Watching seagulls.

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Watching the seagulls acrobatics above the waves, I was reminded we have lived here for ten years. I sometimes forget why we chose to do so, but it was partly the attraction of the seashore, swimming in the sea, having our beach hut, looking out to the horizon to be reminded that we are all just a tiny part of the universe.

An early poem written when my partner had a flat in Hove.


Where a solitary seagull flew,
hopeful of an unexpected catch,
an old man moved along
the deserted seashore,
glancing skywards,
as if to ward off new invaders.

He kept his gaze low,
pausing then pouncing,
hands sifting piles of slippery pebbles,
“Makes a good walk” he called,
digging to retrieve his bounty –
two battered 20p coins.

“Like poetry?”
he called, I nodded,
so with one hand cupped
to the side of his mouth,
warding off competition
from the roar of the wind
on the incoming tide,
he launched into a sonnet.

His words swooped, soared,
glided past present reality
and far out to sea,
I clapped respectfully
as he continued to work the beach
as a showman might,
reaping his due rewards for such
a powerful performance.

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Cheering myself along on a dull Sunday – 3



No the content is not cheerful – but the art is wonderful and the sentiment essential.

Time to go…I’ve been invited out to tea! x

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Cheering myself along on a dull Sunday – 2

Finished a short course with Debbie Mallard last week.

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 Here is some of the students work in progress.
 I loved the ease of it all and the interesting friendly fellow students.
I can understand families gathering together in long gone days to make their rugs. Apparently it was the norm to have a new rug made for Christmas Day.

Rag rugs or rag mats are hard wearing rugs made out of rags cut into strips and pushed or pulled through a hessian backing.
There are two kinds of mat, known in the North East as hooky and proggy mats.
Hooky mats are made with the right side of the mat facing, pulling through long strips of material with a hook.

Proggy mats are made with the wrong side of the mat facing and short bits of fabric are prodded through, leaving a thick rug.
These rag mats were a common sight in working-class homes in the North East of England until the mid-20th Century.  (source – Rag rug history)

Made from old sacks and recycled fabric they were an economical option to keep feet warm and toasty in an era before fitted carpets were the norm.

Debbie is an authority on it all including gypsy curtains and wonderful co-ordinated pieces for special occasions.

I once made a rug out of old clothes on what is called a back strap loom, just a couple of sticks really but very portable.
I turned  my completed rug over and put shiny threads and simple ornamentation on it making it into a magic carpet of course.
I used it for story telling when I was a primary school teacher which was many moons ago.
Everyone should have a magic carpet, they are wonderful for dull days,
it now lies on the upstairs landing and still has the capacity to make me smile.
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Cheering myself along on a dull Sunday – 1

Singing in the bath is wonderful, dancing in the bedroom naked while dreaming up new poem ditto.
I think it was Matthew Dickman who recommended the latter on a course in the summer.


But recently joined the Be Bop Choir,  no pressure, no competition, just go along and learn how to sing in four part harmony.
Rachel Myer is a great singer in her own right and has created lovely four part harmonies for us to perform.
She also fixes gigs. This is the choir at the Brighthelm Centre yesterday.
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Luckily I can still sing…well a bit!
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Original Christmas gifts in Rottingdean – coffee and amazing cake!

Pop into the Open Art Cafe in Rottindean for an Aladdin’s Cave of original Christmas gifts, Each one made by local arts and crafts people.

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While you are thinking about it all, you can also treat yourself to a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of their super duper homemade cake.   Oh, and they do light lunches too.

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Traditional as as well as novel Christmas cards and at prices to suit every pocket. A good time too to support your local traders surely?


You might also find both collections of my poetry, but naturally I am far to modest to mention it!


But then have been known to run poetry workshops there for beginners and aspiring poets, you could take a peek at some of their poems displayed  in the smallest room in the house!



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Ten years trying to make a magical garden.

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There is nothing so good as messing about in a garden. Kenneth Graham’s toad was wrong about ‘“ there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”.  But yes to Thomas Edward Brown ‘A Garden is a  lovesome thing.’

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We moved here ten years ago and our garden is still a lovesome thing, even if a bit of a jumble to others.  My removal men all in matching T shirts and with boss called Dave had staggered in with heavy plants in pots as well as the numerous boxes and assorted furniture. Alan’s removal van was a more sophisticated affair and full of books, but he too had his fair share of plants!

