Wednesday 29 September 2010


I've a poem that goes well with him HERE, and this quickie post is simply to let you know my time this week has been busy with other concerns. I thought Piglet could make my apologies for being conspicuous by my absence. Tomorrow will be Life Drawing Class No. 2, so watch this space for details!

N.B. Life Class No.1 is chronicled on Alias Jinksy

Monday 27 September 2010

Short, But Not Necessarily Sweet

A Microfiction Monday offering  from a Stony River prompt - told in 140 characters or less.

Now she understood. Ships that pass in the night may leave waves that linger, causing more damage than a tsunami.

Saturday 25 September 2010

Brrring, Brrring !

She talks of a school reunion, when I answer the phone, it is to be the final one, the last of its kind. She is a bustling woman, aery-faery mixed with a degree of organisation, who has been resposible for keeping track of former pupils and teachers of a school long since shrouded in mists of memory. She has a high pitched, breathy, little girl voice which belies her grey locks and ample stature, when you meet her in person, a good hearted, if somewhat misguided soul, who has apparently chosen to make it her life's work to keep a flag flying for her schooldays...

I had already politely declined her invitation to attend this year, so her phone call just now took me unawares. I was pleased with myself for remaining adamant in refusing, for I could tell she was fishing for me to change my mind.

Last October, for the first time, I had rallied to her call, and did rediscover one fellow pupil, and one school secretary who had been part of my world between the ages of six and eleven. After almost sixty years, I was surprised at recognising anyone.

So, because it is Saturday and Sepia calls, I will share with Blogland my one remaining image of that long ago schoolgirl, me.

Friday 24 September 2010

A Day In The Life

 Today’s shopping occupies my mind, but below the surface. I feel I should dredge practicalities into the light, or risk arriving home with my trolley still empty.  I have no list of items to which I could refer –only an awareness, as my eyes regard rows of goods on offer, of those which are in need of replenishing in my larder.  It won’t be an organized collection by the time I reach the checkout, I guarantee.

Sometimes the urge to allow myself free expression with some kind of creative work overrides the need for living in the now of everyday life. I would have done better to stay at home, perhaps, and let the muses win the battle for my attention today… I feel them hovering behind my back, willing me to finish the task in hand.  “I know you are there, and I promise to listen to you soon.” I project a thought in the way a mother might reprimand a bothersome infant who demands too much attention.

With a colourful selection of fruit and vegetables teetering in the basket, I decide I have enough, and march resolutely to the checkout, before I spend any more time or money in Waitrose…

Then I begin to understand the muses' insistence. As I approach the slatted bench beneath my favourite plane tree, I know I have to take time out to sit and write for them, drawing a word picture of that particular time, that particular place.

Dappled shadows waiver on bricks-
muted red-brown, dust covered-
beneath the plane tree's canopy
of rustling, summer's-end leaves.

In blocks of cool grey, shading to umber,
the bark flaunts a rich, textured surface,
while one bright spot of gamboge
draws the attention like a beacon.

Specks of eau-de-nil moss, or fungus,
are embroidered in a sparse pattern
down one side. They lift the colour palette
into another dimension, alien to the tree,

whose branches spread a benison of calm
over all below. The day's breath
slows at the approach of dusk, until
a sudden crescendo sends a few dry leaves

spiralling to earth, where they scutter
over the cobbles, rasping, brittle, whispering,
as they scurry across the road's surface
in a wind-whirled dance of Autumn.

Thank goodness my purchases had included a spiral bound notebook…

Thursday 23 September 2010

Okay - Here's The Others!

As the wedding subject seems to have brought out the curiosity factor in more than one of you, I'm letting you see all my attendants. From left to right they are Susan, Peter, Nicola, Cynthia, Jeremy and Amanda. Jeremy's expression is only due to the sun in his eyes, not disgust abut hs outfit. He was actually pleased as punch with such sartorial elegance!

The hectic aspect of the day continued after the reception. The new Mr and Mrs went on a tour of friends and relations who hadn't been able to make it to the ceremonny, bearing (naturally) pieces of cake for them all, and managing to scrounge a couple of pillows from Mr and Mrs P (parents of the best man), because said bride and groom hadn't remembered to buy any to go with their brand new bed linen!

