Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Taking the tips - Edinburgh August 2010

Our daughter (now 10) loves stories more than almost anything. Increasingly she loves them in films as much as in books but however she imbibes them stories are her thing, sometimes her best friends. For this reason we ventured to the (very expensive) madness that is Edinburgh in August again this year to take her to events at the city's annual Book Festival. We got a wee holiday out of it too and there are notes below for anyone who's interested (last year's trip here...for people who prefer old news).

1.Train down

We got the 8.32 East Coast train from Montrose on Saturday morning. Nothing of any importance to report.

2.Posh café
We went to the same one as last year (near the Book Festival... Italian...obscene hot chocolate...very fancy). We do have posh cafés in Angus...but there's something about the Edinburgh ones – they have very different people-watching opportunities for a start. In Angus it's all a bit "isn't that the woman from the butcher's?" whilst Edinburgh has that capital city "anyone could walk in" possibility going on (I mean I once saw Mr T in London...). Our Girl's drink looked like this (all photos by Mark on his phone):

3.Book Festival 1

Next we wandered down to the Book Festival in Charlotte Square. In the first of a small series of sort-of famous people-spotting I saw poet Simon Armitage greeting visitors with big hugs in the foyer area (his own visitors, you understand...not just everyone who passed by...). I recognised him (a) because he's often in the papers and (b) because I went to a couple of his StAnza events back in 2009 (ramble on that if you want it is here). He is very much the friendly face of poetry (and therefore slagged off regularly online by bitter, less successful people...). I like him more and more... not that that really matters to him, of course.
We looked at what was on today and our Girl was obviously keen to get in there and start soaking it all up so we bought spontaneous tickets for Philip Ardagh at 1.30pm. I left her and her Dad to that one and headed north for art (they both enjoyed the Ardagh event very much by the way – highly recommended).

4.Art for me - Inverleith House (Botanic Gardens)

An artist friend (Kim Canale) had mentioned on facebook about an exhibition of work by American painter Joan Mitchell and the recommendation was so enthusiastic that I felt I had to look in. I'm really glad I went as it was SO great – there were bright, wild, abstract paintings, a beautiful setting and fascinating dvd about Mitchell on in the basement (I sat and watched the whole thing – bliss...and one reason why you don't take your child with you to a gallery...). I loved the whole experience (I have been to this gallery before but the whole package this time was fantastic). I wrote a wee poem about (or connected to...) one of the paintings (been doing that a lot lately) and I might post it soonish. The Mitchell exhibition is on in Edinburgh till 3rd October.


I walked to and from the Botanics...because it's such a lovely walk (the Water of Leith, Stockbridge and all) and because I am, undoubtedly, addicted to walking (it is probably the closest thing I have to praying or anything like that). Also it keeps me fit (and allows me to eat more cake and drink more hot chocolate).

I picked up (and bought) poet Kathleen Jamie's not-poetry book 'Findings' in a second hand bookshop in Stockbridge. Maybe I'll read it when I finish the excellent Zadie Smith essays book I was talking about the other day (here). I'm pretty sure I first heard about this Jamie book via another blog recommendation from a while back (Juliet Wilson – was it you?) and recommendations are partly what this post is about, I suppose. Blogs and facebook come in for a lot of stick but I get most of my good tips and recommendations from the online pages these days.

I got back to the family and we wandered over to where we were staying. As we went we saw Australian jugglers by the National Gallery (the exhibition in there looked interesting too but I find I can only look at so many art exhibitions in one day... plus it was a payer). Then we wandered down the heaving Royal Mile (well, we are still tourists) and it seemed busier than ever this year. Our Girl loves hearing all the different languages and now asks what they all are (some I know, some I don't).

8.Hostel 1

We've stayed in all kinds of places in Edinburgh (youth hostel, nice hotels, chain hotels...) but we stayed in one of those new, bright, central hostels this year... partly because it was the only thing we could get at quite short notice that would let us stay only one night at this time of year.

9.Cup of tea

Vital. Without it I am nothing.

