Thursday, 16 July 2009

Garden Cafe & Gallery

I seem to have been remiss, and not included the Garden Cafe in my links, so am addressing that now.

Me -
I meet friends there for long chats and refreshments

I go there monthly to enjoy and take part in the Words' Cabarets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, 7.30 pm (starting up again in September 09)

I currently have some items being exhibited in the Celtic Year Exhibition that's being held until the 2nd August as part of the Open Studios' month-long extravaganza

I am inspired to write, by its range of settings and by the weird and wonderful things that comprise its contents

Many other things.

You -
should go there at least once, although I can't imagine once you've been there that you won't want to go back.

Part of the magic of the place is its apparently random opening hours (I'm sure Paul, owner and host, will assure us that it's not random, that it is in fact us visiting that's random, but still ...)
If you want to check the door's open, ring Paul on 01594 860075
The website address is in my links


The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd

Just finished reading it.

Stunning, absolutely stunning!

If you're trying to shake off guilt-about-mistakes-made, or have someone who's made mistakes 'on you', you absolutely must read this tale.

Oh, and if you're a woman, read this tale.

And if you like beautiful imagery, read this tale.

And if you like a mystery, read this tale.

Just read this tale.


Mischief of a different sort ...


In the seeking out of the nonsense poems that I've just now posted, I came across another poem that I'd forgotten about. I've 'tinkered' with it. It seems most apt for the upcoming Full Moon.


The Mischief Moon

If the day's in wrack and ruin
without reason, without rhyme,
if you think you must've killed someone
in a previous lifetime,
if you're wondering when it could have been
that you broke the looking glass,
if you're searching hill and dale for lucky black cats,
then there's every chance that I'm around
so nothing good is happening soon
for I'll have brought my jug of jokes to town,
I'm the Mischief Moon

If you've lost the cards, the tickets, the keys
that you had only yesterday,
if everybody's arguing with everything you say,
if the power's going crazy
and not one machine will work,
if your confidantes are snubbing you or wearing silly smirks,
if you're locked up, locked in, locked out
and no-one can hear you shout,
if you've spun out of control at the mini-roundabout,
there is every chance that I'm near-by
and indulging in a mood that I call custard-pie
so you can bet on your banana skin
nothing good is happening soon
for I've brought my jug of jokes to town
I'm the Mischief Moon.

You might as well resign yourself
That bottles and jars will drop from shelves
and curtains will fall, and tools will snap,
and clothes will tear, and you'll step in crap,
and the car won't work and the dog'll be sick
and the flickering channel-flicker will completely fail to flick
and the curry will burn and the gin'll be gone
and it'll stay that way until I alone
have tired of this season's tricks
and gone to create a superior mix.

But don't you worry, I'll be back soon
and I'll be higher and mightier
for I'm the Mischief Moon.

More nonsense

As per previous posting re a bit of nonsense, here's another of the absurdist poetry



The giraffe is a tall fish
that flies from tree to tree
and bush to bush
and shrub to shrub
seeking kidney pies to eat.

This is no mean feat.

The buzzard is a beetle
with a turtle on its back
and as it crawls along a path
its scales grow out and in and out
and sometimes turn to black.

This depends upon the track.

The woman is a tiny bird
who swims through salty seas
and rocky hills and windy plains
to look for fun and frolic
that she'll pass on to her mate.

This allegedly is her fate.

The reader is a strange cheese
who doesn't sleep a lot,
who can smell a rat from outer space,
can spot a joke in an elephant's face
and knows nonsense when she sees it

not mistaking it for wit.

A spot of nonsense ...


Being in the mood for a bit of nonsense yesterday morning, I dug out some absurdist poems that I wrote some years ago for the writers' group I belonged to (5 women, the Wishing Wellies' group, so-named because we met in a house in Clearwell village and we did a lot of wishing that one day our work would get published …)

I found the poems, quite liked them all over again (though I've since subbed them to my online professional writers' group who have exacting standards and have already started to offer critical comments ... so think of these below as The Draft For Now :-) .

