Quilty things

I posted a WIP a while back, but forgot to give you a picture when the quilt was finished last week.  I’ve called it  Topsy, because it “just growed” Having started with a simple block, I didn’t know where to go with it next.  Faute de mieux, I continued adding borders until it covered me in the chair where I was sewing!  It’s the warmest quilt I’ve ever made,
as the middle layer is a 3-layer fleece quilt that came as a freebie.  It’s fairly thick, which made it hard work to hand quilt, so I kept the stitching to a minimum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince then, I’ve made a fabric ball for a baby, pentagons in the old English Patchwork Piecing method over paper.  What next?  Do I feel a scrap quilt coming on? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



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my poem The Games We Used to Play

is live today on Red Wolf Journal

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My fantasy world

is one where everyone is kind.
gentle, full of understanding,
tolerance and respect for life,

where differing points of view
can be discussed intelligently,
without acrimony or violence;

where politicians are in it for the good of all,
incorruptible, with no axe to grind,
no pockets to line.

where there is satisfying work for everyone,
effort is rewarded justly,
with a happy home to shelter them;

where the vulnerable are protected,
boredom, pain and stress are banished
and all the world is smiling.

 dVerse Poetics prompt today is to let the imagination run riot, to have fun.  And I sort of have done, but every news bulletin brings more conflict and tragedy into our homes, so my fantasy is not exactly fun, but remedial.

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Tima and Tane haiga

time and tane haiga

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Another Haiga: Dunfermline Abbey

Dunfermeline Abbey Haiga

Picture stolen from Jo Woolf’s Journal

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Boo and Babies Haiga

Boo and babies haiga

Picture of Boo with Marmalade’s kittens © Cecilia Gunther,  stolen from The Kitchen’s Garden

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Wordle 188 Those Were the Days

Twelve words spill from my inbox every Sunday morning, old ones, new ones, loved ones, neglected ones. Is anyone out there old enough to remember, or has Alberto Semprini been forgotten?  Each Sunday on the old Light Programme of the BBC, those honeyed words of the pianist/composer introduced an hour of light classical music for our delight .  We children gathered round the radio, hearts a-flutter, for some special moments.  For more than 25 years, Semprini Serenade was the lynchpin of Sunday early-evening broadcasting.

Important though music always was in our lives, weekends were also full of comedic treats:  from ITMA through Much Binding in the Marsh to Take It From Here and the zany Goon Show, with the brilliant Peter Sellars, Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe et al.  My parents could never understand the show, but took the decision that laughter was therapeutic, and so we were allowed to listen.   There was much that was miserable about those grey post-war years, but Dad was resolute that we should enjoy everything life had to offer.

It wasn’t only at the weekend that the radio was our focus:  at 5pm after school, Children’s Hour, introduced by Uncle Mac, entertained little ones with Toytown with Larry the Lamb and Mister Growser, or Noddy in Toyland, and bigger ones with classic serials.  I can’t forget the enchantment of serial stories such as Noel Streatfield’s Swish of the Curtain, or the pirouettes of young Posey, in Ballet Shoes.

Homework done, we were allowed to stay up for the classic serials on the Home Service. Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and other dramatisations sent us to the bookshelves to find the original books.  But at 9pm sharp it was off to bed, with no argument.

I suspect that you may find some more poetic, less nostalgic writings at Brenda’s Sunday Whirl

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Gift arrived: better late than never

Eighty-one last Monday doesn’t have quite the same ring as the song “21 today”!    Jock’s birthday was celebrated in the local Bistrot, with a couple of friends. He wore the new blue sweater part of his present. The other part was a red dressing gown, à la Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H.  We’ve been catching up on years of missed M*A*S*H programmes on the True Entertainment Channel, and Jock had expressed a hankering for Hawkeye’s casual look.

Daughter Sally’s present has been eagerly awaited since she told me it was on the way.  This time last year, her gift was an apple tree.  Since we can’t plant trees here, it was to remain in their garden.

arrival of the mystery package

arrival of the mystery package

musical parcels?

musical parcels?

Is there anything inside?

Is there anything inside?

Jock's joy

Jock’s joy

viv's share of the apple Viv’s share
Vicissitudes of the weather ensured that only one  apple survived to ripen, and this is what arrived in Friday’s post.


Posted in life writing | 17 Comments

Byinvenuns sus la Viqùipédie en normaund


Mischievous Manchois
talk to tourists in patois,
pretend it is French.
There are more Normaund words in
English than you think.

The prompt at dVerse   Meeting the Bar this week is all about de-familiarisation:

…Shklovski goes as far as saying that without defamiliarization there is no art! no poetry, he also says that poetry has to be difficult to read. In his essay Shklovski exemplifies from the work of Tolstoy three techniques that can give this effect:

  • To describe an object without naming it. Thereby forcing the reader to live through the same observations that you do the first day.
  • To describe the situation from the perspective of someone else. Such as Tolstoy used a horse named Kholstomer in his book with the same name.
  • Tell it in a dialect or foreign language making it unfamiliar. Some of our fascination with old poetry lies in the archaic language that makes familiar object seem unfamiliar. But the same works by mixing it with dialects or foreign language.