10.Scottish Poetry Library
I left my people settling in to our new (temporary) home and nipped down to the SPL to deliver posters for the October event in Montrose. I had a quick nosey at the exhibition on there but I wasn't really in the mood by then... and I had to be somewhere else anyway. I was excited to see Helena Nelson's name in big letters on the StAnza leaflet for next year though (and do I hear Hugh McMillan will be on next year too...truly a year for brilliant poetry!). They sell my postcards in the SPL shop (have done for years now)...always nice to be on a shelf or in a rack somewhere in town.

11.Dean's Dad's Duck
Somehow I've managed never to get to an event at the Edinburgh Fringe – until this year. I went to the Tattoo as a child (with someone else's family) but other than that it's mainly that I've rarely been in the city at Festival time, I think. So as we were there this year...and had some time...all of us saw our first Fringe event. Following a tip from aforementioned Helena Nelson (see here) we went to a show about family and fiction by the Suffolk poet Dean Parkin. We loved it (all 4 of us – man, woman, poet and child) and even more so as it was just how you imagine the Fringe (funny little venue, another show just out, another one going straight in after). I also, while we're mentioning her, like the latest post at Helena's HappenStance blog (see here). She really does write beautifully, you know.


Girl loves pasta and we don't have an Italian restaurant in Montrose (boo! Or even boo hoo...)... so we had an Italian meal (hurray!). It was delicious.

13.Hostel 2
After an early start and a busy day (and wine for the over 18s) Mark and Girl were ready to flake out in the bunk beds. Never an early-to-bed I thought I might just catch one more show so...


We were staying just around the corner from a fringe venue called the Banshee Labyrinth and at about 10pm there was a poetry thing on I had read about somewhere (via poet Claire Askew on facebook maybe) so I thought I'd go and give it a try (because I like to at least try all sorts of words and sounds and stuff). It was a trio of guys called the Chemical Poets and I stayed for about 15 minutes but I'm afraid it wasn't for me so I gave up and crept out after that (maybe the name should have been a clue...I never liked the Chemical Brothers much either). These poets have skill for sure (very fast, very flexible) and others in the crowd seemed to like it (good atmosphere...buzz, excitement...all that) but for me it was kind of headache material (and I wanted to enjoy it, I really did). Maybe it was partly that I didn't get all the references (we watch, read and enjoy very different things I imagine...). Maybe I'm too old...though I don't think it's that...they didn't look that young and I'm quite keen on some of what young rappy London poet Kate Tempest is doing (see here). And it's definitely not that it's political in places – unlike a lot of people I really like quite a lot of political poetry (rant on the subject and not particularly good poem here). It's also not that they're all blokes – at least 50% of my favourite poets are men (Gil Scott Heron, Philip Larkin, Hugh McMillan, Adrian Mitchell, Lemn Sissay, plenty of others...) and in fact oddly (for someone who doesn't mind being called a feminist at least some of the time) I have put on more men than women at events I've organised so far. And yet still...it wasn't for me. I think a lot of it is to do with speed of delivery because I really hate it when all the poems are thrown out as fast as this lot were doing...certainly in the bit I saw it was all full-on, no changes of pace, no time to think. For me this is all wrong - it's not a race, we are not 'Poetry Top Gear' - and if you've spent ages working on something then presumably you think it's good enough to let your audience actually hear it, maybe even think about it (do I sound old here...yes...undoubtedly...but old isn't always wrong). I can understand why they do it all so fast like this (lots of reasons - youth, excitement, craziness, nerves, adrenalin, sometimes drugs, sometimes lack of drugs, competition, display of prowess, desperation, motivation...) but it just turns me right off, simple as that, and it reminds me of ravin' DJs who always had to play everything on the fastest possible speed. But then I'm 43 now...and not a DJ any more but a housewife (of sorts)... and these guys were obviously hip hop fans and I've never hung around long in that section of the record shop (though I've liked some bits and pieces...probably a lot of what they'd call hip hop classics these days... this, for example, and of course, this). Maybe, on that note, I might have preferred it if there had been some music to counterbalance the what in the end felt (to me) like nagging voices (isn't hip hop as much about the best beats as the best lines...I'm sure it used to be). But what does it really matter, they're doing well, the Chemical Poets, so I read, and it's probably just what some people want (plenty more like it on youtube...). One thing I didn't understand – at least one of the sections was about being Scottish (and not American) and yet they didn't sound Scottish at all... they sounded a bit English, a bit American (like a lot of British kids these days). [See comments for one of the Chemicals explaining this section and the accent angle...]. And of course they is white too...oh, but let's not get into that...

