Friday, 4 May 2012


This has been an interesting week, we returned from Lyme Regis on Sunday, to find half of our allotment under water. May has been the wettest for many years, I read somewhere that last week we had a month’s worth of rain in a week and it showed; the local park and the town cricket pitch were under water and the River Tone had overflowed. Our poor old allotment looked a sorry state, the raised beds were now submerged and I thought I should be growing rice not potatoes! Thankfully the water subsided quickly and now all we have to do is remake the beds. Our other plot had escaped the flood, so things could have been worse.

On Tuesday I had occasion to return to my old college, I had not been there for many years and it was rather like stepping into a parallel world, the basic ground plan was much the same but the buildings had been remodelled, new buildings added and rooms knocked into large spaces. I could navigate my way around but it felt like a different place. I had a conversation with some of the staff and they asked me who had been there when I was a student, all the people I named had either retired or died. It had been thirty years since I had been a student and all the points of contact had gone. I sat in the quad for pleasant half hour and watched a magpie go about her business totally oblivious of me.

This weekend I am appearing at the Bristol Folk Festival (, I am performing and running poetry workshop. There is a good line up of acts and it should be a great weekend, although I shall only be there on the Saturday. I shall be spending Sunday rebuilding my raised beds!

Bristol is the start of my festival season. This year as well as appearing at Bristol, I am also the Festival Poet at The Acoustic Festival of Britain (, Fishguard Folk Festival ( and I have just found out I am also on at Wychwood Festival ( I am also going to be at the Bristol comic Expo (, with Corvus Press who are launching a new steampunk title Victoriana (  It is going to be a busy summer, let’s hope we get some sun.

I leave you this week with an old poem, I wrote it when I was a student, though at the time I was back in Widnes. For me, it is about meeting people again after not seeing them for a long time.


A huddled form sits on my floor,
Island in her isolation,
Reviews the two years,
This stream of time between us,
River into which we can only wade
To retrieve specific memories,
Beneath the surface.

A river into which we can only wade,
But never cross.
A memory may be stirred
To swim through our heads,
As in a 3D film,
But when the last reel has run,
We stand on our banks.
Ever the river between.

A coelacanth is a so called living fossil, a big old fish that was first found alive in 1938. The 3D film reference came from, as I remember, a season of 1950’s films I’d seen at the Plymouth Arts Centre. In those days it was the card glasses with a green lens in one eye and a red lens in the other. I was a big movie fan in those days, some Saturdays I’d go to a show in the afternoon and another in the evening.
Have a good week.


  1. never heard of coelacanths before. i'll have to remember it, not sure if i'll ever be able to work it into a poem though.

  2. Coelacanth is a big old fish, it lives quite far down. There's no reason you should have heard of it. It caught my interest when i was a kid, the story of it being discovered was in a comic and I liked the phrase "living fossil" so much I used to call my older brother one.

  3. That's a lot of water--I'm glad to hear it didn't take long to drain away.

  4. Thank you, it was relatively unscathed. Though one of the courgette (zucchini) plants did not survive and it has delayed the potatoes. If we ever get any sun it will catch up quick enough.