Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Poem


Everything must be explained,
death, clouds, oxygen,
so when we at last descend,
you neatly clip the safety card
to the seat in front of you,
and talk us through what we do
should the plane, perhaps in the midst
of this very tight turn, ditch
in the sea. You practise the head
brace, check your shoes won’t tear
the safety slide. When the plane rocks,
you watch hopefully for the masks
to drop like blooms from the ceiling.
At a standstill, you scan the morning’s
light, sniff pine, prepare to change
topics. The rest of us, as ever, are insane:
mortal terror is our baggage; we swear,
we sweat, we are defined,
but all you have with you to declare,
is pure, unfettered mind.

Friday, October 26, 2007


October slides into November. It is dreich, smurry, even. Maybe a bit blowsy. Don't know, the jury's out.

We were in Minorca for a week, which was very nice, though there was more precipitation than was helpful and I lost the kids' teletubbies on the aeroplane, a fact we have managed to keep cunningly concealed from them while frantic attempts are made to find substitutes, a labour not made easier by the fact that these were ORIGINAL DISCONTINUED Teletubbies, delux velur beanies, not the old trash you can buy now. The £365 spent on the intensive MUZZY language course for the kids proved money well spent, as they were able to order dinner every night in Catalan and hold conversations about the weather, the value of the Euro against sterling, and the prospects of the Rangers Barcelona game with a variety of waiters and housemaids. In fact they said nothing, though Lydia was heard to mumble "timida" once, as she turned scarlet faced away from another attempt to make her talk. In fact she came away from Holiday with more knowledge of Welsh than Spanish, as there were several lovely welsh kiddies in the pool whose English was obviously poor, or non-existent.

Wouldn't it be great if we could all speak Gaelic? We could sit in the lounge bar of the Withered Giblet and abuse the English without them understanding a word we said.

My mother was a native gaelic speaker but never taught us- she thought English the way forward, daft wumman.

On returning to Drumsleet I visit local thistlemilk entrepreneur Theosyphilis Neil in hospital. Having discovered some new and obscure benefit to claim, Theosyphilis resolved in mid October to break his right leg for the 43rd time and is now in plaster up to his oxters. Hospital appears to be the man's ideal milieu, however, for he is to found every afternoon in a wheelchair in the shrubbery outside conducting a series of dodgy deals with other salubrious denizens of Drumsleet whose intemperate habits have led them to temporary residence alongside him. "See the f......contraband in this place, Shug" says Theosyphilis rubbing his hands together with glee, "get every day and make a f..........fortune at the same time.. Do you think you could lend me twenty quid to get started?"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Eric Moodiecliffe

It is very sad to hear of the death of Eric Booth Moodiecliffe, gentleman and artist. Eric was an extremely gentle and funny man and I for one will miss him greatly. He did suggest to me towards the end that his demise would add a fortune to the value of his paintings, so the owner of some of the more fabulous pieces, such as 'Midnight in Stavanger' painted in Eric's purple and green period, had better hang on to them.

Eric was full of surprises one of these being the fact that while a psychiatric nurse he looked after the famous American poet Robert Lowell, and calmed him during one of his manic phases with a huge and boring rendition of one of Moodiecliffe's own poems (which he could always recite off by heart, of course, no matter the size) called 'Time is a Thief'.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

National Potery Day

Scotland Immemorial

We left the lush fields of Ireland
in search of rock to perch on,
to garner and shuffle into cairns,
to carve mazily or batter folk,
to celebrate our Kings.

At the start of the future,
it’s as though we said:
all this work in leather,
the filigree the euro-galleys
bring when sea’s like glass,

is a’ very guid, but it won’t last, eh?
You ken whaur ye are wi’ stane.