Sunday, 21 September 2014

Journey of a Crochet Beer Jacket

It has been a while since I have spent some time on this blog. Too long I hear some voices say, but I have been busy-ish crocheting.

Last time I wrote, I had just spent an scared filled five minutes standing in from of an audience and reading out some poems. And I have full intentions to do it again, if I don't let work get in my way. That is the paid drudgery kind, not what I should be doing which is writing, and getting all these tales out of my brain so I can think of some new ones.
What am I saying? I don't need any more stories, but that is me just procrastinating once again.

One of the reasons for waffling on, on this blog is crochet. And I realised that I haven't done much at all, never mind posting it, so I decided to crochet some simple granny squares. And then put them together.

But that was not really a worth while goal. So the idea of a jacket was born, slowly I grant you, over a couple of pints and a time scale that seemed achieveable. It was just over a month to the York Beer Festival and while collecting stamps to get free entry (something I never managed as I did let work get in the way) I would crochet the squares in the pub.

  And so I started to make a stash of squares and watched them grow. Not all were made in the pub as I estimated I needed over 70 of them. Yes 70. Suddenly my task seemed too large to manage, and I had less than a month left. With work nipping at my heels to help out, the tattoo of mug visible to all and sundry. And I realised with mounting horror, my squares were smaller than they should have been. But I didn't want to give up. Mind you, I had tweeted it on social media and felt some what obliged to continue.

So my granny square pile grew, and my colours increased, as I spent every hour I could making more, and edging them so they were big enough, or so I was beginning to hope. No wonder I have done little else.

 The squares started to come together, but my time was running out. Now I had to put them together, and not all my squares were even, as I had used different weights of yarn and different sizes. Arrgh! How would I put this thing together and would it fit after all this work? I didn't know, but I couldn't stop now.

  I crocheted the squares and filled in the gaps with more crochet. Lucky my chosen craft is very forgiving to additions and manipulations. I would have never managed this if I had tried to knit it..

And then it was done. It was the morning I was going to York Beer Fest and I had even managed a hood. My hands were aching and cramped and my vision blurred, but I had  finally made my jacket, and now I could embarrass myself further by wearing it.

Which is exactly what I did!
And what now for my beer Jacket? and the months and a half of work I put into it?
Now I have to continue with my writing, and poem performing. And so it becomes a performance jacket for an ale drinking, beer poet, and chocoholic who crochets.

Thank you for reading xxx

Monday, 28 July 2014

Saturday Night at The basement

Well, I have had a plan for just over a week now. After watching Spokes at The Golden Ball and listening to some amazing poetry by Steve Nash, Amina Ayal, Dave Gough with special guest Zach Roddis from Manchester who has given up his job to become a performance poet and hosted and added to by Dai Parsons: I felt somewhat inspired.
       I have done it once before: stood in front of a group of people and read out a few beer related poems at York Brewery last year (the same place I met Jennifer E. Jordan and she wrote that amazing song based on a few lines of drivel) called On The Hop and part organised by The Flanagan Collective , but I never did any thing else. And it was a very accepting audience, most of whom were waiting for their own turn.
    But I had planned at some point to do more, especially after the lyrical punk poet Henry Raby said he liked it. And then nothing. I didn't even try to find an open mic night to give it a go, nor pop down to the poetry group I know exist in my home city.  (Well, to call what I do poetry is sometimes pushing it, and proper poets might have a lot to say about my hastily scrawled lines I call my own and I am rubbish editing).
      Saturday night was different.
     I didn't really tell any one, so had no support and no one with any expectations to watch me, and my choice of poems was hastily compiled in the two hours between finishing work and going to York City Screen for 7.30.
      And I went on first.
     Not through choice but when pushed I do foolish things: like say OK I will go. The lights were in my eyes so I couldn't see a single face (which was a bit of a relief), and I used a microphone for the first time. God knows what my voice sounded like as I wasn't listening. and I rabbited on for 8 poems. I don't know if it was too long as I never got round to timing my words either but the whole night over ran so I might have to cut it down a bit. And people laughed, I hope in appreciation of my beer fuelled thoughts and laughed a lot when I rounded it up with a poem about Tea just to prove I don't drink all the time (but I don't think they bought it), as some one asked how many I had had that evening: and smiled at me when I said two! And It was two.
A delightful light and refreshing ale called Number 7 by Rudgate and their best ale, Ruby Mild, but that is by the by.
       A young lad with a good comic routine did enjoy it and said he enjoyed the tone of my words the comfortable breath of ale produced in my thoughts and made me wonder about the strangest things while watching the clouds go by.
      It was a great night. There were some really good acts which made me glad I went first as it just got better and better after me. And will I do it again? I bloody hope so and not take 10 months to try again.