Then it was back to the ongoing party at Mum and Dad's, and a great packing-the-car-with-wedding-presents, until we eventually set off to take up residence in our sparsely furnished new house at Havant. The kitchen cooker and  bedroom furniture had been delivered earlier, as in both these rooms the flooring was down, but the Ercol table, chairs and sideboard, and the three piece suite, were still being stored at the shop, until we could get the carpet fitted in the open plan lounge. Mum had lent us some old, black and yellow kitchen cutains for the lounge window at the front, until I could make up the arty material I'd bought, so the only luxurious thing that night was the great fire in the closed in stove with the back boiler, which provided gallons of hot water and had heated the house to an almost tropical temperature.

We discoverd that this had its drawbacks, too, as the cover to the ashcan was not quite in place, with the result that the stove reached almost white hot heat, gave an enormous retort, and the fire bars and back of the basket lining both cracked, vociferously! Thus the day ended wth a bang...Would you have expected anything less?!

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Has Your Halo Slipped?

I wish I could claim this photo as my own creation - sadly not. But when I noticed it in the same folder as the wedding cake picture, it made me smile all over again, just as I had when I first set eyes on it. I don't know which bit I like best; the lopsided coronet, which had difficulty sitting straight on such glossy hair, or the cosy vest and petticoat straps peeking out the side of the neckline!

This was not the fourth-slice-of-cake bridesmaid, but her younger sister, and you'll have to use your imagination to supply the colour of the dress and headdress. A deep, pinky-red, shimmering chiffon over a slightly darker taffeta, made this adorable infant look like a tiny rosebud herself.

The November day was particularly cold and windy, and I even had a thermal vest and long johns (red ones) on under my dainty gown, as did my attendants. The family had rallied round, with everybody helping to prepare the food in advance for the reception, which the groom and best man set out in the church hall while us girls were putting together the bridal bouquets. Because I'd chosen to have chrysanthemums, my cousin and her husband went rushing around on his motor bike early that morning, looking for white ones, as our combined gardens had only been able to produce flowers in autumnal shades. Bearing in mind the wedding was scheduled for 2pm, you can imagine how busy we all were! I remember making at least 100 buttonholes, of various types and colours, so's people could choose one to tone with their outfit, as they arrived at the church.

When Dad and I finally pulled up to the church entrance, somewhat early, (both he and I hated being late!) we were shooed away, as either the minister or the registrar hadn't arrived.  So I ended up having an unplanned trip all along Southsea seafront,  waving royally to curious folk who were out and about that busy Saturday. Good job the Taxi Driver was a friend of the groom, and quite happy to take us on a circular mystery tour, at no extra charge!

Monday 20 September 2010

Still On The Wedding Kick

I thought it only fair, after the previous somewhat traumatic post, to let you see a happier side to the day! The following photo of Me and Mine preparing to cut the cake, has several funny tales associated with it. When I made the cakes, I didn't realise the shelves in Mum and Dad's oven were not necessarily as horizontal as one could have wished...When the three tiers were assembled on 'The'Day', my cousin had to use silver threepenny bits on top of some of the pillars, to stop the ensemble looking like the leaning tower of Pisa!

I was a novice at wedding cake production in those days, though rich fruit cakes were my speciality, and I used to be roped in to cook them for all family occasions.

I owe my success to a free, Stork Margarine Cookery Book, which was given away as part of an advertising campaign when the product was first launched. The recipe never fails, and only needs doubling or trebling to accommodate the required size and shape of cake tin.

So, just three weeks before the wedding, there were the cakes (slightly wonky) ready for the marzipan. No ready made, shop bought stuff, but proper, home made almond paste. Yummy. 

I was so inexperienced, I didn't know any of the tricks of the trade - like allowing plenty of time for the paste to dry out and harden to support the weight of the tiers above. Nor, when it came to the Royal Icing, did I know that fresh egg whites will stop it ever beating to a stiff enough consistency to  pipe! I have learned by my mistakes!

