Saturday 8 August 2020


This morning I have been on a virtual walk...wandering through the once familiar lanes and alleyways of the internet...stumbling upon long forgotten but one time regular haunts.

It's too easy to be distracted by the very present, shiny, social media stuff. Twitter and Facebook dangle baubles that catch the light and sparkle brightly but oh-so-fleetingly. But of course as one glittering tweet fades the light bounces off to light  up another. They are like fairground candy floss...satisfying for a second but with no substance. Blog posts and writers websites on the other hand glow with a constant, gentle luminescence that can be overlooked as we dash from shiny to shiny. So today I have revisited and indulged in a few old favourites. 

One in particular I stayed at for a while - it kindleakindle a little spark which brought me back here to my own stagnant blog, searching for a piece of my own writing...I didn't find it and so I am posting here today, six years after it appeared on Richard Hearn's Geowriting site as part of the Brighton Digital Festival. 

If I remember rightly, the prompt was a boy in a yellow T-Shirt ...

This is what I wrote: 

I made my way from the station. Keeping to the narrow back lanes and side streets. Off the beaten tracks, away from prying eyes. I couldn't risk being spotted. That would raise too many questions, too many puzzled looks, the risk of discovery and repatriation. The last thing I wanted!

A movement at the end of the alley caught my attention.

A sudden breeze lifted the rubbish causing a mini maelstrom of old newspapers and Pizza Place fliers. I squinted against the tornado of dust and grit and saw beyond it, a small human crouching by the bins. He seemed as keen as I not to be spotted, and I couldn't help feeling that a less glaring choice of shirt might have helped him.

We looked at each other, warily.

Separated for an instant by the storm of paper until, as suddenly as it had begun, the wind dropped and the papers fluttered to the ground. One sheet came to rest in front of me. I looked down and saw my own face staring back. And underneath, the hideous human name.

I shuddered in disgust and shame. By the bins the boy stared at me. His eyes flickered to the paper at my feet and back up to meet my gaze. He nodded, the slightest, barely perceptable movement of his head and then stood and jogged quietly past.

Thankful of his understanding, I continued my journey leaving behind the poster offering a reward for my safe return. I hoped the human boy was as successful in his own bid for freedom.

You can find out about the project and read the other contributions from writers across the country here

Saturday 11 February 2017

February is the worst month...

I know. January is usually my worst month, and it was pretty dire, but February is giving it a run for it's money this year. Maybe it's just another of those age things, you know? The older you get the creakier your bones, the worse your eyesight, the longer it takes to get up out of a chair, for wounds to heal, and maybe for the January blues to clear.
Maybe it's because we haven't had a proper winter this year...hardly any frost, no snow to speak of, just lots of greyness and rain. Or maybe it's because this year, more than any other, I simply fail to see a light at the end of the tunnel, no silver linings, no brightside. I always see a brightside, even - or maybe especially - when others can't. Don't get me wrong, I am sure there is one, I just can't see it yet. Maybe March will be my month. That's a lot of maybes.

February is Post-It Note Poetry Month. I have been looking forward to it for a while - it always cheers me up and gets me writing - usually badly but that doesn't matter. The important thing is to be writing. Plus it is good for my succinct style. It is perhaps a testament to my state of mind this February that in 11 days I have posted just 3 poems. Massive fail. Something must be done - not sure what yet, but for sure it must.

For now, I leave you with today's post-it poem. It's not great but I quite like it and writing and posting it made me feel better.

I hadn't intended such an introspective post to break the block, sorry about that. Onwards and upwards, as they say.

Sunday 30 October 2016

"the liminal crawl-space" paintings by P A Morbid

Yesterday I went to a private viewing of an art exhibition.
I have been to such things before, but this one was a little different. This was the first solo exhibition of my friend Morbid. You might gather from his name that he doesn't always have the sunniest outlook on life, and he himself confesses to being something of a "troubled soul". I knew these were not going to be happy smiley pictures. I was expecting dark and disturbing and there was a distinct possibility that I wouldn't "get" them. I am grateful to him for posting his own thoughts on his blog - and allaying my fears that he might be hugely offended if I didn't get it...

I fall resolutely into that much disdained camp of "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like". If I am honest, that is true of many things - my maxim should perhaps be "I don't know much about anything, but I know what I like." but that's a whole other blog post.

