23 September 2015

“Spots of Time”….

is a concept constructed by Wordsworth – you know – the guy who was preoccupied with waving daffodils, or was that crowds of someone waving…

Until a couple of weeks ago, that was all I actually knew about the Poet.  Apart from him having lived in Alfoxdon and having a mate called Chatterton, Coleridge,  who owned a National Trust cottage, which was a pub, before the villagers clubbed together and bought it – presumably to preserve the historic nature of their High Street – or to stop competition cuz there is a bigger pub opposite. 

I don’t know – I am waffling here.  As you can see my knowledge was scanty about the guy and his place in history. 

As an aside, a few years back now, I had tried to buy a house in Spaxton, Holt.  Hadn’t realised at the time that it was the Quantock Weavers’ cottage, simply because that wasn’t one of my interests.  I remember someone commenting that Wordsworth lived down road.  But as the bloke selling had forgotten he had left a wife living in the house I had just made an offer on, it was not to be – four kids, himself and her would have made life a little overcrowded.   Mind you it could have sorted out the problems with bedroom tax.

Oh and there is a Poets Walk in Clevedon, not sure which or who walked there and something to do with a pig sty (literally, not metaphoric !!)recently identified as the house where inspiration was to be found comes into my train of thought here…

See I knew more than I gave myself credit for – but what I knew was quite a jumble and not really based on fact. 

Now Shakespeare – I am a fan of him – well not really, I haven’t got a clue about him – the geezer who wrote the plays, but I am a fan of the brand and don’t really care who wrote what, where and when.  I just enjoy the plays and the sonnets for themselves.   They give me a glimpse into the period, the language which shapes our media and communication today and generally tell a thumping good tale – or two.  A study of human nature which despite the centuries which pass varies not a lot.

I have wondered off… back to old Wordsworth….

I have had my eyes opened over the last couple of weeks.  I am studying a Future Learn course – which is free and non-obligatory deadlines, about the man himself.  I am now hooked…

Future Learn – not too late to sign up for this and many other relevant courses to get the brain cells tingling during the Autumn Evenings. 

Spots of Time – you will then discover what I am on about – a concept I wish I had come across years ago.

What else am I doing?  Learning to Tat – don’t ask…….


Oh and have a healthy fascination for horse shoe shapes….

07 September 2015

I’m in love……

with writing again…


In a moment of whimsy a couple of weeks ago (and because it was in a sale…) I bought a dipping pen and ink at the NT Coleridge Cottage.  Their logo all over the place is a quill – no doubt because its sole claim to fame (apart from being some sort of meeting place over the years) was Coleridge lived there at some point, and is reputed to have written some of his most famous poems whilst under the influence of drugs, booze, friendship and family life – well that is what I took away from the guided tour, along with the overwhelming smell of spices, dodgy dressing up and some naff souvenirs – oh not forgetting the obligatory guide book !!

I am now sorry that I was so dismissive now of the tat…

On the weekend the urge hit me, the muse rattled my brain, and as I didn’t want to disturb household, and felt that I was using that as an excuse not to write - I got to my desk and opened up the dip pen pack and wrote…and wrote….. and wrote…..

My internal editor cussed me, threw his eyes to the skies and left… (yes my internal editor is a man… he has to be as he is quite a contrary and analytical being..),

  • The absence of the computer buzz was the first thing I noticed.  I could concentrate on the noises around me. 
  • Then I realised I was at the wrong height for writing – and when I organised myself – I realised I was now at the right height for not only writing, but reading – my glasses now work…
  • After creating a few pages, and a lot of mess – the penny clicked, lightbulb went on – etc.etc..  My writing now “looked” authentic, the pages wrinkled and covered in ink blots (and to be fair so now did my desk !!)
  • Immersed in my writing, I was now cold, so I grab the nearest thing to me which was an old shawl and carried on writing, my thought process unbroken.
  • Finally, when I finished – the ink hadn’t dried on any of the pages and the importance of blotting now hit home – along with dip pen rests and other paraphernalia of the age before steam – so it wasn’t set dressing after all !!! 

My work looked authentic…. bugger the actual words on the page – it looked pretty – all wrinkly and arty farty – studious and informed – academic… 

and then guess what, after the third and fourth page, and then returning to it today – my writing got even better – there was some interesting handwriting as well as prose emerging.    Also my brain played tricks with some of the unfamiliar words and that took me off in other creative directs..

