Monday, 30 December 2013

'Bedtime Story' - A Poem by Alana Farrell for the Darkest Nights

A bedtime story for the darkest nights by Alana Farrell.

'Bedtime Story' is from 'Inking Bitterns' - a book of poems and pictures for wild places, illustrated by Dru Marland - is published in association with Poetry Can and available from Gert Macky books and good independent bookshops - in Bristol, this means Durdham Down Bookshop, Standfords, and Foyles, price £5. 

Sunday, 29 December 2013

All The Colours That Are Black

The Avon Gorge has lost its final rags of autumn colour since we were last there, at the beginning of December. 

It comes to something when the most striking colour in a scene is provided by a crow.  

There are always lots of crows on the promontory of land leading to Sea Walls.  


After a lot of running about ball-fetching, Ted was intent on cooling down - and making himelf as dark and mysterious as they are in the process.  Time to head home, methinks.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

'I See You' - A Poem by John Terry for Windy Weather

Here's a poem by the brilliant John Terry for windy weather, of which we have been having quite a bit.  

'I See You' is from 'Inking Bitterns' - a book of poems and pictures for wild places, illustrated by Dru Marland - is published in association with Poetry Can and available from Gert Macky books and good independent bookshops - in Bristol, this means Durdham Down Bookshop, Standfords, and Foyles, price £5. 

Friday, 27 December 2013

More Adventures in Fused Glass

Couldn't post photos of these when I made them because they were Christmas presents.


Teign estuary

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Brent Knoll and Berrow Beach

Time for the older members of the Christmas gathering to take the air and let all that festive food go down.  I had a hankering to see the Levels - I love this time of year, when they remember their nature and flood - and my swain has been after visiting Brent Knoll ever since I first told him there's a Roman Temple on its summit, so we decided to combine the two and climb it.   Along for the ride were Daughter No 1 and the dog.

First stop, though, the Church of St Michael at Brent Knoll ...

... which is famed for its carved bench ends from the 14th century.  My favourites are the ones that show a fox dressed as a Bishop - possibly either the unpopular Bishop of Bath and Wells, Richard Fox,  or the Abbot of Glastonbury who taxed his tenants heavily.  In the first panel, he is seen preaching to the villagers, who are depicted as geese. 

In the main section of the second panel, the fox has been defrocked and is in leg irons, whilst below he is shown in the stocks.    

In the third and final panel, the fox is being hanged by the geese and retribution is complete.

We then began our ascent of the Knoll along the edge of a very lumpy field.  

Unfortunately one of our party was in DMs rather than walking boots; another, despite detouring to his flat to collect his boots, had affected to leave them behind and was wearing shoes, and for both the way after all the recent rain we've had was exceedingly slippy-slidey ... 

 ... and just short of the summit of the knoll, we realised that it was ours to gain another day.

And so on to Berrow and its Church of St Mary ... 

... with its beauteous old glass ...  

... and presided over by this handsome corvid.  

But the path through the dunes to the beach was calling ... 

... oh and when we got there, it was so beautiful - such balm for winter-weary spirits.

Ted by the wreck of the Norwegian barque, SS Nornen.

Ropes of sand


Sandweed and seaflowers

Other dogs wanted to play ... 

... but Ted is only interested in his ball. 

Just throw it - throw it now!

By half three it was getting dusky so we had to go ... 

... back up the enchanted path ...

... past the tree of magpies and home.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

'Inking Bitterns' on Radio Bristol

Dru Marland, John Terry and I talk about 'Inking Bitterns', local wildlife, rummaging through skips and poetry on the Steve Yabsley Show.  Listenable to for the next seven days, we are on from 36:00 (33:10 if you want to listen to the Beatles 'Twist and Shout' as well and why wouldn't you?) to 57:07.  

Here are pictures from some of the poems we read:

'Inking Bitterns' - a book of poems and pictures for wild places - is published in association with Poetry Can and available from Gert Macky books and good independent bookshops - in Bristol, this means Durdham Down Bookshop, Standfords, and Foyles, price £5. 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Dart available in the Kindle Countdown Deal ...

Right this very minute now, my novel, Dart - a story about a family living on Dartmoor during the Black Death, primarily for young adults - is in a 'Kindle Countdeal Deal' which runs until 22nd December.  So ... if you've omitted to buy someone a present, or you've received any fulsom and unexpected gifts, there is still time to reciprocate very cheaply, at a cost of 99p each today and tomorrow, and £1.99 from 19th December to 22nd.  This is a bargain price and A Good Thing - that is, if you are still using Amazon, which might not be ... ooh, dilemmas ... anyhow, here's the link

Friday, 13 December 2013

Cornish Chough in fused glass

Between the clocks going back and the shortest day is my fallow period. I watch the days drain into the night and sulk and grump about how, really, we should be hibernating, not getting up in the dark and coming home from work in the dark, and this takes all my energy.  

Aghast I was, therefore, when the homework set by Colin Brown in the Poetry Can poetry writing group turned out to be a crown of sonnets.  Hard enough when day wanes past ten at night, but when it's dark at four and I just want to sleep, impossible.  

Except there's nothing like a deadline and peers who are writing out of their skins and the need to avoid public shame to get those frozen fingers tapping on laptop keys, and I've done it just about - a crown of sonnets about the seven species to be found in the West Country of my favourite bird genus, corvus (crow).  

Which is fine except that now I feel the need to make them in fused glass also.  Here's the first one, an homage to the chough - emblem of Cornwall, for several decades extinct there and now re-established back in its granite homeland

Sunday, 8 December 2013

December on the Downs

No apologies for loving my home city today. 

Something happening on the Leigh Woods side of the Gorge

Looking down to Sea Walls

An abundance of Old Man's Beard this winter.  

It's easy to take a place for granted when you've lived there all your life, but Bristol did look rather spectacular today. This the Suspension Bridge from Sea Walls.   
A crow floats on the wind ...
... then surveys the gorge from a sunny ledge.
Back on the grass a war had broken out between crows and gulls over some scattered bread, which occasioned much flapping about, principally by the gulls ... 

 ... while the crows for the most part stayed put and scoffed. Clever corbies.