I can't talk about artistic style and form, I don't know enough about art to recognise influences...but I can talk about content and colour and emotion. I can talk about my response to what I can see.
I saw a series of paintings filled with darkness and chaos, images in dark greens and blood reds, and black, bright oranges, blinding yellows and light, bright greens. I saw Angels looking anything but angelic, images of hunger and pain, of fire and burning, and of hell.
I felt a sense of pain, and loss, of helplessness and fear. I felt uncomfortable and bemused. I don't think that is an unexpected or unjust reaction.

The full title of the exhibition is "the liminal crawl-space" and it is accompanied by a poem "falling" written by Morbid in 1998. You don't need to read the poem to appreciate the exhibition but it does add an extra dimension. Imagine you are an angel, falling from heaven, cast out from all that was once dear and sacred to you. This exhibition is the crawl-space between heaven and hell. It is full of  doubts and fears, the memories of heaven and happiness,  the anguish of loss, and the struggle to understand. It is the moment between happiness and unhappiness, as you begin to understand the enormity and the hideousness of the transformation of your world.

Morbid joked that I would only take pictures of the pretty pictures. He was almost right. I am drawn naturally to the light. I like "easily she steps through the fire garden" with its muted greens - their coolness at odds with the fire garden of the title, I liked "these words", "there are no shadows" and "the green man", This does not mean that I didn't appreciate the others, they all tell the story but it is a pretty bleak one. My soul naturally seeks out the images that harbour a sign of hope.

My response may not be what other people experience when they view this exhibition. I know a very little bit of the background of the artist. I am also an eternal optimist. No matter how dark life gets I will always see a bright spot.

One of Saturday's enduring bright spots was the sight of Morbid proudly smiling despite all his attempts to look grave and serious like an artist should.

The exhibition runs until 30th Dec in the upstairs exhibition space, Python Gallery, Middlesbrough.


Thursday 22 September 2016

Rule of Thirds

Two is company
Three is a crowd.

Three, that's a magic number.

Three little pigs.
Three billy goats gruff.
Three bowls of porridge.
Three chairs.
Three beds.
Three bears.
One Goldilocks.
I grant you three wishes.

One is lonely.
Two is company.
Three. Three is a crowd.

Sunday 21 August 2016

Connect #developingyoureye 5


Connections come in all shapes and forms. I have been mocked occasionally for my references to friends who I know only online. But those connections have proved more enduring than some so called "irl" ones. The connections are no less real just because they are rooted in the ether.
This poem came to me at work through the post (mail) from the other side of the world - from a connection made online. A palimpsest of sorts. I love that.
The poem is by Jodi Cleghorn. She's a Twitter mate.
To be fair, the photograph is not great. But the connection is.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Bliss #developingyoureye 4

coffee in bed
Morning coffee in bed, drunk at leisure, in peace, undisturbed except for the purring of the cat. #bliss

Thursday 4 August 2016

Water #developingyoureye 3

Day 3 - you'll notice I am running a little behind!
Our day in Arundel started sunny but with the promise of rain - by the end of the day we had seen more water than we would have liked.

Sunday 31 July 2016

Saturday 30 July 2016

Home #developingyoureye 1

I'm on holiday at the moment so difficult to take a picture that represents home. So am cheating a little bit and posting one from last week. It is very apposite though.
This is what we look out for on the way home. Once you spot this on the horizon you know you're almost there...

Saturday 23 July 2016

Photo Challenges

A couple of weeks ago I came across a photo challenge blog on wordpress. I've been doing quite a few daily challenges that call for nothing more than to post a picture on a theme each day - which is fun. But this weekly challenge posed a problem. It required a pingback to the original post...which would have been fine if a photo challenge fitted in with my wordpress blog. Dabblewords is all about the words. It has poetry and flash fiction...made up stuff. It does not have the introverted meanderings from the mind of a social network addict. So if I wanted to join in I either posted on blogger and shared it unofficially in the comments...which means not many people will even see it let alone read it...or I found a means to make it about words as well as pictures. And I think I may have cracked it. Taking the weekly theme, I choose a photograph and then I use that as the prompt for a piece of fiction. Presto...Not sure why I didn't think of it sooner! Perfect way to combine my two interests! My first two are up already on . Feel free to mosey on over and have a look, leave a comment, or even join in with your own weekly photo...
You can find the link to the Weekly challenge in my previous post... (that's my sneaky way of getting you to read another!)