15.Hostel 3

A bit disappointed, I went back to the hostel and tried to sleep. Some hope. It was very, very noisy inside and out and, unlike the other two, I can't sleep through noise at all well. I listened to some music through headphones, read the paper, thought a lot about the guys stuck in a mine in Chile, tried not to listen to the guy (from bloody Yorkshire!) who was laughing loud enough to wake the long dead outside our window (for hours!). I could cheerfully have strangled him... but I didn't (I went to Quaker school don't forget and we are a peaceful people...).

16.Hostel 4

In the morning we had a cheap breakfast, packed up and returned to the streets. There was still a lot of city life to take in before the train home...

We watched an English actor pretend to be a French clown on a unicycle. As you do. Here he is:

18.Posh cafe 2

Almond croissants...never a better foodstuff invented. Hark at me – I'm just so bourgeois.

19.Book Festival 2
Finally it was time for the bit our Girl had been waiting for – Francesca Simon (author of the 'Horrid Henry' books) at the Book Festival. Simon was very entertaining and lovely and read a new Henry story that contained death metal lyrics (for kids). We loved it. Girl got books signed. Like this:

In the meantime Mark went to a reading by Linda Polman (freelance news journalist – read about her book 'War Games' here) and then, as we sat in the corner of the book signing tent, he spotted Sarah Brown (wife of the just ex Prime Minister of Great Britain) queuing with her kids to get books signed by the marvellous children's writer/illustrator Nick Sharratt. I wouldn't have recognised S Brown, to be honest, but Mark watches the news, reads the news, is a grown-up. It was our Girl recognised Nick Sharratt (he is her kind of famous person).
On an unrelated point one thing I noticed at the festival this year was that the poetry section in the main bookshop seemed much smaller. I'm not necessarily saying that's is a bad thing...I'm just mentioning it.

20.Musical stairs

I'd seen lots of mentions of the Martin Creed exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery online and it is near the station so we wandered down to that. Creed's is just the kind of art that upsets people (even more than abstract painting like Joan Mitchell's does these days) and this show had chairs stacked on top of each other, a lego stack and lots of other things you could easily dismiss if you wanted to (or hype out of all proportion on the flipside, if you wanted to do that). It made me think how weird it is for artists these days (and it's similar for poets of course) because the rebelling (the fun part) has all been done really so now it's just getting on with it and either (a) succeeding and having most people think you're crap whatever you do or (b) failing and ditto. As it happens I quite liked Creed's felt tip pictures (thoughts on colour and all that... not breathtaking but not dull either) and I loved the singing lift (could have gone up and down in it all day, as it were) but none of it was knock-out stuff for me. It was OK.

21.More food

We got our bags from the hostel and then went to eat more Italian food. Lucky us.

22.Train back
On the way back north we had seats in the quiet coach but sadly so did a stag party from Aberdeen (all the clichés turned up loud – the shouting, the silly clothes, the drink, the swearing, the leering). They weren't too bad but it was all so predictable that it was desperately boring (did they copy their stag do from TV's 'Gavin and effing Stacey' I wondered...). It wasn't what anyone would call quiet so in the end...we moved. Then there were signalling problems by Arbroath so the train sat on the Tay bridge for half an hour or so. There was a beautiful sunset...

and only minimal nervous sweating from me about falling into the (very big) river. Instead we played trivial pursuit on a phone and I thought more about the Chilean miners...and what it must be like to be really stuck (our train moved on eventually... obviously).


We got there and went to sleep...with no tourists to be seen and no men from Yorkshire shouting outside our window. Peace, peace, and more peace. Peace out.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Three little maids from school...

