Sunday, 26 November 2017

November Cold

Poorly me sat in bed, looking through a window:
I see the grey-stone shed has chartreuse lichen and one tawny leaf stuck in the centre of a wobbly tile: all the roof looks like the teeth of a doddery monster. There's a job to be done before winter storms in and floods out the dodgy electrics.
Roof dentist.
I see drab olive clouding the polytunnel - it needs washing, so what there is of winter's light can filter through, keep our greens growing.

Later, when my cold-head clears, none of that will trouble me; nor the rat burrow newly appeared under the compost bins, nor the pruning or the planned adventures with miscible oils, or setting out the fruit cage frame which should have been done months ago. So I will not fret.

Patience for resting is a new skill.
I shan't say I've mastered it. The dusting got done, and the carpets swept, rosehips brewed, and maybe I did flavour some sugars, and wring the juice from an orange. And one load of laundry. Perhaps.

The air is like a reverse heat haze, not quite rain, not quite mist, a sort of smudge and glimmer. I'm watching plumes of fir darken to silhouettes, and how the fence is lost under ivy, and how the wooden slats on the big shed have weathered in. It looks like an upturned barge.

There's bare twig in the back hedge, new growth in the field beyond.
Dormancy, winter brings: potent in pause.

Friday, 24 November 2017

An Incomplete Review

Here’s the introduction to the book I have almost succeeded in reading this month:

‘We live, we love. We laugh and grieve and learn and grow. Life is a forge that burns away the surface, strengthens the core, and reveals the soul. This collection of essays and memories plunges through more than a decade of the beautiful struggle that is marriage and parenthood and finding one’s self amidst the tangle of both. This journey weaves joy and sorrow, passion as well as isolation, into a tapestry that makes such an ordinary life, more splendid than its solitary threads.’

Note especially: ‘collection of essays and memories.’

Available on Amazon:
where there is no mystery about the publisher:
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 3, 2016)

I bought it because I very much liked the blog it sprang from, Splendour In A Plastic World.
Plus the author bought my book and I also like reciprocity.

There are eight reviews listed, seven giving five stars.
I haven’t entirely finished reading the book, but it is as it claims to be - real, from the heart, attention to life. I am jealous of the cooking skills, if anything, and do see here and there that it is a tangle, there’s room for a bit of trim - if it were a story book, but acceptable for essays and memories. I think it’s fair to say that if you don’t take to the introduction, if live, love, laugh, grieve, grow, and forges and souls and tapestries, aren’t to taste, then you probably won’t like this book. Overall it has the feel of sitting down with a friend (hopefully she’s invited us for dinner) and it has engaged and entertained me so far.
(Not the book’s fault I haven’t completed it - tired, busy times!)

Then, there is a one star review:
‘I'm not sure how this got published, unless it was self published. There was clearly no editing done. The rambling, trite, painfully awkward sentence structures made me physically ill. The author seems to think that I am as interested in her shallow attempt at appearing introspective as she is. I will be using this...this...abomination as a teaching tool to encourage students to edit. To the author, if you feel you have something to say, say it, Then go back and dress it up, if you Must. You have failed utterly to compel me to read further. In fact, I found you through your blog, which I believed was a parody account. Never have I been so horrified to realize that someone took themselves seriously. While I do not want you to give up, I will not sugar coat this: try harder. Better luck next time.’

Wow. Clearly it was not the right style for that reader, but why did they not pay attention to description of the book in the first place? Or ID the self publishing platform, since the publication was such a mystery to them?

However, the following response to that comment provides a clue:
‘Your review took me by surprise. Having read the book and reading the other reviews as well as mine that are polar opposite of yours, I could not understand what prompted such a negative review from you; that is until I did a search of your name in face book and noticed that you are friends with the authors ex-husband who happened to lose a court hearing on the same day your review appeared. You must be a very close friend to him to be willing to compromise your own integrity by writing a review that is inaccurate and fictional. I also noticed in your review that you will be using this book as a "teaching tool", I'm guessing your "students" are as fictional as your review since your occupation is listed as an "office assistant" and your previous work as a "massage therapist". 1 person found your review helpful... I feel certain it was the authors ex-husband.’

There is no reply to this response.

I don’t personally know the people involved. I don’t like to judge people when I haven’t given hearing to their story. I think it is fair to say though that when an opinion is given one should be honest and also polite, if one is to be taken seriously, or one has effectively broadcast one’s trollhood to the world.

(I edit as well as I can: my words, and my self. I welcome help with both.)

I didn’t quite fulfil my assignment this month, but this book had an unexpected extra bit of story to it, and I couldn’t resist a share. 

Blog hop post! Check out the Cephalopod for a full list!

Saturday, 11 November 2017


I was driving, at night, down a country road into a lit street; the dashboard lights had broken so I was keen to check fuel levels and such: when I saw the rain, the uncountable droplets, the illusion of steadiness - had I never seen this before? 

It seemed not.
Silver streams hitting tarmac, splintering, glittering.
The light, the liquidity together formed something like a living jewel. 
And this merely part of a cycle, rain, surface water, evaporation, cloud, just how our planet pours with resources.
If you are chasing beauty, I think you will get lost. 
If your wealth can be scraped into a heap, made a throne of, I think you will be alone.
This is my status symbol - me in the rain being amazed - anyone can be here.
We can be amazed together.
All the way home I was driving, rapturous, a little bit cautious with the blanked out dash, in need of nothing. 

In need of nothing, but thinking still – of every sacrifice that it took to build this world in which I drive this car on this road, which deserves the dignity of official days, which we must never forget, and always count blessings, or at least begin to. 
Thinking still – how each life is a liberty to be lost or gained, and there is more to be done till we can stand on our one earth, at peace, truly in awe. We all could have true wealth, true beauty.
Remember, and act in accordance.