Wednesday, 20 June 2012

All lonely bodies want to join as one,
In dark caves and warm fur - the pain is gone.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

silver fin of hope

I read an excellent blog post today about getting the dreams and ideas out onto the paper. I totally identified with what the author was saying. Chrissy writes beautiful lines, I delight in reading her posts. You can find them here

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Worcestershire Bard Final: a half hearted attempt at a review

I was in the audience for the Worcestershire Bard on Friday night. It was a great venue, the Swan theatre is obviously geared up to host this kind of thing. It lacked the awe of the Cathedral last year but it felt kinder for the poets as they were spot lit and their voices weren't lost in the pillars and pews.

Sadly it wasn't very well attended, possibly due to the England game on TV. I admit I wanted to stay at home to watch it... but poetry is more important than football, but obviously not to most people as there were many empty seats for the poets to perform in front of. Shame.

However the audience that were there were supportive and whooped it up after every person performed.
this picture is more tender on the eye than the one
I found of the outside of the Swan theatre
so that is why it is in this blog post

I started doing a 'proper' review and wrote down the first couple of people's names but them I lost my enthusiasm for writing and just wanted to listen so this is a crap review. Sorry.

Spoz was, as usual, brilliant. A fantastic host. His poem about his parents was excellent. Lisa Ventura and the other judges were all working hard, organising and judging. I was glad to not have to be the one judging. Too difficult to choose.

The young poet for Worcester, Rowan Something Double-Barrelled, read an intense poem that made me sit up and listen. It was full of interesting imagery. Liked that a lot.

I liked the guy that read a poem about Solomon and his goats. It was unique and epic and had a great moral which I stored away to tell my kids. Useful poetry.

I enjoyed Sarah James cloud olympics poem. I was impressed with her polished perfomance.

I thought Catherine Crosswell would be placed, she was really impressive. I am very partial to the way she slips into song between lines of spoken word.

Damon Lord was very good as well. He totally kept my attention as he performed and not all of them did that.

Two poems that I really liked were the ones about the River Severn, one by Suz Winspear and one by...a tall, rather dashing older man. Hmmm. I really should have written down the names.

Brenda Read-Brown, 3rd place, was excellent, she obviously practised a lot as her performance was flawless and relaxed.

Suz was 2nd, a very popular choice.

Maggie Doyle won- very much deserved as she is brilliant poet and always enjoyable to watch. Well done Maggie!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

It feels like Autumn, it makes me want to drink sloe gin in front of the fire!

I have some that I was given as a gift last year. August is the time to pick them if you want to make some.

'Sloe gin is just the tipple for warming up cold days, but you have to think ahead and make it now so the rock-hard, purple-black fruits have time to flavour the gin. Your gin isn't ready until the colour resembles a decent Beaujolais.


Prick your sloes, about 450g, with a needle or freeze them and bash with a heavy weight. Tip them into sterilised bottles, the fruit coming a third of the way up. Divide 350g of caster or granulated sugar among them then top up with gin or vodka. It will take about 750ml. Little point in using an expensive brand, by the way. Place the sealed bottles somewhere cool and dark. Leave for 8-10 weeks, turning the bottle occasionally, giving it a shake every week.


For me, the hardest part of making sloe gin is keeping my patience while it mellows. Well, that and finding enough sloes. I take great pleasure in pricking each berry with a needle in several places then dropping them into a bottle with sugar and gin, but others like to freeze the sloes in a plastic bag then bash them hard with a hammer or rolling pin. It is an effortless, kind-on-the-thumb way to get the best out of your hedgerow booty, though I much prefer the slow, non-violent way. Sloes are notoriously evasive. Forage for your own or try local farmers' markets. I found this year's supply in a greengrocer in Bristol.


Yes, warming in a glass, but have you ever thought of using it in the kitchen? Even a tablespoon will add fruit depths to everything from gravy for game birds (pour it into the roasting tin and stir over a high heat to dissolve all the roasting debris into the gravy) to a major injection of flavour to a fruit crumble. Try it with plums or – best of all – with blackberry and apple. Not a gin type? Then use vodka.'

Nigel Slater