Installing Bird Boxes in Viv’s Wood

We spent most of the day in Viv’s Wood.  Duncan has been busy making bird boxes with off cuts from a fence we have removed from our garden to allow for a long planned extension to the house.

Two Tit Boxes and a Tree Creeper Box Installed

We also felled some birch trees to make a wood store.  The plan is that this will be a solar kiln wood store to dry wood in situ.  We have completed the frame and now need to buy or source some clear material to roof it.  The construction will also involve fuller front and backs but the sides will be open to allow the wind to dry the wood.

Solar Wood Store in Construction

Of course it wasn’t all work and we spent some time admiring the wildlife.

Posted in Six Word Saturday, Viv's Wood | 4 Comments

Viv’s Wood

Scots Pine

Scots Pine

Apologies for neglecting Mum’s blog.  Life has been hard as Mum died as a result of a car crash for which I was prosecuted.  It took until January this year for the case to come to court but I was acquitted and the judge declared the police evidence ‘demonstrably unsound’.  It looks likely that there was oil on the road that could have caused me to skid.  I have no recollection of the accident and have lost a lot of confidence in my driving abilities since.

In Mum’s memory we invested some of my inheritance in a Northumberland wood not far from where we live and have named it Viv’s Wood.

The wood is located on the edge of the Cheviots in Northumberland National Park.  Its size is easy to remember being 3.14 acres (Pi to the non mathematicians amongst you).

Old Part of the Wood

Old Part of the Wood

There is a Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) along the southern boundary which is also a riverbank.  This area contains some mature oaks and a huge Scots Pine along with Juniper.

The rest of the site was a coniferous plantation which was felled and replanted with native broadleaf  trees a few years before it came up for sale.  The birch has done really well at regenerating from seed and needs to be kept under control to allow the other tree species to thrive.

The site also contains a glade of heather which on our first camping weekend there was the most fantastic purple colour but will again need maintenance to ensure the birch trees don’t take over.

There is a wealth of wildlife in the wood and we hope to attract more species to make it their home.  This autumn we installed a pine marten box with the help of the Vincent Wildlife Trust and their ‘Back from the Brink Pine Marten Recovery Project‘.

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If any of Mum’s blogging friends find themselves in Northumberland and would like to visit the wood please message us through this blog.


Posted in Poems | 21 Comments


Mum B&W Final c RJH

Viv Taken by her Son

Thank you so much for all your kind words, dedications and time given to thinking of Mum/Viv during the time of her funeral.  In particular, thanks to Linda Cosgriff, Becky Giles and Restless Jo from the blogging community who managed to make it in person.

Mum and Linda 2013

Mum and Linda 2013

Linda/Tilly Bud/the Laughing Housewife had a very dramatic journey by train as there was a problem with the overhead lines on the East Coast Mainline and her train was delayed.  She sneeked into the funeral late but still managed to get up and read Mum’s epitaph posted earlier.

I read one of Mum’s poems, The Poetry of Every Day, about her life in France.  Thanks again to Linda for coming up with a list of good poems of Mum’s to choose from.

Donations on the day and on our Just Giving page raised an impressive total of £277.50 for Cancer Research.

Mun and Jo on the top of Northumbrelandia 2013

Mum and Jo on the top of Northumberlandia 2013

Restless Jo dedicated the following 6-Word-Saturday to Mum and wrote a lovely blog about the ceremony.

I would like to produce a book/booklet of the best of Mum’s poems but I did not inherit her linguistic skills so need your help to make suggestions about what poems I should include!

Rest assured, her blog will be kept live with me as adminstrator although you will have to put up with lots of bad English and grammar as Mum was my proof reader.

SG1L0395 Viv scoring at archery

Viv Finally Succeeding in Getting an Arrow on the Board


Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Saying Goodbye

IMG_0924 (2)Thank you for all the messages of condolence and poems dedicated to Viv.  We know that many of you are scattered around the world and it is heartening to know that her blogging presence has spread so widely and is so much appreciated.  Some of you who are closer at hand have already asked about funeral arrangements.  This will be held on Wednesday 20 July at West Road Crematorium in Newcastle upon Tyne at 1:15pm.  Some of you will have met her, others may only have done so via her online activities but anyone who would like to come along, and is able to do so, would be most welcome.  We will follow the funeral with some light refreshments at a location still to be arranged.  Please, if you would like to come along, leave us a message so that we can have an idea of numbers.

