Craft Competition Success

I ran a craft competition on behalf of the group Crafty Reivers at the Stamfordham Village Fayre yesterday . We were short on entries from the public so I entered my Mum’s last quilt. The quilt won the people’s vote! We asked people visiting to vote for their favourite by putting tokens in a bowl.


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#30DaysWild Day 30 Threnody for Wilderness

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Small patch of wilderness in the Hutt’s garden (c) Sally Hutt 16 June 2019

Wildness becoming
a wilderness of concrete
no home for wild life

Bird heaven would be
of meadows and native trees
with wild on the side

Wild flowers by lane
to bridge across river –
insect habitat.

Deserted island –
wild retreat for breeding ducks
safe from marauders.

Peep around the bend
to watch wild creatures living
as they’re meant to do.

How far we’ve fallen
from the natural way of life
into urban wild –

how can we bear
this unstable urban life
we have created?

(c) Vivienne Blake 2 July 2013

Mum described this as a group of Haiku and were written in response to a wordle which is a cloud of words.  Mum loved the weekly challenge of writing poems based on a cloud of words provided on the Sunday Whirl blog.  This was her response to Wordle 115 – the latest Wordle on the blog is number 409 from the 23 June 2019.

A Threnody is defined by wikkipedia as ‘a wailing ode, song, hymn or poem of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person’.  Here is hoping that wilderness is still very much alive and we can all help stop its destruction.  We leave 2 patches of our lawn to grow wild over the summer and are encouraging native flowers such as Pignut, Ox-eye daisy and Betony to thrive there.

This is technically the last day of #30DaysWild but I missed 3 days so owe you at least 3 wild related poems but I have also enjoyed the prompt to read through old posts and find things to post in the box of Mum’s writings that I have inherited so will endeavour to keep posting her poems.


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#30DaysWild Day 29 Take-Off

Gaping, insistent
raucous throats plead.
A mother swoops to feed the brood.
Soon satisfied at first,
the intervals grow shorter.
Weary parents toil in shifts
to quell the unrelenting cheeping.

Downy plumage covers scrawny skin
as jostling rivalry shrinks
nursery to prison cell.
The feeblest infant, losing
out to stronger brothers,
plummets to untimely end
between the jaws of pouncing cat.

One intrepid fledgling, hardier than most,
mounts the twiggy Everest to stand in awe,
cast wide-eyed gaze on earth and sky.
Swithering, interminable pause of doubt,
before primeval instinct sends him fluttering
uneasily until, with growing confidence,
he soars in exultation.

(c) Vivienne Blake

Another poem typed up form the ‘old bits and bobs’ file.  I really can’t find this one on the blog already!  Sally

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#30DaysWild Day 28 The Alchemy of Trees

The Alchemy of Trees – a deviant adverb-fest

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Trees in Viv’s Wood 1 Dec 2018 (c) Sally Hutt

How do trees make poetry
of beauty the epitome
of overweening dignity
exemplar of such alchemy
turn brown to green so gaudily
and green to gold so carelessly
yield habitats resplendently
grow strong timber generously
to build our houses sensibly
fuel our fires renewably
absorb nuisance gas ingeniously
shade our gardens usefully
grow delicious fruit in diversity
give swarming life big-heartedly?

Oh! How I love those trees.

(c) Vivienne Blake

Apologies for this late post for yesterday.  This poem comes from the box I have of Mum’s writings.  It comes from a file that starts with submissions from her Open University writing courses so it is probably an early poem.  The group of poems it comes from is just labelled ‘Old bits and bobs – mostly submitted’.  Submitted for what, I don’t know.  The photograph was taken in Viv’s Wood, a wood bought with my inheritance, on what would have been her birthday last year.



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#30DaysWild Day 27 The Biter Bit

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The North Tyne, Bellingham (c) Sally Hutt 27 June 2019

A sturdy small girl
stomps down the pavement in a paddy,
crosses the field at speed
to launch herself with aplomb into the dinghy.
Rocking wildly she picks up an oar
to propel the boat upstream
by paddling over the stern.
Her fluid strokes are expert,
outrace the chase by angry parent,
She steers skilfully,
leans across the current towards open terrain
on the far side of the river.  Escape, freedom.

Countless small creatures scent blood,
descend on tender skin for a meal.
Hot itching inflames her temper,
fuels an about turn in search of respite,
calamine lotion and a soothing  touch
from mother, jovial now that the wanderer’s returned.

(c) Vivienne Blake 1 June 2014

Mum wrote this about her wild and free childhood on the Thames.  I thought about this poem as I walked along the North Tyne at lunchtime today.  Sally

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#30DaysWild Day 26 Transformation

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Currants (c) Sally Hutt 27 June 2019

A bee is seen, then another, then another
on the bushes at the top of the steps.
Flowers metamorphose
into bunches of currants.
Rain swells the currants
and sunshine brings colour.
Human hands disrobe the branches,
leaving a few here and there for the birds.

