Grasmere, Heaton Cooper Studio, Bilberry Pie, Radio Lincolnshire, Mindspace Meditation, Sour Milk Gill, Body Like Mountain, Mind Like Sky, Breath Like Wind, Play-Off-Place

That M62 on a quiet Friday in October is just the thing for getting to Grasmere in double quick time, though not with sufficient time to call into Windermere.

Thank heavens we didn’t, or we wouldn’t have been able to savour the bilberry pie, or the three generations of landscape paintings, in the Heaton Cooper Studio.

Fine preparation for being interviewed, live-on-air, by Radio Lincolnshire.

My words not having quite the clarity as the insightful Adam Dacey from Mindspace, who led us peacefully through the mindfulness meditation retreat, while at the same time allowing us sufficient time off on Saturday afternoon to walk up to Sour Milk Gill.

The Saturday evening meditation was a sensory candlelit affair, to the background noise of deer in season outside the Glenthorne Quaker Centre & Guest House which was our residence for the weekend.

Sunday morning we were gifted the stimulating mantra: Body Like Mountain, Mind Like Sky, Breath Like Wind.

It was what in Yorkshire we might have called a cracking weekend; and SWFC won, to move into the play-off places.


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Save Our NHS, Sell-Off, Giving Something Back, ​Wounded Healers Album Launch, Yorkshire Football​; South v West

Last night I went to a Save Our NHS, presentation and film; I am not an overtly political person but I do admire and I am grateful for those who do put the big issues before their own personal needs.

I didn’t agree with all what was said, and I did wish for a bit more cohesion (and attendance) in the meeting, but it was good to get a variety of voices and opinions aired. The film was called Sell-Off, it is about how the UK’s NHS is being systematically privatised, it is certainly worth watching, if only to jolt any apathy you may have.

Hopefully next year we are going to put on a 4 or 5 day writing festival, curated and facilitated by the members of Louth Poetry and Creative Writing Group. We are launching the first discussion proposals in the Monday Morning Writers’ Cafe on the 1st October.

The Wounded Healers are launching their new album Found in Translation at Louth Jazz Club this evening. It promises to be a good night which I understand is sold out. Good luck to all.

That album launch clashes with the Yorkshire football derby of Sheffield Wednesday versus Leeds United at Hillsborough; for quite some while, indeed since Sky TV moved the date of the fixture for their own ends I have had the dilemma of which to attend. In the end, I chose local.

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Doncaster, Ibiza, Formentera, Castles, Cathedrals, ​Nudist​ Beaches, And All Inclusive

So my friend said, look if you give me a real good wedge of money I’ll sort you out putting on a stone in weight, getting loads of midge bites, a touch of sun-stroke, and a reasonable amount of hangovers.

Well, of course, we said yes, what true blue brit wouldn’t, not that we are of that persuasion – but we did vote for Mr Corbyn, we also voted to remain in Europe; how else to enable trouble-free vacations to the Balearics (Ibiza & Formentera).

Doncaster airport is trouble free, and let it always be so; even with two jam-packed flights to Gdansk and Warsaw (has the exodus already begun) the breakfast bar stood up to the test. Full English readily available, with Farmers Blonde beer on draught as well.

Thereafter it was Estrella and Mojito all the way, and I have to say that some holidaymakers did go all the way; that first-day sun, accompanied with a free bar, naturally led to a case of the falling over, then packed off early to bed.

Don’t they say never go back, it is absolutely true for what once was a quiet unspoilt island with similarly beautifully empty beaches, now ferryboats every fifteen minutes to La Savina mean that to find a quieter place you might just have to get your kit off (all of your kit off that is).

That said, if you have the dosh, the real dosh, you can moor in Ibiza Harbour. Become the centre of attraction for tourists. I now understand that CI on your yacht is more likely to mean the Cayman Isles as opposed to the Channel Isles. So, it was an educational trip after all, alas for we two it was not tax deductible.


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New Publication, Other Blog, Small Notebook, Serialisation, No Sensation, Poems Written in The Theatre Of The Empire Of Great Britain

Let’s start with the introduction:

The absolute pleasure of writing in a small notebook, no sooner is the poem started than it is completed. The book was bought on vacation, in the most charming town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. We stayed in One Warwick Park, which stylishly reflects the wealth and prosperity of this locale. Visits were made to Tudeley Church, to see Chagall’s Stained Glass Windows. Also we went to the wonderful gardens at Sissinghurst, the one time home of Vita Sackville-West. From there I moved on to a magical meditation retreat at Emerson College, Forest Row. This was a place where effectively my writing began; on a Poetry Otherwise course led by the inspirational Paul Mathews, the author of Sing Me The Creation. The final poems were written back in Lincolnshire, or honed at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park; you may note the return to Northernness.