The result of my lack of knowledge was, that when I tried to pipe a design around the sides of the cakes, the icing slid slowly but relentlessly in the direction of down wards... I finally got round the problem by buying several yards of silver lace to wrap around them, instead! The end result was quite pretty though, don't you think?

And one of my very young, exceeding slim bridesmaids sidled up to me during the evening party, and asked if she could have another piece of cake. My  "Of course! Help yourself!" brought back the rejoinder "Thanks - I've had three already - this will be my fourth!"

Sunday 19 September 2010

Old Photo, Old Memory

I well remember the date I got married -Saturday, seventh November nineteen sixty four.No honeymoon, or wedding night pictures are stored in my mind, only tragedy,for late on Sunday morning, the eighth,my father came to our door bearing news of death. Auntie Glad was pronounced the hospital after a motorcycle accident while she was crossing the road for Morning Service. A great churchgoer, was my Auntie Glad...

 And this picture shows Gladys May in her younger days, before life
had left its mark...

The Poetry Bus this week set challenges for passengers, which included the option to write about a person at a wedding. The first photo was taken at my wedding reception, on the last full day of Auntie Glad's life, so I hope you forgive me for not actually producing a poem, as such, for this bus journey. However, there is a second, more romantic offering on Alias Jinksy.

The inclusion of two old photos will also let this qualify as a late, Sepia Saturday post - I'm nothing if not economical! LOL

Friday 17 September 2010

Life Drawing

The class was scheduled to start at 1pm. I arrived in plenty of time to get myself  and my odd assortment of folders, pads, pens and pencils organised, ready for off. The whole escapade was a last minute whirl, as I'd only found details of it a couple of days ago. With Havant being limited in available artist's supplies, I'd cobbled together anything already to hand that I could use -a piece of hardboard, a plain, A4 pad of dubious quality and a couple of clutch pencils with the softest leads I could find.

Don't be fooled by the photograph. There was no chance of making a detailed drawing of this pose, or any other. The object of the whole exercise, apparently, was to 'capture movement'. The young model is a dancer, and was asked to perform a sequence of steps, A, B, C, which she then repeated   in sequence, over and over for the next twenty minute or so, before the 'organiser' ( I use the term loosely) of the class, called a halt. We were expected to produce lightening sketches of this beautiful, but blurred, activity, like demented Leonardos.

To begin the class, the model held a pose for exactly three minutes, which was supposed to allow us to 'get our eyes in' , as the 'organiser' put it. The only thing mine got in was whirl of frustration... There was this delightful girl, who made every artistic bone in my body want to capture every one of hers on paper ! Fat chance. I was told 'all life classes are like this now'. Thank God that the life classes I attended were 'Then' not 'Now', or I'd never have been able to hone my skill as much as I did, which is still not as much as I would like. Can't see much new honing going on unless the timing is better structured, and the movement less phrenetic during the next class in a fortnight's time. Thank goodness I took my camera...

P.S. I've been valiantly trying to scan a couple of liittle sketches, but scanner is obstreperous, and I have threatened it with a visit from my son, who will beat it into submission at the weekend! LOL :) 

Thanks to AC's suggestion, here are photos of some of my lightning sketches, bearing in mind they were either  done as the model was moving, or at most, in 3 minute windows of stllness.

Thursday 16 September 2010


Leaf Drop

My thoughts fall like Autumn leaves;
grown in my unconscious mind,
they bloomed in my awareness,
their substance feeding my imagination.

Now they flutter to rest on this page,
their dried remains rustling skeletons
which adorn the paper beneath my pen-
the only produce from their parent tree
which remains on offer to the reader.

I shall be linking this to Mr Knowitall's 55 blog on Friday. Okay, it's a little ahead of  its time, but better that than being behind the times, or even in my case today, on time. I need to be punctual this afternoon, for I'm treating myself to ten pounds worth of Life Drawing class, which is something I've not done since I left college. It remains to be seen whether I can still wield a pencil as opposed to a pen...

