When the sun goes down on a clear day, there’s a very special kind of light – neither daylight nor moonlight, but somewhere in between: the two lights that meld into twilight.
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“the birdcage”

For reasons irrelevant, last night I stayed in a strange hotel in London. “Strange” in the sense that I had never stayed there before, and “strange” in the sense that it was not like any hotel I had ever stayed in previously.

chandelier and stained glass
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some squirrels and a Wren

The squirrels in the previous post were photographed in St Paul’s churchyard, London. Like the ones I remember from the parks of my childhood, they were very friendly and keen to be fed by the tourists.

Nearer to home there are wild squirrels who visit and use the flower pots on the patio as storage jars for their winter supplies; they are not at all tame – which is why I couldn’t get closer for the next picture – but they do seem to have learned their kerb drill:

grey squirrel sitting on kerbside as if waiting to cross road
Tufty would be proud
October 20th was the anniversary of the birth of Christopher Wren, so it seems appropriate to make another post connected to his great work, St Paul’s. I made a brief visit there on a recent trip to London and sat in the churchyard, where I watched the squirrels and began planning a poem.
Continue reading “some squirrels and a Wren”

towers & translations

I still haven’t explored all the functions of my new digital camera, which means that I occasionally press the wrong button and change the settings by mistake. Suddenly, for example, I find I’ve taken a whole series of pictures of a stationary subject, like this set of the Houses of Parliament.

Frustrating as this is, it has made me start thinking again about the different versions of a poem that arise from the translation process.
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life, death and points arising

Lion, sovereign's entrance, Houses of Parliament, London

Despite all succeed-in-social-media advice, I don’t have a regular schedule for blog updates, but this hiatus of nearly a fortnight is not the norm.

While travelling last week, I found I was doing my own impersonation of the Seven Dwarfs: puffy, sniffy, whingey, dozy, grumpy, busy… well that’s only six, but I tagged coffee onto the list, and kept going.

I grew up thinking the seventh Disney dwarf was Dock – a very dwarf-like name; listing my symptoms in an email, though, I had a moment of clarity: I was missing Doc.

So I went to the doctor and discovered I was rather more poorly than just a “stinking cold”. Dosed up with three types of antibiotic, I am now beginning to get back on track.

This means I’ve been out of commission for most of the initial furore surrounding Thatcher’s death, but am still just in time for all the fun of the funeral.

Although there’s little to be added to all the keen online wit and repartee, I do want to raise a few points:
Continue reading “life, death and points arising”




Seen through old sash windows, a crinkle of brickwork
and ripple of wrought iron remind me that glass is liquid:
cool and viscous, it creeps earthwards through the centuries.

This thought occurred to me when looking out at the buildings in the picture. Then, of course, I felt obliged to go and research whether glass really is liquid or whether that’s just an old wives’ tale. The idea is discussed at some length and technicality in this paper.

I think the conclusion is that, although glass can be considered a super-cooled liquid, the variations in thickness of old glass are nothing to do with the pull of gravity. Still, I was trying to write poetry not science, so I’m leaving it as it is and will blame any inaccuracy on my fallible narrator.

*oops: I really did spell it that way and publish it without checking. I’ll blame the fallible writer for that; and the fact that it’d be distorsión in Spanish.

more horsey bits

The horses and riders who passed by at 7 am were obviously up too early to have had a chance to titivate. But at the ones who came by at eleven had all their ceremonial trimmings and trappings, and positively sparkled in the sunlight:

guards and horses in ceremonial uniforms, london

This gives me a chance to look back at a word I learned yesterday when I ‘bumped into’ the Lord Mayor’s Show. I knew the parade was scheduled, but was really rather hoping to avoid it. I was on my way to an exhibition when I suddenly heard drums and trumpets and found myself in a perfect position to watch everything. Since I rather like marching bands, I stayed.
Continue reading “more horsey bits”