Category: Writing

A Canal Walk and Whole Ears (by )

Yesterday me and Jean went to get her ears pierced at a friends house - I don't have pierced ears - family members range from multiple piercings dripping silver and charms to no body ornamentation what so ever. Jean has been nagging me since she was 7 but I wanted her to be been grown up enough that I felt she could make an informed decision on the subject. She saved her money and it was time.

So we dropped Mary off at another friends for an adventure day and walked with my shonky old phone deciding to be flakey were the navigation tools were concerned. We got there only half an hour late and mainly that was due to me stopping to take photos. We were passing a building site - and couldn't resist the rubble - sadly there were some shots I just couldn't get due to some pesky fencing.

We walked via the docks around to the canal by the building works and then back via the canal.

The Bones of the City

the cities bones jut

The bones of the city just through to a skyline grizzling with an autumn struggling to be born.

A remnant ghost of structure

Remnants of structures long abandoned and decaying in misuse give up their ghosts to the wind and rain.

Opened

Buildings from an age lost a century or more ago are slit open for us to fest upon the hidden spaces that crept from them in the twisted shadows of the city crawling towards progress.

chimney Gloucester

Lost last ones of this time, hover on the horizon watching as a new land and time arises around them.

what's beneath next to

Preparations are made to hide new sentinels within to keep us healthy to keep us safe from drowning within our own wastes and needs.

Work site

Cages and guards await next to the monsters that will make their new homes... beneath and beyond the sight so that they are not ugly, as if utility is something to be ashamed of.

Insectile machinery

Like megalithic bugs all legs and spindles of sensors they wait, dormant and filled with the potential to create or destroy, the construction of... something.

green tanks waiting

Waiting in the colours of the sea, waiting alien and surreal on a rubble field that no war has produced but the minds of those striving for a place to be, to grow.

tanks waiting to go into the ground

The inflows and outflows of change and all the could bes and should bes and moments when all hangs in the balance.

tap or valve opening

Waiting for that perfect fit.

Not a tank

Dormant sleep - this land is cocooned waiting.

Tower of an older age

Memories of what it had been when it had thrived with boats and industry and polluted skies and people becoming and learning and striving. Things were learned and some of the learning is forgotten but much is not and so the land remoulds itself at the hands of these apes that tell stories of their own existence.

Over seeing the rubble

Beyond the tower and scars of industry lays a hill side that is older than the city and the roads and the chained and kept waters of the canal and it reminds of natures way and of how time will claim all things... grinding us all back to... star dust.

The Ear Piercing

Jean's comments on me taking the photos and discussing with her the poem I was going to weave and create out of them: "it's the first thing about me people find out - I have a weird mother, sometimes it's a good thing and its good weird, sometimes its funny and everyone laughs and sometimes its narghahahahahah - so embarassing there aren't even any words for it."

Also she had some frustration that I was making us late but the truth is that I just can't walk very fast and taking photos helps me walk further as I rest a little whilst I am stationary.

We had tea and chat and stroking of cats and hugging of babies and looking at Warhammer and lego awesomeness and then it was ear piercing time. I held her hands but she didn't even wince!

short hair and ears pierced

pierced ears

We then walked into town taking vids for our summer vlog though Jean reckons no one is interested in me rabbiting on about various insects - other than people like me and there aren't many of them apparently!

We ate food and felt sorry for our serving staff who were having one hell of a day with dealing with complete SHITS of customers - starting with a vicious old lady and ending with the family who were insisting on free refills in new glasses aggressively after only taking a few sips from it >:(

Then it was on to the accessory shops to pick up the fluid for cleaning the piercings to reduce the chances of infection and a look in various gaming shops etc... I may have bought rainbow ear rings for both of us (mine are clip ons hers are spiked) and some Lord of the Rings colouring books that were reduced to two quid.

Then it was bubble shake and tea stop before the final push through to walk home - sadly I have to have regular long sit downs like this if I am going to do the walking but was desperate for an explore and outing. Jean drew an unflattering picture of me with facial hair and looking old, I drew her - she said its not fair because I made her look nice and we were supposed to be doing charactures. I think she looks scary grown up now and that she has stolen part of my teen age wardrobe in the form of my plaid shirts.

