dirty habits

When I left the house in Spain, I had to pack up all my books and put them in storage. I don’t know how many there were but, around twenty years earlier, fifteen boxfuls had followed me from the UK to Madrid. I’ve never been one for reading and abandoning a book, so in the intervening period the number may well have doubled. Perhaps one day I’ll be re-united with them.

Since arriving back in the UK, I’ve tried to be reasonable about acquiring more as I simply don’t have the space. But for some reason, I like to own what I have read and my few bookcases are full to capacity.
Continue reading “dirty habits”


The days after Christmas are always a good time for clearing up and throwing things out, ready to welcome the New Year into a clean and tidy house. In a fit of such domestic enthusiasm last week, I was checking sell-by dates and clearing out dangerous and suspect items from the kitchen when I came across this:

chili pepper package
The chillies were clearly past their best, but as I went to toss them aside, I noticed the date: September 9th – with no year specified.
Continue reading “discoveries”

bluebirds II

European Jay on grape-laden vine

I’ve mentioned before the effect certain blue birds have on me: how they raise my spirits and how, for the (usually brief) moments that they are visible, I forget to do anything other than stand and stare.

This week, though, a jay has visited the vine regularly – I guess the grapes must be just about ripe – so I’ve had my camera to hand on my desk ready for when he appears.

Each morning
a jay visits the vine;
high above, cirrus
whisper of autumn

Normally, even if the camera is easily found, opening windows or doors startles any wildlife away before I can get a picture. But after the recent cleaning binge, I was able to take this photo through the window.

Windows cleaned
inside and out:
how bright the world looks!

Even so, if this is the best I can do, I think next time I’d better leave the bird photography to the experts and settle for recording the image in my memory rather than on my camera’s memory card.

autumn cleaning

“September on the doorstep” – not yet a poem, but maybe it’ll grown up to be one when it’s older.

Vacuum cleaners are great, but there’s nothing quite like taking your aggression out on a dusty carpet hung on the line!

carpets hung on a washing line
Continue reading “autumn cleaning”

computer consumables

Yesterday’s post touched on domesticity and cleaning, so I think this is as good a time as any to post this poem.


My laptop

is a messy eater. Each morning

I find tell-tale crisp crumbs


between its square white teeth


cracker fragments and

the improbably orange powder

of industrial snacks.

It’s happy

sat atop a take-out pizza box

and olive stones have never yet

upset its equilibrium.

It’s anchored

to the desk by coffee rings

and gin-and-tonic lemon juice

has glued the disc drive shut.

Pass me

a paper towel and I will wipe

that smear of melted chocolate

from the space bar                   lip.

Remember: Don’t confuse the narrator with the writer. You may have seen the photo of a dreadfully dirty keyboard the other day, but you should not assume that this poem is in any way based on real life!!