Going round in circles…and winter poem.


Recently had all the excitement of reading at Pighog on the same programme  as Jackie Wills, Colette Sensier, Brendan Cleary and Pighog open micers!  The event is arranged and compered as always  by the enthusiastic Michaela Ridgway.  It all went well and thank you to lovely people that came along.

I was definitely going round in circles working out which poems to read, as well as wondering if I could leap up on the stage without falling off!

P1120361Next night went along to New Acts Night at the Komedia and was welcomed by Jill Edwards with a hug.   She insisted I join her graduates from previous years.  A really good evening of brilliant new acts, laughter, warmth and fun.

I did New Acts Night myself ten years ago.  I had moved to Brighton a bit too soon after my mother had died. I was very up and down,  so rather than risking drowning in grief I decided to take drastic action and signed up with Jill.  Not only a fab course but it lead to several gigs in Brighton and three in London,  at one in Hanover we raised over £700 for The Martlets.

Well the lights are up in Brighton the shops are packed. (pics later)

One of my grandsons came to lunch today…chat chat chat…eat eat eat and can you have a quick look at my new editing prog. Josh  (so far the death of me)  No problem granny ann says our pharmacist from Eastbourne Hospital. (so proud of all my  grandchilden) Now however a lot more effort will be required only just started new film and new technology is still not my thing!

Wednesday will be poeting and partying with Grasshopper poets.  Snow Queen later in the month..

Oh! Going up to Troubadour tomorrow with a new snow associated poem in my hot little hand, its an extract from a much longer one written on one of Anne Marie’s courses.

It’s a snow poetry and party night! Those that have been invited to read have to keep to a  maximum of 20 lines. There will be many well established poets so really interesting.   I just hope I don’t chicken out when my turn comes and a read a much older poem!

So last in the spirit of sharing and caring – here is one I wrote earlier as the saying goes…more to come in next few weeks.

Paper Chain

Snow falls like flakes of memory
tucked under a warm blanket

cheeks pinched with cold
the window a fillagree frost

rough sawn logs stacked in the grate
a comforting casserole in the oven

the smell of honeyed baked apples
stuffed with raisins

“Gales in the Herbides snow expected
to continue in the Highlands’

Mr Crick the newsagent hanging a single
dusty paper-chain in his window

Busy sparrows in a flurry of snow
spinning on the bird feeder

Mrs Kettle in her cottage with her goat
and cat huddle together to keep warm

The letter. ‘We are sorry your great
aunt died two months ago.

We are sure she would
have liked your letter returned herein.’

Posted in Becoming a poet, Brighton - out and about, Cheer yourself up on a dull day, Christmas - love or loath it?, Creativity, Life and Times of a New Age Granny, Marionette, Photography, poetry, Poetry readings - London - Brighton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The last of the flowers before they succumb to wind and rain

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P1120444  and the Laburnum tree at the end of the garden.

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Hey I’m reading at Pighog on Thursday


invited by Michaela Ridgway and on the same bill as Jackie Wills, Colette Sensier  Brendan Cleary no less!

 The Nightingale Room. Grand Central 29-30 Surrey Street. 7.15.

“What an honour”  I said to the rabbit “and you can’t come  because you haven’t been invited!”


Where’s your sense of loyalty” he grumbled.

“Look it’s poetry and you’re just a puppet!” 

“Just a puppet!” said the bunny indignantly turning on his heel.

Here are some of the pictures I’ve taken at Pighog from many happy evenings in earlier times when it took place at Red Roaster

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 Hope to see you Thursday!


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Remembrance Sunday – Grandpa’s War – a poem.


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It seemed to me my grandparents had not really recovered from the effects of the Great War before the Second World War arrived.
Grandpa had been discharged due to shell shock and the effects of being gassed. He spent over a year in hospital and used to say he was the only sane one in the family as he had a certificate to prove it. A few years ago found a box of letters he had sent to my grandmother during his time.