I will put the second part of the canal walk into a different post as it will be another Poetry Walk entry and likely be a little long!

So just to end with - I think it was a good outing - Jean says it was a father/mother-son/daughter outing.

p.s. the land around the canals that appeared to be wilderness like when we first moved here were actually brown sites - ie they had been built on in the past and were laying derelict - they had once been a thriving part of Englands transport network with goods yards and workers housing. So though I like the wilderness I will always be happy with brown sites being built on rather than green belt or agricultural land. The waterways have been being heavily restored and are a wonderful walk now in a way that really was just not possible before - and they are providing lots of bits for wildlife - I was however sad to see the amount of bottles and things thrown into the canal but that is part of an on going litter and refuse collection issue the city has rather than anything else - I think my one remaining concern is that the housing is all being built on areas which really are very likely to flood.

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 🙂

Also I am continuing with my Aethelflaed Quest and Search for All Things Anglo-Saxon so really really hoping 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂 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 😉 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 🙂 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 - £9 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 - £3.50 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!

Royal Wedding Flags (by )

Hats For Headway (by )

So this is a thing, I didn't know it was a thing - I probably did but then forgot :/ But get your fancy head gear out!

knitted brain hat

Today is #HatsforHeadway to raise awareness and cash for an absolutely brilliant charity who have helped so much with people like me who have sustained head injuries. This is the hat I knitted for the Science Showoff on Neurology and brainy things special that they did. It was a wonderful evening with Dr Carina Fearnley a fellow head injury sufferer and friend from my Geology undergraduate days. She has made a fantastic video about her experience:

The event was at the Star of Kings in London but I believe was raising money for the Bristol Headway and I made a paper mache brain and got gummy brain sweets. The hat has since appeared at various British Science Week Events, Cheltenham Science Festival and BBC Country File Live show/festival. It was an amazing night were I learnt about all sorts of things including the medical skeletons etc... lurking beneath London and what their skulls can tell us!

What I didn't say at the time was that I was struggling with knitting due to the damage to my left hand side so this whole thing was create out of loom knitting (French knitting or knitting nancy/spool knitting are all mini looms). Also for me to actually make it to the gig my dad had to come and meet me at the station - which in your 30's is pretty embarrassing, but I have only recently been able to attempt travel on my own on that sort of scale and I was still unable to cook anything other than a microwave meal safely on my own (I've set fire to pans and tried to pick up boiling pots with my bare hands...).

There is currently an Art Exhibit and series of talks etc... at Kings College about head injury including a pice on Identity after the fact. I myself had to basically learn to draw again - I always drew with both hands but now... the pictures come out distorted - I have a blind spot in my left eye, and hand coordination was hard. Add in the crisis of everyone else knowing more about me than I myself did and I ended up producing Love: A Stranger Dream. It started as distinct pictures which people asked for as colouring sheets so I put them up for free download here. Then I realised there was a kind of non-linear narrative or themes running through the works and it became a book of visual poetry. I took refuge in art - something that is quiet important in developing coping mechanisms and reducing the amount of depression that head injury victims feel - it is like having everything that is you stripped away.

I even made audio.

And video of it.

Art that started as a way to just express myself when speech and writing where hard graft ended up as something that has helped friends, it explores lots of different aspects of identity and so has ended up at GLBT+ events, dis/different-ability events, music and art installations, two different events for International Women's Day, comic book conventions, poetry events, story telling and maze festivals. I've even made a dress from the art work 0.o - ok yeah I got carried away!

(can't find the photo - if I came across it I'll add it later! but it got compared to the stuff worn by the Welsh Eisteddfod singer/bardic peeps)

As I've probably bored everyone with - I have not long been discharged from the head injury unit including physio at Gloucester Royal - still under neurology but the main chunk of it is done. Charities like Headway - the brain injury association are an absolute life line and they have local branches but head injury sufferers often struggle to get the help that's needed especially as most of the time they still look "normal". I was being mistaken for being drunk and struggling with lots of things. So yeah - hats for headway 🙂

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