Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Save it for your blog, Howard

It's been an odd couple of weeks... quite a few deaths (friends of friends, family of friends, family...) and some changes afoot too. Partly because of that I'm not going to be around here much for the next couple of weeks... but I hope to make contact with you all again before too long. You don't get away that easily.

In the meantime please enjoy some of the first episode of the marvellous comedy series "The Big Bang Theory" (won't embed - go here and today's post title comes in at about 5 minutes 40 seconds... can't believe it started in 2007!). We are watching the show again and introducing it to a new audience. So why is it so good? Because it celebrates intelligence in a world that seems ever stoopider? Possibly. Or does it mock intelligence in a world that is ever brighter? We could debate... though I might not be here to answer much... possibly a good thing...

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Bones of the past

Chapel of All Saints, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic, mid '90s (me in huge jacket for some reason!).

So I have travel on my mind once again (though not at as much as this)... and that reminded me of a fairly bizarre holiday some time back in the mid 1990s (sorry, exact dates not a speciality in the 1990s for me... whole years are blurred...). For the holiday in question I went to the Czech Republic with my Mum (who must have been about 70) and, partly because she never went by plane (ever – she suffered high anxiety about all kinds of things... though you wouldn't necessarily know it even if you'd met her), we went on a bus trip. The bus looked like this (it broke down in Germany once or twice...):

Whilst in Prague, we stayed with a "local host" – the man on the far right in the above picture in fact. His wife had left him so he had room. It was a great holiday in many ways – lovely weather and wanderings – and especially good day trips to places like Kutná Hora – home of the famous "bone church" (real name – Sedlec Ossuary) in the first picture. I'm not normally one for churches but this is possibly my favourite one ever. The bone decorations didn't spook me out at all... I just thought they were amazing... but I only seem to have that one photo now (you can see many more here).

Some time after the holiday I wrote a simple little poem about the trip. It's not the kind of piece that's ever going to go on any grand adventures itself (not magazine or competition worthy, I don't think) so I'll put it up here instead. Hope you like it:

Prague on the Cheap

We drove across kingdoms in a purple bus
with an onboard loo, no mess, less fuss.
We stayed in a house with a lovesick knight
and he cooked us dumplings every night.
We visited art and clocks in squares,
we cruised on the river and bought toy bears,
saw a church decked out with human bones
and were pleased by the lack of mobile phones.
You listened to notes, I stared at rays,
as the sun said good-bye to pleasing days.
We were brave and adventurous, wandering free,
not bad for a pair like you and like me.


RF 1999 (the poem, not the trip).

And all that reminds me in turn of this song:

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Lunan love

Lunan Bay, Angus 2006

I'm busy doing lots of unbloggable things just now... but last night I went to the local folk club and enjoyed a night listening to Scots-Canadian David Francey and that I can tell you about! It was my second time hearing Francey (lots of other folk singers cover his songs too) and it was a lovely night, almost magical in its way. This is one of his older songs... it's about love in high school (lots of high school change going on here...):

That version is sort of live-but-not-live but proper-live he is a very engaging performer and I recommend you catch a show if you can. He's on the road a lot!

The locals did some good work at the folk club too last night so there was some lovely singing and sharing of songs (and here's me been a bit out of love with the song lately –  shocker –  and listening to lots of instrumentals). I read two poems aloud –  the one that's in the current issue of Gutter and also an old love poem that I realise now has never been on-blog called "Free love". It is in my book "More about the song" (old friend now, from 2008) and it was prompted by, amongst other things, a trip Mark and I made to local beauty spot Lunan Bay some years back. Lunan is one of many beautiful local bays and beaches on the Angus coast but it was our nearest giant sandy beach when we first moved up and so we spent a lot of time there back then. This summer I've been back there more again because a new café has opened just by the beach and (a) a friend works there so I pop in to see here (oh and eat cake...) and (b) they've been selling my cards and books too (quite a lot of them too which is nice). There are some details of the café/shop here (though they won't be open for the winter –  closing mid October for the season, I think) and my Lunan (and other things) poem is below. Francey sings a lot about love so let's have a love fest while we can. Any excuse.

Free love

You can keep your twenty grand weddings
With the limos and jazz bands and suits
Give me that day we cycled to Lunan Bay
The hot sun, the empty beach
The lying in a mansize cup of sand in the dunes
The cycling home again the long way round

You can keep the diamond ring in platinum
The weighty jewel from a far-off mine
I'll take a handful of that icing sugar snow
That shines up on a sunny winter morning
Now that's what you can call sparkle
It's hard to find, harder still to keep

I'm sure love is not about the price
The menus or the pantomime
Love is the days when everyone's tired
But still no-one gets the blame
Love lies around the house quietly
Waiting, so quietly, to be needed

RF 2006

Monday, 3 September 2012

Clutching at...

So, there was one of those scarecrow festival affairs in our village over the weekend. Not much to prattle on about just now so here are a few photos of our favourite creations:

If you look at this one closely you can see there is work in the name too (it won a prize - well deserved):

Another one with an amusing play on words in the name...

This was an unwaxed Tom Daley apparently...

This was possibly my favourite (little work, much effect... my kind of production):


And finally, our own quick-think-of-something, ok-let's-recycle-that-Halloween-outfit-from-a-couple-of-years-ago effort (Coraline):

That's it from me... I'm going back outside to the sunshine now (please no comments about making hay...).