Have a good evening and thank you for reading. xx

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Ralph and the Purple Fly By Christopher Brunt

Ralph and the Purple Fly
My book review on this growing master of twisted prose.

The story is unusual although a work obsessed scientist who unleashed who knows what upon an unsuspecting public is not an original one, Chris tackles it with talented gusto and thought tickling prose that makes it shine.

Even as I feel sorry for Prof. Conrad Constant I am also annoyed by his inability to cope with the every day that gives him his sense of superiority from the general human race, and his driven pursuit of his dreams that have helped him gain this level of academic excellence becomes lacking in detail at further levels of his work, which lead to his downfall.

Chris writes in such a way that you feel you have met the man, however briefly in real life and you are left  frustrated by the genius's lack of common sense. And the quirks that Chris sprinkles like a trail of bread crumbs lead you onward, through the increasingly misunderstood mind to the twisted and enigmatic end.

Chris, I look forward to your next book, The Lost Family and the crazy journey you will undoubted lead me through like a mad hatter with a pied pipe. I might not dance to your tune, but I cannot help but follow where you go. Keep up the good work, and don't be too long or I might burst with the growing anticipation.

Thank you for reading this and hopefully this book as well. Well worth a bite of the difference.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

The day after

I was cold this morning, cold and tired despite laying for several hours with my eyes closed and snoring. And no amount of clothes could warm me up. Like an adder in early spring, I sort out the sun to try and soak up the rays so my body could start working again, and my mind function, plus I had to go out and do some shopping, and sitting, staring at the telly was getting me nowhere.
So I wrapped myself up in black and braved the day, and slowly, although my footsteps were my usual fast pace, the sunlight crept in and brought me back to life.
Ok, this is reading like a tale of someone else who is living my life but I suppose that's what happens when you have a couple of good ales the night before, your own life seems far away and far more interesting than it really is. And I need the writing practise anyway.
A friend of mine has gone and got himself published.
Ralph and the Purple Fly by Christopher Brunt is an interesting read. I haven't finished it yet but will let you know what I make of it soon. (Oooh, a blog with a purpose, finally.)
You can find him on twitter @ or at 
Am I jealous? No. Am I envious? Oh yes very. Not so much that he has got published, but that he has pushed himself to get published. He has got his finger out and made someone other than a friend read his work, and that someone found merit in it.
How can I do less than that? A thousand tales linger in this brain of mind but I have never pushed to do anything with them accept occasionally spoil a prefectly crisp white sheet of paper with irratic ink marks I call writing just to make some space in there so I can get on with day to day living.
Now I have been issued a challenge, and one I should have risen to long ago but my stories were just, well, stories that I wrote, and thought about, and occasionally discussed with others who had no choice but to listen to me ramble on about some odd character doing strange things in the safety of my imagination.
Where I go from here I do not know but I have to try. Even if I just end up blogging a tale or two, my work will be out there. Shame my typing is not that fast, and I tend to have difficulty explaining things in type where words just flow from the pen when I write (not always coherently or legible I admit) and the story arrives from brain to hand in one easy ink blot.
I don't write ideas and plans, and I don't usually know what is going on until it happens, but this haphazardness works for me as a creative being. So getting organised for me is a hard thing to do, but I cannot let Chris take the literary world by storm all by himself now can I?
We shall see.

