Dried Up

My sea of words
ebbs and flows.
Today my tide is out
the grey sand is dry,
and though ideas float on
the offshore breeze
they fade into dust
before they land.

Perhaps tomorrow
gentle waves
will send them home
to this blank white beach.



(yep, tip of the day… if you’re stuck about what to write, write about being stuck about what to write ūüôā )


So what does it mean?

Posted in response the Daily Post weekly photo challenge. ¬†This week’s theme ‘Inspiration’

Strangely, I’ve found this a toughie. ¬†When I’m stuck on these challenges, my first thought is ‘well, what does that actually mean’? ¬†Of course, I kinda know, but what is the actual definition? ¬†On these occasions, I don’t go for the usual quick internet dictionary, I go to the study and dig out my big ol’ Oxford English jobbie. ¬†You know, an old fashioned, proper big book of words. ¬†It’s a fat tome, with fine paper pages that rustle when you turn them, a red ribbon page marker, and finger hole marker thingys so that you can find the right initial letter easier. Apparently, it contains over 240,000 words, and I’m guessing that I will never use at least three quarters of them.

Whenever I look up a word, I always, always, find others around it that I’ve never heard of (did you know an Inselberg is an isolated hill rising abruptly from a plain, or Inspissate means to thicken or congeal? Me neither…), so I usually end up distracted from what I was doing (like now).

So back to what inspires me. ¬†Well, the definition in my dictionary is ‘The process or quality of being inspired’ errmmm… yeah….. ok, use it properly….to inspire is to ‘fill with the urge or ability to do or feel something; create a feeling in a person.’

So my dictionary itself inspires me to think about words, enjoy them, and learn. ¬†I’ve taken some pictures of it for you (below).¬†Dull isn’t it. The thing with books is that you have to hold them and hear¬†the pages, feel the heft (Ok, I admit it, I even smell my books) to appreciate them.

So what else inspires me? Well, everything and anything. ¬†The sunshine, my dog, the flowers – hey even looking at my baggy belly inspires me to go to the gym – (don’t worry, I won’t be posting a picture of that!)

The thing that’s been inspiring me recently though is a lovely idea for cheering up chronically sick children, PostPals. All you have to do is send a letter, or email to one of the ‘Pals’ to give them a smile. ¬†How brilliant is that? The children themselves are inspiring in their bravery (especial love to my friend Lewis who suffers from a form of the devastating Batten’s Disease). If you are interested please visit the PostPals website by clicking here.

Inspiring me today:

What’s it mean? Wednesday

Magniloquentspeaking or expressed in a lofty or grandiose style; pompous; bombastic; boastful.*

What a great yummy word!

Say it out loud – it starts with that hard ‘g’ at the back of your throat, then a roll of the tongue, and ‘oh’ and then softens off at the end with a gentle ‘t’.

Mind you, you’d probably be guilty of that very thing if you threw it into a conversation or bit of writing. ¬†I must say, I hope I’m not magniloquent. ¬†I like to think that anything I write is fairly simple, readable, and concise, and I do tend to use pretty basic language (let’s be honest here, I’m not actually sure I could use anything but simple words even if I wanted to). ¬†Sadly though, even simple words can easily be misenterpreted, or not interpreted at all, and as bloggers, of course, we should be very considerate of that.

I often write verses the meaning of which is perfectly clear to me. Yes, of course I use metaphors and similies and all that stuff, but I always think they’re obvious not just to me, but to any other readers too. Clearly they are not. Well, not to everyone. ¬†Our minds work in different ways.

For instance, I changed the name of a recent poem I posted. ¬†The original name was ‘Suicide Son’ which is kinda what came to mind as I was writing it, but I thought it was a bit of a horrible title, both shocking and unpleasant, so I changed it to ‘Why?’ (you can read it here). ¬†From the comments I’ve had both on the blog and from family and friends, it is obvious that this has several completely different interpretations to the one in my head when I wrote it.

Not that I mind. Perhaps the original title would have made the intention clearer, but I think poetry should be open to interpretation, and it’s just as well that not everyone has a macabre mind like mine. And after all, I can console myself with the fact that I find¬†even the most famous poets work pretty mystifyi ng sometimes.

