Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Book Review - Making Winter by Emma Mitchell

'Banish winter blues and embrace the frosty months by cosying up with Emma Mitchell's nature-inspired collection of crafts'

As someone who has followed Emma on Twitter for a few years I know how passionate she is about crafts, making and the life affirming benefits to be gleaned from doing something soothing and productive like crochet or baking. She is a successful crafter, running workshops to promote the joys of making. So I cheered when she said she was writing a book. I knew it would be beautiful and witty, like the lady herself, and I was not disappointed.

This is so much more than just a craft book. There are yummy recipes which are destined to become firm family favourites, there are things to do with twigs and twine so there is an unashamed crafty element to the book. But what Emma does so beautifully is invite you through her words to pull up a chair, sip a warming cuppa and relax into winter. A Fenland hyyge if you like with added cake and doggy cuddles.

The illustrations are beautiful. Emma has photographed the area where she lives and its beauty is breath-taking. Lots of pictures of the crafts being done aid her clear and often witty instructions. However the real joy is the simple, stunning line drawings by Emma, who is truly talented and gifted with a pen or a brush.

The crafts and recipes are really tempting - I am looking forward to making the Chelsea buns and the streusel cake - so there should be something to tempt most folk. My only issue is the lack of knitting projects. As a non crochet person I was longing to knit some of the creations so would have liked similar patterns for the knitter. But I know Emma is all about the hook and yarn so I will forgive her.

So if you fancy popping out for a ramble and picking some leaves and twigs you could do worse than grab a copy of Emma's book and find ways to transform your finds into lovely home decorations. As Emma says, you may even 'replace the feel-good brain chemicals that may falter during these dingier months'. And that must be a good thing.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

For Paula

Passing ships, some light, some dark
Drift across the ocean of experience.
Some brush against us so subtly, so softly,
Hardly rippling the glassy surface.
Others barge past, pushing us aside,
Demanding the right of way.

We meet so many people on our journey
Through life, over the years.
Many we meet briefly and forget,
Some stay with us for years
And others only for a heartbeat.
Our loved ones, our companions, our friends.

Paula was a carnival of colour arriving over the horizon
One weekend in springtime.
She lit the room like a sunflower,
All colour and laughter and light.
A rainbow warrior woman grabbing life by the hand,
Shaking the tree of experience until all the fruit fell.

Lovely Paula.
You taught me to believe, to smile, to enjoy,
To celebrate each moment of each day.
You saw a spark, a talent in me
Which I was pushing down, hiding, denying.
Thank you for the words, the encouragement,
The love which shone through.
Thank you and goodnight
Beautiful, wonderful, gentle Paula.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Prompt 156 - Should

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

She should concentrate on her maths lesson,
But those handsome boys would run up and down
Outside the window playing football.
If only she could tear her eyes away.

She should get home in time for tea as she was told,
But it would be such fun to play just one more game
Of hid and seek in the sunshine with friends.
If only she could remember to be good.

She should take a coat in case it got cold,
But her outfit was so stunning she wanted
The world to admire it as she walked into town.
If only she could stop shivering she'd look oh so cool.

She should stay in and finish writing her essay
But it would be such fun to head into town,
Watch a band and dance with friends.
If only she had more discipline.

She should go to bed early before an early start,
But it would be a shame to miss the end of the film
And never know who the killer was.
If only she wasn't so tired already.

She should listen to her friends advice and say 'no',
But it would be a shame not to go on a date
With the hottest bad lad in the whole town.
If only she had been more street wise and sensible.

She has a few regrets, as she should,
She would never advise you follow her advice,
She could be an angel, if she wished.
So, tell me, should she?

Thursday, 28 September 2017

National Poetry Day

As it's National Poetry Day I thought I'd share a couple of old poems from the 90s that I came across recently. One is a bit silly, one is more serious. Let me know what you think.


The first time there are church bells
Ringing in your head.
There's champagne and there's chocolate
And flower on the bed.

He is your only one true love
Your burning heart's desire.
Your passion it will keep you warm
Until you both retire.

The first time there is vodka
It swills around your cup.
You know you'll need another one
To keep your courage up.

He is a guy you know a bit
You met him at a party.
Now after several pints of beer
He doesn't look so hearty.

Walking Where The Goats Walk.

Clinging to the cliff edge
A rock strewn path,
So steep, so hard,
I walk with ginger steps
Like a tightrope walker
With vertigo.

Grey, brown,
Marble white.
First polished smooth
By generations of passing feet.
Then honed razor-sharp
By wind and water
Into spines cutting across the path.

Palest china blue, softest saffron,
Burnished browns and reds,
Sooty black with red streaked wings;
Always tantalisingly out of reach.

A low bass slap
As it pounds against a rocky hollow.
Marine indigestion.
A small tree lined glade,
Cool in the fierce heat.

As I walk the path,
In burning heat,
Sweat sticking my hair to my head,
I hear the faint jangle of goat bells,
High up on the mountainside,
Reminding me
That they tread these paths
So much better than I.