Well, here I am... a bit late this week for the Poetry Bus. The thing is, Miss, we just spent a weekend in Edinburgh (daughter likes the Book Festival – Francesca Simon of 'Horrid Henry' fame this year...very enjoyable) and so I am worn to a FRAZZLE (and it certainly feels like the dog has eaten my homework, even though she hasn't, can't blame her really...). I'm just not used to big city life any more and at this time of year Edinburgh is very, very busy. We had a great time (shows, food, exhibition, shows, food, no sleep, shows, food, exhibition...and I will write about some of them later in the week maybe...) but by heck, it's good to be home sweet home too.

Anyway, this week the prompt from Karen is to write about school. I haven't had much time to think or work this week but here are few things – some old, one new.

First off here's something I wrote a couple of months ago. I went to a weird Quaker boarding school from the age of 11-16 (my Mum was socially ambitious and liked private schools - I am pretty much pointed in the opposite direction, hate the places and would close them all down if I could...). At this school (now closed...) I majored in drinking (Special Brew, cheap vodka) and general misbehaving. I know now I was reacting to the death in the family (and other issues perhaps) but at the time I just wanted to have fun and fun seemed to come in a can or a bottle. I was very, very bad – even sent home from school for a week at one point (to sober up mainly) but, unlike a lot of my friends, I wasn't expelled. There are several reasons for this I suppose - it was a small unacademic school and I was expected to get good exam results (and I did...just...I'd outgrown the heavy drinking by then). Also maybe they felt some sympathy for my widowed mother (single parent families were not so common back then and our story was pretty tragic). Lastly we were one of the very few families there with any real Quaker connections... I guess that was a factor too. Here's my first teenage school poem for today - I've sent it to a couple of magazines but no takers so far (shame, it's one of my favourites just now):

Look away

We were feral children
We tore at our food, grabbed rough what we wanted

We felt lust soon enough
Didn't wait for any leaflets to tell us what to do

We drank hard
It was a hunger we had and the drink couldn't touch it

RF 2010

The next one is a new poem – written very quickly, on a train, over the weekend (so don't expect too much!). When I was 16 my Mum moved what was left of our family away from the North East of England to London. We weren't native North Easterners (Mum was born and brought up in Edinburgh, both her parents were from the South of England) and we'd never really fitted in in counties Durham or Cleveland (though I loved it there - it can be very rough and ready...in many senses...). By Middlesbrough standards (where we lived when I was a teenager) we were posh – my Mum spoke more like the Queen than Roy 'Chubby' Brown, we went to weird private schools, we were from elsewhere – but then, when we moved to London, I went to the Lycée Français in South Kensington for sixth form and suddenly I was quite at the other end of the social scale! At the Lycée many of the kids lived in huge West or North London homes, dressed in expensive branded clothing (that I'd never even heard of), had diplomats for parents (one or two came to school in chauffeur driven limos...). It wasn't an expensive school (as private schools go...it's subsidised by the French government) but there was lots of money in the air - the canteen food was damned good too. We, in contrast, lived in a series of small, ugly South London flats – once again out of step with the people I was around. It was a very exciting time though.

South Kensington is famous for its grand museums – perhaps the Natural History Museum most of all (see picture at top of post...it was just over the road from our school). Here's my très vite écrite Lycée poem. I've even put some exclamation marks in... I don't often do that.

Another world

In those days
If you can you believe it
I got up early (very early!)
Climbed on a crammed commuter train
And only fainted once

I coped
With the rush hour
With bursting Victoria
With tube trains (smoking carriages!)
It was 1985

I got off
At South Kensington
A grand destination
A centre of history
Patisseries galore

And I went
To a school
Where I was the pleb
A clever pleb perhaps
But badly dressed, cheap and wrong

RF 2010

And finally... a couple of years ago I wrote this about being a Mum at the school gates (once again I'm out of step you will notice...happens all the time...I don't even fit in with bloody poets...). This poem did have a tune (and was a really good song in fact) but I'm afraid it's lost its tune for now (long story...). Here are just the words:

School gates, no mates

What do you call a group of mums
A cluster, a natter, a curse?
Primary ones think their life's tough
But being a mum can be worse

Here we are now stood at the gates
Hovering round about three
Some have a gang, some have a clan
Others bob loose, lost at sea

Group ones are just really local
Group twos are older and rich
Group threes are sort of related
Group fours are here for the bitch

Group five - childminders and aunties
Group six - predominantly grans
Dads are around, blanking it out
Oh, what a freedom is man's

The children are anxious about all sorts
Sliding and numbers and clowns
But here at the gates there are pressures
The smiles only just cover frowns

Who has the fanciest audi?
Who has the best behaved kid?
Who has the record for housepoints?
Who knows what so-and-so did?

Who is invited to this do?
And look now who's pregnant today?
Who is that wearing full make-up?
Some people, I ask you, I say

Oh, to be local or family
Oh, to be somewhere but here
Oh, but I'm not, I'm just waiting
Can't wait for the end of the year

RF 2005

Phew, off for a lie down now.


Friday, 27 August 2010

Out and about

Carnoustie today (taking visitors about the county). Edinburgh tomorrow. May make the Poetry Bus Sunday night (the earliest) or maybe Monday.

See you soon...


Monday, 23 August 2010

Changing my mind and other stories

Every now and then... when not much is going on in my brain, I suspect... I post a few quotations from here and there. So here are some you might enjoy. And no, I'm still not reading much poetry (still finding most of it really, really annoying). And yes, I did just watch the last episode of the last season of 'The Wire' (very, VERY good – incomparable, really).

The first quote is from 'Reasons to be Cheerful' by writer/comedian Mark Steel (who I love). I read this 2001 book a while back but was reminded of it when thinking and writing about living in a small town recently.

"The first influence on my political direction was to be brought up in Swanley, on the border between outer London and Kent. Most people brought up in small towns complain about the lack of entertainment, and the soporific atmosphere, and many insist that their particular example is worse than any other. But telling someone from Swanley about the tedium of your small town, is like saying to Nelson Mandela, 'I've had hassle from the old bill myself, so I know how you feel mate'."

In the past week or so I've been reading 'Changing my Mind' – a collection of essays and articles by novelist Zadie Smith. It is a great read and one of the many books of my Mum's that are lying around this house waiting for me to read them. My Mum loved Zadie Smith (and she is fab – her novel 'On Beauty' especially) and Mum used to say things about her like 'a big brain and a beauty – what a combination' (and she wasn't wrong). The first two quotes come from an article about E.M Forster:

"Here's the funny thing about literary criticism: it hates its own times, only realizing their worth twenty years later. And then, twenty years after that, it wildly sentimentalizes them, out of nostalgia for a collective youth."


"He (Forster) thought the words highbrow and lowbrow 'responsible for more unkind feelings and more silly thinking than any other pair of words I know'."

these are about writing:

"The term role model is so odious but the truth is it's a very strong writer indeed who gets by without a model kept somewhere in mind. I think of Keats. Keats slogging away, devouring books, plagiarizing, impersonating, adapting, struggling, growing, writing many poems that made him blush and then a few that made him proud, learning everything he could from whomever he could find, dead or alive, who might have something useful to teach him."

"It's an unfortunate thing, but it turns out that the perfect state of mind to edit your own novel is two years after it's published, ten minutes before you go onstage at a literary festival. At that moment every redundant phrase, each show-off, pointless metaphor, all the pieces of deadwood, stupidity, vanity and tedium are distressingly obvious to you."

and this one turns up in a review of the movie 'Munich' (I don't think I agree with it that much but it might interest a reader or two):

"I should lay my cards on the table: I think Spielberg is one of the great popular artists of our time, and I base this upon the stupidity/pleasure axis I apply to popular artists: how much pleasure they give versus how stupid one has to become to receive said pleasure. The answer with Spielberg is usually: 'not that stupid'."

