Situation normal:  the rain is back

But signs of Spring are creeping in all over the place.  I’ve been keeping tabs of next door’s magnolia tree for signs of bursting buds, and yesterday there was definitely some
colour at the top of the tree, though I think a little more warmth is needed for the buds to open fully.

Jock has been busy all week transferring his designs onto the boards of our Carneval float,
having nightmares because the Committee des Fètes had bought silk finish paint instead of matt emulsion to cover last year’s design and they had to sand every inch before the colour would stick.

I have managed to assemble the main part of my scrappy quilt in somewhat eccentric fashion, and am now making a border/binding out of chevrons of leftover strips.

wonky hexagon quilt chevrons
It is an odd shape, and I think I will use it as a table-cloth if I ever finish it.

Do have a saunter over to read the other 6-word-Saturdays here

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

Fortune Cookie Wisdom for this Lover of Words



Your shoes will make you happy
if you take them for a walk
through woodland paths and country ways
where you might see a hawk
fly overhead.

A merry heart is healthy.
It’s always good to laugh,
for laughter promotes happiness
and helps us to outlast
the miseries.

Always keep it simple
when you try to write a verse,
the message clear and full of grace
to cheer the casual reader,
enchant or make him laugh ─
and blues disperse.

for Chinese New Year, dVerse gives us four fortune cookies as inspiration and I chose to use all four.



Posted in free verse, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 28 Comments


In the brief lull between two gales
we assess the damage,
pick up broken pot pieces,
retrieve the lid of the compost bin
and weigh it down with a rock;
hold our breath
in the forlorn hope
that Storm Imogen has shot her bolt.


For dVerse prompt to write a poem of exactly 44 words, incorporating the word ‘lull’.
You’re not going to believe this, but it’s true.  As I was posting this to my blog, it started to SNOW!

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Half a day’s respite from rain

Following constant  downpours while I was responding to a challenge on facebook to post a nature picture every day for seven days,  and a severe gale last night, this morning dawned bright and calm.sunny sunday
Knowing that it couldn’t last, I set out after breakfast for my usual toddle round the village. I hoped to find early signs of violets, but had to make do with nettles in flower and some  triangular stripey leaves of I know not what.nettles 7.2.16 lush growth 7.2.16

I knew it couldn’t last, the sky is now all cloud, and more gales are expected soon.  I’m glad I made the most of the morning, and now I’m making bread while pondering the next stage of my current scrappy quilt project.scrappy hexagons en route7.2.16

Posted in life writing, quilts and pictures | 15 Comments


Just another dark wet winter morning

Another scrappy quilt in progress is giving me hassle.  I’m using strips of different widths which makes matching seams impossible.  The whole thing looks wonky to me, so I’m waiting for a miracle to occur when I start assembling the elements.  Meanwhile the erstwhile tidy workroom looks as though a bomb’s hit it

IMG_1090 IMG_1091

IMG_1067 IMG_1069

Just to remind us that spring is on the way, here are the swelling magnolia buds of our neighbour’s tree:magnolia buds

and here’s what it will look like in a few weeks:

(image from Wikipedia)

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A cat’s life for me, a pampered domestic cat
with ample laps at hand for caresses
and gourmet food at the drop of a hat;
a garden safe from marauding dogs
where I could hunt discreetly for
that tempting furred or feathered prey
which I devoutly hope would escape me.
I’d only do it for the fun, to keep my wits alert
with stalking, creeping, leaping play
and a comfy bed at the end of the day
where in a coddled coiled heap
I would purr and sweetly sleep.

Celie#s conversible cat haiga
Celie Gunther’s conversible cats – their life is somewhat freer than I envisage for my second coming, but they are contented cats.

For the prompt at thepoet’s pub  last night , Abhra asked  “do you want to be reborn as who you are? Do you think you could come back like a bird? What would you be looking for if you come back?”  I missed the cut-off, so have posted it instead for the pub’s Open Link Night

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The Power Cut

The Standard Habbie Stanza as used by Robert Burns, among others:   I am in the middle of a Future Learn course on the Scottish bard, and have been intrigued by the structure of eg The Vision. 

The Habbie Stanza consists of six lines of iambic tetrameter, with rhyme pattern aaabab.  The 4th and 6th lines are  indented in trimeter:

Eg this rough transcription of stanza 10 from the original manuscript of The Vision by Robert Burns

A hare-brained sentimental trace
Was strongly marked in her face;
A wildly-witty, rustic grace
……….Shone full upon her;
Her eye ev’n turned on empty space,
……….Beamed keen with honor.

I thought I’d have a go at the form for Margo Roby’s Lights Out prompt on power cuts (I believe Americans call these outages).

New-met friends were gathered here
at twilight for a game of bridge, where
leg of lamb in oven there
……………….was roasting for our dinner.
There came a bang, the power no more
        ………. left without e’en a glimmer.


I gulped and rushed for candles bright;
served the lamb, a bloody sight,
hoping their discretion might
……….forgive the error.
Their middle name Sophisticate
……….had banish’d all my terror.


Convivial friends they soon became ─
by candle light we played the game
the shadows not enough for blame,
……….but relishing the shimmer
thrown around by waxen flame
……….and we were chums for ever.


