Elizabeth

After ‘Queen Elizabeth I by Nicholas Hilliard, 1533 – 1603

Oh, I bet that dress was heavy,
dripping with pearls and jewels,
and hangers on. The puffed up
sleeves on those young arms.
That frosty veil of lace
cloaking your drooping shoulder.

And that skirt.
Double, triple, layer
of silk and taffeta
and deep piled velvet,
dragging in the dirt,
wicking up the mire,
all heaped on your
virgin hips.

Did it weigh on you?
Did you need the fancy collar
to hold your chin aloft,
or just to stop the chain
from chafing
that pale and slender neck?

Super Me

Here I am! Hi, yes it’s me… I know, I’ve been gone awhile haven’t I? Guess you want to know what I’ve been up to, after all, what could be more important than keeping my blog ticking, especially during lockdown (sigh…).

Well, alrighty I’ll tell ya…

I’ve been concentrating really hard on ploughing through the work for my Masters in Creative Writing which I’m doing with the Open University.  Its been challenging, tough sometimes, but I’m sure my own writing has evolved and improved over the two years, and my appreciation of poetry in general has definitely increased. Anyhoo, I’m pleased to say I handed in my very last essay yesterday and now have a couple of months of intense poetry writing to complete before I hand in my final examination collection.  So, nearly done and dusted, but not quite. 

For nearly 15 years my daily walks with the dog have kept me sane, and off the sofa for a while, but now I’m afraid my little friend is so arthriticky that she’s no longer up for the walk preferring to potter about around the garden in between sleeping and eating (oh, wait a minute, she’s turning into me!!) Of course, this not only makes me very sad, but also leaves me at a bit of a loose end when it comes to exercise.

I don’t like to go on walks without Suki beside me and wondered what I could do to fill the gap. As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will know, I’m a total drip when it comes to physical exertion of any sort – can’t throw, catch, jump, kick, or run. But then I came across the Couch to 5k programme.

Could I?

I was pretty quick with coming up with the answer

No. You can’t run. You are hopeless. Mr once described my running as mincing. YOU CAN’T RUN. You get out of breath going upstairs. And besides, you are really, really old now. Old people shouldn’t run, it would be killing you off instead of making you fit. And you’re fatter than you want to be. Do you really want to be seen mincing along the road in lycra shorts?’

The answer to that was also a firm ‘no’. But, dear reader, I have to tell you, I did it. Yes, I downloaded the app, and thought I’d have a go, just around the garden, just to see what it was like….

And here I am, nine weeks later, having graduated from the course yesterday by running for a full 30 minutes. Not 5k or anywhere near, but I’m told that will come in time. Honestly, I feel like superwoman.

The course starts with interval training, the first three runs being just a minute long with minute and a half walking in between, eight times.  That’s doable.  Round and round the garden I went. The dog thought I’d gone mad.  The second week the runs are a minute and half – not too bad… Michael Johnson was in my ear encouraging me through the app, I had music on, the sun was out, and I was out there doin’ it! What’s not to like.

Pretty soon I got bored with running round and round the garden, and yes, I ventured out in my lycra, expecting shouts and jeers, but none came. No one took a second glance – well as far as I know… I was too busy singing along to my soundtrack and concentrating on picking up my feet.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, its been really, like really, hard. Many, many days I’ve absolutely hated every step. My breathing hurt, my legs hurt, my back ached, I’d get runners headache… the list goes on. 

However, the course advocates a technique called Japanese Slow Running which is, well, running, but slowly, and using this to trot along helped immensely. The runs got longer, and tougher, but with support from the absolutely wonderful people on the Healthunlocked C25k forum I managed to keep going.

I can’t begin to tell you how proud of myself I feel for even attempting this, let alone finishing it. I’ve now got to consolidate with some more half hour runs. It remains to be seen if I can keep it up, but I’m going to give it a go.

Nah, I’ve not lost weight, but I have gained stamina and endurance which I never believed I had in me. I’ve also gained a sense of achievement and a way to wrench me from the laptop for a while.