As a plus I have now been able to sit at the desk for a couple of hours and actually get on with some of the administration which makes my life tick (well after sorting out the pile of rubbish underneath the desk, so I could get my legs in…!!).

I can’t wait until writing time again tomorrow now…..

Further Info:

A basic template for you to fiddle with and make work for yourself…
Writing in the Margins NotePaper

Some basic support to get you started:  www.writinginthemargins.co.uk

Excellent Courses on writing and the arts – and free….

The Coleridges’ Cottage - http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleridge-cottage/

31 August 2015

Practice makes…..

A blinking mess….

So I have discovered this morning.  A few weeks ago – actually a month or two now it seems (how time flies when you are enjoying yourself!) I attended a WI Meeting in Bath, where we undertook some writing – fictional writing – guided by two enthusiastic ladies, Alex and Jude, from  Writing Events Bath

A lightbulb moment went on after my initial resistance (not intentionally you understand, but my internal editor was having “one” of those sort of days..) As my pen started racing across the page I realised two things:-

1. I rarely write anything nowadays with a pen, always at a computer; and

2. I couldn’t remember the last time I actually wrote any fiction (unlike some of those around me who spend their days writing fiction to which I have to respond with fact.. sort of blows the moment really….!!)

I filed those two thoughts away as I finished the evening, with two or three quite interesting little vignettes down on paper, the words, characters and places of which, interested me so much that they have haunted that empty space at the back of my brain (the bit labelled on the door with the sign “To Do”) and I am motivated to want to visit them again!  So, as I work on the theory if something interests me, it will probably interest someone else in the world, I shall do so…

In the meantime though, faced with an ever increasing and urgent burden of emptying the crap from the past 10 years from my living environment – I choose the words carefully it isn’t my home, it hasn’t been for years, not since the first threats to remove it to pay the care costs (which weren’t even my debt to pay, but that didn’t stop the threats and the hurt).  This is a self-imposed burden now – I refuse to be nagged at and judged by outside forces, but on the other hand it is quite overwhelming being surrounded by quite a bit of stuff which is either redundant or not even mine.  Up and until the last few months there seemed little point in just moving an object from A-B and then back again for the sake of appearances.  That said, we now have some movement and places for things to go – so that is what they are doing. 

But that still left the problem of MY DESK…..

I write, clear, write and ponder, and write again – that has been my writing routine for years.  This has gone well by the wayside over the last four years though – I am starting to dread sitting at the desk as it is time wasted dealing with things that are not mine to deal with and I can’t resolve anyway.  So this morning was different…..

I started this morning by finding a book that has inspired me for years, well it would have done if I had ever opened the cover and read it (but the picture is good and it acts as a reminder…!!!.) called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron .  Still not actually reading it, but remembering from the dim distant past something about Morning Pages, I started writing….

What did I do differently to normal?  I did NOT SWITCH COMPUTER ON…. just wrote, until the urge to clear the shelves in front of me became unbearable…

Three pages is the magic number, but nobody tells you how big those pages have to be so I located some loose leaf paper (part of the StashBash I am doing – working on stuff I have rather than buying new…!!!) and wrote quite a sensible rant based on the frustrations of visiting National Trust Places to access their publicised events, but as the one yesterday turned out, isn’t even going to happen until July 2016 !!!!

I still didn’t manage any fiction, but I have chucked out a bag of pathetically righteous books (badly written and only fathomable I suspect by the unquestioning disciples of that way of living – I shall say no more, not for fear of offending, just can’t cope with anymore confrontation – I have a write to free choice – the misspelling intentional ! )

More importantly I found countless bits of “stuff” that are fairly vital to my life and I had thought I had lost….!!

But around me, I am sat now in a mass of papers, bits of memories, bus and cinema tickets, photos – all which meant something at the time, but now really just reflect a lost or missing moment or memory – did I mention my memory has gone kaput in the past few months as well? 

To end on a chirpy note….


I did get the picture painted, in between rain, yesterday that I started two years ago or so, before being badly and very rudely interrupted by a Case Manager dragging me back to sort out her mess with Toby’s move from Rehabilitation into the community.  I was so cross about that… can you tell? !!

It seemed fitting that I was able to back to A La Ronde yesterday, as Toby has now moved into his permanent home that he has been able to buy with his compensation – only taken two years.  This time though the move was undertaken professionally and with far less stress (and damage to my health !!)  He is thrilled, we are thrilled, and now we can move on with getting his stuff back to him, and our stuff can be found !! Win, Win and even more of a Win….