Stalks removed, the fruit is steamed
with an apple or two and a lemon
until the juices run.
Siphoned into another pan,
measured and sugar added,
boiled hard to setting point, and skimmed,
poured into jars, and sealed.

Labelled Gelée de Cassis,
I gloat at the shelves full of clear gleaming colour
and sweetness to give us goodness
through the long cold days of winter.

(c) Vivienne Blake 1 June 2013

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#30DaysWild Day 25 White-tailed Eagle

The Sea Eagle

So many years since
last I saw this place,
place of my birth and hers.
Six long years to grow –
grow and gather my adult strength.

From a great height I found her
Now I must woo her –
dance the sky dance again and again,
Flipping my wings to roll over and over
from high to low in a graceful stoop.
I hope she’s watching.

What’s that above me,
that swoops fast towards me,
big and rapacious,
more than my match?
Buzzard tenacious
but I am determined
in love to be strong.
Wings entangle
roll over and over
falling fast, I struggle to stop,
extricate from the knot.

Shake free triumphant,
resume the skydance.
Now I am ready,
ready to mate.
father my brood,
hunt their food,
fight off intruders,
guide the next generation
on their long way.

(c) Vivienne Blake 12 June 2014

We were lucky to see a sea eagle around a nest on a trip to  the island of Hoy, Orkney in May this year.  No photos as it was a very distant view – follow the link above to see more about the eagles at ‘The Dwarfie Stone’.  Last year was the first time sea-eagles had nested on Hoy for 145 years.  Sally

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#30DaysWild Day 24 For the love of worms

It’s Be Kind to Worms Year
to stop the earth being spoiled
by large swathes of monoculture,
heavy machinery ploughing deep,
too much building covering the earth
compacting the dirt, impacting
the habitat of good bacteria
and worms
who exist to keep our soil
fertile and aereated for food.

I could go on at length,
but you get the idea:
long worms, wriggly worms
worms that go squish if you squeeze them,
but don’t make two new worms if you do.
I heart lumbricus terrestris.

(c) Vivienne Blake 23 May 2013

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#30DaysWild Day 23 Fox and Cubs


Fox and Cubs 16 June 2019 (c) Sally Hutt

Taxonomy a peculiar science –
Uncontrollable by mowing,
Pilosella aurantiaca, to use its scientific name,
is considered worldwide a noxious weed –
seen as mundane and unromantic,
but by its common name of fox and cubs
we’re charmed by the semantic.

(c) Vivienne Blake 20 June 2014

I was looking through facebook memories for today and there was an exchange of comments on a photo of fox and cubs (aka orange hawkbit) from our garden that Mum had posted.  I found this poem in the comments and just last week I took a photo of the same plant in the area of our front lawn we are leaving wild for wild flowers.  Seemed the perfect poem to share today.  It is a plant that has escaped from gardens into the wild. Sally

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#30DaysWild Day22 What Are We Doing

O this great beloved world and all the creatures in it
how we do mistreat our fragile home
by covering it with concrete, brick and tarmac,
abandoning the sane and healthy farming
of our forbears, planting, raising cattle,
caring for the soil that gives us life
using hands and sturdy horses,
replacing living workers with machines –
juggernauts compress the earth beyond safe limits;
earth, habitat of man and linnet.

Rivers and little streams with hidden cresses,
poisoned with nitrate run-off
collapsing bankside dwelling of martin and vole;
filling gravel bed with the detritus of infamy:
beer cans and lethal plastic packaging –
trivial trash that violates, transgresses
laws of nature designed for our protection.
Lead weights of selfish anglers kill the swans.
Such travesty. This feeble poem expresses
our anger, which may, just may, be what refreshes
our consciences. The sky overhead night and day
provokes reflection on the state of man –
what we have done to cause climatic change,
send thither sunshine and pleasant weather,
provoke extremes; wash away soil with floods;
tornados, hurricanes betray
our security and that of every creature.
Do we blame the work of God omnipotent?
Who made the universe and all that’s in it?
Great mistake of our naiveté:
‘tis ignorance and greed that cause decay.

And the stars will keep on shining overhead
when we learn from errors, co-operate
with our environment, using, not abusing;
inspire diversity: in place of monoculture
heal the land with fauna, flexi-grazing,
rotation of crops and go ahead
nature’s way.  It will take time and effort
to redress the balance of our actions
so that we no longer live in dread
of devastation, live simple lives instead.

(c) Vivienne Blake May 24, 2013

Having missed posting a poem yesterday I have found an epic poem for today that I think addresses the current Climate Emergency very well. Sally

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#30DaysWild Day 20 Polychrome Pleasure

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Peacock Butterfly on a Primrose, Rathlin Island April 2019 (c) Sally Hutt


Orchid, Bellingham June 2019 (c) Sally Hutt

Through April and May
the land blazes with yellow –
cheer after winter grey

Purple, green and white
dominate and decorate
trackside banks in June.

(c) Vivienne Blake June 13 2015



Mum wrote this poem for the 30 Days Wild challenge in 2015.  It was inspired by a haymeadow sound recording that I shared with her.  This same hay meadow featured in a video taken throughout the year using some stunning time lapse photography.

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#30DaysWild Day 19 Where are the bees?

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Bee on Yellow Rattle (c) Sally Hutt 19 June 2019

We’ll crunch no apples this autumn
for the blossom will  not be transformed
by the work of our friends the bees.

I haven’t seen a bee this year ─
last Spring the farmer did his worst
One Sunday on the quiet
he turned his lethal illegal spray
onto the growing corn.
The corn it grew and grew and grew
but I haven’t seen a bee this May.

We’ll crunch no apples this autumn
for the blossom, late appearing,
will  not be transformed
by the work of our friends the bees.

(c) Vivienne Blake 12 May 2016

I am lucky to have an area of grassland left long for its wild flowers at the bank of my office.  With lots of orchids in flower it is looking particularly pretty at the moment and the bee in the photo was visiting lots of yellow rattle flowers at lunchtime today.  Those of you that have followed Mum’s blog for a while may remember that we bought an apple tree for Jock’s 80th birthday which is in our garden.  It was in a pot for a number of years but I did plant it out with some of Mum’s ashes and it has lots of small apples growing this year so we must have had enough bees in our garden.

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#30DaysWild Day 18 The Parliament of the Sea Creatures

IMGP0947 ((c) Fraser Hutt) blue crab

Blue Crab from Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands (c) Fraser Hutt

‘Hear ye, hear ye,’
the trumpet fish waved his long snout
’The Boss is anxious to sort things out.
He’s calling a meeting of all you chaps
to right a few wrongs, so perhaps
you would kindly make your way
to the reef at eighteen degrees South
by one four eight East
on Sunday week at half past four. ’

At the appointed hour Poseidon thumps his trident.

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Upside down Jellyfish from Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands (c)The Hutts

You should have seen the throng:
of whales and sharks and lion fish
with cod and hake and herring;
anemones and sea slugs
sea cucumbers and angel fish,
coral, fighting shy of parrot fish –
it should have been a disaster
but I quelled them with one Godly look.

We’re here to talk, not nibble
you can quibble later. I’m having my say
and what I say goes.
We need to keep a balance
of species and varieties,
so you must control your appetites.
Give and be given, live and let live.

TCI beach litter

Fishing Litter, Blowing Hole Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands (c) Sally Hutt

It’s those blasted humans
who’re spoiling the ocean for us –
whose greed and careless waste
cause  pain, pollution and worse.
That’s what we’re here to discuss.

Mutter mutter, argy bargy,
piffle, waffle and baloney –
after hours of fruitless discussion,
the God’s expression stony,
he came to a momentous decision.
What I propose is to intervene
with the Gods of storms and weather,
but most of all with the human race
to work together,
clean up our act,
save us all this bother.

‘Twas soon agreed by one and all
that it was worth a try:
the case was taken to Zeus, my brother,
and won – unique in unanimity.

(c) Vivienne Blake 21 May 2013

Photos taken by the Hutts when they spent 3 months in 2010/11 volunteering on the Turks and Caicos Islands – a British Overseas Territory

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#30DaysWild Day 17 Kielder Midges

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Top end of Kielder May 2014 (c) Sally Hutt

Kielder Midges
A hatch of midges hovers in a cloud
above Kielder Water at eventide.
Hungry for human blood they are avowed,
not to disperse until it is supplied.
Despite this hazard, hardy walkers crowd,
for the beauty of the lake can’t be denied.
As complex eco-systems demonstrate,
it’s nature’s way ever to compensate.

(c) Vivienne Blake 17th July 2014

An Ottava Rima form of poetry: a poem writ7ten in 8-line octaves. Each line is of a 10 or 11 syllable count in the following rhyme:scheme – Abababcc

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#30DaysWild Day 16 Renaissance Camp

I’ve been browsing through the box of Mum’s writing I have and came across this poem about Sandwood Bay which was a family favourite on our 3 week caravanning trips around Scotland for many summers.  These summer trips did inspire a love of wild places and exploring.  There is no public road to the bay – it is still a 4.5 mile walk along a track from the nearest road.  Sally

Renaissance Camp

Sandwood Bay in Sutherland
in days gone by only reachable
after a twenty-mile trek across moor and mountain.
Nowadays a road ties it to so-called civilisation,
a retrograde step.

My renaissance camp would set up there
back in time, like a Tardis,
I’d wander the pristine shore
rejoicing in the sounds of the sublime
the swish of sea, the cry of guillemot
the scream of dive bombing oystercatcher.

Mermaids would whisper their stories
into my ear to re-invent for the children
who’ve accompanied me there –
sturdy trekkers that they were,
receptive to wilderness and beauty.

They’ve picked up the baton
in search of remote places
now that trekking is behind me,
renaissance of the seeds sown so long ago.

(c) Vivienne Blake – first published on this blog 20th July 2014

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