Friday, 15 September 2017

home to roost


I picked up great piles of pictures yesterday! Minuteman Press had finished the new greetings cards, the magpies and the starlings, which you can find on the Etsy shop. And then over to Niche in Stokes Croft, where I collected a gert huge pile of prints for the upcoming exhibition. Unfortunately, IKEAL were out of the frames I'd been hoping to get, so framing is slightly delayed.

What exhibition? I hope you're asking. Why, the one to accompany the launch of Drawn Chorus as part of the Bristol Poetry Festival, down at Monty's, the fine cafe down in Montpelier. Full details to follow, obvs. Lord, exciting times.


Sunday, 10 September 2017

cauliflower in the sky


The rain started as I drove through Bath. By the time I had reached the north of the city it was raining as hard as I've ever known it in Britain.

Then it really started to pour.

Driving over the Mendips was a bit like cruising along the canal, but with more splashes coming up through the floor.

So I took it nice and easy, because you're a long time dead.

Dropping into Pensford I remembered the flood there that washed away the road bridge in the ...1950s? 

The van in front of me indicated right, and slowed down; it was about to turn into one of those lanes that come down at a sharp angle to the main road. I slowed to an almost-stop, and waited; then realised he needed to do a three pointer to get round the corner, I stopped.

There was an almighty THUMP. The van behind me had clouted the back end of the Moggy.

I won't go into details because TBH it's a bit upsetting. I'll be taking the car into the Morris Centre next week to have the damage assessed.

Anyway, I carried on with things, feeling a bit unreal. Later, I walked with Brendagh up the hill behind her house, and in the early evening sun we saw Brean Down, Steepholm and Flatholm, Lavernock Point at the tip of Glamorgan, and the far smudge of Exmoor and what was probably Countisbury Head in the far distance. You may need to click on the photo to enlarge it if you want to try spotting them too.


On Saturday I cycled down to the Benjamin Perry Boathouse on Redcliffe Quay in Bristol, for the bookstall that I was joining in with for the Bristol Doors Open weekend.

It was so busy that I didn't get time to tale a photo to show how busy it was. Here's a quiet moment with Mark Steeds of the Long John Silver Trust and Bristol Radical History Group, though. 

Every now and then there would be another great deluge of rain and the place would fill up with refugees. Outside, the Guides, who run the boathouse these days, were rowing and canoeing gamely to and fro, and hordes of visitors shuffled into the Redcliffe Caves.

It was nice to catch up with the Bristol book people; it's been a few years now since we last did one of these stalls.


Later, up on the side of the Cotswolds, I stopped to take the panoramic photo at the top, because the sky was so spectacular. I think that's a big cumulonimbus cloud in the middle. You cant see the one that looks a bit like a cauliflower, next to it, because the tree's in the way.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Bristol Doors Open Day, and books

I got a call from Roy Gallop of Fiducia Press. "Why not come to the boathouse for Bristol Doors Open?" he said.

I could think of no good reason why not.

So on Saturday (but NOT Sunday!), you'll find me, and several other Bristol publishers, offering bargain books for sale in this fine old building where you can also get the cheapest bacon butties, cakes and cups of tea and coffee on the whole harbourside.

Obviously, I'll be touting Drawn Chorus, my new anthology of bird poems and pictures, as well as a few other things.

We'll be at the Benjamin Perry Boathouse on Phoenix Wharf, in Redcliffe.


View Larger Map

It's a good place to seek out; there it is, that big black wooden building there. You can either walk down the long ramp from Redcliffe Parade, or follow the cobbled road round from the Ostrich pub; or come through the gate on Redcliffe Way.






Tuesday, 5 September 2017

a slow voyage into autumn



I've slowly moved down the Avon valley from Bradford on Avon to Bath, as late summer turned to autumn. The jays are all busy in the woods, gloating over their acorns and bobbing to and fro with them; if the valley isn't reafforested with oak trees, it won't be for want of their trying.


Where around midsummer at 4:30 in the morning the sun would be streaming into the forward window, casting a beam the length of the cabin, it is now decidedly dark with no hint of the dawn. Yesterday I lit the fire for the first time since spring, to banish the feeling of chill and damp that came as much from inside me as outside the boat.

Dashing to and from Bristol to sort out various admin things, like an overdue eye test and then picking up the new specs; the latest ones are reactive. You know, the ones that go darker in bright light. This will be a challenge; I rarely use sunglasses because I prefer my light unmodified as much as possible. 


Driving back from Bristol, I stopped at the Waitrose on the Keynsham bypass. Returning to the Moggy and setting off along the A4, I suddenly had misgivings that I'd left my phone on the roof of the car. But I could hardly scrabble round in my bag, and the traffic was norrible so I kept on going. Up round the top of Bath and down Brasssknocker Hill. I'd been avoiding this route since the first time I went down it in the Moggy; it was a really hot day and by the time I was approaching the static queue of traffic at the traffic lights at the bottom of the hill, the brakes had faded so that they scarcely worked at all. Managed to avoid pranging the van in front of me by putting it into low gear and switching the engine off.... anyway, I've improved my survivability by going VERY SLOWLY down the hill and be damned to anyone fretting and fuming behind me.

And on arriving at Dundas I searched high and low and ...the phone was nowhere to be found. I took my laptop round to Craig's boat and piggybacked his internet, and logged into the 'find my iphone' thing. And lo, my phone was showing itself to be on the side of the A4 between Saltford and Newton St Loe.

So I drove back there. It is really a Very Unfriendly Road for anyone but motorists who are doing a hurtle. But I managed to pull over, and to find the phone.

Poor little thing; all mashed and smashed, but still presumably sending out its last faint SOS...


...so it's been an expensive old week. And, since (I tell myself) it's never too late to unlearn learned behaviours, I am determined to:
  • always put my specs back in their case as soon as I take them off, to avoid scratching the lenses
  • never EVER Put The Phone On The Car Roof For Just A Moment While I Sort Out The Keys


Look! This is me arrived at Bathampton and about to set off for Bath proper, having filled up with water.

And now I'm on Darlington Wharf, and Chris and Jinny are moored up next door too, and there's proper internet for the first time in weeks and I can catch up with admin of all sorts. And get on with some ART.