 Personally I have no wish to read incomprehensible poetry – I can’t see the point, but in the spirit of the prompt, I am re-blogging a poem I wrote a couple of years ago.  I live in the presqu’ île of the Cotentin peninsula.  In this part of Normandy, the local patois varies considerably within a short distance, so my thoughts turned  to the seriously endangered  normaund, with its residual use in British constitutional law.  When a Parliamentary Bill is submitted to the Monarch he/she passes it into law with the words (purely ceremonial nowadays) “La Reine/Le Roy Le Veult” (“The Queen/King Wills It”). There are many words derived from Norman French such as captain, kennel, cattle and canvas which are in common usage in English.

Byinvenuns sus la Viqùipédie en normaund  and to my quasi-tanka.  The last line had refused to be confined to 5 syllables but I’ve just fixed it, rather clumsily!

Posted in re-blogs, short poetry, tanka | Tagged | 28 Comments

Every song must end


At dusk the dying day
descends to decay.
The spirit droops away
devoid of conscious thought
in sleep, dreams pulse in sequence
Sleight of heavenly hand
brings a raw new day,
reflected light to wake the spirit,
re-start the cycle
until the dying day
descends once more into decay.

for a wordle prompt at Red Wolf Poems.  I managed all but two:  parasites and

Posted in free verse, short poetry, wordles | Tagged | 7 Comments


One of my smaller poems apppears today in the first edition of the new literary  e-zine Gnarled Oak

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image from BBC News

image from BBC News


Flames roaring through the roof
cut to interior shot of rubble.
The most iconic landmark
in a lifetime of icons –
a tragic end.

A fag-end on the lunchtime news
overheard today appalled me.
I thought it today’s news.
Still tragic, but I found
destruction of this
art   nouveau
in May.

Forensic archaeologists called in,
sadness turns to anger
that no sprinklers
were in place.

Margo Roby gave us an intriguing prompt today:  Choose an event, or a setting. I want your narrator to consider the chosen item from a specific place. You need to let us know, without shoving it in our faces, where the place is in terms of its relationship to what the narrator is going to talk about, or describe.

too close

Change the narrator’s view. Alter the angle or the distance and have your narrator discover something they hadn’t seen or known before about what it is they are describing.Is there a significance, or an epiphany, with the new perspective?

In case you’re wondering, the building was the Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Posted in free verse | Tagged | 16 Comments

Wordle 187 – Food, Glorious Food

The meal that’s better than sex
lingers long on the palate,
with hints of seafood
mixed with toast.
Body and soul are refreshed,
palate cleansed.
unger appeased yields  to
subtle aroma of yesterday
which tends to impinge
on a foretaste of tomorrow
mixed with today.

Photograph by weirdcombinations.com

Photograph by weirdcombinations.com

When I saw today’s Wordle words I thought Hooray, nothing could be simpler.  Not so – it’s taken me all day to come up with this paltry poem.  I’m sure there will be much better ones to read at Brenda’s Sunday Whirl

Posted in food, free verse, wordles | 14 Comments


I’ve  never seen so much gore

as there was in the Pierce Brosnan film November Man.  Not usually my cup of tea, but the film was so exciting that my horror receded!  Produced by Brosnan, the film could have been a James Bond by any other name – the plot was convoluted spy stuff, well worked out to a satisfying conclusion in Belgrade, with  beautiful girls, lots of chases on foot and by car, naughty bits and a plethora of bodies.

We took our  neighbour from Cerisy, who comes to us for English conversation lessons, and she said it was “her sort of film”.  

The Cinema de la Plage at Hauteville sur Mer is small, modern, and very comfortable. Once a month they put on films in VO (original language with French subtitles) largely for the Brits living in the region.  The showing concludes with a free cup of tea or coffee and chocolate biscuits in the lobby.   We don’t go out a lot, but we’ve seen some terrific films there – Calendar Girls, Ladies in Lavender, Billy Elliott, Skyfall.  Next month we are promised the award-winning Mister Turner, with Timothy Spall.  Not to be missed. 

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On the surface all is beauty,
but the first picture is blurry,
fuzzy with imprecision.
The lines are not clear -
it could be anything or nothing,~
treachery is merely implied.

The next is surreal as Dali.
Thoughts fly above the subject’s head
in distorted profusion, but clear
in intention.  This man emanates evil.

A landscape follows, calm, serene
concealing the world of the wild
where all is predator or prey.
Art is not reality, paint is not truth.


Victoria’s prompt at dVerse intrigued me, it asks for art as  metaphor.  As you know, metaphor is not in my armoury, so I may have got this entirely wrong.



Posted in ekphrastic poetry, free verse | 21 Comments