Next the dates: The book is on Amazon already, Serialisation on the Blog begins in the coming days, the accompanying audio and video will arrive in the new year, courtesy of Bandcamp and youtube.

The Images: Here they are, front cover and back cover respectively.


The extract: Poem Numero Uno

Shop Till You Drop

In a deep velvet chair
In front of
A bloody great big mirror

Waiting, while
A new top is tried on
To match the recently gifted skirt

Of course
Neither the style, nor the fit
Or even the colour

Are quite to the liking
Of her best friend

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Arvon, Lumb Bank, Ted Hughes, Normal Stuff, Futon Shop, New Desk 2, # 200 Fish

That’s it then. The week on the Arvon course, at Lumb Bank, the one time home of Ted Hughes, is over. Not one photograph of Sylvia Plath was to be seen. I suggested, whimsically, to my new friend, and fellow writer Henry Normal, that Mr Hughes may have put that stipulation in his will. As the week wore on the whimsy turned to a downright darker mystery.

Lots of people to mention, but without the attendees lists, and by not subscribing to the group photograph, that detail will have to follow. They know who they are, or at least some of them do.

A slight detour on the way back home from Heptonstall, to pick up the second desk from the Futon Company, Sheffield. It is for the writing desks project, which is taking over our home. This all thanks to that spiritual poet David Whyte, who once was from Yorkshire, and who very much presents himself as I would care to be presented. I believe that it was he who said that he can’t really continue writing at the same desk once he has completed a collection at that desk. Thank you David.

The sun is back with us, glorious blue skies at the brand new North Sea Observatory, where we observed (and joined) the decent length queue for coffee and cake. Edwina would have liked the cake selection, and I would like to think that this place could be on her list of future poems. Poems which she writes, about places, to encourage us stay at home Brits to visit. The noblest cause of the week for poetry in my mind.

The exhibition at Chapel Point was first rate. Big thanks to all the artists who joined in. And big call out for Biff Vernon for curating the exhibition. Who Knows, maybe we can persuade him to do one for poetry. The poem was from the Friday night Reading. Page eighteen now has the original writer’s autograph.


Past Master

I found the book
Spine broken
Tea stained cover
Pages browned with age

Sadly it brought purpose
To an otherwise purposeless morning
In bed until eleven
Not much more to it than that

I also came across the biscuits
Chocolate digestives no less
I don’t recall that you had a favourite
You not being a sweet-tooth, unlike me

His poem, you know the teacher’s poem
There on page eighteen, his poem
Which says so much about you
Although with words which I never could have raised


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The Ha Ha Moment, The New Desk, The Mindfulness Of Mind In Mind, Batley Variety Club, Redbrick Mill

We took a trip to Batley, you remember, the home of the Variety Club, where once you could, and I did see Tony Bennett, the master of the crooners. However, on this occasion, we were going to the MADE store, within Redbrick Mill; which is described as the North’s Leading Destination for Interiors.

The desk arrived six-weeks later and was duly assembled on the landing, which was its thought out place to be, thought out by me myself that is. It feels right there, I feel right there, it has a welcoming aura.

Mindfulness of feeling in feeling is mindfulness of feeling directly while experiencing feeling, and certainly not contemplation of some image of feeling which one creates to give feeling some objective, separate existence of its own outside of oneself.

With the reading of these words of Thich Nhat Hanh, I saw the meditators eyes glaze over. Then I remembered the new desk. I told the story of its arrival and placement, and of how to sit there was halfway to the mindfulness of feeling in feeling, and that with a few moments more of quiet sitting one could easily reach awareness, and enjoy the mindfulness of mind in mind.

The discussion opened up, and at once the foreboding words had been opened out, teased and explored until smiles returned to the meditators faces.


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Revision and Prep Was Never So Much Fun Was It, Back In The Day That Is

Two days at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in this the barmiest summer I for one can ever remember. Blue skies, black skies, sun-scorched earth in abundance, and two of the best exhibitions of recent times.

All this to prepare a few poems for my Arvon course at the end of the month; of course with the diabetes blood-test due soon I was diligent, not an ice cream, nor a drop of alcohol passed my lips.

I must congratulate the Ibis Styles Hotel in Barnsley, for a good nights sleep, and for a first-rate cooked-to-order breakfast; just the job to start another hard day of poetry.

Top Of That Hill

Giuseppe Penone’s
Alberto Folgorato
(Lightning struck tree)
Could be the very metaphor

Amplified by the dark clouds of Yorkshire
Highlighted by the skies silver linings
The split trunk
Says much about divergence

The gold-leaf offshoot
Itself splits into two
Their fine points
Reaching ever upward

Yet it is the dark bark
A combination of brown and grey
With slivers of gold
Which looks strongest, which reaches highest

What we leave behind
May grow ever brighter
But in no way, no way whatsoever
Does it stunt our growth

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