Monday, 21 August 2017

Poems for Yin

I spent some of the late 1990s and early noughties trying to get to grips with what femininity was all about. It was also the time in my life when I became a mother and was also trying to get to grips with being the best mum I could be to my baby daughter. With hindsight maybe the best thing to do with femininity is just be it, if that's how you feel and maybe try not to analyse it too much. My 'Poems for Yin' are written at a time when I was trying to analyse femininity. I heard an Indian saying once, intended for both men and women, which states 'Walk in the feminine but be mindful of the masculine,' so maybe this subject is worthy of deeper thought.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Twelve of the best

After being caught short on the church art exhibition in July I decided to work on getting six paintings by Amy (above) and six paintings by me (below) ready for the next church art exhibition or in preparation for another opportunity to show our art somewhere else in real life. I'm pleased with the results.

Sunday, 6 August 2017


SunDazed follows the  progress of Charlotte Brown, a gentle soul who is struggling with self discovery in a harsh and unforgiving busy city. Charlotte's journey is psychological, emotional and spiritual rather than physical but by the end of the story she is a lot more self-aware and confidant than she was at the beginning.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

London Interrupted Part Two

I've been busy lately and felt time slipping by on my London Interrupted project. So, with my daughter off on a camping trip, I decided to explore several places around Notting Hill I'd been meaning to see for quite a while.

Kensal Green Cemetary is one of the 'Magnificent Seven' cemetaries of London. It was a very pleasant summer's day, the morning mum and I wandered around this impressive green space, with its grand tombs and humble crosses. Like a lot of London the place is quite full up, this time with the dead rather than the living.

In the middle of the cemetary is a modern gazebo-like tomb for a philanthropist millionaire, erected in 2014. We sat here and ate sandwiches.

At every turn I was reminded of my favourite Dr Who episode 'Blink' starring the lovely Carey Mulligan. The cemetary boasts a creepy selection of 'Weeping Angels'. Here are just a few of them.


Being a Monday my intended visit to the Museum of Brands was not possible. As an alternative I decided to venture into The Electric Cinema. The cinema is both retro and decadent. There are red velvet king-size beds closest to the screen and armchairs, with accompaning cocktail tables and desk lamps, in the centre. At the back was a lounge area and a bar. I think it would be quite something to experience watching a film in this environment.

Portabello Road Market is open seven days a week. I think it's busier at the weekends, on this particular day we got some good fruit and veg stalls, clothes and brick-a-brack. There are also some interesting shops with an Eastern or vintage flavour to them. We enjoyed Guinness and chips in an attractive cafe-bar before walking to Notting Hill and boarding a modern double decker bus back to Shepherd's Bush.

Monday, 31 July 2017

The Planets

Like 'On the Ice', 'The Planets' video is now available on both YouTube and Vimeo. Amy has drawn many pictures of the planets, we wrote Planet Renga together and I wrote the song Stargazing about a sleepless night spent staring at the stars.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Seven Stages of Teenage Angst

When I was going through my adolescent poetry I found seven very short poems that I thought worked well as a poetry cycle which I have called 'The seven stages of teenage angst'. You can find more of my adolescence poetry in Teenage Troubles on my WattPad pages.


Monday, 10 July 2017

The philosophy of redecorating (5B450)

I have been reading a lot of philosophical books lately and these have helped me to bite the bullet and get the painters in. Below are seven major philosophical points I considered before getting the house redecorated.

1. I accepted the things I couldn't change and got on and changed the things I could more easily change. The kitchen is old but I quite like it, it was the peeling paint I couldn't' stand. The kitchen looks great now, still old but nicely, freshly painted.

2. The nice new painted look won't last, it will grow old, fade, get knocked. Yes, but it will look nicer longer. Just because life isn't perfect, it's no excuse for not doing good stuff; 'Feel the disappointment and do it anyway,' if it's a good thing, it's worth doing, just for the sake of doing it.

3. Somethings don't need changing. The bedrooms, bathroom and downstairs loo didn't need redecorating so I left them out. I just concentrated on what needed doing.

4. I had to accept my limitations. some of the rooms hadn't been painted in twenty possibly thirty years. I am obviously not a person who will paint them herself. I did attempt to redecorate the kitchen ten years ago (hence the peeling paint). We could afford to redecorate. We got other people in to paint the house. It got done.

