Saturday, 14 March 2015

From 'East Coker' - TS Eliot

A friend gave me this poem recently. Right Timing...

Monday, 12 January 2015

Poem in Buzz

Thanks to poet extraordinaire Mab Jones for printing one of my poems


Mab mentioned our World Incandescent December Meeting (WWI Centenary theme) too! 

It was ace to be included in her literary column.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Poetry In Ocean

On 31st November I participated in Poetry In Ocean at Hay Festival Winter Weekend. An event by Eco Poet Susan Richardson and Marine Conservation Society UK

After our briefing in the Green Room, we are taken to our magical location of Hay Castle! The castle is being restored by the Hay Castle Trust

The prestigious Hay Festival lectern awaits!

Susan Richardson begins with one of her first of thirty poems she has been commissioned to write in the Marine Conservation Society's 30 Threatened Species Appeal year - one of many diverse poems she's intricately creating on each threatened marine species.

Peter Richardson continues with a more scientific look at the reasons for the 30 Threatened Species Appeal and further in depth information on each marine species and its reason for inclusion. 

Punctuated by poems from 5 Poetry In Ocean workshop participants. Including poems on short snouted seahorses, angel sharks...

and a firm favourite - bottle nose dolphins! 

Having joined MCSUK at Act 5 Extreme Sailing held at Cardiff Bay earlier this year, I was keen to understand the issues further. Melding the poetic and scientific was an excellent way to do this!

Afterwards we spent a few warm moments by a beautiful log fire burning just outside the event room. Visible through the wooden planked wall, tempting us to stay.

But the sunlight and lunch at the hospitable Blue Boar drew us back outside. 

What a gorgeous day!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

World Book Night 2014

Collecting The Humans!

Time to collect my chosen World Book Night 2014 book from Cardiff Central Library

Looking forward to this day as I'd yet to read it!


My application went in last year. When looking through the 20 World Book Night 2014 Titles, I was repeatedly drawn too The Humans by Matt Haig. A little concerned because it wasn't a Quick Read. However, when I read the write up and came across a video of a chapter in The Humans I  knew it was definitely the book I wanted to give. 

A brave step considering I hadn't read it, although I hadn't read any of the titles on the World Book Night 2014 list. I still struggle to concentrate to read or having the knowledge of what books to start with since my period of ill health. Thats why, for me, World Book Night gives me ideas on what to try reading, when I can.

Having recently moved to Cardiff Bay, I was going to walk along Cardiff Bay Barrage Path (walking between 4 and 1 on map) giving out books to as many non or light readers as possible. A milestone for me as I'm recovering from ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia and I had only managed to walk the length of the Barrage once.

Why The Humans?

Firstly because of its humour and it seemed to talk about the human condition in a deep way. 

I have found a lifeline through writing and performing. Lately more humerous spoken word. I had also experienced a period of anxiety / depression and began to feel the benefit of writing about the lighter side of life. I'd see smiles in the audience as they listened. A number of times people came up and said they enjoyed my piece and how much humour helps.

I was coming away uplifted, energised and feeling connected to humanity again.

I felt a natural affinity with what The Humans seemed to be about and I wanted to spread this feeling amongst others. Knowing that humour can literally save your sanity at times. Comedy and mental health can be deeply intwined.

On reading, my thoughts were confirmed. 

Without wanting to spoil the storyline for those who have yet to read it, Matt Haig highlights the inaneness of 'being human'.

He takes us on an emotional rollercoaster. Following the story of mathematics genius Professor Andrew Martin. A reflective aspect builds as the novel continues. Parallels with deep questions in our own lives can be made.

When you come out of a difficult illness or period you can often feel disjointed. You  gradually re-awaken to the beauty that is living. Trying to integrate how you have changed. You grapple with the bittersweet experience of re-entering life.

Reading The Humans gives me hope I can continue forward.