Thank you for reading.. xx

Monday, 9 June 2014

Breath of the Mind

Does the mind breathe?
I know it needs oxygen in order to work efficiently, but do our minds need more than that? Does it inhale time, and exhale thoughts, imagination, relaxation and creativity.
 Do our minds need moments to accept the wonders of the world around us, to process all the information that is bombarding us from our over abused senses, before it can go on being healthy and balanced?
Because we don't stop. There is no culture to take a moment out and let the brain process the world, to let the mind relax and meander from thought to random thought until it is a happy mind again.
 And we make it worse with social media, always checking where we are, who is around, what our favourite people are doing, what our work requires of us even when not at work. Arrgh!!!
Where is the technology that will make us enjoyers of leisure instead of consumers of pointlessness?
I have to hold my hand up and be counted, as the more tech savvy I get, the more I use it, and the harder it is to not spend that spare moment checking up just in case someone has emailed you, or what the weather will be in the next hour, where all I have to do it look up at the clouds and feel the wind to see if it might rain soon. And if I looked up, I might see the wonder of the world around us, the sparkling newness of the early summer greenery, the dancing tide viscously up the river in long, slow rolling humps of water, and the birds singing and darting just over my head as they rush to feed their rapidly growing brood of young.
Don't get me wrong, it is a good tool to use to teach, to keep in touch with those that matter to us, to learn new things, and discover what is going on in the local area, but then we forget to DO things. to go out and join in with those local activities, to engage with them.
But there is no time to just be.
In this ever expanding world of dwindling boundaries, in this time of work hard, and play harder, there is no pause button, no allowance of time to let thoughts trundle through the air, collecting questions and unusual answers as it goes, making us wonder at the marvellousness of the space we exist in. There is only the time to DO!
I know people all work differently and all need varying levels of experience, but if we just do all the time, how do we know what we are? If we cannot spend some time listening to the thoughts in our own heads, then what are we afraid of? That we are not happy with our lot? Not satisfied with our jobs and homes and lives?
That we don't want to be consumers of endless advancement?
I don't know, I have no answers, but I am happy I have the questions, and the time to ask them, even if it is only myself I ask.
For a long delicious moment in the warm sun, with a tickling breeze sending the clouds into paroxysms of bouncing laughter, I let my mind breathe!

(Thought of on a walk to work to place an order 3 hours before I started my job and then home again. Breath of mind indeed!)

Saturday, 31 May 2014

I am still here!

I didn't manage to keep up with my own challenge. Work got in the way again and made me feel small and unwanted.
But I am still here.
And I am still writing, and still enjoying a beer or two every now and then.
Sadly, I am growing fat with no bollywood dance class since the instructor twisted his ankle and my job has become a little more desk based, so I got off my spreading rear and walked to Clifton Moor and back.
Nearly 7 miles, and no chocolate to sustain me.
Problem is, I am off to an evening do for a mates wedding tonight so I haven't made much of a dent. And I think I might consume more than 700 calories in liquid refreshment. Could be a dance floor though. That might help.
But its another walk tomorrow. A longer one I think.
Pity there are few hills in York. Climbing up and down might just add to my desire to loose a few pounds of the weight variety. I can easily loose pounds of the monetary variety all the time.
Well, I may have failed my poetry binge but there are more where that came from....

No notepad.
No place to write.
But then, my soul
Has wallowed in the night.
In the dark.
In defeat.
My soul has languished.
 with naught to eat,
But sorrow.
Sorrow and pain.
The sharp cutting of the minutes
Into the same, of the same
And I, no shell.
No barrier at all.
Into the darkness
I do fall.
I do fall.
Until tomorrow.          24th April 2014

Then I did have a nice relaxing pint, and the day looked more promising...

At the edges,
Faded lines
And merge,
And cross over.
Taste, and thought.
Sound and sight,
Tickle and hint,
And linger.
Invented memories tease
And mind melts,
With ease.
As the edges blur.
And possibilities...
Wander!                            24th April 2014

Thank you to @Yorktap for a tasty, well cared for pint of Dark Rose by Hop Studio after a busy day at work.
Well, its nearly time to start getting ready so I will leave you all with your own thoughts for company.
Thank you for reading.  xx

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Mini NaPoWriMo again.

Ok, a busy couple of days and I have been a little flummoxed with the poetry prompts, but I have given them a shot. With time, they might start to make sense, but I doubt it.

I am not really good at this.
Wherever we are coming from,
be it today - always a Tuesday -
Where my thoughts linger, caught almost,
at the start.

But the words are flowing.
They trot over a little known path
Across the grass, and over the river
Where I, cannot go.

It is only a start, and I am poorer  
for my failure as this Tuesday fades.
There are so many others out there
So much better - on every other day -
Of the week and I cannot read them all.
So many, so may myriad talents,
And mine, is only Tuesday.            8th April 2014

My play lists are a bit boring as well....

Five random song titles.

I cannot explain why but
I predict a riot.
By all means necessary,
It shall come to pass.
Even with Weather to Fly  away
The explosion shall overtake us
Here, and now.
We shall be different again.
Do not hope
For a nameless Savior to protect us.
We are all responsible for our own salvation
In each, and every day.           9th April.

My thoughts linger with my sister tonight.
Thank you for reading. XX