About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Owl Book by Jane Russ

How pleasing when a chance encounter on the towpath of the Kennet and Avon canal with the friend of a friend leads to the inclusion of one of my poems in a book as delightful and beautiful as this one.

And what a lovely surprise when, months later, a copy plops through the letterbox like a dead mouse dropped from a barn owl's talons.

The friend of a friend in question was Jane Russ, the writer and editor of this enchanting tome. You can get your copy here

The friend was Dru Marland, of course. She has a poem in the book too, alongside owl-themed leatherwork by the wonderful women of Skyravenwolf, Chris Palmer and Jinny Peberday.

In fact, there's lots of gorgeous artwork in it, by Catherine Russ, Tamsin Abbot, Hannah Willow, Jenny Steer, Jen Heart, Jackie Morris, who retells the story of Blodeuwedd, and more.

Talking of Blodeuwedd, there's even mention of my last still-living childhood hero, Alan Garner. Whose eponymous crockery in The Owl Service was designed by Chrisopher Dresser of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Which I love almost wholesale.

In fact, it's a bit of a thrill when so many of my favourite things come in one neat, fact- and fantasy-filled package. 

What a treat. 

Monday, 16 April 2018

On the Edge III: Another year in sunrises

It's getting lighter and the sun is swinging north. It must be spring.

I was lucky this last twelvemonth, and caught a couple of wonderful early autumn sunrises on Chew Valley Lake, but mostly I watch them from the bedroom window of my little house in Any Old Town. I'm very lucky.

19th April 2017  6am


21st April 2017    6.10am

24th April 2017    6.20am

25th April 2017   6.10am

27th May 2018    4.20am

Thunder at daybreak. Barky barky barky Ted.

9th June 2017    4.20am

The day after the General Election. Ted is outraged that the monkeys are going to bed when it's clearly time to get up. Out there the political landscape is shifting

14th August 2017   5.40am

The sun swinging back north

16th August 2017   6.10am

6th September 2017   6.40am

10th September 2017   6.40am

14th September 2017   6.40am

Even the squirrels are watching   6.40am

19th September 2017   6.50am

24th September 2017   7.10am

The tree opens one sleepy eye

26th September 2017   7.00am

Imagine being a designated sunrise and knowing you have one day to shine, one day to hold your head up amongst the best in all of history ... and then, on The Very Day Itself, waking up to this?

4th November 2017   5.50pm

The Beaver Moon, apparently.

19th November 2017   7.30am

8th December 2017   7.30am

9th December 2018   7.30am

18th December 2017    8am

5th February 2018   8am

6th February 2018   7.40am

27th February 2018   6.20am

Hills still asleep and dreaming they are clouds

28th February 2018   7.10am


7th March 2018   6.50am

8th March 2018   6.50am

16th March 2018   6.30am

19th March 2018   7.30am

Can't get me car off the hill!

20th March 2018    6.30am GMT

Ostara. True east

26th March 2018   7am BST

29th March 2018   6.50am

6th April 2018   6.30am


Friday, 13 April 2018

Return to the Birthday Boneyard

It being my mother's 90th birthday yesterday, we returned to one of her favourite places, Clevedon, for celebratory coffee and cake in the pub that overlooks the front. 

Unlike last year, my sister, brother-in-law and niece were with us (but not my father, of course). 

It was another grey day, although grey suits Clevedon quite well. It isn't a shouty, fluorescent sort of place. 

And you could tell it's been cold, as the blackthorn, which was out in abundance this day last year up at St Andrew's Church, has yet to blossom. 

Since she'd never visited before, I showed my niece the late Norman sheela-na-gig  ... 

... who is actually quite modest as exhibitionists go.

I've seen this corbel described as a raven, though it reminds me of  the chough-based insignia inside the church. At any rate, it's definitely a corvid.  

Then, another favourite bird, distinctive by its undulating flight between graves. Ooh, I do love a green woodpecker! (It's on top of the nearest cross, side-on, if you can't make it out.)

This is definitely Woodpecker Week for me. 

St Andrew's is one of those churches which seems to reveal itself in instalments. (It is pretty dark in there.) I hadn't really had a good look at the carvings around the Norman arches before.  

This dog on the south side of the outer arch - at least, I think it's a dog - is protecting the chancel from the Devil. Underneath there's a rose wheel. 

On the north side there are three interlinked rings representing the Trinity. 

Alabaster tombstone, circa 1415 - Hic Jacet Tho. Dom De Clyveden
For the first time too, there was a guide book available to buy - although only one copy. So I snaffled it quick, and will return for more, better informed fossicking, but only when it's warmer and lighter. 

Then it was back to my mother's for cake and ninety bumps. 

(We didn't give her the bumps.)