Viv specifically asked for no flowers but that any donations be given to cancer research.  If anyone does feel that they would like to make a donation we have set up a Just Giving page for this.

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 Comments

The end of an era…

It is with great sadness ViV compressedthat we have to tell you that Mum (Viv) died on the night of Tuesday 5 July.

This was her own epitaph written in May 2014 as it seems most appropriate to use her own words.

I will go down fighting
for that which I hold most dear:
for home and family and friends,
but when it’s time for me to go
I hope it’s without fear.

I want to lie in idleness
beneath my favourite tree.
Let my biodegradable body be compost,
ensure nature’s continuity
by adding to fertility:
enrich the soil with me.

She loved blogging and the community of everyone out there in the blogging world with whom she communicated on-line.  This had kept her going over many years since she made her first steps into this environment on 23 April 2010.  Thank you to everyone who has helped and encouraged her over these 6 years of blogging.


Posted in Poems | 103 Comments


Strange computer — bewitched, bothered and bewildered

I can’t get into my email, so there will be about a gazillion to read and/or delete by the time I get home.  I can’t find the WordPress reader either, so I haven’t a clue what all my friends have been doing.  Never mind, I’m sure you’re all posting wonderful things which I will see when I get back to France on Thursday.

Going to Carlisle tomorrow to watch my grandson row in a pair and a coxed four in the regatta.

Be good while I’m away and have a great weekend.

Posted in life writing, Poems, prose | Tagged | 9 Comments

Food, Glorious Food


bacon cooking on a campfire
Image from Google


I’ve written many perfumed poems, including my favourite A Smelly Poem and I don’t want to re-cover old ground, so here are a couple of  little senryu for Grace’s prompt at dVerse, to drizzle our poems with scents.  I’m sure there will  be some great  perfumed poems there, so do pop over for a read.


Anyone who scents
bacon frying out of doors
yearns to eat it now.


Toasting cheese
sniffed when passing by ─
savoury sensation.


The bartenders at the dVerse poets’ pub are having a couple of weeks
off, and I am flying over to UK tomorrow for a week in Northumberland with daughter Sally.  I may be laptop-less, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t see me here for a while.

Posted in haiku and senryu | Tagged | 17 Comments


Sunrise 1  27.10.15


The sun rose ─
we rejoiced to see it ─
winter miseries
on the way out, albeit
late and slow.
It didn’t get much better
as the days went past.
Some days hope rose
with the sun.
As July approaches
will summer come at last?


For dVerse Monday Quadrille, a 44 word poem using the word rose

Posted in pictures, rhyming poetry, short poems | Tagged | 46 Comments


Girls’ night for film and popcorn

Jock’s away, and K very kindly fetched me for a girls’ night in at the Mill
It was a beautiful evening and the garden was full of colour and bees, so I took lots of pictures.  Then we settled down in squishy cushioned chairs for a weepy wallow.
Oh dear!  The film had been wiped.  Never mind, the popcorn was not wasted and we had a lovely chatty time with old property programmes on TV.

I decline to re-open the topic of the day – too depressing.

The back garden at the Mill was made after Jock terraced and built stone walls and steps and toiled for the better part of a year.  This was the first time I had seen it in full summer glory, and I reckon it was worth the effort.Mill back garden 24.6.16 Jock's handiwork 3 years on. Evening at the Mill 24.6.16 bee heaven at the Mill

more lupins_pe

More Mill garden 14.6.16 more of Jock's handiwork 24.6.16 S dead-heading sunset at the mill 24.6.16 The millrace 24.6.16

I also had the chance to photograph the wall hanging I made for K & S’s wedding present:


Hanging on the stairs at the Mill.

Bargello Wall Hanging on the stairs at the Mill.

Do pop over to Cate’s place for more 6-w-Saturdays.

