Saturday, 26 August 2006

Return of the Poet - Edinburgh International Film Festival

Return of the Poet is a beautiful Armenian documentary that takes us on a mesmerising road journey through the stunning landscapes and fascinating culture of Armenia. The soundtrack is stunning too. There is no dialogue though! The film is a homage to the great Armenian poet, Ashugh Jivani, and follows the making of a statue of Jivani and then the statue's travels through the country. However, as a non-Armenian interested in finding out about world literature, I was disappointed not to learn anything about Jivani and his work.
More mini-film reviews from the Edinburgh International Film Festival on my Alter Ego blog here and here.

Friday, 25 August 2006

Fishing in Whitby

The first poem I published on my poetry blog magazine Bolts of Silk was Whitby Jet by Sally Evans. I've since had a request from the Whitby Sea Anglers for a link to their website. If you're interested in fishing in Whitby, its worth checking out: It includes news on the environmental aspects of fishing.

Mirror Frame

I bought this frame in a second hand shop and painted it and patterned it with Celtic rubber stamps. My partner has just about persuaded me that i should varnish it too - what do people think?

Monday, 21 August 2006

Haiku - music

One Deep Breath this week is asking for haiku about music. I like seasonal haiku, so to start with I wrote four haiku on the music of the four seasons:

birds sing together
exuberant dawn chorus -
the music of Spring.

hot summer day -
a grasshopper orchestra
plays in the field.

autumnal breezes
whistle through the changing leaves -
haunting melodies.

snow falls silently -
inside the family gathers
to sing Christmas songs.

The following is a haiku inspired by the open air concerts at Traquair Fair, a wonderful summer event that happens in Innerleithen near Peebles in the Scottish Borders.

old apple orchard -
petals drift in the breeze
of the singer's voice.

And the final haiku here goes back to when I lived in Malawi where all the children seemed to have amazing natural creative talents:

down by the river -
the fishermen's children
play tin cans like drums.

Not content to leave it there, my Alter Ego has also written some musical haiku here!

Haiku containing the word 'prose'

Book Blog is asking for haiku including the word 'prose' in a competition with the prize being a copy of Francine Prose's book 'Reading like a Writer'. This is my haiku, which reflects this August day in Edinburgh:

Summer flowers bloom -
vibrant poetry against
the prose of grey skies.

Sunday, 20 August 2006

The Inner Life of Pets

I couldn't resist this week's prompt at Sunday Scribblings - the Inner Life of Pets, a topic that is perhaps only marginally environmental but never mind. This is Anya, our rabbit, yes I've posted this photo before but it is the best we've ever been able to take. And below is a peek into her private life. (For those who don't know the Teletubbies is a children's tv show that features giant rabbits as well as the teletubbies themselves):
Anya visits the Teletubbies

Anya sits under the bed gently rocking, dreaming about Teletubby land. La La is her favourite because LaLa is the colour of dandelion flowers. Anya is disappointed that there are no dandelions in Teletubby land. She is sad that all the other rabbits are a rather unimaginative brown grey colour. Anya races over the hills of Teletubby land, enjoying the feel of the wind in her ears. Then she races twice round the Teletubby house.

‘Eh oh Po’ says Tinky Winky ‘There goes Anya again’

‘Eh oh Tinky Winky’ says Po ‘She’s looking for La La’.

Tinky Winky opens his handbag. Anya sees that inside the handbag are some dandelions. Fresh and yellow. The colour of La La. Anya stands up on her back legs and reaches towards the handbag….

But suddenly her human comes into the room and wakens her. Anya rushes from under the bed into her favourite box. She digs into the cardboard: Where are those dandelions? Where are they?

Thursday, 17 August 2006


There have been times in my life when I have relied on the nearest launderette. But we currently have an environmentally friendly washing machine (and no tumble drier). The washing machine broke down recently and we're waiting for parts, so it's back to the launderette! Not so long ago there were two launderettes within walking distance from where we live. Now its a bus ride to the nearest one. I always think that launderettes are a vital service - perhaps they should be funded by local government?

Advantages of the launderette
If you arrange a service wash, someone else dries and folds your washing
No more washing hanging around the flat!
A community resource
Potentially saves on the number of washing machines produced in the world

Having to carry the washing down three flights of stairs, along the road to the bus stop and across town on public transport
Just because they're in a launderette, doesn't make tumble driers environmentally friendly
Most launderettes don't use environmentally friendly washing powders
What are other people's experiences of / views about launderettes?

Monday, 14 August 2006

Haiku about tea

One Deep Breath's prompt this week is to write haiku about tea and coffee. I love drinking tea (fairtrade of course) and here are my two haiku:

A soothing green tea –
Moment of relaxation
And contemplation.

Summer heatwave –
under the shade of a tree
a glass of iced tea.

I haven't managed to fit Fairtrade into a haiku as yet! Buying Fairtrade tea and coffee ensures that the workers are paid a decent salary and can send their children to school, receive better healthcare etc. Find out more at: So you can drink Fairtrade tea or coffee knowing that you are helping people. It tastes good too. (Well apart from the instant coffee, but that's instant coffee all over!).

Monday, 7 August 2006

Haiku - the Scenic Route

This week's prompt at One Deep Breath is to write haiku about the scenic route. So here are two haiku about the scenic routes I take during the working day:

lunch from the deli
take the path under the trees
restful and quiet.

tourists throng the streets,
take a detour through the park
- oasis of peace.

Sunday, 6 August 2006


A pair of bright butterflies
dance in the light
on a south facing slope.

Shimmering heat haze on the fens
lazy calls of turtle doves
swifts tumbling through the sky.

Here is everlasting summer
sun-honeyed and warm
on the cusp of harvest fruitfulness.

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

A Normal Skin - John Burnside

I have just finished reading this collection of poetry from one of Scotland's most interesting living poets. Burnside writes nature poetry, but this is not nature as idyllic pastoral, but nature with an edge, full of rotting things, hidden threats and menace. His poetry is beautiful, lyrical and thought provoking. It is also sometimes disturbing, though never as disturbing as his prose work.....

The Book of Hopes and Dreams now available to pre-order

The Book of Hopes and Dreams, edited by Dee Rimbaud, is a book of hopeful poetry by a range of poets including Margaret Atwood, Edwin Morgan and me! All proceeds will go to Spirit Aid, providing medical services to Afghanistan. The book costs £9.99 and can be pre-ordered at: