Category: Events and Outings

Word Fest (by )

So Gloucester is about it have it's first ever Literature Festival in the form of Word Fest organised by the Cathedral. The line up looks amazing (I should probably say at the point that I am now involved with performance and stuff at the festival and I am notorious for getting excited and carried away with events! And am therefore not impartial! But seriously...).

I am hoping that my hospital appointment doesn't clash with a few things I want to go and see on Friday including a talk on Aethelflaed - hence me taking in Puppet Aethelflaed this weekend to tell people about poetry ๐Ÿ™‚

Also I am continuing with my Aethelflaed Quest and Search for All Things Anglo-Saxon so really really hoping ๐Ÿ™‚

There are lots of ways you can link history to literature - Anglo-Saxon monarchs are excessively easy to do this with as they were still running on the bardic tradition of getting epic poems about themselves published. And that's before you then have like a thousand years pulse of stories being written about them!

I like how you can follow the political trends of the day by how figures such as Judith from the bible is depicted in literature and art through out time. Aethelflaed is one of the Queens who was associated with this even more archaic symbol and Judith is very much a symbol - her name means lit. Jewish Lady O.o

I am running a little preview event this weekend at the Quays shopping centre to tell people about the festival, wax lyrical with poetry (and not just mine) and pester people with puppets! I will also have some writing workshop stuff with me and have the first proper outing for the Pandora Prose Story Cubes which I am very excited about and have been working on for months. I have been chugging away at the old WigglyPet Press ๐Ÿ™‚

We will be by the Nike shop on Sat 30th of June 11 am to 2 pm and Sun 1st of July 11 am to 1:30 pm followed by the Gloucester Poetry Societies monthly session at the Waterstones in town. This is one of the regular poetry events that I host ๐Ÿ™‚

The actual festival is the 6-8th of July - again we have the space in the Quays from 11 am - 2 pm, because bizarrely I am in more demand than I ever thought possible I am then wizzing over to Ledbury Poetry Festival which is also AWESOME and AMAZING and performing there. This means I am missing not only the Gloucester slam but, Poetry, Pie and Pint with one of the Stroud Poets I love - seriously Eley Furrell can send goose bumps down your arms with his word craft and performance. There are workshops and talks and Elvis... got to mention Elvis McGonagall - I have a claim to fame - he once said he liked my poem - can't remember which lit fest it was now or even which poem! (Ok so it's not a big claim to fame but still!).

Sunday I am hoping to get to a story telling workshop and take part in the Story Telling Slam - I love Chloe The Midnight Story Teller's work - when we first moved to the Cotswolds I was struggling to find creativity and inspiration that wasn't bloody water colours of landscapes or slightly more pagany hears :/ But we went to story telling night in the Village of Edge I think and there was Chloe and an American lady and they set my blood on fire again and I started writing again - this was at a point where I had been severely ill with Jean's pregnancy and moved away from all my friends and family - I needed that creativity - but more I needed the determinate fire and that is something Chloe is very good at giving to audiences. A few years later I met her again at a local poetry night in Cheltenham and she encouraged me to be getting up and performing and at that point I needed someone to say that to me.

Since then I have caught her story telling antics for both kids and adults when ever and where ever I can ๐Ÿ™‚ Both the kids love her work and Jean even bought her audio book/CD with her own pocket money!

And lo! She is doing story telling for kids on the 7th - a free event so I know where my kids will be ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nightshade's Tales of Tooth and Claw.

Then the Sunday - if I am not too worn out from Ledbury I plan to go to her Storytelling workshop - Hot off the Tongue and take part in the story telling slam.

Last I checked there is still space in both the poetry slam (sadly clashing with Ledbury) and the story telling slam - so knowing other performers and writers out there in the local environs - if you are interested you should email helen.jeffrey@gloucestercathedral.org.uk.

Summer Event AWESOMENESS!!!! (by )

The first half of the summer was pretty EVENT FULL with Women's History Month in London, Pride, The Aethelflaed Festive and general shenanigans but the second half looks to be even more... WOOP!