Lastly, I've been dipping into something I gave Mark for Xmas but that he is too busy to read ('The Q.I. Book of the Dead' by John Lloyd & John Mitchinson). On the inside of the dust jacket I found this:

"What an awful thing life is. It's like soup with lots of hairs floating on the surface. You have to eat it nevertheless." Gustave Flaubert

And I know there is plenty more good stuff inside...like this (in the section on Sigmund Freud):

"On the recommendation of his therapist friend Wilhelm Fleiss, he attempted to treat his mood swings with cocaine."

Ha! Wonder how that worked out for him...

Anyway, that's it from me for now. Off to go and mourn the end of 'The Wire'...


Saturday, 21 August 2010

The slow starting bus

So the prompt this week (from Chiccoreal) is about first thing in the morning. And what do I do first thing most mornings..? It goes a bit like this...

The first thing to do is dream

Waking from a night of slumber
I groan and sigh and twist and then
I keep myself full down and under
And go straight back to sleep again

RF 2010

Next comes a cup of tea (and see here for tea poetry).

I've never been a morning person... even as a young kid I'd always rather stay up late and then sleep in... and there's no sign of that changing really. I say to Mark that I've a big brain so it takes a long time to get it running... but this is, most definitely, only a joke. This allergy to early morning activity has affected lots of things in my life (one reason I ended up being a nightclub DJ back in the '90s for a start) and really the only time I wake up early is when something extreme is happening (I've just had a baby or someone's ill or dying something) and even then I can't keep it up for too long (I can however pretty much always win a 'who can stay awake at night the longest' competition... this has got me into trouble in the past...). You'll have to excuse that long sentence - it's early yet.


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Small town summers, stories and a few pictures too

It may not feel like the end of summer to you (wherever you are...) but here the schools are back to work and today the rain (summer rain though it may be...) is doing its best to get our coats on and our laundry in.

It has been a kind of bitty summer, if you know what I mean. Some great days though... and lovely moments and good reads in amongst it all. For example, I read this book by Scottish comedian Rhona Cameron (borrowed from a friend):

First published in 2003 'nineteen seventy-nine' is one year in the diaries of a Musselburgh maid (13 year old Rhona) and I loved it. The awful sexual encounters, the boredom, the obsessions, the family dramas...there is a lot in this book to enjoy, laugh and cry along with. It's a light read with much punch.

And as for lovely days... few can compete with this Saturday just gone. The local nature reserve takes a guided walk out on the Montrose basin once a year and this year I finally made it out onto the mud. I've always fancied the chance to see our small town from a different angle and you don't often get a chance to stand in the middle of the basin (it's often filled with water for a start...). I've put a whole load of photos on facebook but here are a handful for those of you who don't get over that way.


Friday, 13 August 2010

A boat and a bus

Sorry to be so early but I'm posting this tonight because I'll be busy most of the weekend and won't get a chance till much later on.

This week's Poetry Bus (after a false start from me earlier in the week) is being driven by Chris at Enchanted Oak over in the USA. Her prompt can be seen here and the poem links are going up here. We had to choose one of two photos to write about and I chose this one - Eugène Atget - Etang de Corot, Ville-d'Avray, 1900-1910 :

And my poem goes like this...(watch out, it's a rhymer!)...

Unseen dream

The scene is so calm
See the boat, water still
Not a soul is in sight
Light is pale, all idyll

But what we don't see
Is the man from the boat
A sadness so huge
A failure to float

He sat and he thought
And he tried to see ways
But the weight of his woes
Made the deepest mind haze

So he shook himself out
And he threw himself in
Nothing selfish to see
No huge drama or din

And he lies underneath
And the scene's back to still
And we never see all
Never have, never will

RF 2010

I'd never heard of the photographer Eugène Atget (can't say I've heard of more than a handful of photographers really) – enjoyed reading about him over at the wikipedia place though.

p.s. That children's story character prompt will be the last Poetry Bus in September by the way. More on that nearer the time...


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Change of plan!

So I had thought I might be reserve driver for the Poetry Bus this week but no, not needed...Chris at Enchanted Oak has a prompt here so go and check that out. I'll put the kids character poem task on hold till it's needed.

