Friday 30 October 2015

Smelly Bridge

I'm moored just here now, and spring seems a very long way away; the mud is spreading, and the leaves falling. Must do some more painting!

Thursday 29 October 2015

local names by local people

The Kennet and Avon boaters' Facebook group has been contributing to a Google map identifying the  places along the west end of the canal (from Devizes to Bath) and giving the names of places as they are known by the boaters. And adding a welcome touch of silliness to life along the way of course.

Saturday 24 October 2015

hot Trangia mess

that Trangia emotion

Over on Being Drusilla, my post Telling Our Story, about the pernicious effects of people getting the wrong idea about trans folk, has been widely read; I was checking through the stats to see just how widely, and found that I'd been linked from this Reddit page below. (I'm not linking to it; I'm sure you can find your way there if you want...)

Never been to Reddit before, because I don't need to. What is this Reddit of which you speak? ...goodness, is it all like this? 

It's quite cheering to see that Richard and I are nestled there in between the tranny cam sex and hot blonde shemales. How many perves click through in hopes of seeing Eric Hobsbawm (who he?) doing something dodgy in the hay, to find an eminent and entertaining Marxist historian, in a tent in a muddy welsh field, followed by bangers and mash? Bless 'em. 

(the title of this post spoofs some idiot gay website in the USA, that once described me as 'hot tranny mess', which I understand is not intended as a compliment.)

Thursday 22 October 2015

on the radio

Our local heron was backlit by the sun, making its beak glow like the amber of a Belisha beacon.

Life is not all bucolic walks along the towpath. I was up at Radio Bristol on Saturday, talking about what it's like to be trans in Bristol. It woke up a few demons, and I've been exercising them over on this other blog of mine, because there was some unfinished business there. Walkies, demons!

Wednesday 14 October 2015

more on lightships

This is the film that Peter Brownlee made of my poem, the English andWelsh Grounds Lightship. It was for Liz Brownlee's project for National Poetry Day, and was shown along with lots of others, in Bristol's Millennium Square.

...Stuart Lees, of the Cabot Cruising Club, recently sent Liz this picture that he took of the buoy that replaced the lightship, and there are the Transporter Bridge, Ysgyryd Fawr, and the Uskmouth power station, in the background, as described! Funny to think of a buoy replacing that big vessel with its crew; sending a buoy to do several men's work, indeed... (boom tish)

Wednesday 7 October 2015


Slow cold boil of mist
Coils across the canal,
Too pale for pea soup,
Thin as brown Windsor,
Grey as old Sundays,
Grey as old Sundays

 After long and earnest discussion, the rooks in da hood have agreed that they mustn't grumble

Abruptly comes a chill in the late afternoon air. I realise that I saw no swallows today, and all the ones I most recently saw were flying the same way.

carrying the dew
the spider national grid
its nettle pylons

Slowly letting the day start around me; 
the kingfisher doing its rounds in the mist, 
the woodburner creaking, 
the stillness I'm happy not to disturb just yet 

Friday 2 October 2015

pomes at the library

So we launched Hailing Foxes at Bristol Central Library on Tuesday, as part of Bristol's autumn poetry festival. I found a table and set out the books and sold loads, and a few passing library users stopped to wonder what was going on, and, on finding out, stayed for the performance and enjoyed it. Which was especially nice, because it meant that it was decidedly not a Poets Talking Poems Unto Other Poets event. And Boat Teenager was in there somewhere too, taking an evening out from her arduous routine of Being An Art Student. 

And most of the poets featured in Hailing Foxes were there, and they all read one of their poems, and they were good to hear. I'm so glad the book happened. And very grateful that Colin Brown at Poetry Can was so encouraging and quietly persistent in keeping me on track, and indeed organising the launch.

The picture shows Rachael Clyne reading from her collection Singing at the Bone Tree. We also heard the Wells Fountain Poets performing Waterwoven. It was a very happy evening.

Plenty more pics over on Deborah Harvey's blog post. I'm afraid I didn't really get to take many pics...

Thursday 1 October 2015

tomato moon

Just for a change from my relentless going on about the New Book...

The day before the eclipse, everyone on the towpath was getting quite excited about it all. The neighbours were trying to work out exactly what a lunar eclipse involved, and I resisted being a smartarse and explaining to them that it was the earth's shadow moving across the moon, because no-one likes a smartarse.

"Will you be taking pictures of it?"
"No," I said, "Pictures of eclipses are rubbish; better to just be in the moment. Though I may paint a picture of it..."
No one likes a smartarse... especially a precious one...

I set the alarm to 3:00, and woke up three minutes before it was due to go off; wrapped myself in warm things, and stumbled out into a blissfully clear night. A heron cronked from the chestnut trees across the canal. A tawny owl hooted and hooted from a nearby hedge, as though it was wondering what was going on, as perhaps it was. The moon was almost fully eclipsed, and as the bright ring at its base contracted and disappeared, so my shadow on the towpath disappeared, and the Milky Way emerged out of the deepening darkness.

And I decided to take some pictures. Even with the tripod, with a 15 second exposure they were rubbish because the moon and stars had moved enough in that time to come out blurred in the picture.

After looking on Twitter and Facebook, and seeing all the crap eclipse pictures, many of which described the moon as blood-red, I took a picture of a tomato and put that up on line, because that's the way I roll.

I think it's a much better eclipse picture than the other ones, TBH.

...and I never did get round to painting the scene. Unlike the time I did it for Hale Bopp, like this

Here is our local heron.

..and this is me, wondering how the new hair colour is doing...

 ...and my new bicycle saddle, from the Indian Bicycle Shop. The old saddle had broken yet again and I reckoned it was time to Do Something. is a fine bird from Jan Lane...

...and a fine autumn morning, of which we've had quite a few lately, thank goodness...