Sat Jun 30th 11 am - 2 pm - WordFest preview weekend - The Gloucester Poetry Society and WigglyPetPress will be hosting a little performance space in Gloucester Quays by Gap, giving out info and having some little workshop bits for people to join in with. Aethelflaed the Puppet may well be in attendance! Free

Sun July 1st 11 am - 1:30 pm - WordFest Preview Weekend - same as above ๐Ÿ™‚ Both events are free! Sunday's is followed by our normal Waterstones Presents event. Free

Sun July 1st 2 - 4 pm - Waterstones Presents The Gloucester Poetry Society - this is our regular monthly poetry event in Gloucester Waterstones Cafe - come and share a poem it can be your own work or something that you just admire. Free

6-8th July - WordFest - some free events and some you have to pay for - lots of stuff to do.... I'll be running the area at the Quays again on the Sat. 11 am - 2 pm. And be in the Story Slam. Currently there are still spaces in both the poetry and the story slam if you want to compete.

Sat 7th July 8-10:30 pm - ยฃ9 entrance - Ledbury Poetry Slam part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival.

14th-15th Art In the City - Free Events - I will have a stall for the whole weekend for both WigglyPetPress and Salaric Art and Crafts. I will also be live drawing for the competition on the Saturday and have art work on display in the library. Exact dates and timings of my exhibition to be called.

Sun 5th of Aug - ยฃ3.50 entrance kids go free - True Believers Summer Variant Comic Book Festival at Black Friers Priory

Thurs 9th of Aug 11 am - 3 pm - Upcycled Bunting free craft workshop at Gloucester Cathedral

11th - 12th of Aug - Cranham Feast - it's a couple of quid to get in and is full of games, entertainment and there is cricket plus the deer roast, possession on the Sunday.

Thurs 23rd Aug 11 am - 3 pm - Upcycled Crowns - free craft drop in workshops at Gloucester Cathedral.

Plus of course all the normal things like Villanelles, Food For Thoughts, Stroud Out Loud, Buzzwords, Poetry Cafe Cheltenham, Drink and Draw Chelt, Piranha Poetry etc... which I get to as an when I can and are open mics or community gatherings so not me being booked to do a specific thing unlike the stuff above!

World Refugee Day (by )

Aethelflaed Talking on World Refugee Day

Queen Aethelflaed the Puppet - Mother of England - talking about why she founded St Oswald's to a group of Scouts - she also mentions the fact that she would have been a political refugee as a child. Her father was on the run for a huge chunk of her childhood - she was probably safe living with family in a neighbouring Kingdom (the one she later ruled) but she would have been aware of what was going on and how precarious her position was.

Yesterday was World Refugee Day - a day it sickens me that we need, a day that highlights the plight and the wrong done to those in need around the world - and some of those doing the wrong are people who should be doing the protecting - people who have forgotten their own histories of persecution and fleeing in desperation. With the US lying to refugee families using rhetoric such as "you are going for a shower" to split up families - to rip children already scared and frightened from the only thing they have - their families - to use those words - that trickery... the ghosts of Auschwitz must surely stir. They are no doubt more moved than the power hungry bullies who are creating these inhumane policies.

We are all on a tiny little rock floating in space - life is so fragile, wars and war mongers create refugees - economic collapses occur due to power struggles that have nothing to do with the people who suffer - so why are they the ones punished?

And quiet frankly - it is a matter of luck and things can change so fast - you think your safe? Well so did a lot of the refugees not long ago. It could be you standing there in their place, it could be your family being torn apart.

And even if we were in an assured place - then why not help? For fear that they might use up some of our resources? One of the things I've had hurled at me over my stance on helping people is that I don't care about my children and my family - as if I am taking bread out of my own families mouths to feed the homeless/refugee. But apart from the absurdity of this - we are not struggling for food - we have done so in the past but not now and it seems to me that those with the most capacity to share are the ones that hold onto it, rigid and unrelenting.

My kids can go without ice-cream for some other kid to have a nutritious meal, my kids (though they would often argue) live in the lap of luxury - sure they have to do chores and we don't do lots of things they see their friends do - but they have food and cloths and toys and an xbox. They can go without a cinema trip to give clothing to those who need it.

From a selfish pragmatic point of view - I am protecting them - desperate people do desperate things and that leads to higher crime rates especially violent crime. A lot of the stuff I see being called a "gang", immigrant etc... problem comes down to poverty. The lesson should be that we need to care for others but people seem to take it to mean that we shut the door and well history hasn't been kind to those who did that in the second world war... but people seem to have forgotten or never known these things - those bought up in the shadow of the second world war (baby boomers) often see it as a glorious pulling together time against the damn enemy. They have often never looked at it as an actual piece of history.