Late Edition Addition! as Willow's Magpie #35  of 6th October is all about Autumn leaves, I thought I'd use these ones of mine, which had already fluttered to the ground some time ago. I do like getting the most from the least!

Now I recommend you go HERE, to read my good friend Mrs T's interpretation of the same subject- it's well worth a visit...

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Radio 3

Mozart is dancing in my ears, and I've decided to post another doodlypic-mostly because I can!

I call this 'Italian Fountain' - but then you all know I have an odd imagination.
This answers  RWP and Jabblog's comments!

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Pea Soup

No, not a recipe post - though if I'd had my wits (and camera) about me, I could have taken a delightful photo of our lunchtime soup before we scoffed it... My friend was in Havant to visit her dentist, so it was natural for me to 'do' lunch. Being aware that some dental appointments limit the food chewing capabilities if the patient, I decided soup was a safe option. As it turned out, the weather was on my side - chilly, windy, dull and dismal enough to make a hot soup a pleasing prospect while we chewed the fat, as the saying goes.

Now she has pootled off home, I have the afternoon to let my fingers tap dance a blogpost into existence, and Pea Soup remains on my mind, as well as in my stomach. It is a most homely, unpretentious foodstuff, but I equate it with the very essence of hospitality. It uses natural ingredients which need to be lovingly prepared  and cooked well in advance of the coming meal, as split peas cannot be rushed - they take their time. The advantage to this is, when a guest finally arrives, the cook can relax and enjoy their company to the full. What more could you ask of a menu? Soup with some tasty granary bread  and a little sweet treat to follow is the perfect accompaniment to a friendly lunch date. When can I expect to see you? Just let me get my diary...

And for seconds, I give you...

The Mock Turtle's Song 
by Lewis Carroll

Beautiful soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup.

Monday 13 September 2010

Oh, What A Grey Day!

Is your Monday Morning glum?
Lacking any sense of fun?
"Dim and colourless", you say.
Well folks, follow me this way >
the colours will come out to play!

Click on the little arrow to see more colours in a poetic form, thanks to today's Poetry Bus. 

Sunday 12 September 2010

It's A Funny Thing

Inspiration. That's what's funny. Having recently joined in with various Blog sites which provide prompts for aspiring poets, I've realised the jinksy "I" is  beginning to feel a tad stifled. This is a bit of a conundrum. To start with, I thought prompts would serve to nudge me into writing more - which I suppose in one way, they have, and are to be applauded.

But in another, I'm beginning to feel the constraints on the jinksy imagination, which is used to roaming freely where it will. Do you think this is simply down to my being an ornery, born awkward critter, or does it go deeper than that? Am I contemplating my navel too much? (On which subject pop over HERE if you have a moment.)

For instance, today I feel like this doodle which I made a while ago, and which seemed to call to me this morning.

Bubbles float skywards,
ephemeral spheres bearing
a glowing rainbow
circumscribed around each shell
of living, dying beauty.

Sometimes I need adjectives to float my boat.

Saturday 11 September 2010

Bang The Drum!

It's Sepia Saturday again, and after letting you see my paternal grandparents last week, with their young family, I thought I would gradually post photos of the children in later years - much later, for the most part. This picture intrigued me when I came across it, for the boy looks so young! He had to be one of my uncles and I hazard a guess at George, but here he is anyway, in all his finery.

If I get bitten by the muse later on today, I might come back and add a suitable poem, after using the drum picture as a prompt, but I make no promises...

Having finished lunch, I suddenly thought  to look for a drum poem, ready made, on the Internet. How could I not have done so before?
There follows one from The Cambridge Intelligencer of August 3, 1793.
It was written by a Quaker, one Mr John Scott, and entitled, appropriately enough ...

The Drum

I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields,
To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace and glitt'ring arms;
And when Ambition's voice commands,
To fight and fall in foreign lands.

I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To me it talks of ravaged plains,
And burning towns and ruin'd swains,
And mangled limbs, and dying groans,
And widow's tears, and orphans moans,
And all that Misery's hand bestows,
To fill a catalogue of woes.

