Tuesday, 17 May 2011

I am almost ashamed to start blogging again, after my daughter (who is helping me reconnect with the 21st century) pointed out the cruel reality that I haven't re-blogged for nearly 2 years. How's that for a shameful reality for someone who is supposed to be working in the media! It was a bit of a giveaway that I mentioned the September views over the fells and now it is full- blown spring (again) with the cuckoo yelling across the valley and house martins resting in next door's eaves again, when last time I blogged they had just left, slamming the door and taking their guitars with them! I also have had a new travel book out published by O-books, On Juniper Mountain about my experiences in the Himalayas and the founding of the Juniper Trust so i have been busy, really.www.Junipertrust.co.uk

(Just been rudely interrupted by Councillor David Brammer for a mutual exchange of insults, and a poem of his to look at, which it pains me to say is really good. It is rather worrying to have a rival in such close proximity.) Mosedale valley is a most creative place, as we have Jan Huxley, a fantastic photographer and needlewoman, Val Brammer who is a very talented jewellery maker and now wood block printer (she and I are going to co-operate on my next poetry collection which is inspired by the Mosedale valley), and last but not least yet another author across the road-Colin Smith, a highly respected local historian, whose new book is out on the same day as mine.

About which, my new poetry collection Whale Language:Songs of Iona, published by Indigo Dreams, will be launched on Saturday 28th May at Bookcase bookshop in Carlisle (as seen on Sky Arts/thebookshow). You can read some of the poems on the Indigo dreams website at indigodreamsbookshop.com. In the Introduction, I attempted to explain the title and what I am seeking to express through the poems, most of which are inspired by my time spent teaching Creative Writing retreats on Iona, but there are also poems from our trips to New Zealand and our contacts with the Maori, and there are some poems from my journeys in the Himalayas....

The haunting language of whales seems to speak of a profound planetary wisdom which, on some level, we may feel we understand. Some whale species may be the oldest mammals on earth, and whales, with their huge brains, can communicate over hundreds, possibly thousands of miles with their complex songs. If they have wisdom we cannot yet comprehend, it must be deep indeed. They cause no harm to our precious planet. They sing to one another in the depths of the oceans, they are mammals like us, and yet their ancient songs are threatened by human despoliation of our only home, the home we share....

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

A beginner's blog from the Cumbrian fells

I guess all writers have a running blog in their heads as they go about seeming relatively normal... ( not?). A kind of internal commentary on the world which, if the mutterings get too loud, can attract a few funny looks!
I certainly do have that internal film running in real time. It's one of the tools of the trade.
But blogging, out there! in a public space, that feels very different and quite intimidating. So here goes, plunge into the ice-cold waters and begin.
From the window of my study, a windowbox full of deep blue petunias and amber pansies, a stone wall with low-flying swallows and martins, then a low fell ( that's Cumbrian for a mountain or a big hill), below patchworked with fields, new-shaven and gold, after the first hay harvest, sheep, trees, hillops of cloud and the constant squealing of the innumerable swallows and house martins who are nesting in our old stone barn and under the eaves of our old house.
Our granchildren are visiting from Australia, staying across the valley with our daughter and son-in-law, and they have just gone for a big walk, so relative peace has descended while I struggle with this new experience of The Blog.
My two black labradors, Red Rose and Blue Poppy, are sitting outside the door barking at any poor walker who has the temerity to walk past on the road( which they think belongs to them!)
Sunshine and showers, ravens crarking, no traffic for now, time to stop and have lunch.