The Bee and the Tea

After having spoken at the ‘Call to Mind’ group in St Mary’s, Swansea a couple of weeks ago, I got to thinking.  The result can be found by following this link to their weblog:

Apologies to anyone coming here as a result of reading the blog post linked above.  To you, this will be the online equivalent of being given a piece of paper with the words ‘Please turn over’ written on both sides.  Feel free to take a look around my blog whilst you are here, it may be marginally more fun than clicking back and forth between posts!

Retrospective items: 3 of 3 (kinda…)

Earlier this year,  I was asked to give an interview at a seminar being held in Cardiff regarding the subject of mental illness and Christianity.  After having answered a number of questions about my own experiences, I then read a piece of autobiographical writing about time spent in psychiatric hospital.

Rather than re-hash that particular approach, however, I shall use this post to direct you to another piece of writing I have been working on recently.  It is hosted on the Call to Mind weblog.  This is the online presence of a support group based in St Mary’s Church, Swansea, which explores mental illness issues from a Christian point of view.  Feel free to go and take a look by following this link:

If you are in the Swansea area this coming Thursday, 13th July, you would be welcome to drop by St Mary’s Church at 2pm to hear more.  If that is insufficient incentive alone, I have even promised to supply cake…

Retrospective items: 2 of 3

Back last year, I was asked to perform some of my poems at a local fundraising concert in aid of Parkinson’s UK.  The friend who asked me is a fine gent who himself suffers from the disease, so I was keen to agree.

Consequently, come 4th November, I found myself sharing the bill with a number of excellent musicians and a talented fellow poet.  The evening was well attended, and raised a good amount of money for the charity.

I am unable to share any of the music from the concert, but I can give you a taste of the evening in the form of one of the poems I read.  It is a bit of nonsense which will make most sense to people who have an understanding of the Welsh language.  Enjoy!

A bit o’ ffun 
Come back with me to my cwm bach, 
Come, bach, with me to my cwm. 
Cwtch away here in my cwm, bach. 
Come cwtch with me in my cwm.

Now, in true language-lesson style (from my faded memory of school in the 1980s), here is a list of vocab:

Cwm: Valley
Bach: Small (also a term of affection)
Cwtch (away): Hide (away)
Cwtch: Hug, cuddle (but with much greater depth of meaning)
Ffun: made up word (I just decided to move the letter ‘f’ from ‘of’ and add it to the front of the word ‘fun’ in order to make pseudo-Welsh word.  Apologies to all Welsh speakers out there!)


Retrospective items: 1 of 3

A while ago, I wrote a poem which was allegedly about Victorian Swansea.  Having been successfully shoe-horned into an exhibition on that theme, it was recently returned to me.  I’ll let you see for yourself why the link is quite so tenuous.  Hope you enjoy it anyway.

Tempest Prognosticator

Slimy creatures start climbing as storms brew,
As Doc Merryweather well knew,
So he built a fine leech barometer
Which was then used to monitor
The onset of approaching storms.

His 'jury of philosophical councillors',
Most unusual of weather announ-cilors,
Would climb as the atmosphere changed
Causing small bells to ring as arranged,
Early forecasters in primal forms.

Had in Swansea this means been adopted
New leeches would needs be co-opted
As they'd tire from such frequent prediction
Of the near-constant rainfall affliction
Of this city.

This however did not come to pass
For the far less intriguing Storm Glass
Was the choice of the Government-types
So no leeches would crawl up their pipes,
More's the pity.

Tempest Prognosticator

To learn more about this fascinating invention, and perhaps get some idea what I’m going on about, visit:

Taking Flight

Twitter Art Exhibit

This postcard art is currently being exhibited at the Twitter Art Exhibit in Stratford Upon Avon, where various artists are selling their work in aid of childhood cancer charity, Molly Olly’s wishes.  The exhibition is running until Wednesday 19th April at The ArtsHouse, 14 Rother Street, Stratford Upon Avon CV37 6LU.

If you are in the area, perhaps pop by and take a look at the excellent work on display.  If you like what you see, buy a piece – thus supporting a worthwhile charity and an independent artist.  What’s not to like…?


After a looooong absence, I thought I would blow the dust off my blog with something a little different.

This is a nonsense song inspired by sitting in traffic and watching workmen dig yet another hole.  It is also my first attempt at sharing something in audio.  I have saved it as a video without graphics cos that is what I had to hand, and am not currently sufficiently  tech savvy to change it.  Feel free to minimise the blank vid for full audio experience!

Go on, click the link.  You know you want to:  Diggin’

(Also, please let me know whether or not the link works.  As I have said, I am experimentin’.  Thanks.)

Of siblings and time

Please note: this is not a carefully crafted piece of writing.  Today, I have come here simply to think out loud.  You are free to join me if you wish…

I have been reflecting on the nature of shared experiences recently, about how there are people in our lives with whom time can ‘concertina’.  I guess you know the kind of people I mean.  You will have shared a significant portion of your life with them, both in terms of time and location, and also your hardships and celebrations.  These are the people that you can sit down with, after many years have elapsed, and speak as if you last met only yesterday.  I love having those people in my life, there is something very special about that kind of friendship.

I took this thought a bit further today.  I found myself musing on the fact that the people who know us the best are often those with whom we have shared the most.  I used to have a sister. I say ‘used to’, because sadly she died over two years ago.  She and I had shared experiences which spanned our respective lives.  Experiences from childhood and memories which would only make sense to ourselves, and perhaps also to our parents.  I am the youngest repository of those memories now, the other two being my Mum and Dad – who I am fortunate to still have in my life.  This won’t always be the case, though.  Eventually, my parents will go the same way as my sis, and I will be left.

This thought makes me feel a little bit adrift in this world.  It is not only the fact that these shared memories will ultimately be shared with no-one else, but also the realisation that these people – who have known me the longest and to some extent know me the best – will be gone.

Which brings me full circle, to those friends with whom time concertinas.  As I said, I am grateful for these friends.  I am also very glad of those with whom time has no need to concertina, because we have managed to keep in touch during the intervening years. My longest-standing friends are probably those I first met at Uni, when I was all of 19 years old (a mere *ahem* years ago).  These people will eventually become those who have known me for the greater part of my life, and the only ones who have really known me since I was that young.

I’m not sure what this means.  I know it means I am very blessed to have such friends. Perhaps it makes them sort of ‘time-siblings’, though I’m sure there is a better way of saying that.  I guess, if you read this and realise you are one of my concertina friends or ‘time-siblings’, I would like you to know that I am glad to have you in my life; you are precious to me and you are loved.