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Monday, November 27, 2006

Famous Grouse!

Trying out various effects with my photo imaging software and have given this little fellow some chocolate box treatment! Original photo taken on my trip to Yorkshire in September.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Most Strange - Through the Trees

I could have sworn that I had published my poem here last week - but it seems to have disappeared! Anyway, here again by popular demand together with a photo - (of Llyn Brianne) is the poem I hurriedly wrote last Friday morning.

An appreciation

Through the Trees

With me but not with me
My cheeks afire
my eyes welling with tears
as I glimpse the lake
Feeling your presence
supportive in my loneliness
The resin of the trees
like your perfume
heady in the breeze

Moving on
Constant reminders
Ground, soft as a mattress
Clatter of pigeon wings
disturbed by my arrival
A downy feather left in air
dropping finally to the litter of leaves
From pinewood into beech
Woodland autumn odours
Woodland autumn colours
Lake shimmering

Rustle of my footfall
Cheeky grey squirrel
circling the tree trunk.
Above, a vapour trail,
high, flying East
Who are they?
I’ll never know
Dry beech-mast
to a woodland matriarch
already bark scarred
years ago with the words:

.....J P.....
All in my heart.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Show of Hands

This week has been memorable in several different ways for me, but I will concentrate on a concert that I went to on Wednesday evening. An old friend of mine who is very knowledgeable about various kinds of music but particularly in folk music and musicians, had asked me months ago if I would like to join him to see Show of Hands at Bristol’s St Georges. I had no knowledge of Show of Hands, previously being only vaguely aware of the name. They are an internationally known group and my friend Godfrey had seen them on their previous year’s tour at the same venue. And so tickets were bought, and we joined the full and appreciative audience in the former church on Brandon Hill, which is well known not for its architecture but its acoustics. Show of Hands has recently published a new album Witness and the songs from that and from other albums familiar to many in the audience were performed with great gusto and to much applause. There was laughter too, as many of the songs have comic elements and local references. Show of Hands are very much local west country singers, hailing from East Devon but are now travelling all over the UK on their autumn tour. They perform at different venues five nights a week from October to the finish at Exeter in early December. Earlier this year they had a very succesful tour to Canada.
I would be hopeless at describing the band in detail and so will let them describe themselves in the e–link above and their Longdogs fan-site. All I will say is that I thoroughly enjoyed the concert and suggest you listen to a bit of their music which is available free on the website. I forgot to mention that Show of Hands had a guest artist with them on Wednesday - Michael Joseph who was also excellent and his act blended in well.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

On the March!

Last Saturday morning I took the train to London to join in the Stop Climate Change march to Trafalgar Square. Many thousands of people from all over the country and in other capital cities around the world were marching in solidarity to highlight this simple message to the world leaders now meeting in Nairobi. "Act now before it is too late"
It was a fun march for a serious cause, just maybe, the leaders will now realise the groundswell of public opinion will cost them votes if realistic plans and actions are not put in place very soon.
I joined a group of Liberal Democrats outside the School of African & Oriental Studies at London University and from there we marched with police escort through Covent Garden to Trafalgar Square. I couldn't hear much of the speeches from where I was standing but enjoyed the music and the general camaraderie of the event.
In the afternoon I walked back through Covent Garden and to quench my thirst, went into a little pub called the Lemon Tree which I remembered from my student days. Little had changed, though it now serves Thai food - unlikely in 1963!
Then later I arranged to meet my son Stephen and some friends of his. A nice old pub - The Dog & Duck this time, and standing in the crowded little bar we had interesting conversations about people, life and the universe and enjoyes a pint or two of Timothy Taylor's fine Landlord ale.
After that, I took Stephen to a restaurant I had seen many times before but had never been in. For over 50 years and a long time before the word Gay took on other meanings, The Hungarian restaurant, The Gay Hussar has been serving excellent food to discerning visitors to London. I was not disappointed and we had a very good meal. This visit and having been sent a large quantity of excellent Paprika pepper by a friend in Hungary, I am now fired with enthusiasm to cook goulash and other tasty dishes this winter!
Staying overnight at Stephen's flat, I returned to Bristol on Sunday morning.

Going back to the theme of the march - I should point out that I am not at this point, an all doom and gloom person, far from it and I read with interest the article by Mike Hulme, Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, and Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, who advocates a more measured approach, and warns against media hype. Well worth reading!
If you click on this link and view the Lynne Featherstone film, if you pause it at exactly 50 seconds - there's me in the red parka and green cap on the march!

In memory of the grandfather I never knew

I should not need to make excuses, but just in case one or two of my regular visitors have wondered about my lack of posting, here first is a summary of the reasons: -
Busy if not a little stressed at work, lack of sunshine in my life, some worry about a special person in my life (which is slowly getting better and will resolve soon I hope), a busy time writing for other things and people unconnected with my blog, and generally spending time on things which I do want to write about, but I need to allocate good relaxed time at the PC in order to make some sort of decent composition. So, today Saturday the 11th November I will try and relax and make some meaningful contributions to my blog - starting from NOW!

My father's father George William Phillips, though listed here as a Private, was in fact a Corporal in the Royal Garrison Artillery. He was killed instantly by a direct hit on his dugout on February 25th 1918 and so had survived almost four years of that terrible war, only to be killed in its final months at the age of 27. My father was then aged 4. This day - 11th November is of course Armistice Day - Peace having been declared today in 1918 and I always remember the grandfather I never knew on this day.

Friday, November 03, 2006

What a View!

Very busy and it has been ages since I posted - far too long, but this morning I just want to share two wonderful photos that have been sent to me.

Of my two stepdaughters, one lives near Manchester with her husband and two daughters, Niamh and Lara. They are planning to emigrate soon to Cape Town where the other stepdaughter has lived for several years with her husband and one daughter Lola. The Manchester family visited Cape Town earlier this year and the photos of Lara [1st photo] and Niamh were taken on Bloubergstrand beach on that visit.

Thank you for sending them Lyndsay !