5. I have limitations in moving stuff around. We have been in the house for over twenty years. We have a lot of stuff, but not too much, it all needed to be moved to get the house painted. In some physical aspects, I am quite a slow, weak person, I always have to work around this fact. It took me two days to move things out of the house and into the garage, but I did it.

6. We all had to be very patient and put up with a lot of disruption when the house was being redecorated. To keep the house running smoothly amongst all the upheaval took some effort.

7. I had to accept that my co-habit-tees would be less patient and useful than even I am, when all this was going on, I'm the one who really wanted it done. We were all disorientated, I did most of the moving stuff myself and made the decisions about the painters and the colours. I had to keep it all together.

It took ten days to get the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, the hall, the landing and the porch repainted. I'm really glad I did, it was one of my 5B450 goals. I'm surprised I had to be so philosophical about it, but maybe it's not surprising at all.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

St Mary's Summer Fete and Art Exhibition

We managed to get to the church fete this year, unlike last year when we enjoyed an early holiday in Llandudno instead. Due to a preoccupation with getting the house repainted, thoughts about our artwork were a little overlooked. I am going to revamp our collection of prints and paintings in preparation for the next exhibition opportunity.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Four Seasons Poetry

A BBC documentary I really enjoyed was 'Orbit'. In it you could really see how our seasons are created by the earth's tilt accompanied by its journey around the sun. When I was little I didn't feel connected to the seasons, I didn't seem to notice the leaves changing colour or the daffodils coming out, I just noticed if it was a bit too cold or a bit too warm. I noticed them more when my partner moved to the Kent coast. Now the hardest part of winter is how dark the days get and I really look forward to the arrival of Spring. These poems represent my changing attitudes to the seasons over the years.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

ALF @ The School of Life (5B450)

Another one of my 'Five Before Fifty' goals was to 'attend a school of life event'. This I did on the 21st June when I attended an evening course entitled 'how to be serene'. I felt it was very timely, coming at a time dominated by the Grenfell Tower Tragedy, a heatwave, a spate of terror attacks and the beginning of the Brexit talks.

Amy was quite keen to come with me (she's been very taken with the School of Life YouTube channel). So, after a brief stop at Nandos in the Brunswick Centre, we arrived at the School of Life at about 6.30 pm.

When the door opened we had a good look around the philosophical and psychological books and ephemera that were on offer before being shown down into the intricately decorated lecture room, which featured long red velvet curtains, which hid the air conditioning unit, and a black and white mural of a library full of philosophical books and novels, such as Life of Pi and The Female Eunuch.

'What happens in the School of Life stays in the School of Life,' our Italian host informed us, 'It's like Vegas,' he clarified. The evening did go on to include the audience sharing their difficulties with serenity and anger in their working and personal lives. It's always nice to know you're not alone with these human struggles. It also featured a discussion of how the ancient philosophers can help us come to terms with problems in our modern lives, Seneca featured quite a lot, and gave us some thoughtful and reflective exercises to take away with us.

I enjoyed the evening very much, I found it supported my own reading on philosophy and particularly stoicism, which I am very much into these days. There was also wine and interesting nibbles on offer which always goes down well.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Craft stall @ URC Pinner

Saturday 17th June was a sweltering hot day in West London. Mum was otherwise engaged so my daughter, Amy, accompanied me to the United Reform Church, Eastcote, to take part in the charity coffee morning in support of the London Churches Refugee Fund.

The church charity coffee mornings support many good causes, near and far, like Trinity Homeless and the Food Bank. These and other local charities were at the forefront of my heart and mind following the Grenfell Tower Tragedy which happened earlier in the week.

Despite the very warm weather turnout was good, with lots of people coming along for a coffee and a chat. Several people stopped by my stall to say how beautiful it was and buy a few cards, including an off season Christmas Card. After a slow start business picked up. Amy managed to sell two of her Dream Box books. We also sold a new Still Life poetry book, a lavender tawny owl, a virtue brooch card and several more cards, mostly Get Well Soon and With Sympathy and items from my Passtimes collection. It was quite a successful end to a pleasant Summer's morning.