Anyways, one of the poems was (is) … a version of the children's rhyme 'there was an old woman who lived in a shoe …'

While I was working on my version, I thought of how female elders keep cropping up in the free-write exercises I do intermittently with the afore-mentioned online group, and I thought of two other lovely rhymes about old women that I'd like to 'versionalise' – the one where she's tossed up in a basket and carries a broom (one of my all time favourites, I sang it to my children, now I've remembered about it I'll sing it to my grand-daughter) … and the one where she swallowed a fly, a spider, a bird, etc

I'm so loving all of these that I've decided to write a triptych … three old woman poem versions … that I'm calling the Crone Collective

I'm planning to contribute the Crone Collective to the Celtic Year Project I'm involved in, catalysed by Samhain in November – 'traditionally a time to honour our ancestors' and 'linked with courage and protection' and when 'hags' (old stems of mullein soaked in wax) are used as torches …

I'm also planning on performing these as performance-poetry slots in the Words & Music Cabarets that are held locally monthly, starting again in September.

Well, that's the background tale.

Now for the first of the poems:


The Crone Collective

There was an old woman who lived in a …

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
and had so many children that she didn't know what to do

so she let them do it instead.

There was an old woman who danced in a slipper
and breakfasted daily on herring and kippers

which gave her good skin but unfortunate breath.


There was an old woman who slept in a sandal
and wore tiny skirts that caused huge scandals

as often as she liked


There was an old woman who caroused in a boot
and spent all her Saturdays playing the flute

which annoyed the man in the trainer next door


There was an old woman who cooked in a wellie
and made several fortunes from parmesan jelly

and treacle-fried potatoes


There was an old woman who lounged in a clog
and owned fifty rabbits, ten cats and six dogs,

which were all called Spot


There was an old woman who dozed in a dap
and dreamed all day of marmalade baps

and pink tartan caps
and black satin wraps
and old treasure maps
and who knows perhaps
she's still in that dap


let's give them all a clap!

Words & Ideas, at Coleford Festival of Words


during the Coleford Festival of Words that recently took place in the market town nearest to the village where I live , one of the events was called 'Words & Ideas' and involved myself, Sally, Liz (all of the Celtic Year project that I'm involved in) and Lori Strong Wisdom, a visual artist from just over the Welsh border.

We four were presenting a 'show and tell' about the multi-art form or artist-collaborative activities that we've been enjoying recently.

The concept of the event was that everyone should 'have a go' at creative expression, in whatever form they wished to ... to just play!

In the audience was Bridget. I met Bridget when she came to a Writing Fairy Tales workshop that I delivered at Beechenhurst Loft in the Forest, this was about three years ago, so it was lovely for me to see her again.And then even more lovely, a few days after the Festival to receive through the post a letter and accompanying poem from Bridget.

I've copied the letter and poem below - after asking Bridget's permission to do so.
She refers to the event as 'Words and Images' which methinks is a better title, maybe we'll retitle the event for next year's Festival :-)Bridget doesn't have internet access, but I'll pass on to her any comments that you might want to make after reading the poem.

Dear Fi

It was good to see you at the Festival. I found your 'Words and Images' an oasis calm in the middle of a hectic week. How wonderful adults can allow themselves to do something for pure enjoyment and admit it!

I threw a few words together to help me remember the evening and enclose a copy so you will know someone listened to what you had to say!

I still can't believe you put that in your pocket!

Kind regards

{You'll have to read the poem to know what I put in my pocket …}


Do you remember play?
Carefree, unfettered joy,
Mind and body
Free to wander the
Path of imagination.
Young child's 'friend'
Known only to the believer
Invisible to those
Trapped by convention,
Rules and regulations.

Some break free.
One tore pages
From a favourite book
Then placed them
On banana sheets.
Gave words life,
Colour and movement,
Her reward – FUN –
To a loved one
A precious gift.

An artist put aside her work
Painted for pleasure
Immortalising a dream.
Orchard rich with bloom
Bathed in moonlight.
These blossoms will not fade
Or be forgotten.
Her birch trees too
Remain erect, unscathed
Nature's everlasting cathedral pillars.

Another, given
Unexpected time and space
Chose to play with words,
Some her own,
Others lent by friends.
She stirred them round
Sought bits that fit,
Helped them to join together
Releasing poetry
She had not expected.

Another, opening her eyes in dark places
Found Nature's magic in
Fungi, black and apple-shaped
Which she carried in a pocket.
To her delight
It drew mysterious circles overnight.
When spent she placed it in
The garden to revive.
This was not its element
It belonged in dark, damp places
Yet it was here she found her
Light at the end of a tunnel.