Monday, 17 July 2017

Seven Stages of Teenage Angst

When I was going through my adolescent poetry I found seven very short poems that I thought worked well as a poetry cycle which I have called 'The seven stages of teenage angst'. You can find more of my adolescence poetry in Teenage Troubles on my WattPad pages.


Monday, 10 July 2017

The philosophy of redecorating (5B450)

I have been reading a lot of philosophical books lately and these have helped me to bite the bullet and get the painters in. Below are seven major philosophical points I considered before getting the house redecorated.

1. I accepted the things I couldn't change and got on and changed the things I could more easily change. The kitchen is old but I quite like it, it was the peeling paint I couldn't' stand. The kitchen looks great now, still old but nicely, freshly painted.

2. The nice new painted look won't last, it will grow old, fade, get knocked. Yes, but it will look nicer longer. Just because life isn't perfect, it's no excuse for not doing good stuff; 'Feel the disappointment and do it anyway,' if it's a good thing, it's worth doing, just for the sake of doing it.

3. Somethings don't need changing. The bedrooms, bathroom and downstairs loo didn't need redecorating so I left them out. I just concentrated on what needed doing.

4. I had to accept my limitations. some of the rooms hadn't been painted in twenty possibly thirty years. I am obviously not a person who will paint them herself. I did attempt to redecorate the kitchen ten years ago (hence the peeling paint). We could afford to redecorate. We got other people in to paint the house. It got done.

5. I have limitations in moving stuff around. We have been in the house for over twenty years. We have a lot of stuff, but not too much, it all needed to be moved to get the house painted. In some physical aspects, I am quite a slow, weak person, I always have to work around this fact. It took me two days to move things out of the house and into the garage, but I did it.

6. We all had to be very patient and put up with a lot of disruption when the house was being redecorated. To keep the house running smoothly amongst all the upheaval took some effort.

7. I had to accept that my co-habit-tees would be less patient and useful than even I am, when all this was going on, I'm the one who really wanted it done. We were all disorientated, I did most of the moving stuff myself and made the decisions about the painters and the colours. I had to keep it all together.

It took ten days to get the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, the hall, the landing and the porch repainted. I'm really glad I did, it was one of my 5B450 goals. I'm surprised I had to be so philosophical about it, but maybe it's not surprising at all.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

St Mary's Summer Fete and Art Exhibition

We managed to get to the church fete this year, unlike last year when we enjoyed an early holiday in Llandudno instead. Due to a preoccupation with getting the house repainted, thoughts about our artwork were a little overlooked. I am going to revamp our collection of prints and paintings in preparation for the next exhibition opportunity.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Four Seasons Poetry

A BBC documentary I really enjoyed was 'Orbit'. In it you could really see how our seasons are created by the earth's tilt accompanied by its journey around the sun. When I was little I didn't feel connected to the seasons, I didn't seem to notice the leaves changing colour or the daffodils coming out, I just noticed if it was a bit too cold or a bit too warm. I noticed them more when my partner moved to the Kent coast. Now the hardest part of winter is how dark the days get and I really look forward to the arrival of Spring. These poems represent my changing attitudes to the seasons over the years.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

ALF @ The School of Life (5B450)

Another one of my 'Five Before Fifty' goals was to 'attend a school of life event'. This I did on the 21st June when I attended an evening course entitled 'how to be serene'. I felt it was very timely, coming at a time dominated by the Grenfell Tower Tragedy, a heatwave, a spate of terror attacks and the beginning of the Brexit talks.

Amy was quite keen to come with me (she's been very taken with the School of Life YouTube channel). So, after a brief stop at Nandos in the Brunswick Centre, we arrived at the School of Life at about 6.30 pm.

When the door opened we had a good look around the philosophical and psychological books and ephemera that were on offer before being shown down into the intricately decorated lecture room, which featured long red velvet curtains, which hid the air conditioning unit, and a black and white mural of a library full of philosophical books and novels, such as Life of Pi and The Female Eunuch.

