Halloween Tale 2020

Before the smell the most remarkable thing in the room was the Lincrusta wallpaper. A hundred years had passed since it was new and the colours had only deepened. It outshone the chandelier and the gleam of the baby grand. It was richer than the teak of the table, than the velvet chair backs, than the brass candelabra, and far more interesting than the guests who were ponderously working their way through the third course. That night the regular chef had called in sick. No one was sure who the replacement was but this stand-in was burly and the room fully booked so nothing was said, not even when the menu was subject to some unauthorised alterations. Out went the... amuse-bouche egg. Out went the... tripe terrine with the onion bread. Out went the... oily fish curry. Strong flavours, soft textures, dull colours- perked with pea shoots and grated roots, all served up in the quiet room. Conversation was muted at best, barely more than the odd grunt between bouts of puckery chewi…

Squirrel Stares And Rainbow Strikes

Grounding With Words And Details
Wednesday 7th October 2020
I have of late been in a slump, feeling stuck. Better today. Small actions help. Noticing stuff helps - today a squirrel with a mouthful of acorn stopped to stare at me and that is a definite boost. One does not always have a squirrel to summon but clouds, sunsets, the sound of rain: things the senses can appreciate, they keep a person grounded and they slowly build me back.

Sunday 11th October 2020
Sat in bed, drinking coffee. Yesterday a rainbow struck the shed, this morning there is an ice-blue sky with white cloud in solid curls. I can see the outline of the pine, hear a pair of birds cackle, hear my washing machine whirling. The usual pigeons are absent. I am thinking of having a swim before work. The sea is still warm-ish, as is the land and the general air temperature, the windchill factor is upping. I endeavour to keep a suitably packed swim kit with me at all times.
If I do swim I will be tacky from salt all day, and g…

At The End Of Chapter Three

Words From A Work In Progress

Through the rush of lockdown (care worker, more hours, no furlough, more wages for the land fund though, pros and cons) my brain has been boggled with various challenges and writing has been done in tiny bursts, scattered about like seeds out of a himalayan balsam. Concentration is returning. This part-written book has bided time, but it is creeping back to pestering me for attention, which I pretend to be annoyed by but is a heartfelt homecoming. So here is a little share from the end of chapter 3, where Old Annish is reliving her second birthday. No context, no spoilers: the plot is mostly untangled now but it could all change yet.  *** In the first photograph she is cute, though frowning - the smiles around her are reassuring. Old Annish smiles too. She has always liked these pictures.
Early memories, she thinks, are pivot-edges, where stories you are told of yourself pitch into personal recall. It’s how you become real. Details, even if they aren’t accu…


Inaugural voyage of The Nancy-Doris, Tuesday 1st September 2020 [This morning in the polytunnel cabbage-white butterflies beat erratic: also many wings without bodies scattered the floor.
Early harvest for spiders: picture them in their web-hammocks, slurping from husks; like cocktails out of coconuts.
Hmm, says I, this is true: metamorphosis is beautiful not immortal; the cycle of life is also this, littered with wings, the memento mori.
Get writing, I say to myself. Write the books before your pages are blowing away and the tutting spiders of time are sampling your puree.
'Caffeine rich earthiness, layered with seaweed oil, a top note of lime blossom.']
This afternoon, task by task we achieved new things: lifting our kayak to the Dacia roof, looping straps, securing straps (quick prayer for effectiveness of anchor points), Check list: seats, paddles, dry bag, an emergency phone app for contacting coastguards, and so forth. Deciding what to wear as the weather blows cold, then…


Going With The Flow Isn't Always Bumpy

After work - no swimming. Just stopped by Porthpean to breathe the wild air, to drive home to a powercut, candlelit house where a glass of wine was waiting. 

The next day more storm winds blew, rolling apples down the lawn. Fruit boules? I was in the blackberry hedge, untangling thorny whips and gathering fruit. Dots of blood on fingers, nettle-stung buzz on my shins.  Ideas swirling about plotlines adding to the happiness. Pegged towels on the rotary line which may be a mistake but maybe (definitely, overcome with the exuberant purchase of our not yet delivered kayak) I lied when I said I wouldn’t replace it. I should re-use it, obviously; grow sweet peas on it, perhaps. Sweet peas, and ivy for the evergreen. Meanwhile the line has stretched like cheap elastic and I’m hoping the towels don’t land in the gooseberry prickles. Later I am sat writing, and hiding from the mess downstairs which will turn out fine because there’s a plumber fi…

The Best Twisted Old Rotary Line In The World

How Side Tracking Can Add Adventure To Your Life: a non cautionary tale.

We were supposed to buy a washing line, but the shopping cart contains a kayak. How did this side tracking take off? It was the wet towels that did it: but first, some recent history:
Sunday 9th August 2020 Home from work, straight home, skipping the beach in spite of the day’s heat because our garden has been populated with tents and family. Gathered at the top firepit, where tea was cooked, grabbed a sausage and a glass of house red, lay back to chat and watch for shooting stars - this being the time of the Persiad meteor showers. We forget how lucky it is to lack light pollution though we do not fail to appreciate the view. Every sparkling streak strikes wonder. It is 1am before Mr and me go to bed.
Monday 10th August 2020 A 5am thunderstorm had woken us after the 1am bedtime, and now it was stifling hot. After work the fuel light in the car sent me to a garage where I stared at the pump making sure the word I wa…

River Spa Break

Words On Blips And Kindness On A Life Journey