It is hard to imagine in these days of sophisticated weapons of war and modern communication systems, that young drummer boys were used in the armies, or indeed navies, of long ago, to drum signals to the men. There's an article on the subject HERE that you might like to read if you're interested.

Friday 10 September 2010

More Havant

In this morning's sunshine, this was the rear of
St Faith's Church, which featured in my previous post, and whose earliest parts go back to the eleventh century.

The whole area feels old, especially the path where I stood to take the photo, although it was not my 'time out of time' spot.  That lies further to the right, and would not have given such a picture postcard view of the scene had I stood on it.

There is no connection between this illustration and the lines I'm inserting next - I simply thought it was a pretty picture to share with you.  From here on, I'm going back to the subject of clarity, or not, of much of the writing on offer in Blogland...

Hidden Meanings

Words behind a veil of mist
swirl in vague allusion
as comprehension hides beneath
illusion of intelligence.
What purpose does this serve?
Beyond Confusion's urge
to cloak a poet's dreams
with a secret manifesto, lies
a creed whose images could birth
an undisputed presence
in the world of fact not fiction,
were they but given clarity of truth.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Please Adjust Your Vertical Hold...

I seem incapable of taking a photo in which verticals are vertical! But I thought I'd let you all see this delightful pub anyway. 'The Old House At Home' has the date 1339 inscribed deep in its outside wall, and centuries of memories enfolded in its heart, no doubt.

I first visited it in my student days, before it had been 'modernised' (dreadful word), There was a huge open hearth in the main bar, a stone floor, a slate shove-h'appeny board and a wooden, table-top skittles game with which local yokels could while away the evening as they quaffed their beer. The bar room was tiny, and it didn't take many bodies to make it feel like a rugby scrum. Modernisation saw internal walls removed between it and the next cottage to the left, and now there's enough space for groups of small tables where good, plain but tasty pub food is served.

You can see the top of St Faith's Church clock tower nestled among the trees round the graveyard whose ancient graves are at shoulder height - level with the top of the encircling brick wall that leads your eye into the picture.

Between the pub and the church, a short fight of stone steps lead up to a narrow, dirt pathway  (dividing line between God and Man ?) which has now had flagstones laid along its length, and thereby lost some of its magical appeal. Wrought iron railings of the church boundary were overshadowed by graceful old trees - beech or sycamore- and there was a certain spot roughly half way along this path, where I always had to pause and savour the 'time out of time' awareness that it held.

The first occasion that my brother visited me, after emigrating to New Zealand, I led him along this pathway, but made no mention of  'the spot'. I walked slowly ahead, but suddenly he called me back. 'Stop! Pen, wait!' and I looked round at him and smiled. He grinned back at me, and said 'You know, don't you?' and I nodded. There was no need for words...

Monday 6 September 2010

Any Visitors...

Who think I'm still asleep, can find me taking a trip on the Poetry Bus here, but I may be back home before bedtime if the journey is a short one! TTFN, folks...

Afternoon! I have popped back long enough to explain that this photograph is one I took of my TV screen, during a programme about China. I was curious to know how such an experiment might turn out.
I now have proof that the results could have been  extremely satisfactory - if only I'd put the camera on a tripod. Clicking the shutter while holding the camera in my hands, was enough to make many of the shots a little fuzzy, which was a pity, as this one proves how effective they might have been, had I taken a little more care.

This got me thinking about some of the poems I've been reading around Blogland, over the past few days. Many struck me as having similar fuzzy edges to them, and I've been wondering why.  I think often, a disregard for basic rules of language contribute to the feeling of unease, coupled with what seems to be a deliberate attempt to 'be clever' poetically. Sometimes this seems to me, to push the meaning of a poem into obscurity. Should meaning only depend on the reader's interpretation, by-passing the poet's intent completely? The corollary would appear to be, it doesn't matter what a poet writes, as only the reader gives it life...Wonder what you think?

Saturday 4 September 2010

Only Just Made It

...In time for Sepia Saturday! These were my paternal grandparents and offspring, but I can't be sure which of their children are in the photograph, so my father may or may not be amongst them.You may recognise Grandfather from the 'Horse in the Tent' photo I posted a while back. Don't they all look solemn?