Anyhow, I guess making things a bit ambiguous isn’t quite the same as being magniloquent, so I’ll just keep on keeping on for now.

Toodle-ooo! ¬†ūüôā

*definition courtesy of Dictionary.com

Luscious Words Wednesday

My occasional series of delicious words (ok, I’ve only done it once before so maybe not a series, but I’ve got good intentions…) taken from the Oxford Dictionary.

Luminescence pic

Cheeky glowing fishy photo from Google Images.

My yummy word for today is:


Meaning ‘The emission of light by a substance that has not been heated, as in fluorescence and¬†phosphorescence:’

Say it slowly, and feel how it starts with a pout, has a smile in the middle, and ends with a soft sigh.

Just the idea of something that produces it’s own light is fantastical and mysterious. ¬†It makes me think of deep sea creatures and glow worms (not that I’ve ever seen a glow worm, but I’m sure Disney uses them a lot in his films).

I do know a few people that have a certain glow to them (in a good way, not the ones that work in Sellafield or somesuch, like Homer Simpson) My friend Barbara, who died some years back, and who I miss a great deal, always seemed¬†radiant¬†from within, and had a glorious naughty twinkle in her eye. I wonder if she still keeps her hat on to go to the loo….. ahh..that’s another story..

I’m not sure if I glow. I try and be warm and smiley. I’m probably a bit cheeky, and sometimes I am definitely incandescent with ire, which doesn’t seem to be a good thing. Perhaps it’s something I can work on, or perhaps it’s something some lucky attractive folk are just born with, or perhaps even, it’s not something I should aspire to anyway. ¬†Maybe you can enlighten me!

Rebooting my blog

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed a bit of a change to my blog this last week or two. You see, I had a ‘moment’ a couple of weeks ago when I was feeling a bit lonely, a bit unloved and unwanted. ¬†I wasn’t getting many visitors, no comments, no activity. ¬†Apparently not even good enough to include advertising. I felt left out.

Not the first time in my life. ¬†I was always one of those kids. ¬†The left out ones. ¬†The odd-bod, the loner whether I wanted to be or not. ¬†As I got older, I found meetings and conferences uncomfortable, feeling as if I was an imposter, not good enough to hold my own. Not clever enough to hold a conversation with all those important, intelligent folk. And that exactly sums up how I was feeling about blogging. Now, my usual response would be to give up –

‘Face it, you’re not good enough, you’ve given it¬†a shot and failed, might as well find something else to do with your time’

But if being part of this on-line community has taught me anything, its that well, anything goes.  Your blog is your own, who really cares if anyone reads it, as long as you enjoy writing, posting, sharing.  So I decided to pull myself up by my bootstraps, and start shoving things on here pretty much for my own amusement.

My ‘ditties’ for instance (still can’t bring myself to call them poems – seems pretentious). ¬†I’ve been posting them in the ‘poetrysoup’ community for some time, but always blushingly. Posting them on my blog seemed scary, as if I’m inviting criticism and ridicule. However, on one of my braver days I went for it, and hey, d’ya know what…they’ve got likes…lots of likes. ¬†It’s great!

Likewise, with the photos. I’ve got a pretty good camera, and I really love taking photos and have thousands knocking around. Some of them are ropey, some of them seem quite good to me (fair enough, I’ve an untrained eye..) I’d never call myself a photographer, but, you know, we’ve travelled quite a lot and, well, why not share them I thought. ¬†And yes, they’ve got likes too. Gosh, I’m on a roll…

I started my blog pretty much as a journal type thing, a diary documenting what I’ve found to do with my life since¬†retirement, and up until now I felt I should stick to that formula. ¬†But I’ve found diversifying is a real treat, and eye-opener. ¬†I’ve found lots of other poets and poetry blogs that I hadn’t come across before, and some wonderful photography sites that I can learn from. I’m starting to write a bit about each photograph I post – blimey, you never know, maybe it’ll¬†become a travelog!