Honestly, anyone can do it, even if, like me, you are totally unfit and have never run. The programme is magical. Its worth a try.

It’s not a run day today (even my day to day terminology has changed) so I’m going to settle down and try and get writing now!

Take care everyone, and keeeepppp running!

On Writing Long Lines

As you may know, I’m currently getting to grips with a Masters in Creative Writing with the Open University.  As an exercise we were asked to look at lines in poetry and experiment with using different lengths.  This is the lyric essay that I wrote as a result:

On Writing Long Lines

Well, I’ve never written a line this long

before, I’ve always gone the short route, yes

shorter even than this which seems to me to be

rather overlong, rather, you know, unnecessarily

wordy. It’s true, I’m not saying much, not capturing

your interest. See, I’m not fluent in this kind of thing, not

experienced in these long poetic pieces that successfully play

with language. Those lines that are musical, that live on in the ear

like a snapshot of a really good memory from years ago when you went

to the beach and laid prostrate for eight hours reading your favourite novel

of all time. Or that time when you danced until three under a full tropical moon

and, after the hangover wore off, you hummed the tunes for days on end never wanting

to lose that feeling of abandonment. But as you know, we all have to knuckle down and when

we’re asked to write in different lines, being creatures that need approval, we do as we are

told, even though its alien, it makes us feel weird inside, it makes our voices shake

and tremble towards the end as our breaths run out and our brains just can’t

take anymore. And so I’ve done it. I’ve written lines that maybe are not

poetry. Maybe they are. Who is to say?  All I know is that in future

I’ll stick to my own little way and I’ll speak loud and clear

and in tiny lines of just three feet, no more than that,

and I doubt I’ll ever pen a poem using long lines

such as these, ever, no never, again.

 

 

 

 

A Simple bit of Nostalgia

Still struggling with time management here, not least because I spend half of it procrastinating, but hey ho.  It’s made much worse this week because we are having a new kitchen fitted very soon.  In fact they are coming to gut the current one on Friday, so I’ve had to start emptying it out and packing up.

I find it quite incredible how much kitchen related stuff we have accumulated over the years.  Like everyone else, we have umpteen used-just-the-once gadgets tucked at the back of cupboards – a potato peeler, a spiralizer, a waffle maker… you know the sort of thing, the sort that seemed a good idea at the time.  I’ve also got bowls and pots my mother gave me when she was clearing out, and which I can’t believe I have some sort of sentimental feelings over – for goodness sake, they’re just stuff!  But I did find a glass dishy type thing (I have no idea what to call it) which was used to display cucumber slices at Sunday tea-time when I was a kid.  Gosh it did bring back some memories!

Our Sunday teas were sit down at the table affairs, and most weeks would consist of sea food and salad.  Dad would have picked up the sea food from the stall outside the pub when he went for his Sunday lunchtime beer(s). There were always prawns, winkles, cockles and sometimes fresh scampi, which I have never seen since those days. The salads were different then too. Not the mixed up colourful affairs of today, oh nooo.  The cucumber had its own dish, the celery would be standing sentry like in a vase, the lettuce would be in one bowl, the tomatoes in another, and we’d pile our plates with the individual bits and pieces, and no, of course there was no fancy dressings just a splosh of salad cream if we were feeling fancy.

While we were eating ‘Sing Something Simple’ would be on the radio (I should point out this was the year of the Beatles White Album which my sister and I would have much preferred to have been listening to (actually I lie, I would have preferred to be listening to the Monkees :/))Of course, when I recalled that I just had to look it up on youtube (what can’t you find on youtube??)  So now you can grab yourself a boring salad, find a pin to winkle out your winkles (if you don’t know what I mean I expect you can find that on youtube too) settle down, relax, and join me listening to some old tunes from 1968!  There’s no meaningless chatting, no ads, no callers, just a bit of harmonising… quite soothing in the current mad climate!  Enjoy 🙂