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.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Flicking the switch

 And just like that, it's spring. (At least as long as the fine weather holds.) Every day up the field and in the wood and across the common and over the farmland that is under development, a new flower. The usual suspects, but it's a treat to see them.


buttercup


celandine with hoverfly


white violets


red dead nettle


ground ivy


dandelion


speedwell


white dead nettle

Not that it hasn't been wet, especially in the Small Dark Wood of the Mind ...


... and the temperature in the bottom half of the field is especially noticeably colder than the upper part, as if it's still deepest winter there.

The sunsets are back, though.


No, really, they are, though it's not yet warm or dry enough to sit on the ground and watch them.



The rotting wood someone pulled out of the oak tree is a good enough seat for now.


Crossing the golf course 


It's a joy that there's now enough of an evening to get out in it.



The chiffchaffs are back too, which is a relief. I was wondering if they'd go elsewhere after the scrubby area they nest in was cleared to make a pitch and putt and driving range. 


Slashing back the scrub - this winter adjacent to the top of the field and the previous year all around its edge - is also the reason why we've seen so little blackthorn so far. Though there is some out on the farmland, thank goodness. I need to fill my nose with that scent. 


The lack of scrub also meant we saw no foxes at all in the field last year, though there was plenty of marking of territory. Last night, though, I saw a fox pounce and then bound off the bank on the other side of the rookery, which was all kinds of heartening. Perhaps they've noticed these burrows that have appeared out in the open field. 


The rookery itself is busy, with rooks and jackdaws flying to and fro, their beaks full of nesting material, and out on the farmland we've been watching buzzards wheel ...  


... and listening to a very shouty dunnock. 


My favourite of all the butterflies - the small tortoiseshell - is starting to emerge ... 


... but when I went looking for tadpoles, I found only the supermarket trolley (still there), a submerged children's car seat (no children attached) and an old tyre.


There's still time for winter to take one last swipe, but how good it feels to be back in the light.









Friday, 11 March 2022

The dregs of winter

Our walks through the Small Dark Wood of the Mind to the field of the hollowing oak, and out over the farmland that's under development, have been less frequent lately, mainly on account of repeated storms and rainfall. It's a shame because I always feel better when we've been there, and with such terrible news of war, and, closer to home, the grave illness of a dear friend, I need whatever solace I can get. 

And Cwtch, too, needs a good run from time to time.  


'Let's go for a walk,' they said, and then they took me to the vet where they stuck a needle in me, and then they went to Farmfoods. 


 The best runs are combined with the chasing of crows ... 


... or failing that, sticks. 


Of course, if we'd stayed home every time it was stormy or wet underfoot, we'd not have been out at all, so there were days when we just got on with it and got muddy






Even when it hasn't been sloshy, the soil has been as thick and sticky as Christmas pudding. 

Not that there haven't been days with blue skies too, and interesting clouds ...





... and for a piece of edgelands that is resolutely devoid of such spring beauties as snowdrops and wild daffodils, at least some hints of the coming season.


periwinkle


cuckoo pint


catkins


red admiral  butterfly

We haven't walked over the golf course much lately, mainly because the nearby parking has been blocked off for months while a new pitch and putt course is constructed. We did take a look the other day, though, and found that a sizeable area of scrub where chiff-chaffs nested and rabbits burrowed has been cleared in readiness for its new life as a manicured bit of grass.


At least there's still enough space for a small collie to run and sniff and turn her bum to you while she's having a drink.  Every dog needs somewhere a little bit wild to run wild.
  




Friday, 4 March 2022

Earliest Spring in Long Wood


We had a bit of time to spare in the vicinity of Purdown this morning, so we headed up to Lockleaze and went for a walk in Long Wood on the Stoke Park estate. It felt ... yes, springlike, though more in terms of expectation than visible evidence just yet. The trees were brimming with purpose, though, thanks 
mainly to the birds, and if growth were audible to the naked ear, we would have been deafened. 



It was especially heartening to see the bluebell shoots and the promise of all that beauty.


King Alfred's Cakes


Dandies

We walked as far as the arch between Long Wood and Hermitage Wood before we had to start heading back. 




Parts of the wood are pretty sodden, but the main paths are really well maintained and the only perilous bits were picking our way through the gateways, where many feet had passed and churned the earth to deep mud. 


Talking of mud, as Colin and our collie, Cwtch, passed one of the notorious wallows on Purdown, this happened ...


... whereas if our old collie, Ted, was still with us, we would have had this to contend with ... 


... followed by this ... 


... and this. 


I love Cwtch, she's a sweetheart. I miss Ted more than I can say.