I can post a picture or poem¬†much quicker than I can write an article, so I’m able to keep the whole thing more active. And, through necessity, I’m learning a lot more about utilising the tools available to make my site look and behave better.¬†Best of all, I’m getting a lot more visitors to my site (still not enough…come on you slackers..) and the number of followers is going up daily (yay! Hellooo and hugs to you all…)

I’ve got lots more ideas, and things to share, and I’m still learning, so over time, I expect the blog to morph some more. It’s all a bit of an adventure then, and thinking of something to post has stopped being a chore and has become exciting and fulfilling again.

Preaching to the converted

Dunno if I have mentioned previously that I bought my mum a kindle for her 90th birthday last year. ¬†They’re great for older people who have trouble holding bigger books or reading the small print, and it’s been a stonking success with her.

Mind you, she doesn’t feel confident enough to order her books herself either through the device or through her laptop, so I have to choose for her. ¬†If I say so myself I’m getting quite adept, and actually enjoy the challenge of choosing books that she might like, but I know I would absolutely loath…all the potboiler romances, the stuff about ‘the old days’. ¬†She doesn’t like anything based abroad preferring descriptions of places she recognises, which is a bit limiting, but you’d be amazed at just how many of the ‘she was a poor girl, who fell under the spell of ¬†evil Lord Whatsismame who imprisoned her in the cellar of his mansion where she found love through the soot covered coal merchant who had his own secrets…..’ ¬†(blimey that’s good – ¬†I could positively write ’em myself!) genre there is.

Every now and then I sneak in something unexpected, and have pushed her to read things she wouldn’t have considered before. ¬†Consequently she is now an avid Agatha Christie fan, and enjoys the odd biography.

She did do requests, but that has stopped since she insisted on getting, and then reading, Fifty Shades of Grey. ¬†I’ve not read it myself (really not my cup of tea, prefer more eloquent and elegant writing) I did warn her. ¬†I did – robustly, but still she insisted I download it for her. ¬†Her response

‘eugh, do people really do that? Made me feel sick!’ ¬†needless to say she didn’t want the next two instalments.

What this exercise has reminded me though, is that, although we all may like different things, books can be compelling for everyone, if they take the trouble to find the right ones. You have to be prepared to be disappointed occasionally by dreadful, unfathomable plotlines, or irritating writing styles. ¬†You have to expose yourself to genre’s that you may think you have no interest in – for instance ¬†sci-fi may not be an obvious choice for us all, but they are just as likely to contain romance and mystery as the next book, and often the authors can employ unusual, creative, improbable, but thoroughly entertaining storylines to keep you engaged all the way through.

I’m the opposite of my mum. ¬†I like to escape into a different world, whether that may be contemporary, historical or futuristic. ¬†I want to really live with the characters, believe in them, and understand them and their motives. ¬†Although there are many books I love, and am happy to reread, probably my favourite is A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. ¬†Its a long book, a saga if you like, but I feel like I’ve visited the people in their homes, I know them. ¬†I know the heat, smells, noise of the places they frequent. ¬†I’m sad when I get to the end, even though I’ve read it several times now. ¬†That’s what I want from a book. ¬†Oh, it doesn’t have to be long, or heavy, I enjoy a good beach book as much as the next man, but only as long as the author can use language in a convincing, entertaining, emotional and readable way.

If I’m honest, there are one or two exceptions. ¬†Despite the quite dreadful writing style which I found distracting, I did enjoy The Da Vinci Code, but couldn’t be doing with the other books in the series at all, I did give Angels and Demons a go…gave up after a couple of chapters though.

It is, of course, all a matter of taste. All I would say to anyone is Read. ¬†Read a lot. ¬†Read anything you fancy, and some things you don’t. ¬†Life will be all the richer for exploring other worlds and ideas.

‘course…you’re reading this, so you know all that already (especially the read anything bit), so well done you, and spread the word!


Fun, fun, fun!

Anyone can make up a word. ¬†Children do it all the time. For instance, the five year old Fabulous Ms V entertained us with her variations on ‘poo’ on Saturday. The trick, however, is to get them into wider use. To worm them into other people’s everyday vocabulary. ¬†In fact, one of my more recent new year’s resolutions was to get one of my own made-up words into the Oxford English Dictionary. ¬†Needless to say I have not yet achieved that particular goal.