Unlike our tiny gardens in South London we were now on a windy hill facing the sea, but at least we had had the wisdom to choose a house with a south facing garden. Now we had a vast expanse of lawn and nothing much else.

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Creating a garden is like a painting, experimental. Winding blocks of grey and brown create pathways,  foliage such as and artichokes big bold brush strokes, unruly grass tiny jagged lines, flowers big blobs of red and yellow red, pink and blue.

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Best to take time to stand back from time to time for a few hours, days, weeks, months, a year!

There has been plenty of time to wait for it all to happen, to sit in the sun, sip a glass of wine. peer in the pond we had created for frogs and newts, after all how are they supposed to survive without one?


As important was to continue to rescue the battered greenhouse so we could plant a bit more veg. currently our tomatoes and bags of potatoes thrive!

I was also determined to find time to paint or write in a shed bought especially for the purpose, but in truth such activities are still more likely to take place at the kitchen table.


Watering the garden causes the most arguments.  Our expensive watering system is always leaking and we are constantly getting out the hose instead or watering from the butts with cans etc.  ‘



But this week we will be topping up the bird feeders on a regular basis, covering shrubs for protection against frost and trying to pretend that nothing else in this impossible world matters!


How time flies!     Ten years slipped by already!

So  ‘From troubles of the world I turn to ducks!’ Yes bring them on…


An extract from Ducks by Frederick William Havey (1830–1897)
FROM troubles of the world
I turn to ducks,
Beautiful comical things
Sleeping or curled
Their heads beneath white wings
By water cool,
Or finding curious things
To eat in various mucks
Beneath the pool


Thomas Edward Brown (1830–1897)

A GARDEN is a lovesome thing, God wot
Fringed pool,
Fern’d grot—
The veriest school 5
Of peace; and yet the fool
Contends that God is not—
Not God! in gardens! when the eve is cool?
Nay, but I have a sign;
’Tis very sure God walks in mine.

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Notes from my journal – 2

Popped in to see the Gluck exhibition  – Art and Identity at Brighton’s Pavilion Museum and on until 11th March.

It is full of personal exploration, clothing, artifacts and indiscretion. But like so many other artists she came from a well heeled background, the Lyon’s catering empire no less, running off to Cornwall with fellow art students during the Great War.

The exhibition explores identity, sexual orientation and same sex union. There are  intriguing and sometimes heartbreaking stories as well as beautiful paintings.

The painting of her grandfather is one of her earliest, but there are other portraits and several exquisite flower paintings. One has to admire the irony of the painting of the judge,  a distant relation who would only pay half the fee so graced just half the canvas!

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Later in the Pavilion Gardens I found Robert the chief gardener pruning, so asked him about pruning in my own garden. ‘No’ he said, it was not too late but I should get it done as soon as possible.

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Took some interesting sunsets from the bus, loved the setting for the crescent moon.

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This is not my favourite time of year so decided to join something new a few weeks ago – the  ‘We Bop’ choir.   We sung a set to celebrate the switching on of Brighton’s Christmas Lights.  Choir leader Rachel Myer is a genius at teaching four and five part harmonies and my fellow singers are a really  friendly lot!

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This morning we popped along to the Ming Gallery Open House.  They have several artists displaying their work, including imaginative collages by Jules Foreman and spectacular flower paintings P1090907 byImage may contain: 10 people, indoor Claire Harrison.

Claire has small gifts and calendars too

I got talking to the gallery owner who does calligraphy and also creates imaginative calligraphy cards. This one is called ‘Happiness’ P1090937

I also came across these tiny cards by the Chinese artist Wu Guanzhong.  The owner told me he was very famous and decided to share his major works by producing these tiny cards, so that it would be accessible to everyone.P1090938

Wu Guanzhong was a contemporary Chinese painter widely recognized as a founder of modern Chinese painting. He is considered to be one of the greatest contemporary Chinese painters.  (source Wikipedia).

Finally a slow walk back along Montefiore Road to Harrisons of Hove. This restaurant has a laid back atmosphere, a varied breakfast and interesting lunch menu.

With so much bad news about and endless consumer hype what more could anyone possibly want?




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