I am truly scared by the uncaring, vindictive behaviour and out right hate I am seeing grow globally especially amongst the so called civilised countries ie America, Australia - Britain. But worse is the apathy and won't say that I haven't suffered from that also - so many bad things crushing down on you - demanding your attention - you kind of shut off. We don't do TV - when I go to my parents house I am horrified by the gut wrenching, emotional manipulation of the adverts that bombard most people at regular intervals through out the day - no wonder they are desensitised to it all - I'm not sure it registers as real hidden amongst all the day time dramas and things either.

Having said all this I am at a loss on how to help - a while ago now I was involved in a fundraising evening to provide clothing and things - but I became suspicious of where the money was actually going and so I am wary. If you deal with a charity and know they are doing good things - have seen what they have done - feel free to link to them in the comments.

This is an old film now but still relevant about the UN Refugee Agency.

As a writer, artist, communicator I feel it is my duty to NOT remain quiet whilst these atrocities are being performed and don't think I am being extreme here in what I am saying - the body count is mounting, and once more it is the most vulnerable who suffer - those who should most be protected.

Yes I wear my hear on my sleeve - I am a parent - I can not divide children into those to care for and those to make suffer - that is... an UNSPEAKABLE CRIME and yet I must speak it - I must highlight that that is exactly what is happening and I must fight against it. All decent people need to fight against it and too see it for what it is.

On a more positive note - many are standing and being counted - there is Harry who is in his 90's and is doing all he can.

My tweets and retweets on the matter:

Dino-Roar (by )

Mary building a dinosaur sanctuary

Warning contains some spoilery things for Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.

Saturday as a treat for trying so hard with the allotment and housework, Mary got to pick the film we went to watch - we were expecting Star Wars but instead Dinosaurs won. Main decider was finding out that there would be no BB8 who apparently I have been misgendering and who according to Mary is obviously a girl.

She even put on her dino claw shoes, and was... noisome all the way there, Al asked her why she didn't have a little rest before the cinema - her reply?

"But I have to sit quiet and still for the WHOLE film" and so she continued to hurtle about with her very loud voice. First off she couldn't see the screen properly so a booster seat was arranged and then she noticed it was a 12 A and had to be reassured that she was allowed in the film.

Once the film started - like the first scene! She climbed onto a lap and spent most of the film on either mine or Alaric lap with some Jean hand holding. She loved LOVED loved the film so much, she identified with the child who was obviously not going to go to bed and the dinosaur Blue. Hence she is now called Blue-Maisy and has asked to see the next film. Actually she keeps asking when the next film is out!

We all preferred this film to the last one, it is going more in the direction I thought the story would have to go to still work - a few things irked - and it is not quiet how I would have done it though the result in world building is basically the same.

On the way home there were conversations about dinosaurs hunting as in the fossils, genetics and subspecies, stem cell research and medical/vetinery care and even computing and building design.

Fiction has always been a gateway to science and science has always inspired new fiction. Something which I think can get lost somewhat in the higher echelons of science and/or education who sweat the small stuff - because you know it doesn't actually matter that Jurassic Park (back in the day) wasn't accurate it drew you in as a story, it showed you a world or science being the tool for the good and the bad, it showed that everyone could be part of that world and... DINOSAURS!

I belong to a generation who's love of space and dinosaurs was sparked by such programmes and you know those inaccuracies where actually really useful - it was awesome finding out about the real creatures and the time periods over which they lived and laughing at the scariest things turning out to be, you know the size of chickens!

It was certainly one of he more enjoyable trips we've made and it mirrored so perfectly when my family went to see the original film right down to the youngest sibling sitting curled up on a lap!

However, there was one disappointment for Mary to find out that she can't go to the US and find lots of dinosaurs rampaging around the place - she was already planning her trip!

She has since been building a dinosaur sanctuary to keep them away from those awful human beings! (pictured above)

Volcanos and Octopi! (by )

It is Cephalopod Week - so I am sharing some lovely little films and things I have collected over the last year!

Of course I love the fossil ones like ammonites but live ones are pretty damn awesome too!

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