Wednesday, 25 November 2015

St Pancras Station is wearing its Christmas glitter but...

...there's good and not so good:

Going to the smoke is easier than when I was a kid, except it’s not smoky anymore, not at London’s St Pancras International Shopping Concourse anyway. One hour and five minutes and I’m there, meeting up with Lovely Daughter.

Descending the escalators to the glittering mirror-ball world of shops at Christmas, I’m caught unawares by the policeman and police dog. “Keep walking! Don’t stop! Let the dog sniff you!” How could I help but have a moment’s falter in my step?

OK, so everyone else was photographing the enormous Christmas tree made up of 2,000 Disney character teddies and it didn’t feel cool joining them but I did it anyway. I love teddies.

And because it was so difficult to get the full effect on camera, here's a close up of one tiny part of this huge, huge tree:

Lulled by the Christmas lights and festive shop displays we were jolted back to reality as two policemen walked past carrying machine guns, not just-in-case-holstered, but in their hands as if they might have to use them at any moment.

The opulent surroundings of Searcys Champagne Bar and Restaurant provided the perfect location for quality time with Daughter. We ate well, chatted loads and almost managed to put the entire world to rights. It was posh fish and chips for me followed by ice cream – delicious!

Meeting Daughter on a one-day return means that the time flashes past. We were soon hugging and waving our goodbyes and it was too quickly over...

...but how great that we can do it. When I was a kid the steam train took hours of slow and dirty chugging. Don’t you just love today’s high-speed world... even if it does have its 'not so good' moments.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

My top 5 musings about driving at night

We have just spent a lovely, hectic, lively, tiring, weekend with the kids and grandkids. It would be a little less tiring if I didn’t have to drive back in the dark but with the nights drawing in there’s no alternative, so as I drove I wondered…

1.  Why does it always start to rain when I’m driving at night turning the windscreen into a myriad of tiny headlight reflections?

2.  What is the point of stopping for a coffee, which is my usual middle of a journey driving routine, when it’s too late to have a coffee?

3.  Who is the owner of that car that always comes straight at me with its full beam full on?

4.  Where has the road ahead gone and is it only me who can’t make out which way the road twists and turns in the dark?

5.  Why do I forget to blink my eyes when I’m driving at night?

Does anybody else experience such night-driving problems?
It’s just me then!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Poetry - Work in Progress

All comments/advice greatly welcomed...

I enrolled on a poetry writing course this term and have done very little but work on my poetry ever since, so much so that my blog has been suffering so I thought I would make you all suffer too. I'm going to share some of the pain with you!

I love free flow writing (see tab above). I often practice it in my many notebooks (I think I may have over twelve notebooks on the go at the moment. I keep meaning to finish one before I start another but I just can't resist the lure of a new one.) My poetry tutor has said that my writing style lends itself to the sonnet form and she suggested I try to rewrite some of the free flow stuff accordingly.


Have you ever tried to write a sonnet? It is not easy. It is fourteen lines of hard slog and the following is most definitely work in progress:

My free flow writing before the sonnet suggestion:

Early mornings, 
that was when she would wander the streets.
She liked it better that way
before the crowds spoilt the symmetry 
of shop fronts and market stalls.
She would pick her way around yesterday's rotting veg, 
slow her step to watch as the first of the traders arrived,
piling up their produce, 
stamping their feet against the dawn frost.
But once the click of heels on cobbles rose to a crescendo she was gone
back home to her warm cushion
and her plate of Whiskas best.

The tutor advised me to change the ending. I fear that I have exchanged one clich├ęd ending for another and I've squeezed it into what I think is a sonnet format and I've done all this without consulting my tutor so I could have got it drastically wrong but here goes:

My first ever attempt at a sonnet:

She always wanders in the early mornings.
It’s better that way. She likes the empty streets
Before the shopkeepers spoil the symmetry
of windows bare, not yet clothed with awnings.
On through the market and traders’ shouted warnings.
Mind your backs! Trollies full of fruit, veg, meat
wheeled into place as traders stamp their feet
to fend off frost with futile friction warming.
Now voices rise and crowds start to appear.
Before the sun can warm her face she’s gone.
Without a sound, none of the traders hear
her fall and fade into the cobbled stone.
They’ve forgotten the body that was once found
of a young girl dead and frozen on the ground.

Well I did warn you that it was my first ever attempt!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

The Mist Descends - Autumn photographs

What a difference a day makes:

I took some autumnal photographs in the garden yesterday.

It was October 31st and I tried to capture the beauty of the light on the autumn leaves.

I couldn't catch the bird song

or the slight smoky smell in the air

so you will have to imagine those things.

On the left is the sun shining through the Rowan tree.

The birds have now eaten most of the berries. I hope they don't regret gorging. I hope it's not too cold a winter.

On the right is the Virginia Creeper.

It is always far more spectacular than my camera can ever portray

so loads of imagination required here please.

This is a seed head from an echinacae flower.

I suspect the birds have been gorging yet again.

Then came this morning, November 1st, and the garden is telling me that winter has arrived...

...Now, where did I put my gloves?