Thursday, 28 January 2010


Our swimming pool is open again and I'm back in the water. It's fantastic to be able to swim again. I find when I swim I can think, and ideas work themselves out. Walking is also good for this,but I like swimming up and down the blue of the swimming pool in that elemental meditation. Up and down, up and down, like lines on the page,ploughing a furrow,which is where the line of poetry originates. Swimming up and down creates rhythm and pattern.

Walking is also useful for writing.There is the rhythm of the feet and the heart-beat. It can be no co-incidence that lines of poetry are measured in feet.

So I have taken my exercise and my mind is open to new ideas.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


Just when the weather was improving and the evenings creeping towards the light the air has turned cold again,the clouds dark and the forecast is for more snow. Snow is a lovely word, and I enjoyed it when it snowed when I was a child,but now it is disrupting January. The phone rings to cancel more things.Will events planned for tomorrow happen, or will the school be shut again?

Snow is a blank page and I find blank pages hard to deal with.I don't want to spoil them. I like to buy stationery and pens,but it is the act of combining the two to make a writing or drawing that is the creative thing. I have blank pages in front of me,but are my words worthy of its pristine state? January is like that blank page the first page in a new book and when I write on it I want to be able to say something new and original.

Snow is good for the garden adding nitrogen to the soil, I hope it will be as good for my imagination.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


My son has been off school since December 18th, when school broke up for Christmas, because of snow and bad weather. I keep hoping that school will re-open tomorrow, but then we have more snow ,or the school has boiler problems. We are living in our own white world where we totter through snow to the supermarket everyday and get the bits my elderly neighbour needs,and the bits we don't need but are tempted to buy. It is the social point of the day; the supermarket is packed with people and food and we buy in case the snow is deeper tomorrow. The supermarket lorry manages to get through fortunately, although our road is still unsalted.
Last night we must have had 6-8 inches of snow. The cat raced out this morning, his pink paw prints making neat patterns.The birds came for the food I put out. I need to find my bird book to identify the species I don't normally see among the robins, bluetits,blackbirds and starlings.
Everything is being cancelled or postponed,and already we are in the middle of January and all new year's resolutions (or revelations as my son calls them) are long gone. I just want to get back to normality, to the ordinary,the everyday,the way life was before school broke up for Christmas.

Friday, 8 January 2010


A week into the new year and I still haven't written anything. I intended to start on the 5th ,when school started back, but school didn't happen because of the snow and the -16 temperature,the same as that in Moscow. So there has been no school since before Christmas,and my motivation to write has been frozen. We have made a snowman (demolished by others),re-waxed the runners of my 1963 sledge,but the novelty of snow has worn off. The pipes have frozen and been coaxed into life by the hair dryer.We are fed up with the cold,with the lack of salted roads and pavements. Each day we go out to get some fresh air.My son skids along on the ice;I take dolly steps, frightened of falling. We make our way through the blinding white and cold of the snow to the town, where cars and buses move along the salted, sludgy roads and there is normality. Not only school closed but events cancelled.We totter home with our shopping-the supermarket has a salted car park-back along the pavements iced like glass,back up the hill to the isolation of land-locked cars and frozen snow.Only our cat is enjoying the blindingly white cold weather, his paw prints criss cross the paths. I call him to come into the warm, his name echoes through the white air.

Friday, 1 January 2010


The start of the new year is a blank page waiting for those resolutions, but Christmas isn't over until the new term starts, which is next week for school, and the week after for University. Then I'll be able to get to the computer. We will be half way through January, and my new year's resolutions to write more, and read more will have been swept away.

Do we need more writing when so many books are pulped? Apparantly that even happened to Cherie Blair's memoirs after a six figure advance. It is hard enough to get published, and yet so many people are writing. Perhaps my resolution should be to write less.

But today, in the frosty landsape with the large full moon bobbing like a balloon, the page looks crisp and inviting. A new decade. Can it really be ten years since the Millennium? The page needs something jazzy and exciting not more of the same. And so, like all those expensive notebooks I have bought in the past and been too frightened to spoil with words or drawing ,I look at the blank page and want to keep it pristine.