We went on to Exmouth and I found some space to paint the sea, discovered a new mix of colours which accurately represented the shades before me. 

I did both paintings in under 10 minutes each – quick sketches which pleased ME… that was their sole purpose in the world and why I share them with you….

Writing my pages this morning, with pen and ink in hand, no computer and quiet all around, I realised that doing this could buy me some space to think and sort my own brain out, and allow my creative brain to come out to play with words again, just as I do with colour….

I can only paint the way I do nowadays because of the sheer amount of practice, experimentation and general mistake making that I have undertaken as what I try to paint the way I am being taught… but finding it doesn’t work for me, I have emerged the other side with my own style and methods – my own voice.

The same with my writing – it seems that I have been wallowing around in the sinking sand and mud pools of life for too long….

What a blinkin mess….. but at least I think I have found a way to straighten it up…..


Further Links of Interest:


28 August 2015

It’s has been a long time..

It has been a long time my friends since I have had the mental “space” and capacity to blog.  It seems that one thing after another conspires to complicate my world Smile

Then I sort of got to thinking this morning, actually typing really isn’t the only way to write – especially if you have injured a finger or two – I can use a pen and paper.  It has been so long since I have been able to actually reach the “wood element” of my desk - I can’t remember actually undertaking that activity !!  Even my computer keyboard is precariously balanced on top of odd sheets of paper which may or may not come in “useful” – a bit of a metaphor for my life… !!

We went to the National Trust house that Coleridge lived in for three years during his journeys around the West Country yesterday, and I found it quite thought provoking for several different and inspiring reasons.

He moved to the cottage to get away from the chaos and diversions of his everyday life and to concentrate on living a simpler life in which he could write.  (For this – please read his poor wife just had to cope with the very basic of amenities and a husband who was incredibly self-centred if somewhat brilliant to the outside world !)

The Georgian-dressed house has rooms set out – as if in a stage setting, as they would have been in the period, even though it has been lived in and had other uses, therefore extended, significantly since Coleridge’s day.  There are even guides dressed in pseudo-historic costume – appropriate to the area and period, but unfortunately not authentic material etc.   I was though quite impressed with them.

But the real downside was for me was that I wasn’t allowed to be still and think in the rooms.  Someone was insistent on telling me everything I wanted to know and feel – everywhere !!!! Even in the contextual rooms….

Sometimes stillness and being able to soak in the atmosphere is as important as “knowing”.

Secondly, where was the Writer in Residence?   Nobody seemed to know….

Good job we have the internet nowadays then…. Rose Collis !!! and there are workshops there – dates on tinternet…

So I presumed it was Coleridge, enjoyed looking at his desk (well the mock up) and suddenly it twigged.  He had absolutely no distractions (well apart from how to live, noise of the family – his mates popping in every five minutes, how to pay the bills and feed his muckers – that kind of things !).  It was an empty of any clutter, devoid of prevarication !!!!

So this morning, I have spent it clearing up my “working place” – looking up what needs to be done for this blog – sorted out “important” rather than “urgent stuff” and my world is a more organised place for early morning writing…

Job done then….

13 November 2014

Inspiration is everywhere….

I am reading a book at the Moment by Elizabeth Chadwick, called Daughters of the Grail

This is a sort of mystical love story set in the 12th Century between Law Lords at War in France and the Cathars, with a spot of Knights Templar bunged in for good measure.

It is a riveting read and I would recommend it, lots of interwoven plot details, good, clean sharp characters drawn on a landscape which is so captivatingly depicted I feel myself almost drawn there.  I certainly wouldn’t mind living in some of the quieter areas – in between the bouts of fighting.

Anyway – that is the reason I woke up at 3am to read for four hours, and why at 8pm this evening I feel like death warmed up !

Where was I?

Okay, so now I am nearing the end of the book, I decided to research the next book, so I have one to go onto (I like reading Elizabeth’s work in the correct sequence, as some of the characters tend to re-emerge – even though this is a standalone one – don’t want to take a chance !)

So having ended up at Elizabeth’s website, I find she has a blog where she posts details of the Soundtracks to her novels.  I do this as well – soundtracks whilst I write, not blog about them !! and in there I randomly found The Family – The Weaver’s Answer.

It was too early for me – even though I was 10 and into singing and creating music – it wasn’t the kind of stuff I would have been able to access. 

But the lyrics – and the rawness of the music – links in with something I am writing now….

Funny how fate takes a hand – inspiration really is everywhere.