Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Creative outlets

I seem to be being offered outlets for creativity all over the place at the moment. Hot on the heels of the artist-led walkabout a couple of weeks ago, I went on a similar excursion on Sunday with storyteller Jo Blake Cave, who told us tales past and present about the Corby woods. I came home feeling inspired to write my own stories.

Prior to that, I was invited to take part in a dance taster session with choreographer Neil Paris -  'No pressure to commit to anything: just come along and have a bit of fun!' I was told. Well, I've been caught like that before! Of course, a taster is going to lead to something and sure enough there is a show in May, but before that we have to come together and create the piece. Actually, it was fun and I found I was able to throw myself into it pretty well, considering how controlling and controlled I  usually am. I wasn't entirely comfortable when asked to interpret four key words - fearless, empower, breathe and secret - through movement, but I did my best.

Elsewhere, the Weaving Words writing group came up trumps again with some fantastic stimuli (stimuluses?) for writing. I thought I was doing well. Then this morning, I was reading a couple of chapters of A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters and there on page 159 is the sentence:

'He mows the grass until it bleeds.'

How am I supposed to come up with something as fabulous as that?

Friday, 18 November 2016

Celebrate the small things, 18 November

I'm feeling decidedly more cheerful this Friday than last. As predicted, things have indeed got better.

It's been a good week on the work front: I've achieved a decent amount of writing - an article on leeks for one thing, but also a couple of fiction pieces. There's been a few nice social events, too. Last night, for instance, I went to see comedian Rich Hall here in town, and he was hilarious as always.

A more specific celebration is that I've won a flash fiction competition, which is pleasing.

Have a great weekend, folks.

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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The bear facts

Yogi Bear
There was much hilarity at yoga yesterday. The room in which we hold our class is upstairs in the Methodist Church. Meanwhile, downstairs the Ladies' Fellowship meets for prayers and music, conversation and discussion, and sometimes a guest speaker. We have grown used to the gentle accompaniment of music floating up to us and they don't seem to mind us doing our thing in the Upper Room.

Of course, it's not always blissful. Sometimes the visiting speaker is a man with a deep, booming voice, and on one memorable occasion we were treated to the strident tones of the Duchess of Devonshire describing the wonders of Chatsworth at full volume - via a film, of course, not in the flesh.

Usually the ladies have a pianist, but yesterday's music was recorded - and loud. It began with a stirring rendition of 'Keep Me Travelling Along,' which was fine and made us smile. There was a pause, and some low murmuring before 'Teddy Bears' Picnic' filled the air, closely followed by 'Me and My Teddy Bear'. I'd been encouraging my ladies to focus on 'undisturbed calmness', but this was just too much. We just had to laugh. I can only guess at the theme of the afternoon!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Making good use of my time

My weekend
They say you're a long time dead, so with that in mind and given that much of what is going on in the world is beyond my control, this weekend I have been doing things that make me feel good.

On Friday evening, I ventured out for a walk in the dark around East Carlton Country Park, as part of the 'Our Woods' project that is going on in Corby at the moment. We were guided around by artist Carry Akroyd, observing the shape of the trees, the moonlight and its effects, the sounds, the smells, pausing every now and then for contemplation and discussion.

Then it was back to a hut for tea and cake and the chance to be creative. Well, I did my best at drawing, but in the end my writerly instincts took over and I crammed down as many words as I could think of inspired by what we had just experienced. I shall, I hope, turn them into something in due course. It was great fun and there was absolutely no pressure to do anything especially arty. It was an exercise in simply finding joy in creativity.

There were a few chores on Saturday, but I spent the afternoon doing some yoga with lovely teachers Jenny and Atim, focusing on boosting the immune system and nurturing ourselves in preparation for winter. There was flapjack and hot spiced apple tea, and a lovely supportive atmosphere. The hoop in the picture is made from newspaper and was employed in various balancing exercises!

Then it was a quick turnaround before dashing out to the Rolling In The Aisles comedy night, where headliner John Gordillo had us - you know - rolling in the aisles.

Today, I'm taking it easy. I've had a lovely walk and a good session with the Sunday papers - and I'm not planning on doing much else with the rest of the day.

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.

Friday, 11 November 2016

You want me to Celebrate the Small Things? Really?

 I mean, come on! What's going on? I was seriously tempted to post simply: Nah, I got nothing.

But then I realised that it is at times like this we need the small things more than ever. So here goes:
  •  I have family and friends
  • I woke up in a warm bed in a house I own
  • I have food in the fridge
  • I have work
  • And, things can only get better!
Have a good weekend, folks, if you can.

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Saturday, 5 November 2016

'What Katy Did'

A Facebook post by Rachel, who runs Not Just Words bookshop in Kettering, sent me scurrying to my own shelves to check something. She has a copy of What Katy Did in stock at the moment - a first edition with an inscription:

 'To May from Mr Rice, Xmas 1909'

This is a very special volume because it contains all five stories in this series: What Katy Did, What Katy Did at School, What Katy Did Next, Clover and In the High Valley

My copy is simply the first story, but it, too, has an inscription in it: 

'Nora Gertrude Pattinson with love from Auntie Jessie, Xmas 1938'

This, then, was a gift to my mum from her aunt. I'm struck by the formal way it is inscribed with her full name. She would have been nine, and since I know she hated* her middle name, I imagine she wouldn't have been best pleased to see it written out like this. I love coming across these little messages in old books, even - in fact, especially - when I don't know the story behind them. How about you?

* I say 'hated' because although my mum is very much still with us, she no longer has that awful middle name.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Celebrate the Small Things, 4 November

I didn't have time to post my celebrations last week because I was out and about all day celebrating my birthday, albeit a day early. This means I have taken delivery of another stack of books - thanks, everyone!

A selection of my birthday goodies
On the home front, I'm celebrating that we've finally had our living room carpet installed. Of course, the doors no longer fit and the carpenter will have to be called, but it's a small price to pay. On the plus side, because we had to shift all the furniture out of the room, including the bookcases, I have a pleasant weekend in prospect putting all my books back in the right place. Bliss!

It's Bonfire Night tomorrow here in the UK. Strange that an event that started as a way to warn us not to stand against the government - Guy Fawkes was not a hero at the time - has turned into just the opposite. Three cheers for the man who tried to destroy parliament! Funny thing, perspective.

Have a good weekend, folks - and careful with those fireworks!

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop hosted by  Lexa's Blog. Join us.