediocrity definitely seems like a move in the right direction.
Spurred on by that question I got down to the pool this morning just after 9 o'clock, anticipating bank holiday madness, but no, we pre-empted the hordes. There was just a handful of us, all adults, focused on doing our own thing, ploughing up and down. As always, once in the pool, energy begets energy and creativity, and I get home buzzing.
In recent months writing has been difficult, I've found a hundred and one good reasons not to get down to it. Yet when I'm swimming, writing follows in its slipstream and the world's a brighter place.
So am I on the path to mediocrity? Let's hope so! Then who knows what might happen?!!

Monday, 19 January 2015

South is the word, is the word, have you heard...

One of my poems is in the current edition (Number 27) of the excellent journal Southword. The  guest editor is Matthew Sweeney and the assembled company is star-spangled. Needless to say I am very chuffed ..... Can you spot me? (Clue: I'm not wearing my swimming hat .....)