The new-met friends were the British High Commissioner to the Republic of Seychelles (equivalent to Ambassador in non-Commonwealth countries) and his wife.  We loved them immediately as H.E., unasked, shed his shoes at the front door on arrival, in accordance with local custom.

Posted in formal poetry, rhyming poetry, story poems | Tagged , | 15 Comments



This winter is the pits.  Where are the lovely sharp sunshiny frosty mornings?  Must we suffer only rain, incessant, interminable, smothering all interest in going outside to enjoy a bracing walk.  Crisp outlines of trees are nowhere to be seen ─ just misty, murky amorphous landscape, curtained intermittently by sweeping squalls.  It isn’t even cold.

Soporific rain
produces open-mouthed snores
from bored sufferer

My second attempt at a haibun for dVerse Haibun Monday, this time on prompt, writing to the photograph provided by Gabriella.  Sorry about the surfeit of adjectives!

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Wordle 236 and Haibun Monday


“Shut your eyes.  Put one foot in front of the other and follow the line until I tell you to stop.  Hmm!  You’ll have to do better than that, your right foot is a country mile from the line.  Careful you don’t fall.  Oopsy Daisy!”  The policeman made a sign to his colleague to help the drunk rise to his unsteady feet and set him moving again.

“There has to be a better way than this of proving a man has taken a drink too many.  When I have a spare minute I’ll have to find a way to measure alcohol on the spot.”  The PC had a flair for invention, akin to casting spells.  And he invented the gadget known to all addicts of car chasing cop programmes on TV as the breathalyzer.

Blow into this, please ─
keep going, keep going, Sir.
Over the limit.

I’ve clumsily combined the Sunday Whirl wordle words with a cautionary tale for Haibun Monday at the dVerse poet’s pub.  I’m rather ashamed

Posted in haibun, really bad poetry, wordles | Tagged | 13 Comments

Poetic Insurrection

Curtains of rain sweep across the field,
obscure the trees and spoil the view.
If I were God, then I would wield
a mighty mop  – sun overdue.


Trochaic tetrameter  can be varied
with  the odd iamb  from time to time ─
adhered to rigidly it can be horrid
like anything carried to extreme

Perfect poems need variety
to spice them up and make you think,
without the slightest impropriety
or causing you to take to drink.

Writing poems can be obsessive
rhyme and rhythm retrogressive
and so, just to be perverse,
I‘ll change my style into free verse.


The horizon drifts behind the mist
emerging here and there as ghostly trees
tattered grasses cross my sight 
Darn it, I’ve reverted to type,
with doggerel.  Stop me, please.

Not a literary journal gives us a lovely prompt to obey or disobey the rules of poetic form, invent our own or not, as the fancy takes us.


Posted in formal poetry, humour, nonsense poems, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 14 Comments


Preparing for the Fête Saint Pierre

which long-term followers will know happens here in July every two years.

The panels of the 2014 float have been scraped clean of the old design and Jock has the dining table covered with paper and drawings, churning over ideas.  He’s done the design for one 5 metre side, and this week it will be made into transparencies to project on to the panel, for the full size drawings to be made.  Then a rough idea of colours will be applied so that the team of volunteers (our team is known as le Galopin) can start twiddling and gluing crèpe paper “papillottes” to cover the entire board.  One more long panel, short panels front and back and the entire platform of the converted bus chassis-cum-carneval float remain to finalise.

The overall theme is the Tour de France cycle race, which starts in our region this year.   Jock has an original twist on the theme, and here is a sneak spoiler: la descente Pas de Prisonniers

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Thirty-year old African violet kept for sentiment.

African violet
Too little earth for support
in an over-large pot
causes the plant to tip
a dusty grey-green amorphous nimiety
of leaves over the side.
A wrinkled weak purple flower
pokes defiantly out at the top —
undeserved reward
for years of neglect.

Victoria Slotto at dVerse writes of imagist poetry, a style which resonates with me as saying what it means and meaning what it says.  In this case, the title really tells the whole story!   Do go and see what some real poets have made of this prompt, as I may have got hold of the wrong end of the stick!

Posted in free verse, short poems | Tagged | 30 Comments

Normal shambles has been restored

A few days ago I showed you the unnaturally clean and tidy state of my workroom –Annette's table-topper in tidy workroom bedroom end of workroom when I’d finished the table-topper for Annette.  It didn’t last! Alas, I have started a new scrap quilt, with consequent renaissant shambles! IMG_1065 IMG_1066 IMG_1067 IMG_1068 IMG_1069 26.1.16

I have been looking for a recipient of the recent big scrappy quilt.   Elise, the daughter of my lovely helper Charline has just moved into her first house so I was happy to give it to her. 

Double bed size Scrappy Quilt started 1st August, finished 26th October 2015

Double bed size Scrappy Quilt started 1st August, finished 26th October 2015

Posted in quilts and pictures | Tagged | 18 Comments

Foxy Foto

Jock's foxy

Here is Jock’s latest embroidery, just finished.  Mister Fox is enchanting, and I think it’s one of my clever husband’s best.   These embroideries are known as peinture avec l’aiguille (painting with the needle) in France, and Jock’s are done using long and short stitch.

Posted in Jock's projects | Tagged , | 13 Comments

New rant

After a very long gap, there is a new rant on my Miserable Old Bat’s blog:

I do hope I haven’t offended large chunks of my readership!

Posted in Save the Planet | 3 Comments