I discover, only a couple of days before World Book Night, that Matt Haig had gone through a difficult period of depression in his life. Writing The Humans had come out of this:

'I imagined writing it for myself... or for someone in a similar state. I was trying to offer a map, but also to cheer someone up.' Matt Haig

April 23rd World Book Night

The Morning

The forecast for World Book Night day was heavy rain. 

Instead of waiting to go out early evening along the Barrage. I decided to use my morning walk as one of the book giving times. I'd go out the following early evening when the weather was better to give out the other half of the books.

Need to be flexible with Welsh weather!

First, a girl waiting outside The Doctor Who Experience at a bus stop.

A guy on his way to work, passing the Doctor Who Experience.

The Barrage Path

Cardiff Bay Barrage Coast Path (walking between 4 and 1 on the map) with light drizzle

A girl on her way to work delighted to receive a book. Tells me she reads very little

Stopping at the start of the Barrage Path. The view across to Penarth

Turning around, a couple taking a morning walk...

... taking in the view across to Mermiad Quay, Millennium Centre, Pierhead Building, Senedd and Norwegian Church.

On My Way Back

I find a couple of workmen. 

The guy on the right tells me he never reads but he'll give The Humans a go. He's going to look out for this blog post!

A guy pulling up what looks like some kind of water pipe out of a drain...

he tells me he doesn't read but he's happy to take a book for his wife, who likes reading her Kindle. Perhaps they can both read the novel. He replies if he were to choose a novel to read it would be a humorous one, as humour helps brighten the day...

...he should be ok!

Back at my flat complex car park, I see a guy from Quaynotes choir. He tells me he doesn't read much but will take the book for another bloke in Quaynotes who reads more. I'm hoping he will read it himself too. I forgot to take a photo as he was in his car!

I then see our cleaner. She's delighted to be given a book. Says that she ofen finds humour helps her in life, especially getting through difficult times. In fact we have quite a long interesting chat.

The Evening

The weather turns out to be less severe than predicted by the MET Office. So I make my way across to Cardiff's Mission For Seafarers

I come here every Thursday to Quaynotes - our newly formed choir for residents and people who work in Cardiff Bay. 

The Manager, an ex-seaman, is around. He tells me that he reads very little. The other ex-seaman on the left then tells me he has never read a book. He reads magazines, newspapers sometimes but not ever a book. I have only come with one book. 

The ex-seaman's words stay with me. I packet up a book ready to take along to the next Quaynotes practice to leave for him at the bar.

When I take it in the Manager says "lets hope this will be is first". Me too!

The Next Day 24th April

The Morning

The next morning I meet my Dad for a coffee in Cadwaladers. I give him a book. He reads very little fiction nowadays and he has become quieter lately. 

As he starts to read The Humans we begin connect again. It ends with him reading out whole chapters in the cafe and me listening.

The Afternoon...

I was feeling too weary to do the full walk the entire length of the barrage and back to give out the rest of the books. 

So I hopped on the yellow boat and came off at Penarth Marina. We were treated to a knowledgable commentary along the way by the driver...

... passing the Barrage on the way

Cardiff Bay Barrage

A dad with his son, who reads less. The dad said he'd share it with his daughter.

Boats are coming in and out from Bristol Channel

I approach Cardiff Bay Barrage Path from the other side to yesterday

A wonderful elderly lady out with her family tells me she doesn't read. She's delighted to be given the book and looks forward to trying it out. 

Her daughter reads alot and is keen for her mum to finish it!

I reach the point I stopped at yesterday and see two guys, a son with his stepdad. The son tells me he only reads scientific books and his stepdad speaks little English. He his pleased to take the book and says he will let me know what he thinks of it!

** There were a few other people I gave to along the way but they preferred not to have their photographs taken or mentioned.

The End

The World Book Night giving is over for another year. I feel both elated and exhausted. It is always such an enjoyable process 'giving' out the World Book Night Books. Mainly people are delighted to receive one, although you get the occasional few who think you are trying to sell them something. I finish the day feeling a bigger part of the community I have just moved too.

Also a sense of achievement that I've managed, in 2 days, to walk the Barrage. When your health has been taken from you, you appreciate moments where something lost is regained.