Friday 3 September 2010


Do you listen to what people are saying as they pass by in the street? I own, I do, and that's where the germ of an idea took root and resulted in this motley assortment of phrases:-

Snippets Of Conversation

He hasn't had a bath since last October... 
I ask you, what's a girl supposed to do...
Do you think I need to change my outfit?...
That IT bloke just hasn't got a clue...
Will this train take me to Wolverhampton?...
I ask you, what's a girl supposed to do...

Don't talk to me about the price of basics...
I ask you, what's a girl supposed to do...
She said, 'You'll never shift a stain like beetroot...
and I think this needs a spot of super-glue...
The blue light on the trembly bit's gone out...
I ask you, what's a girl supposed to do...

I never do that ever on a Monday...
I ask you, what's a girl supposed to do...
why don't you go and ask your blooming Father?...
Well, shall I buy just one of those, or two?...
Now the Doctor thinks he'll have to snip it...
I ask you, what's a girl supposed to do...

Today,  Big Tent Poetry is asking for submissions created from random words or phrases taken from life, so I've chosen to offer these verses as my reply.

Thursday 2 September 2010

Which Noise Annoys?

No, not an oyster. Me. And yes, the answer is a noisy noise, but what from, is the question? Well, okay, apart from screaming kids at the checkout, war time sirens, or fingernails scraping down a distempered wall, it's water pipes that judder like pneumatic drills.

 After paying a plumber an exorbitant amount to investigate the cause, he announced it was due to a leak in my water meter, which was allowing air into the system. He advised me to contact my water company, which I did- on 16th August.

As we are now galloping into September and the noise has not abated, I 'phoned to check whether Portsmouth Water had made any attempt to sort the leak. According to the customer service doyen, a report had been made that part of the meter had been 'tightened'. Hmm...

Next Tuesday another 'operative', as the jargon goes, will call to inspect it further, and to get my personal report of the problem. What a joy that will be. I can hardly wait...

Meantime, I daresn't turn a hot tap on beyond a measly trickle, or the pipes sound as though the wrath of the gods is upon me. Perhaps it is...

Maybe, when I wrote the following lines a while back, I should have known  it might not be not be the end of the matter.

The Gurgler 

There's a Gurgler in my sink
and I think he wants a drink.
When I slowly shift the plug,
that is when he starts to glug
as the water's rushing down.
I do hope that he won't drown.   
It can't be very nice to swallow
soapy water from a hollow
gushing, waterpipe (so gloomy!)
in the sink of my bathroomy.  

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Ravages Of Time

This was the sad apology for a garden a year or two after I moved in here. Originally, there were flagstones and a whirly line, and nothing else. Every tub, urn and flower pot needed bags of compost laboriously carried by hand - mine. In summer the heat was unbelievable, and in winter a green slime would grow over the slabs when water was unable to escape down the spaces between them.

Over the years,  the filling in these cracks disintegrated, and now at least I'm spared the slime. No, the green now comes from another source - my urban jungle! It proves how nature is prepared to accept the most meagre of habitats as long as it can sustain life.

I have posted the following verses before, but not with accompanying photos, which I think give an added je ne sais quoi to the whole subject!

Alternative Garden

The garden was totally concrete,
its chequerboard flagstones a sight
to dampen the gardening spirit,
though bathed in a warm summer light.

No flora or fauna enlivened the view,
no  shade from a tree or a shrub;
not a solitary  leaf, nor a stem, nor a flower
sustained an unfortunate grub,

if it dared to put in an appearance
by wriggling under the gate,
or scaling the slatted wood, vertical fence
in its unending search for a mate.

I bought a few tubs and containers,
plus some compost  in colourful sacks,  
all providing a small splash of colour
as they stood in their teetering stacks

awaiting  the hesitant, first  potting up
of the trays full of tender young shoots,
all eager (like me) in their spacious new home
to established some permanent roots.

MUCH, MUCH LATER- This has turned out to be a perfect offering for the Poetry Bus due on 6 September, even though I posted it before this week's driver had chosen the destination, as you might say! ESP rules, Okay?