Posted in life writing, quilts and pictures | Tagged | 16 Comments

Threnody for Common Sense


Politics is a dirty game
of lies, exaggeration and skulduggery,
obnoxious scaremongering in our name
wielded with crass stupidity.
Britain’s going back
to the nineteenth century
in splendid isolationist misnomer.

We must pick up the pieces
in the aftermath ─
no-one knows quite how
to do that fairly.  To keep the peace
will be almost impossible now.

The saddest thing for me to see
is my natal country on the way
towards the type of politics
that governs the US of A …

and I didn’t even have a vote.



I wanted to make my poem for dVerse open link night relevant, but I’m probably not making much sense:  the shock of this morning’s results in the British referendum to leave Europe has completely overwhelmed me.  The pound sterling in freefall has a disastrous effect on our income, which will be stretched beyond the feasible if we have to provide our own healthcare here in France.  I pray that reason will prevail with a return to equilibrium.

Posted in life writing, politics, rants | Tagged | 14 Comments


No, I haven’t made a typo
reversed letters like a tyro ─
a sniglet is what I meant
not a seedy undergarment.
A sniglet is
a useful word
for something
which lacks a name,
like thingamajig,
or whatsit

This intriguing little word popped up in my inbox as word of the day from Dictionary.com, and is defined as any word coined for something that has no specific name, any word that doesn’t appear in a dictionary but should.  It wasn’t in my thesaurus!

Posted in free verse, humour, short poems | Tagged | 15 Comments

Summer is icumen in (and out and in and out again)


           British Library Harley 978folio 11v

Summer has hiccups this year.
Two sunny days tempt us
to shed the odd layer,
put up the canopy,
lunch in the garden;
then ten days of drear
most chilly, a few hot,
some rainy, a few not,
some waking to fog
or bright white frost;
and so it’s been since April.


Summer is icumen in is a medieval English rota, possibly attributed to William of Wycombe, from the mid-13th century, in Wessex duakect of Middle English

Walt Wotjenik is behind the bar at dVerse for Poetics, and he wants us to look at summer poetry, and write about summer.  That is a joke this year, so I have treated it as such.


Posted in free verse, humour, life writing | Tagged , | 28 Comments

Monsoon – a Haibun


A car navigates its way through the floodwaters of Mont Fleuri, one of the busiest districts in the capital city of Victoria, Mahe on Saturday evening (Derrick Young Khon, Pure FM Seychelles)

A New Year ’s Day trip to an artist’s studio-cum-café on Praslin,  Seychelles saw us waiting at a bus stop when the monsoon started in earnest.  Machine gun bullets rained down on us in our shorts, tee shirts and flip-flops.   So what, we grinned cheerfully, it was a nice warm drenching.

The bus gave up when the flood reached the top of the tyres, so we got off and trudged through near waist-high water to the café.  Power was off – not unusual – so having admired all the artwork, we waited, steaming slightly, while lunch was improvised.  I was not popular when I sat down at the out-of-tune piano and played Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude.

We had to catch the plane back to Mahé  in time for work next day, so we decided  to walk the few miles to the airstrip via the driest place on the island – the beach.  We  found the airport seething with passengers waiting for the flood to subside so aircraft could land.  Eventually the sky cleared, a plane came to shuttle the stranded passengers.  Home and dry.

Warm rain teems, in
machine gun paradiddle –
fills every hollow


For dVerse Haibun Monday

Posted in haibun | Tagged | 22 Comments

Heron embroidery

Jock seems to be getting quicker at these embroideries:  it only seems five minutes since he finished the goslings. The idea for this one came from an advertiseent in the Radio Times.

Jock's herons

courtship or antagonism
ruffled feathers suggest a fight –
maybe a bit of both


Posted in haiku and senryu, Jock's projects, nature poems | Tagged , | 18 Comments


Forgot to take the camera today

which is a shame, as while lunching at Pirou, the sea was sparkling in the sun and we were gifted with the sight of a trotter being trained along the shoreline.  In default of today’s scene, you’ll have to be content with  one of riders, taken last year on a dreary winter’s day.horses at Coutainville 3

Posted in life writing | Tagged | 13 Comments