Sunday, 23 January 2011

ch ch changes.. horsemuck and prize parsnips

Listening to Sam Cooke, Sunday morning in pyjamas. Perfect.

Just wanting to chat. So, decided to blog about January, which has been a strange month so far. It's taken me ages to get back to form after the flu over Christmas. Plus, I didn't say much about it on here, but I had a couple of months of struggling with some health niggles. I lost two stones before Christmas, not through dieting, but with IBS, which was particularly bad for a short time. I'm not quite sure what happened. It coincided with making a lot of changes in my life, so maybe my body was unsettled.

People have kept saying, wow, you look great, have you lost weight? And I've mumbled back about being ill and really it's not such a good thing.

But I guess, it's the plus side of being ill. I could afford to lose that much weight, I suppose, and it is nice to feel slim and fit into old clothes. I've not been this weight since my twenties, which is.... about eight years ago... so it's like rediscovering an old self. I seem to have my appetite back again, and my weight seems to be stabilising. I hope. So fingers crossed, it was just one of those things.

But, but, but, can I tell you that all the changes are working. All the CBT, mindfulness, acupressure, diet changes, going out even when I feel rubbish, pushing myself to be more sociable. I feel more confident, and have been having a lot of fun. Gigs. Music. Readings. Dancing. Walking. Films. Chatting. New friends. Old friends. Making plans. Focusing (when I can) on the positives. Enjoying life more. Writing again! I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can maintain this, because it's oh so much nicer than being down.

The freezing and then wet weather has meant that I've not been digging as usual at the allotment like I do most weekends. It's been ages, about six weeks now, and I have SO missed it. But, at last, yesterday was an allotment day.

And my annual delivery of manure! I thought it was going to be horse muck like last year. I still have a small pile left, which has rotted down to a beautiful dark rich manure that is going to make some delicious vegetables. Ha, Miss Allotment getting excited about manure and calling it 'beautiful'. But, yesterday's delivery was two and a half tons of COW muck. Ugh. I have to admit it was pretty bloody horrible. The stink was so bad, I retched a couple of times as I was pushing the wheelbarrow to pile it on my plot. It's a bit too fresh for my liking, and stunk of piss as well. The thought of putting this on my soil is not very appealing, so it's in a pile while I decide what to do. I'm assured it will rot down nicely and be just as good as horse muck, but not convinced. We'll see...

It was good to get back to it. A couple of friends came down to help, and a few plot holders were there too. We had some good banter, some tea and chocolates, and shovelled away. And then some digging... The frost has given most of my veg a battering, so we pulled out some failed crops, and dug in some of the lovely horse manure.

My shoulders and upper back are ACHING today. Ha, a sure sign that I've not been down for a while. I can't wait to crack on with it this year. I have twice as much allotment, and have ordered loads of seeds. I'm planning to grow more variety and quantity this year, so will have bags of food. Probably won't know what to do with it all, and give it away to friends and neighbours like last year!

Oh and I dug up some leeks and parsnips. I couldn't resist having a photo taken of me with my prize parsnips. They're monsters aren't they, and probably inedible. I think they've gone very woody in the middle, but we'll see. I had no idea they would be so big! (Note to self, dig them up in December next year).

Saturday, 22 January 2011

little see-saw of life part 5

Ups
Woolly tights. The Black Keys. Fish cakes. A little digging. Mix CDs. Kim-by-the-Sea. Kissing in the car. And other places. Cups of Tea. Better health. Having an appetite again. Skirts and dresses. Chatting by IM. Writing northern stones. Rivington Pike.

Downs
Government Cuts. Dark mornings. Dark nights. The smell when shovelling cow shit. Worrying.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

I Heart Writing (again)

I've promised myself to get back my love for writing by just doing it, writing what I want, being spontaneous, not having a fixed goal, sharing writing, reading, hearing people read, collaborating.

It's not rocket science.

If I focus on enjoying it, then how can I go wrong. Yes, I don't always have a lot of time or motivation or energy. Yes, sometimes I write rubbish. There might not be a publisher for me or money or external rewards. But writing is writing, personal and freeing and therapeutic and playful in itself.

So, I am writing with another poet. A prompt a week. A response from each of us. Poem or haiku or prose poem or a wandering piece of free-writing. Even if it's rubbish. By the end of the year, there will be 52 pieces of writing, and I bet some of them are good.

Some afternoons in a cafe writing with the same poet. Writing exercises. Sharing what we've written. Tea and metaphors.

My little everyday observations on new blog northern stones

My third (or fourth) collaboration with an artist, where we have again started to send inspiration through the post. A poem that she responds to with a visual response which I respond to with a poem. We might make another book with them at some point.

There is another poet, who I want to approach to see if we can do something together on a theme, explore some issues in poems, find some way of collaborating and putting it out there in some way, a website maybe, postcards, short films.

Ideas. Ideas.

It feels good to be enjoying writing again. No pressure. No expectations.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

#57 Dear 2011


Dear 2011,

I'm not sure whether I like you yet. It's miserable, cold, wet weather. It still goes dark at 3.30pm. VAT just went up to 20%. All the sparkly lights have gone. And I've still been feeling a bit wobbly after the flu.

I'm hoping it's just the beginning of January I don't like.

And that, soon, all kinds of exciting things will start happening, like dating, crazy nights out, sunny days at the allotment, making holiday plans.

2011, you are off to a slow start, but I have every hope for you,

xx



Saturday, 1 January 2011

a river of stones...

Hello first day of a new year...

Inspired by this lovely lady, I've started a second blog... It's called 'northern stones' and is hopefully going to be the place where everyday I will write one 'small stone'.

A small stone is 'a polished moment of paying proper attention'. An observation, I guess. A tiny concentrated piece of writing that focuses on one moment or image or thought in the day, and gives it a home.

I started yesterday, so have written two stones so far.

Fiona's idea is to create a 'river of stones' or in other words... a collection of small stones written by different people, who might be writers, or who just might want to write a tiny poetic line or two every day. Her challenge (for want of a better word) is for as us to write every day for January, but I'm hoping to keep going beyond this.

Read more about it here, and maybe join in.

I've been reading Fiona's small stones for a long time now, and they are very inspiring. I can't promise mine will be as inspiring... but I thought oh how lovely, observant, in the moment, and poetic. Yes, yes, very 2011, very now, very what I want to do.

So, here I am writing my northern stones.