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Minding Grandpa

Grandpa sits in silence twisting threads on a white
wooden frame with rows of neat nails on each side

weaving patterns with silky thread recovering
from the Great War and comrades lost on the Somme

forbidden by Grandma from talking
of gas, madness or months of recuperation.

Memories fall into the safety of the sitting room
shiny bodkins glint in the sun like bayonets

his fingers unroll a length of gold as tales of the dead
suddenly return and his eyes fill with tears.

He whispers to me about a hospital ship blown to pieces
and jabs a line of blue twine into the emerging mat.

A screech from his green parrot breaks his sombre mood.
He smiles and ties a golden knot in triumph.

Polly pads along his arm, sings ‘Roll out the barrel’.
I gather up Grandpa’s wayward threads.

When he sufficiently recovered he went back to work part-time in the family’s fruit shop in Goodge Street in London. He was a good humoured but he suffered terribly all his life as a result of the war.  The sound  of his cough at night could waken the dead as my grandmother was fond of saying.

Like many he was forbidden from talking about the war in case it made him ill again so I treasure the memory of our secret conversations but he very rarely made one of his mats after his  release from hospital. But he did love his very affectionate parrot that he taught to sing ‘Roll out the barrel’ much to grandmother’s annoyance!


This is a brass tin issued to soldiers by Princess Mary in Christmas 1914, originally containing chocolate & cigarettes, and a pencil in a bullet case. The card inside reads ‘With best wishes for a victorious New Year, from the Princess Mary and friends at home. I believe they were made as a result of public donations

A few weeks after my birth in 1940 in Middlesex Hospital during the blitz, we came to live at our grandparents’ house in Dartmouth Park Hill in London.  By the time my sister arrived nine months later, my father was away on active service. I did not see him again until I was six

When he finally came home he really could not settle and with my mother started making and performing with their marionettes!

Luckily grandpa was still alive when my parents were invited in the early 50s to perform with their marionettes for the HRH The Queen, Prince Charles and Princess Anne at a private party. My mother decided grandpa could go too to pull the curtains after each act and meet the Queen.  I was most indignant although a child I had often pulled the curtains for the show and grandpa had never pulled a curtain in his life!

However in  later life I realised just how lucky I had been to have been lived with  my grandparents for most of my childhood

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My parents made several marionette soldiers over the years, but their most famous ones were when the whole family were involved in making and performing with our marionettes in the feature film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ in 1968 on Brighton’s West Pier’

I took my mother on a visit to The Somme a few years before she died. We got Grandpa’s service records and drove to many of the places where he had served.

If you go to Imperial War museum it is well worth visiting the gallery on the top floor to hear some of the voices of ordinary soldiers and civilians from that time.


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Writing poetry is scary

P1100046 pier supports and waves P1100052-001

and the wind makes me feel a slightly crazy
full stop
Blogging can be fun
but I like proof readers and editors who put everything right
full stop
I’m a puppeteer’s daughter and my schooling was spasmodic
spell check
but luckily one can always buy in a few full stops
full stop
Today it’s all about getting back on that horse
full stop
Logic was never my best subject
exclamation mark

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Floating into the autumn…

P1110909Floating is a bit how I’ve been feeling recently, but no I am not dangling from these strings!  P1120225‘Chasing the Rabbit’ (my new enterprise) has been encountering a few teething problems.  I knew I would have to face changing my editing programme, did I mention I am discalcular?  Now trying to get to grips with Studio after 15 years or more with Adobe 6.5 (exactly why best not ask).  But storyboard has been started.

I blame any confusion on altering the clocks and all that jazz rather than the possibility of old age approaching!

The move into autumn included being invited to a ball no less. During the day we spent an afternoon in Hythe before dancing the night away.

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Members of a community group were making apple juice. I hadn’t seen hops before. Apparently Londoners in droves went hop-picking in those postwar years, whole families regarded it as their annual holiday as well as an important source of income.


The Folkestone Community Orchestra were putting on a great performance in the High street in aid of the Altzheimers Association.   They played music by Glen Miller like a dream.