'What happens in the School of Life stays in the School of Life,' our Italian host informed us, 'It's like Vegas,' he clarified. The evening did go on to include the audience sharing their difficulties with serenity and anger in their working and personal lives. It's always nice to know you're not alone with these human struggles. It also featured a discussion of how the ancient philosophers can help us come to terms with problems in our modern lives, Seneca featured quite a lot, and gave us some thoughtful and reflective exercises to take away with us.

I enjoyed the evening very much, I found it supported my own reading on philosophy and particularly stoicism, which I am very much into these days. There was also wine and interesting nibbles on offer which always goes down well.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Craft stall @ URC Pinner

Saturday 17th June was a sweltering hot day in West London. Mum was otherwise engaged so my daughter, Amy, accompanied me to the United Reform Church, Eastcote, to take part in the charity coffee morning in support of the London Churches Refugee Fund.

The church charity coffee mornings support many good causes, near and far, like Trinity Homeless and the Food Bank. These and other local charities were at the forefront of my heart and mind following the Grenfell Tower Tragedy which happened earlier in the week.

Despite the very warm weather turnout was good, with lots of people coming along for a coffee and a chat. Several people stopped by my stall to say how beautiful it was and buy a few cards, including an off season Christmas Card. After a slow start business picked up. Amy managed to sell two of her Dream Box books. We also sold a new Still Life poetry book, a lavender tawny owl, a virtue brooch card and several more cards, mostly Get Well Soon and With Sympathy and items from my Passtimes collection. It was quite a successful end to a pleasant Summer's morning.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Knitting rainbows

I rediscovered how therapeutic knitting is in 2009, I was getting myself and my piano pupils through music exams and needed to find a new way to relax and unwind, so knitting re-enetered my life. The simplest and easiest things I knit are dolly blankets. I love buying different coloured wool and producing rainbow coloured dolly blankets, I find it makes the endeavour doubly therapeutic.

Summer crafts

I have had a lot to do lately, but have still found time to create more crafts for the church fete and also for future craft events and blog posts. Above are some of my virtuous lavender hearts and flowers, a Star Heart Doll called Love and some summer related greeting cards. Below are some fabric brooch ideas I have been working on and some new lavender cats.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

ALF @ The Globe (5B450)

At the beginning of the year I began to think of five smallish ambitions I want to fulfil before I reach the age of fifty in November 2017. The first one was 'See a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre', this one I managed to do at the end of May.

The 2017 production of 'Romeo and Juliet' was very vibrant and modern. Romeo and Juliet were streetwise, young and foolish; a breath of fresh air. Mercutio was a girl and full of attitude and Tibalt was a rough and ready energetic masculine force. The production was so bold that it even featured a performance of 'YMCA' in the party scene.

Everyone did a great job and kept me so absorbed that I didn't so much mind feeling a bit squashed on the uncomfortable hard wooden seating. I have seen a number of plays in my life, many of them by Shakespeare. The Globe setting was special, not ideal, there was a pillar near me that blocked a little of the view, the space is exposed to the elements and a lot of people had to stand, but that all seemed to make the event that bit more exceptional.

Mum and Amy had a great time too and mum wants to see more plays so I will have to seek out more opportunities for theatre going in the future.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Bridge and The Door

Often in my adult life I have felt at a crossroads and moving forwards takes courage. 'The bridge' and 'the door' are about reaching forwards into new realms, they are about relationships with men. I recently expanded these poems to be more about moving forwards in other realms, emotionally, professionally, spiritually as well as just physically. 'Crossing the bridge' and 'Opening the door' can be found in my Grown-up Poetry pages on WattPad.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Let's Vote!

I have always felt it important to vote. I was taught that Emily Davison threw herself under the king's horse at the Derby so I could vote, this history lesson made a lasting impression on me. I have been a regular voter for the past thirty years. Last June I struggled through flash floods and tube chaos, on my way home from work, to put my X in the Remain box. 

Non-partisan is quite a good stance, democracy is based on a secret ballot, and people can and will change their minds, for all sorts of reasons. I think it's important to vote, whether it's a negative vote against something you don't want, a positive one for something you do, or just to create a strong opposition to the prevailing powers. Your vote is your voice, it shows you're paying attention and you care about the forces that shape our lives. 

I have been working on these 'Voting Cards' as my small way to encourage more people to exercise their franchise. For more information on voting please go to