Thursday, 27 March 2014

Holidays, old poetry and old friends

We have plans for the weekend, as the saying goes.  Off to London on Sunday to pick up oldest boy and then onto youngest boy in Canterbury for the day, and it happens to be you know what day so maybe a couple of treats in store for their old mother.  Then on Monday we bring the young one back for his Easter break from Uni.

Many moons ago I did an OU Creative Writing course through which I met two lovely people.  For several years after we met regularly at our local Waitrose cafe to encourage each other in our literary attempts.  One of the antics we got up to was our 'guerrilla poetry' where small poems were written, mostly about things on sale in the store, and then placed carefully onto shelves next to the appropriate products; all under the watchful eye of the in-store cameras (a sample sits below).  Daft I know but it gave us practice in our writing skills and great laughs along the way.  This week we met again after a break of about 18 months and it was great to see them, two of us still write and the other one thinks a lot about it but has little time to put pen to paper.  Spurred on by my recent 'success' in putting a short story on Amazon Kindle the other two have taken up the challenge, and the task we have set ourselves is to make at least £5 out of writing something before we meet again in June.  However, I've been told that in order to level the playing field I must publish something under a pseudonym so as not to take advantage of my 'world-wide known literary status', haha - does this sound fair?  I'm not sure, but the immediate problem I have is thinking up another name for myself - suggestions welcome.

Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Make me smooth,

Never mind the truth,

Take away the mirrors,

Bring on the youth,

Bring on the cream,

Lotion and potion,

Leave everyone else

Without a notion.

My better half and I are off over the sea to Skye at the end of April.  Its somewhere I've always wanted to visit - probably the Scottish genes in me.  We have one friend who describes her visit to Skye and the Western Isles as the worst holiday she's ever had and another who has been more than a few times and loves it.  So we'll see when our time comes, here's hoping for good weather and calm seas.
The other trip is a bit of a blast from the past.  All four of us are headed to Eurocamp in Brittany one more time in June.  We've had a few Eurocamp adventures with the boys over the years and after a request from the youngest one we are going for one last time.  How my two 6ft 4inch, adult offspring will fit into the caravan beds, and manage a holiday among a campsite full of toddlers is another matter!

The City and Guilds Level One in Photography comes to an end this evening with the handing in of the six photos that will determine my fate.  There's a sneak preview of two of them below..........

We went to a great yoga workshop last Sunday run by Julia Thorley and Penny Taylor.  It lasted for 3 hours, with intervals for tea and cake, and great fun was had by all.  Honestly, despite the sweaty red-faced appearance to the contrary in some of the poses.  Thanks Julia.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

latest news from the photo course, pics from the seaside, thoughts on Bob Crow and Tony Benn

Completed a satisfying evening of work yesterday on my poetry presentation and ended up boggled eyed at the end of it.  Looked through and printed off many of my poems from my newly organised computer file, see last post, and thumbed the poetry books from the bookshelf to find one's I liked from real poets which I can add in between mine.  I'm hoping this will improve the quality of the presentation - the members of the group I'm presenting to are well read - so I'm out to impress.  All thats left to do is get my poetry voice sorted and practise reading them out loud.

The photography City and Guilds is at week nine of ten, so we are concentrating on the final submission of six mounted photos complete with the technical information of how it was shot.  My theme is indeed to be 'seaside', with pics mostly taken from our trip to Cromer and the east coast a couple of weeks ago.  There's a couple of them below - your are allowed to give me a score out of ten for each one, this will probably be better than the one coming from my tutor.  Its funny how at some point when learning a new skill you feel less clear about things than you did before the start, here's hoping that my understanding of all things to do with shutter speed, aperture, depth of field and ISO come into focus by a week on Thursday!

This week saw the death of both Bob Crow and Tony Benn.  Two people from very different backgrounds who ended up very similar.  The Guardian yesterday asked the question raised in a couple of letters from readers - '.......who is left to defend working people'.

I've made contact again with a old friend, Karen Shapley, whose is a very talented ceramicist and textile artist, take a look at her blog here.....
......... we have one of her lovely jugs in our kitchen.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Filing poetry, photos from the east and to-do lists

I've realised that I need to get better at filing my writing on the computer in a way that allows me to find things when I need to.  I belong to a poetry group and have been invited to perform some of my poems at one of the groups meetings at the end of the month.  So the search for my poems on my computer began in earnest this morning.  I knew it was going to be difficult as over the years all of my poems have been polished, re-filed and wrongly filed at least twice which has led to much duplication.  Its taken two hours of clicking and dragging, but I've succeeded in producing a new file containing the latest versions of them all.  All I need to do now is look at them all, perhaps tweaking and polishing as I go, decide which ones I'm going to read out, print them all off ............ and then practise reading them out loud ........and then devise a new filing system and stick to it.  Wish me luck!  A little poem I'd forgotten all about appears below - hope you like it.

Summer Fayre

mad dogs and English folk muster to top up their sunburn,
the unplanned ice-creams tot up the weight watcher points,
the bouncy castles stir up the insides of full-bellied, shoe-less youngsters,
the weary tombolas re-distribute the unwanted Christmas gifts,
and teas are served with scones and jam and lack-lustre squirty cream
onto droopy paper plates.
the damp exhibition tent displays the art and craft of the local talent,
the polished produce of the hard worked vegetable plots gleam contently,
the beer tent heaves with red-cheeked men, and the odd loose woman,
fun will be had until the jazz band throws out its last lazy note,
and the laughter between friends old and new echoes out
into a summer moonlit sky.


We've returned from our 5 days on the east coast with slightly suntanned faces and white bodies, due to the cold but sunny weather.  We had a good look around the altered coastline caused by the storm surge in early December.  It looks like some of the beaches have been left to lick their wounds and accept their fate e.g. Happisburgh, and others like Cromer are undergoing massive re-structuring. 



Every week I write a to-do list but rarely tick off everything, this has resulted in many things making repeated appearances week after week.  So this week my challenge is to have nothing to take over into next week - wish me luck with this too!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside and football news

We're off to 'sunny' Norfolk tomorrow for a few days in a cottage near the sea.  We are looking forward to seeing 'Nebraska' at the Sheringham Theatre, a visit to Norwich and a day or two walking on the beach and reading, writing and taking photos.  The taking photos bit is me - I still haven't decided on the theme for my final piece of work for my City and Guilds qualification - so it may end up as 'seaside' as time is running out!

We watch and support AFC Rushden and Diamonds (known as the Whites), who no longer play at the sumptuous Nene Park, but at the Doughboys ground in Wellingborough.  Of which, incidentally, I have a childhood memory of my dad taking me down there one Saturday to watch Wellingborough Town play.  We (AFC R&D) now share their ground - how life does turn in circles.  Anyway, we love standing between the home and away dugouts - where all of life is played out between the management teams of the two sets of players.  We enjoy the banter between the coaches, the calls to the 'officials' alerting them to the misdemeanours of the other team, and the quips thrown across the grass as they walk off the pitch at half and full time.

So, the furore of the Alan Pardue incident at the weekend held no surprise to us, although the headbutting of an opposition player by a manager is probably a step too far.  This is a shame as this Newcastle manager is a good one.  Maybe a a crime of passion ............
Come on you Whites - next home match next Saturday - home from Norfolk just in time.