As for me... been writing a bit, got an old friend staying, went out last night locally and saw this fabulous Edinburgh-based band, the Bevvy Sisters:

This song was written and performed by The Be Good Tanyas originally. Lovely number.


Saturday, 7 August 2010

Summer stories

Just a week left of the school summer holidays here...and this week's Poetry Bus prompt from Jeanne Iris (see here for details) concerns summer subjects too.

Once my Dad died in 1973, family holidays for us (for the rest of that decade more or less) meant Mum, two older brothers and me – into a car and off somewhere within England (usually somewhere with water – both brothers liked boats and action). I only had one friend who went abroad regularly at this point (her parents had a shop, they liked sunshine, they flew off to Spain a lot) but most of us in the UK had this kind of closer-to-home holiday (if we were lucky) and no-one really expected anything else (now some people seem to expect a fantastic globetrotting holiday several times a year - how exactly did that happen?). I'm not really sure what I did for most of these '70s vacations... lots of reading, some dreaming, lots of wandering about, I suppose (some things don't change...). Here's me on a boat on the Norfolk Broads (I think) in something like 1977. I guess everyone else was doing all the hard work (what was that about things not changing..?).

And here's my poem for this week (audio version here - because I love you...):

England, nineteen seventy something

Every summer we went somewhere
On wheels from British Leyland
Morris, Maxi or Marina
Home-built chariot of choice

Our destination Scarborough
Lake District, Suffolk, Cornwall
Places with more water
Places with some space

In the back of a Maxi
Seats can be so slippery
Hot vinyl, slowish motor
Hot summer, tempers too

Brothers can be bearish
Kicking them so crucial
Sisters can be sat upon
They sat on me (they tried)

Some roads seemed long forever
Others more like upright
The radio kept blethering
A King has died, elsewhere

To caravan, to chalet
To hotel of a heartbreak
The summers gone, each followed on
So long ago, so long

RF 2010


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Floating about

Since Mum died in May it's been really hard to know anything...to care about anything in a way. A lot of the time I just feel a bit lost and I can't work out what I want to do, what I feel like, what I want to listen to even (usually I listen to heaps of music but in the past couple of months a lot of the time I've just not had the inclination for...well, anything really).

Still, I've been trying to prod myself back into some kind of feeling and listening to some of my favourite music to try and jumpstart myself (or something like that). One of my favourite singers and songwriters in recent years has been the Scottish folk star Karine Polwart (and I've mentioned her on here before). As well as writing a mean song she has one of my very favourite voices - it's not a flashy tool but it's really lovely, very pure but confident in a way I can't quite describe. In 2007 she put out a solo album of all traditional songs (all Scottish ones maybe?) called 'Fairest Floo'er'. It's a really smashing collection (with a bonny cover too - see above) and here she is singing a song from it called 'Will ye go tae Flanders?'


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Someone else's ticket

The Poetry Bus has been one heck of a journey so far. Set in motion by this man back in September of last year the online Bus shows no sign of slowing down and every week a whole bunch of us write a poem to the same theme or directions (different folk sometimes but there's the spine of a team always). There has been a lot of fun and learning and stories along the way but I think the poem Niamh Bagnell came up with this week (to the prompt 'write about blog word verifications') is one of my favourites so far. Read it here (and if anyone can make her a video for it, well that might just be marvellous...).


Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Poetry Bus is a WV

So this week NanU wants us writing poems with those crazy word verification sneckerzoozles. What with school holidays and general laziness in all things I'm afraid I've used only one WV (and that only for the title). We'd been to the beach near here on Friday, the Girl and the Dog and I, and we found something like an elephant's toenail you see...

And now the tiny poem-type-thing:


Magnificent beast
On the beach I found your toenail
And other wonders there besides
The promises of mermaids
Some teeth of the deep

RF 2010

And now more photos (because I know some of you like stones...):

(Do elephants have toenails you may wonder... some answers over here.)

And don't forget - details of the next poetry and music event I'm organising are in the past two posts on this blog or just over here. It will be a crafty, swissy, rosy, singing Turnbull of a night!