Actually, 58 years worth of new year’s resolutions and I can only think of one that I’ve managed to keep to, and that was recycling wine bottles, which, frankly I should have been doing anyway.

This year’s, though, is a goer. ¬†I’m sure it is. ¬†Can’t go wrong. This year’s resolution (insert your own drum-roll here) is….

To have fun at every available opportunity.

There, I’ve said it. ¬†Written in black and white and sent into the ether. ¬†Everyone knows. ¬†I’ll just have to keep to it. ¬†None of that whining, misery, or cat-bum-mouthed sulking for me this year. ¬†Oh no, just fun all the way.

I did consider the option of

Not being lazy

But that seemed a little out of reach. ¬†A lot out of reach if I’m honest.

I did wonder about

doing something good every day

That also seemed a little unattainable.  Neither do I want to be seen as one of those po-faced do-gooders.

No, I think ¬†I’m on to a winner with the fun thing. ¬†And actually, it doesn’t have to be partying or going on roller-coasters (though any excuse for either is good), sometimes being a right old misery and having a good ol’ sulk can be fun ¬†too. ¬†Yep, I can do that. ¬†Yep, its a winner.

May all your resolutions be as stickable-to.  Happy New Year!

Grandmother said…

My grandmother was a Cockney.  Yep, a full blown, registered, born-within-bow-bells, rhyming slang saying Cockney through and through.  She died some 35 years ago now, but I still remember her clearly.

She was never anything but old to me, even when she must have only been in her early 60’s (it is a truth that 60 is now so much younger than it used to be – thank goodness!). I remember her ‘perming’ her own hair into tight little grey curls using thin plastic rollers lined with cigarette papers (no I don’t know either) and foul smelling home perms. ¬†I remember her and my mum making jellies for my birthday teas, every year, even though to this day I loathe jelly in any shape or form, and floury Sausage rolling at Christmas. ¬†I feel like I remember all her mannerisms, and sometimes see them manifest in either myself or my sister.

Most of all, I remember her sayings. ¬†It seemed she had a saying for every occasion. ¬†We had a ‘lick and a promise’ instead of a wash. Things were always in a ‘muddy puddle’ (about as near to bad language as I ever heard from her). ¬†I often came home from school looking like ‘the black ‘ole of Calcutta’ or the ‘wreck of the ‘esperus’. ¬† Things went ‘up ‘n down like a fiddlers elbow’ and if I had a stain on my clothes ‘a blind man would be glad to see it’! ¬†Not very pc these days I suspect.

However, my favourite saying, and even now I use it more frequently than you might imagine, is

‘It stuck out like a tanner in a sweeps ear’ole’.

Of course, whenever I use that one, I have to explain it.  No one these days remembers that a tanner was a shiny silver sixpence, which would have twinkled amongst the soot in a chimney sweeps ear. And why exactly would he have had a tanner in his ear in the first place?  Who knows? Who cares?  It’s silly, but you have to admit, very descriptive!

These sayings have now become part of my family’s lore, something that the children laugh at, but keep in their hearts as part of their history. ¬†It’s a way of them knowing their great-grandmother even though she is long-gone. ¬†I wonder how their grandchildren will remember me?

Well, I do make up my own expletives I suppose, ‚ÄėCripes-a-lawky‚Äô being a favourite.¬† I don‚Äôt know anyone else that says that, though perhaps, dear blog reader, you might pick it up and bring it to its rightful place in the national consciousness.¬† Or how about ‚Äėpigs-and-fishes‚Äô in place of your favourite swearword, as I do, or if it‚Äôs really annoying just ‚Äėpigs!‚Äô¬† I‚Äôm sure my husband and daughters could fill you in on others, but the thing is, I don‚Äôt even know I‚Äôm saying them these days. ¬† They are just verbal tics that are part of who I am.

We may share the same language, but each and everyone of us uses it in unique ways,everyday.  We should all do our best to use it wisely and memorably!