Saturday, February 24, 2024

the tree, tutes, almost springy, 6 villages cycle, jtns' birthday!


I see this tree from the bus stop at Buckland. The look of it is never the same.

Loved meeting students yesterday for assignment tutorials in Oxford.

Today has been glorious. The strengthening light - almost springy - is wonderfully uplifting.

Went for a cycle ride earlier, doing the 6 villages - Black Bourton, Alvescot, Kencot, Broadwell, Clanfield, Bampton - and the gated road. Haven't done that one for quite a while, having been somewhat fixated on ones to the east that mostly involve Mount Owen for some time.

It was justthoughtsnstuff's birthday earlier in the week, on the 20th. Yesterday, before teaching, over a coffee in Summertown, I re-read the February 2012 posts out of curiosity. They were written not long after Dad died.

I didn't mind reading posts this time. Previously, reading posts and Trust have stirred up painful memories but now I feel I can accept them as things that I wrote - things that I'm happy with, as a writer, and that helped me work through the miserable events that part-defined a big chunk of my life.

Here's the link to the February 2012 posts:

Friday, December 29, 2023

vivid memories, late summer and autumn


Vivid memories from late summer and autumn.

Robin's pincushions near Bampton in west Oxfordshire, growing on brambles in ancient water-meadows.

The extraordinary Buddha's Hand lemon, seen in Santar, Portugal.

And, finally, exotic spindle berries near Newbridge, west Oxfordshire.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

robins, happy christmas!


Loved these knitted robins, seen in Faversham when visiting family!

Happy Christmas!!

Saturday, December 9, 2023

eek!, first post since late summer, apples, pears, diploma, portugal, kellogg centre, jane draycott, malachi mcintosh, analog days, go with the flow


Eek! The time has whizzed past!

The late summer, the early autumn - with days spent on the allotment and a reviving trip to Wiltshire, Michaelmas Term, all happened since I last posted.

There were the two Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing teaching Saturdays - loved meeting the students. Not to mention a trip to Portugal to stay with dearest friends (see photos, above, which include Viseu cathedral, a gigantic beam that works a wine press and a ruined mansion in Santar) - fantastic, as always! 

There were two Kellogg Centre for Creative Writing seminars, which I hosted - wonderful to meet both Jane Draycott and Malachi McIntosh!

There have been harvests of winter salads, which have continued after the sharp frosts, and carrots, beetroot, turnips and daikon radishes. Plus the odd late gladioli and supplies of marigolds and nasturtiums (latter to float in glasses of white wine).

The apples and pears kept us going for almost three months.

Happy times. And soon, Christmas and New Year!

Don't know why I've not posted, though I'm pleased now to go with the flow. Once - days - blogging at least once a week (sometimes way more times) was essential to identity and mental health. But now, thankfully, there is time for things like reading (paperbacks these days rather than ebooks) and keeping a writer's notebook (in pencil rather than on screen). Changing times. Go with the flow!

Saturday, August 19, 2023

photo catch-up, trust rewrite finished, focused, fiction!, view from my desk, oxford writer

Posting some catch-up photos from the past 6 weeks.

A pyramid orchid on the verge of the A420 near the stop where I get the bus to work. Swallows nesting in a church porch. Gorgeous wayfaring tree berries beside a green lane. Reflections of old glass on a cottage's wood panelling.

Meanwhile, I've now finished the rewriting of Trust: A family story that I began after attending that Oxford Centre for Life-Writing one-day conference back in January. Was also taking into account comments made by a dear friend.

The result is a shorter, much more focused and, I hope compelling, read.

How many times have I said I've finished Trust? More than I can remember. But this time... And apart from anything else I want to start writing fiction again.

Really thrilled that the View from my Desk piece that I wrote for the Oxford Writer was published this week. One of the things I said was that I don't really have a desk. Most of what I write is tapped into my phone on the S6 bus - as all the Trust rewrites were this spring and summer!

Sunday, August 6, 2023

time, why?, change, eyes, casts of light, thanks!, fallen oak bough

Not sure why quite so much time has passed since I last posted.

True, the end of the university term was busy and there was a lot to do on the allotment. There was getting things sorted before going on holiday. Also before an eye op about 10 days ago - the counterpart to the one I had last summer.

But there was time to do other things, including posting. And I intended to, just didn't get round to it.

Not sure what the problem was.

Though the last couple of months have been ones of change and rethinking. Perhaps that was it.

Am I transformed? No but definitely different, I think. Looking at the world afresh.

Literally in the case of the eyes. Casts of light seen for the first time in ages that take me straight back to an experience long ago and its associated feelings.

Thanks to M.C., my surgeon.

The picture, above? The bough of an oak, fallen but still close up against the tree, in a hedge by a cornfield several weeks ago. I was walking our dog along Hayway Lane when we heard it go. I wondered if I'd see the fallen branch later, and I did.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023