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.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Constellations in the Woods


The meadow and wood and Charlton Common has been a godsend during this time but sometimes you need bluebells. So we went to Purdown and walked Long Wood and Hermitage Wood and Barn Wood in search of some. 



There were wood anemones too.



And celandines.


And owls.






The arch between Long Wood and Hermitage Wood



Lady Elizabeth Somerset's obelisk. She died aged 18 in 1760. She did not - repeat, did not - fall off her horse, contrary to what most Bristolians and Wikipedia will tell you. 


Cwtch has heard stories of her predecessor, Ted, jumping in the pond after ducks. (It's now a dog-free zone.) 


The Dower House


Duchess Lake and Stapleton beyond

There was a poignant moment on the way back to the car. A year and a week separates these photos. Same cherry tree, a slightly later, slightly cooler spring, a different stage of lockdown, a different dog.


And then, because we needed starry wild garlic, we went to Badock's Wood ...  


The bronze age round barrow


The River Trym



... but it's not fully blossoming yet, or at least wasn't when were there. Maybe we'll go back. 

Friday, 23 April 2021

Bristol, the morning after the Saturday night before, after lockdown

I have a collection of poems mostly set in Bristol coming out later this year. It's called 'Learning Finity', and I need an arresting cover photograph, so I got up early last Sunday and went to town to wander the old lanes.

In my enthusiasm for the project, I'd overlooked the fact it was the morning after the Saturday night before, after lockdown, and it wasn't that pleasant down there. The Mud Dock car park was full of discarded food, take-away packaging and broken glass, and the stench of piss in the doorways and alleyways was overwelming. Not that this state of affairs isn't understandable, with no venues able to offer inside eating, and all the public toilets closed years ago on account of the council thinking 'let's try and keep within our meagre budget by making them use shops and pubs, because there will never come a time when those facilities are out of commission, will there?' 

Anyhow, here are some photos, one or two of which are contenders for a cover and most of which aren't. I haven't made up my mind which of my shortlist to use yet. 


St Augustine's Reach


The empty plinth where the slavetrader once stood


The old SWEB building, St John on the Wall, and St Lawrence House, where I worked in the mid 80s, now student accommodation


The bottom of Zed Alley


Looking up the upper section of Zed Alley. My great-grandmother used to go to school somewhere here in the 1870s


Looking down the upper part of Zed Alley


Christmas Steps, where my great-grandmother lived with her parents and sisters


I'd completely forgotten about these. I begged my mother for one for Christmas because I wanted to be a writer so badly - I think I must have been about five - only for her to point out - quite reasonably - that it wasn't actually a proper typewriter because it didn't have any keys. I was gutted ... 




Down Johnny Ball Lane


Looking through one of the side arches of  St John's Gate, up Broad Street




Leonard Lane


St Nicholas Street


Welsh Back





Saturday, 17 April 2021

On the Edge VI: Another year in sunrises

Sunrise is just about slipping beyond the parameters of my average day, so here's a year's worth of lockdown sunrises for the road. Except, of course, there's still not much of a road, unless you're careless of the virus and/or not that content living in your head.  

It's also a whole year without the ash tree to catch the sun at equinox, that I foolishly thought of as mine, even though it stood in someone else's garden and that someone else chopped it down. Though I see our neighbour's weeping birch is growing rapidly. 


23rd April 2020, 6.14 am


7th May 2020, 5.35 am


1st June 2020, 5.13 am


31st July 2020, 5.39 am


2nd August 2020, 5.41 am


7th August 2020, 5.53 am


30th August 2020, 6.28 am


31st August 2020, 6.37am


2nd September 2020, 6.19 am


7th September 2020, 6.27am


14th September 2020, 7.09 am


15th September 2020, 6.50 am


17th September 2020, 7.04 am


23rd September 2020, 6.59 am


24th September 2020, 07.08 am


6th October 2020, 7.25am


7th October 2020, 7.17 am


23rd October 2020, 7.49 am


22nd November 2020, 7.29 am ... 


... and 7.45 am


1st December 2020, 07.40am


25th December 2020, 7.50 am


29th December 2020, 4.51 pm


31st December 2020, 8.21am


10th January 2021, 7.44 am, 7.55 am and 8.03 am


21st January 2021, 8.08am, 8.15am and 8.16am 


22nd January 2021, 8.13 am


24th January 2021, 7.48 am


6th February 2021, 7.39 am


10th February 2021, 7.45 am


11th February 2021, 7.21 am


13th February 2021, 7.22 am


23rd February 2021, 6.38 am ...


... and 6.56 am


9th March 2021, 6.36 am


22nd March 2021, 6.23 am


30th March 2021, 6.53 am


7th April 2021, 6.37am