A room of one’s own

It’s the end of a very long day.  I’ve spent most of it driving (approx 150 miles on a succession of unfamiliar motorways and by-roads).  And listening to the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 (a kind of Post-Election grand finale of winners and losers).  And discovering that we’ve sold our house but lost the bungalow that ticks all our boxes (yup, another win and loss).

But it was good to sit in the afternoon sun with coffee and cake on the beach front at Criccieth:

imageand arrive at Ty Newydd at long last


and climb up to a room of my own at the top of the house (Portmeiron) with a view of the sea in the distance


before exploring the grounds (bumble bees in clover, blue mophead hydrangeas, fuchsia wands dripping with scarlet drop earrings, wind in the sycamores, a gate to a field path, gulls on the thermals, the odd white horse on the sea beyond…)


before meeting Poetry and Dementia course tutors John Killick and Karen Hayes and fellow participants over a leisurely evening meal followed by an introductory session in the first floor lounge (walls lined with poetry shelves, large bow window with a panoramic view).

It’s after midnight and I’m in a state of wakefulness that’s usual for me on the first night in a strange bed.  After posting this, I may browse between the covers of a poetry collection or three I chose from the shelves downstairs…








If quicksand doesn’t get you, the tides will

Having reneged on my unofficial intention to blog monthly at the very least, here’s grabbing April by the shirt tail and putting a bit of it (a poetry bit) under the blogoscope.

The post title above is from a poster caption in the reception area of Abbotts Hall hotel, venue for Kim Moore’s poetry residential course, now in its third year.  What a great kickstart to the Easter holidays: five days in a ‘poetry bubble’, swapping land-locked Leicestershire for views of Morecombe Bay across the salt marsh, the company of returning and new course participants, meals laid on and not a pot to wash, workshops, evening readings…

This year, Carola Luther joined Kim Moore as co-tutor for a series of workshops around the central theme: The Stories we Tell Ourselves.  We explored unfamiliar territory in safe hands.  We worked hard.  We shared what we’d written and were surprised and amazed by turns.  I even copied up my pages of scribble and crossings-out, between times.  I wrote and read into the wee small hours.  I had time – well, I had no excuse for procrastinating, anyway.

There was also time during the week for a walk into Grange-over-Sands along the coastal footpath (gorgeous sunshine; not a breath of salt wind; no need for a coat; coffee and cake; the train back in time for my tutorial with Kim) and, because poetry buddy Bernice and I had travelled up a day early, a morning visit to Carnforth station (a Brief Encounter with a mock-up cinema; a wander round the Heritage Centre run by lovely volunteer staff; photos under The Clock).

One of the high points of the week was the surprise arrival of a box of books – thanks to the lovely David Borrott, who drove Kim home to pick up a timely first delivery of her new collection, The Art of Falling (Seren).  We were all hugging our signed copies by bedtime on Tuesday,

having been treated to an evening of readings by both Kim and Carola.  I also bought a copy of Carola’s Arguing with Malarchy (Carcanet) and a mental note to self to add her first collection, Walking the Animals, to my wish list.

And what a lovely surprise to see Jennifer Copley drop by on Wednesday evening and read alongside guest poets Jane Routh and Mike Barlow (further book purchases ensued).

I hope to add a photo or two before publishing this (if I succeed in attaching them directly from my iPhone, thus avoiding a mega upload session).  But first, a few links:

An interview with Kim Moore on The Art of Falling on the Seren Book Blog.  Read it.  Buy the book, if you haven’t already.  Follow Kim’s marvellous blog.

Read a far better version of events over on John Foggin’s blog.