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Grabbed few days in late September in Rhodes. Overshadowed a bit by torrential rain but managed to catch some its history and found a good beach for the best of the sun.

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Nearer to home launches of new books by friends, a short ghost writing workshop run by another friend Bridget Whelan at the Regency House in Hove. A wonderful guy called Paul makes traditional mince and pickles to raise funds to support the enterprise. Check the house out online, plenty of interesting  exhibitions and events

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Dear old Saltdean has new management at the White Cliff Cafe. Wonderful chef, friendly staff, coffee cakes, lunches and tapas from 5 pm not to mention music and special events.


Took my eldest grandson along.   Well he had spent half his day off from work weeding my allotment, really am closing it down for the winter now!

Have tried to give up my allotment two years running, partly because bits of my back have been cobbled together and it isn’t easy, but I write a new poem about it and I’m smitten once more!

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Saltdean – A very special beach with rock pools, a big patch of sand, the odd beachcomber and people digging for bait, sunsets

But we did have a very dead whale last week.   The guys from the cafe alerted the coastguards and eventually experts from the Natural History Museum came down and off he went to be investigated for cause of death.

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No poetry added to this post today, although have a pile of drafts and some new poems completed. Pondering their future as I also miss deadlines for competitions at the best of times.

But I was so pleased to be asked by a friend to run a workshop in a home in Bexhill for Mental Health Day. A very rewarding experience.

Stop Press

I have been invited by Michaela Ridgeway to read some of my poems at Pighog on November 29th on the same bill as the wonderful Clare Best!


But just had to mention this again – still time to get tickets if you are in the vicinity.

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A documentary at the Depot – in Lewes today and all week.
Yayoi Kusama a truly amazing artist and complex individual.
Film – bright brilliant poignant.    No Alice in this film but the only thing I own with unique examples of her work.

On at the wonderful Depot – cinema kitchen bar five minutes from the station.

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Chasing the rabbit…

Decided to take the white rabbit on journey from Brighton to my old home in North London because I am vaguely thinking of making a new film. This was where our rabbit was made and where I spent most of my childhood.

A florist on St Pancras Station was pleased to see him as was a man playing the piano he insisted the rabbit did a a little dance!

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Tufnell Park seemed to be as it always was, but the area half way up Dartmouth Park Hill where our old family house had been has completely changed.

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We walked up to Waterlow Park. When I was young we took bits of bread to feed the ducks but sadly today the surface on the first pond looked rather cloudy.

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We took a bus down Highgate Hill to see if the the stone cat was still there and it was!

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It is said that this is where Dick Whittington heard the bow bells that called him back to London.

At the moment the film is mainly in my head but I am hopeful with some old and some new poems it will happen.


Sprawled on the kitchen table
the Mad Hatter
his top hat
covered in papier-mache
a newsprint
picture of Putin
the March Hare
missing an ear
and Alice her dress
washed and drying
on piece of garden wire
hanging over the sink
The White Rabbit
checking his pocket watch
in the perfect condition
he was 30 year’s ago
has plenty of time.


All Sorts
Everyone helped on Christmas Eve, the children in the living room
trusted to make neat crosses on sprouts bottoms,
peel potatoes and prod the hot chestnuts

We’d laugh at my mother’s story of corn beef roast during the war.
Now a few years on it was a roast chicken killed by Grandma
out in the garden and hung in the scullery for two days

Grandpa staggered up the hill from the underground at eight
with apples, pears and nuts from our greengrocers in Goodge Street,
gifts from fellow shop keepers, glace fruits being our absolute favourite

Grandmother insisted all through the war there would be no black market;
her Methodist  beliefs could not sanction anything dishonorable.
“Pity”, said Uncle Jack in later years, “we could have had butter, eggs, all sorts.”

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Posted in Ann's memoir, Brighton - out and about, Cheer yourself up on a dull day, Creative Nonfiction, Famous places, Life and Times of a New Age Granny, London out and about, Marionette, Photography, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment