January Poem

As we approach the end of January, I thought I’d share a little poem with you. Hope you like it and I hope it helps shift these January blues for you.

Blogging, Daybook

Daybook Entry – 18th February 2017

For Today 18th February 2017

Looking out my window… I am looking at a garden that is in serious need of some TLC

I am thinking… about how busy I am going to be for the next 8 days. I am going to be taking part in my first brass band contest for a very long time, and in the first section which I have not played in for even longer than that. The busyness comes from the amount of rehearsal I have to do between now and then, not just the 2 hours each night with the rest of the band but the couple of hours each day on my own practice at home too to make sure I am in tip top condition to the band and the performance justice. I am looking forward to it and dreading it in equal measure to be honest.

I am thankful… for the gift of music.

One of my favourite things… is sharing food on a Saturday with my family and having some good ol’ quality time together.

I am wearing… post-shower comfies.

I am creating… a crocheted blanket for my son’s girlfriend Megan.

I am watching… as I type this, “Despicable Me” is on TV in the background, but something that I have been going out of my way to watch is “No Offence” on Channel 4. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

I am reading… “The Ghosts of Idlewood” by M L Bullock for a bit of light fiction reading, but I am also working my way through Richard Coles’ “Bringing In The Sheaves” and “Being a Priest Today” by Christopher Cocksworth and Rosalind Brown.


I am listening to… Meatloaf a lot at the minute. I was at my cousin’s partner’s funeral last week and we listened to “Paradise in the Dashboard Light” as part of the service. It spurred me on to revisiting some of the tracks I used to listen to a while back and that I’d not realised I hadn’t listened to for a while.

I am hoping… to hear from the bank soon about a proposal we made to them about our future finances. If they don’t agree in writing then we are going to be seriously up against the wall and will more than likely lose our home. It is a tense time.

I am learning… that even when you do things right, and that you obey the rules, when you’re at the mercy of big corporations who can change the goalposts on a whim then it doesn’t matter how much you comply, you will still lose.

In the kitchen… we are having burritos for tea tonight. Probably not too authentic but tasty and a great way to share food with the family regardless of accuracy!

Board Room… I so need this! Time management skills from Joanna Kay

Shared Quote…

I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home in his nest at even;–
He sings the song, but it pleases not now;
For I did not bring home the river and sky;
He sang to my ear; they sang to my eye.

From “Each and All” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
A moment from my week…

View from the PamCam at rehearsal one night this week. Contest next Sunday in Blackpool …. gulp!

Post Script…

I was caught up in the aftermath of a crash on the M60  on Tuesday this week (video link below – apologies for the advert beforehand, I can’t control that). I had dropped my husband off at work so I could have use of the car to get me to an important meeting about my future training in the church. Fortunately for all concerned in the incident there were no serious injuries or fatalities, but unfortunately for me, I was sat in the car for about half an hour and very nearly had to visit the Bishop’s office still dressed in my pyjamas!

It’s funny how one careless action by one person could have so many consequences that cannot be foreseen or even dreamt of when they do it.




On Joy and Sorrow

I heard this poem today at a funeral I was attending today, and it struck a chord with me.

On Joy and Sorrow
Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.



I hadn’t thought of it before, but when we feel sorrow it is because we have loved. We cannot experience love and not expect to feel sorrow, and what is life without love?

Please drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you think of this poem.

(PS – more about my four-funerals-in-two-days tomorrow!)



Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 27th April 2016

I haven’t posted for a little while because of things going on at home and in my studies, but I thought I would break my “fast” so to speak with a dip into the Wednesday Hodgepodge this week. Thank you Joyce for enticing me out of the shadows again!


1. This is the last Hodgepodge in April. Share something you learned this month. 

I have learned how to crochet teddy bears for babies; I may have a talent for scriptwriting after all; and, my spontaneous joke-telling skills can be useful in a crowded room in front of a breathless brass band.

2. It’s National Poetry Month, and we all know you can’t escape an April Hodgepodge without a little poetry. Keeping the first line as is, change the rest of the wording in this familiar rhyme to make it your own – ‘Hickory Dickory Dock…


Hickory Dickory Dock

My dryer has eaten a sock;

A black one today,

A pink yesterday,

The filter now needs an unblock


3. What were one or two rules in the home you grew up in? Growing up, did you feel your parents were strict? Looking back do you still see it that way? 

We didn’t have rules as such, but my brothers and I all knew when we’d stepped over the line. My Dad never had to raise his voice to us and we knew we’d disappointed him by the look on his face which was punishment enough. They weren’t very strict but then again they didn’t really need to be. We weren’t naughty kids or anything, just that we never seemed to have any clashes with them and didn’t really push the boundaries very much. I’m sure my brothers might have a different view!

4. Tell us about a kitchen or cooking disaster or mishap you’ve experienced. Do you have many from which to choose? 

The funniest one was when we tried to cook beetroot in a pressure cooker when we lived at my Gran’s house. If you don’t know what a pressure cooker is, it’s a special heavy pan that has a lockable lid so that when you boil it there is no steam escape route and the added pressure inside helps cook the food quicker. Very useful for beetroot because it takes hours to boil properly in a regular pan. This one time, for some reason, my Mum either had the pressure set too high, or she’d left it to boil for too long, but the result was that it exploded and embedded shreds of beetroot in the kitchen ceiling and all over the walls. You may realise that beetroot stains bright red, and the result was the kitchen looked like a serial killer had gone to work in there. We cleaned it all up, but my Dad had to redecorate the kitchen. The stains are that deeply embedded the ceiling has to be repainted every couple of years now because it keeps bleeding through. And it has been nearly 30 years – oops!

5. Plant a kiss, plant doubt, plant a tree, plant yourself somewhere…which on the list have you most recently planted?

Planting a kiss – my friend played in a concert with my band on Saturday night and I went to kiss him goodnight as we were leaving but he moved his head just as I leant over and I ended up head-butting him in the face instead. We laughed, and ended up with a very tentative peck instead!

6. What’s your most worn item of clothing this time of year? Are you tired of it? 

I don’t really have a seasonal wardrobe and I tend to wear the same clothes all year round. However, I have a favourite hoodie at the moment and I am wearing that one more than the others at the minute. And no, I’m not tired of it yet.

7. I’m wrapping up the A-Z Blog Challengethis month and our Hodgepodge lands on letter W. What’s one word beginning with W that describes you in some way? How about a word to describe your home, also beginning with W? 

Myself – “weary”. I’m nearing the end of my degree and got three big pieces of work to finish off in the next couple of weeks and I have been ill again recently. My husband’s wages have been reduced from this month and the financial struggle we have been having for the past six years has just been made a whole lot worse. I’m weary and tired of being tired and weary.

My house – “welcoming”. It’s where we as a family can simply be, and where anybody coming in can feel at home too. If you’re in my house, you’re one of us and you get treated like one of the family.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

In an effort to try and get myself a bit fitter I have started the “Couch to 5k” running challenge recently. And boy is it a challenge! At my age, with my health problems and at my weight, running is NOT easy. The app I have is one where you walk for a bit, run for a bit, walk for a bit etc. I have been stuck on day 1 for more than a week because I can’t do the 6 reps of running for a minute and a half each time….yet. I will get there eventually but it is going to be a lot less than the 7 weeks this app is telling me it will take. Watch this space!



Chain of Events

I have been tinkering with some material for my upcoming TMA for my OU module, and I have come up with this poem. It is a villanelle, which is a stylised form of poetry that conforms to certain rules. It’s a bit complicated when you first look at them, but having worked on this for a couple of hours I can say with some confidence that I ‘get’ it. Here is the dictionary definition:

A villanelle  is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines.

The prompt we were given was “There is a current moving to the shore” and I had a few ideas about what kind of current, what kind of shore etc as I began, but as I wrote, my hand seemed to lead me in a direction of its own and this is what happened. I have edited and polished it a little, but it probably does need more work yet. I don’t think I’ll be using this for any submissions in the future so it’s OK for me to publish it here. I’d appreciate some feedback if any of you have a minute to let me know what you think.


Chain of Events

There is a current moving to the shore
Bringing a slew of rot and decay.
Captain Molasses has done this before.

Sugar, tobacco, exotic animals and more,
Thousands of miles by night and day.
There is a current moving to the shore.

Packed to the gunwales, right up to the door,
First stop Jamaica, Trinidad…to stay.
Captain Molasses has done this before.

Decks with their cargo hold packed ceiling to floor.
No spaces to move. Or breathe, eat or pray.
There is a current moving to shore.

Cash for people – three hundred thousand, four!
Work them to death, their protests won’t sway.
Captain Molasses has done this before.

To see all those people, my brothers, so sore,
Just leave them alone to live, work and play.
There is a current moving to shore,
Captain Molasses has done this before.

You can probably pick out the pattern in this but to be a true villanelle I need to play around with it a bit more, so that the ‘refrain’ lines can be read differently depending on the sense of the stanza, or I could play around with run-on lines etc to make it more prose like. I am not a poet by any stretch of the imagination and I am fully aware that my language is not clever or colourful enough to make it into ‘proper’ poetry, but nevertheless I enjoyed writing this and it fired up a couple of things which I can work on another time. I got me thinking too, which is never a bad thing is it?




I came across this poem earlier this week and it has stuck with me for a few days. I found it hauntingly beautiful, the language is timeless and so descriptive I found myself there with the wolf in that landscape. The ending feels like it could loop back to the beginning, and so the circle of life is complete and perpetuated. So beautiful and evocative.



A Bit of Sunday Stealing

I stole this from sundaystealing.blogspot.co.uk/ who in turn stole it from somewhere else, but here’s a bit of nonsense for a Sunday evening. Feel free to follow the link above and do a bit of your own thievery and join in.

1.If you were trapped in a room with the person who asked this for 24 hours, what would you do? The answer cannot be romantic or sexual.

If someone asked me to watch back to back episodes of “Frasier” I would do it. So long as there was also an endless supply of tea and custard creams.

2. If you could learn any language instantly, what would it be?

I would love to be able to speak Russian.

3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Apart from the Bible (obviously), if I only had one book to read it would be a poetry anthology so something like “Poetry Please”, as compiled by Roger McGough for Radio 4.

poetry please

4. Favourite song lyric?

“No power of hell, no scheme of man,

Can ever pluck me from His hand:

Till He returns or calls me home,

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand”. 

From “In Christ Alone” by Stuart Townend. It says it all really.

5. Favourite album?

“Love Over Gold” by Dire Straits. Favourite track on this album has got to be Telegraph Road.

love over gold
6. Which time of day would you say is best for you work-wise?

Late afternoon to late at night. My work rate in the morning and early afternoon is usually centred around faffing about and distracting myself with nonsense before I can settle down to actual work.

7. Favourite city that you’ve visited?


8. Favourite city that you haven’t visited?

Chicago! Would love to go some day.

9. If you could donate £10,000 to charity, what charity would you pick?

Any charity that supports homeless people.

10. What is one book you wish you could get all your friends to read?

Apart from the Bible? Um… tricky. I would get them to read some poetry (like the one mentioned above), or something thought provoking, like “The Shack” by William Paul Young.

11. What is one movie you wish you could get all your friends to watch?

Might sound a bit cheesy, but “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring James Stewart. It’s a nice feel-good film but also it has a very clear lesson for us all, and that is not to underestimate ourselves and the power we have to affect other people’s lives even without realising it.

12. What do you think people assume about you from first glance?

Because of my size, I think I might appear to be a bit of a jolly character but it would take you only a split second to realise that any confidence and jollity you might see initially is a very thin veneer covering insecurity and a sense of failure underneath. Including the failures and insecurities about my size.

13. If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be?

Well, I can play musical instruments generally (some are VERY generally!) but I would love to be able to play the piano properly. I can tinkle out a tune and I can play a couple of little snippets with both hands, but I would love to be able to play it properly. How lovely would it be to turn up to a bar or restaurant where there was a piano sitting there and I could just sit down and start playing to entertain people?

14. What is your favourite item of clothing?

I have a grey fleece-lined hoody that is like a wearable comfort blanket to me. I got it last summer to go camping with, and it was nice to wear round the fire at the beach at night but was a bit too warm all the other times. It has been washed a fair few times now because through the winter when we didn’t (couldn’t) have the heating on in the house during the day, I wore it day in and day out. It kept my sanity as well as keeping me nice and warm. Recently, I was getting a cold and my ears were hurting – you know how the first stages of being ill feel? – and I couldn’t get warm enough while I was studying, so out came the hoody. Mighty fine feeling it was too!

15. Who was your first follower on your blog? Do they still follow you?

I can’t remember to be honest. I have had a blog for quite a long time now and I migrated from the original Microsoft/Hotmail one when it was closing and took up with WordPress. That was about six years ago now. Wow how time flies!

16. If you could create one thing, what would it be?

I would create the solution to world peace. Seriously. I am guessing it lies somewhere in the depths of a) having enough fuel around the world so we don’t have to fight over oil supplies and b) having totally different religions about the same God and yes, fighting over who’s right. If only we could calm down and behave, world peace isn’t such a far-off dream is it?

17. Favourite superhero?


18. If you were to write an autobiography, what would you title it?

“C-, See Me”. I always manage to achieve a grade of about C minus in everything I do (EVERYTHING) and ‘see me’ was something frequently written on my school work as a kid by the teacher because I’d either misunderstood something and got hold of the wrong end of the stick, or I just leapt off in a little world of my own. It’s a pattern that has stuck with me through to the tender age of 44 (and a half).

19. If you were to have a band, what would you call it?

I do have a band, and it is called Todmorden Community Brass Band. And yes, we rock!

20. What is your favourite card/board game?

I love playing Cluedo, and would play it all the time if someone would play with me. Card games? Not a huge fan, but we have a game called Domino which has become a camp favourite when we are away in the caravan. Great fun and a masterclass in poker faces…not!

21. What was the first IM service you used? Who was the first person you talked to on it?

The Microsoft/Hotmail one. I can’t even remember what it is called let alone who I talked to on it.

22. If you could give a friendly hug to any one person, who would it be? Cannot be your romantic/sexual partner if you have one.

Today, I would hug Eddie and Phil. For very different reasons, and they both know why.

23. Have you ever won any sort of contests? What kind?

As a competing bandsman since about the age of 10, I have had my fair share of wins at contests but the biggest one so far has been when I played principal cornet for Middleton Band and we won the National Finals in 2007. Big achievement, and one that I am still incredibly proud of.

24. Who was the last person you hugged? Cannot be your romantic/sexual partner if you have one.

Ethan my son.

25. If you could be skilled in any one activity, what would it be? Cannot be romantic or sexual.

I would be a skilled writer. I consider myself a writer already but a skilled one is some way off yet. I would like to be able to be good enough to earn a living from it, whether that is through journalism or blogging, or copy writing etc. Of course, like any writer, I harbour that dream of being the next J K Rowling but I am a realist, and know that even if I could finish a novel that connected to the literati just at the right moment, I doubt that I would have the sass to carry it off. I’d be happy to be able to earn enough to clothe and feed myself from skilled writing. That would be nice.