Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Summer’s end – swallows…













I walked along the lane to the field at the weekend. I’ve watched this field from winter’s mud, through green shoots of spring, to here - summer’s end and harvest.

The swallows are still with us, swooping high in the air above the cut and round-baled straw. Greedily harvesting insects, storehousing, getting ready for their long journey south through western France, across the Pyrenees, down eastern Spain into Morocco, and across the dry Sahara to South Africa.

Such a long, warm, journey - cinnamon and cloves, oranges and apples.

You can tell that they’re thinking of leaving, sense their excitement in the air. The straw is cut, harvest is upon us – ‘all is safely gathered in’, and for a moment I’m back in the school hall singing along, giving thanks, looking at the corn-sheaf baked bread from Jackman’s the bakers and the mountainous piles of dug and washed allotment vegetables.

They’ll be gone soon and with them summer. But for now they’re here and - ever hopeful, I’ll hang on to them and summer until the flame and plough arrive, turning the stubble to autumn ash.

When that time comes I’ll still be here - and the swallows flying far away will keep the summer for me and another year.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Flying my kite...

The wind was up yesterday. Not the gusting wind of Autumn; nor that biting Winter wind that has yet to come, but a full late Summer wind, not cold but then again not warm - a kind, kite wind.

Picking up my kites, well three of them – my old blue faithful flyer (which flies with only a breath), my luminous pocket and always with (the one I keep in the car), and my bi-plane (in honour of the wind, a rare event as it takes some time to put together); we made our way to the beach to catch the clouds and fly.

I’ve always flown kites, from small boy helping my inept and angry father to drag a fluttering kite along the ground like a broken bird, to second-childhood middle age – with everything in-between. On windy days I fly my kites, and if I don’t I wish I could.

I’ve made a kite or two and will again - from cane and brown paper and sealing wax. Once I made a kite from clear, strong, polythene and fine, transparent, plastic rods - it looked for all the world like a ghost kite shimmering in the blue of the distance – a phantom, an impression of where a kite might once have been.

I like the way the wind pulls at the spool-bound unwinding twine. These kites have long and longer strings, I add and add; sometimes too much - and with a snap my kite is gone. Leaving behind just empty space where once it swooped and dived – and in my hand a piece of useless nylon.

Yes, the wind was up yesterday. It had a smell of lands far away, heavy with herb and apricot, I could almost here the sound of the bazaar in its blowing as I clutched tight my string and blew and flew to lands far away, flying up and out upon the wind.

I wonder where it blew from?

I wonder where I blew to?

Sunday, 29 August 2010


I like lighthouses, there’s something comforting about them – I don’t know why. I’ve always imagined them to be cosy, I doubt that the lighthouse keepers found them comforting or cosy though. Three men, sometimes with their families, locked inside a long thin tube in the middle of the ocean for months on end, often without running water, working toilets or heating – and I’m not talking about the 1800’s, it was like that until the last one became ‘unmanned’. We don’t have lighthouse keepers in the UK these days, the helicopters and automation finally took over in 1998. I think it’s a pity, I wonder if the ex-lighthouse keepers feel the same?

There are a lot of stories about lighthouse keepers going mad or disappearing without trace. In 1900 three keepers vanished from the lighthouse in the Flannan Islands. The entrance gate to the compound and main door were both closed, the beds were left unmade, the clock had stopped, and there was an overturned chair by the kitchen table. No bodies were ever found and rumours abounded - one of the keepers had murdered the other two and then thrown himself into the sea in a fit of remorse, a sea serpent (or giant seabird) had carried the men away to its lair, they’d been abducted by foreign spies or anarchists, they’d been spirited away (literally) by a boat filled with the ghosts of drowned sailors.

The magnification of light from the lamps in lighthouse takes place through giant arrangements of curved prisms and lenses which weigh tons and these float in a bath of liquid mercury. Thanks to the properties of the mercury and in spite of their weight, they’ll rotate with a push from a single finger. Mercury evaporates easily and the vapour is very poisonous. The main symptoms of mercury poisoning are the loss of rationality, an inability to distinguish reality from illusion, and erratic and uncharacteristic behaviours. In short, breathing mercury vapour over long periods of time causes you to go mad - perhaps that’s what happened to the three keepers on the Flannan.

Sometimes, when I stare deep into my snow globe, I swear I can see a light, a flicker of flame in the lens house. Occasionally, when I shake the white snow into life, whipping up a terrible storm, I can hear the wind raging and above the wind loud laughter - shouting, screaming. Always, when I’m climbing these steep stairs up to the light, carefully carrying my glass of steaming mercury, I smell the smoke and see the dancing flames before the cleansing fire is even set.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Missing your turn…

Sometimes I miss my turn. I’ll be driving along, thinking about this or that, and when I glance to the side I realise that the usual road I’m travelling on isn’t the usual road I’m travelling on at all. I’ve missed my turn and I’m somewhere else.

It doesn’t happen often, but it happened to me this week on the M62. One moment I was driving here, the next moment I was driving there.

Well, St. Helens actually.

I’ve never been to St. Helens before and didn’t want to go this time. As I drove the wrong way along the M62 looking for a junction to turn-tail, I noticed something tall and white on my right in the trees, in the distance – it looked like a very long face.

The sign on the gates said Sutton Manor. Sutton Manor used to be a colliery until the early nineties, today its woodland reserve and the long face is ‘Dream’, a 66ft high sculpture by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa.

Standing in front of her was a real experience, made all the more real and experienced by my complete lack of pre-knowledge of her existence. She’s been here since the summer of 2009 just waiting for me to find her. How could such a surreal and beautiful object not be reported wider? How had I missed her until now?

After a long straight road, missing your turn seems the right thing to do - it takes you somewhere else, somewhere unreal and wonderful -- and you can’t get there with a map!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Getting results...

So the long wait is over. This is Holly getting her GCSE results at school on Tuesday. She did really well – eight A’s and an A star. Obviously she was delighted; we all were, particularly with the A in maths.

I remember getting my results; they were ‘O’ levels back then -‘ordinary’ levels. They didn’t seem very ‘ordinary’ at the time, scores of boys crammed into the school gym, individual desks, no talking, no drinks, and one of the hottest summers of the century. God it was hot – and we had to keep our jackets and ties on.

Someone at the front of the room fainted, falling sideways from his chair and thumping to the polished wooden floor. We were ordered to - ‘keep our seats and no talking’, as Paddy Proctor (History and Economics) lifted him up from the floor and dragged him off to Matron.

In those precious few minutes that Paddy was away answers were exchanged, deals were done, money passed hands. It didn’t do me much good, I still only managed a ‘C’, but I didn’t fail - and exams were harder back then - and we weren’t allowed calculators.

Well done Holly, straight A’s – no need to take advantage of a fainting fit for you, you got the result you deserved.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

My bargain seeds...

Wandering around my garden in Wales at the weekend I decided that I’d take ten minutes and shoot a few pictures before it was too late – things are really moving towards 'over' very fast now.

I’m proud of my pot of Longiflorum, despite the Lilly Bugs getting to the leaves early in the season. How I love to squash their little red bodies between my finger and thumb, their filthy larvae do such horrible damage and make such a gooey mess. Look closely at the leaves at the bottom of the flowers, all nibbled by their nuisance – and see the tiny fly in the right hand bloom. This picture is just how it came, no adjustments - the white of the flowers in the sunshine against dark green-black privet. I’m pleased with it, good shadows, nice contrast, it looks almost painted.

I grow flowers from seeds in the main, buying the packets cheaply this time of year from Wilkinson in end-of-season sale mode. I bought £34 of seeds for £1.40 at the weekend – 10p a packet, fourteen packets in all. Here are some of the flowers I grew from seeds and corms with my Wilco bargains bought last year (and a couple grown from craftily taken cuttings when nobody was watching).

Next years garden for £1.40 - a bargain!

Nasturtium - Tigridia – Livingstone Daisies

African Daisy – FuschiaBuddleia

Sunflower – Scabious – Begonia

Monday, 23 August 2010

My last drop…

My vieux bottle of Calvados Roulland made by Sarl Pomypom at Ferme Nouveau Monde, Cambremer, Normandie, France is all drunk up.

I shed a tear for the sweetest nectar I have ever tasted. It truly was a living flame, both apple and alcohol, with a 40% proof. As you can see this is my final glass and I’ve turned the bottle upside down to salvage and savour every last drop. I even bought a tiny, expensive, very special, cut crystal snifter to drink it from. I’ve been rationing myself to a single shot every few weeks to make it last the two, maybe three years that Calvados Roulland has been my constant companion.

I’ve never been to Normandy. This bottle of joy was a gift from a cherished friend. I thank her (and Monsieur Pomypom) for the constant anticipation that it has brought me since receiving it.

I’ve drunk other bottles of Calvados, lots of them, but somehow this one was different - a single sip and I was in an apple orchard, lay in the shade of a massive apple tree, gazing up at the bright red apples, sheltering from the heat of the bright Normandy sunshine.

The days will seem greyer with its passing and no more will I spend imagined time in my sun-dappled French orchard.

Talking of which if any of you are ever in Cambremer and happen to pass Ferme Nouveau Monde, please pop in and get me a bottle or two.


Friday, 20 August 2010

Clown globe…

I bought this water globe from a small shop down a winding street in a small, sleepy, town in East Devon. There were lots of globes in the dark, shadowy, shop - but something drew me to this one. Perhaps it was the tinkling music it plays when the key beneath the globe is carefully wound or perhaps it was something else entirely.

All clowns are hiding something - a tragedy, a broken heart, a terrible secret, sometimes even a murder or two. This is Beezo – the ultimate jester, harlequin, jackpudding – a king of comedy, a master of tragedy, combining the very essence of life -- and the flipside of that particular coin of silver.

Beezo has a past, a bad past – a past so bad that he never talks about it -- save to himself. He covers Snowy’s good ear as he mumbles, he doesn’t want Snowy to hear his story.

Beezo apologised to Snowy about his ear afterwards - it wasn’t Beezo’s fault, Snowy made him do it with his constant whispering. Snowy can be a very bad rabbit, very bad indeed - evil almost.

Beezo has stopped trying to take his make-up off. No matter what creams he uses, or how hard he scrubs his skin it never comes clean, the make-up remains. Beezo can’t even remember who’s under the colourful pan-stick, perhaps nobody, perhaps there never was.

Two shows a night making the children laugh or cry with water, his crazy-car, a ladder, a knife. Two shows a night, in the ring, outside the ring – making then laugh or cry. Send in the clowns.

Wind the key gently.

Don't you love farce? My fault I fear. I thought that you'd want what I want. Sorry, my dear. But where are the clowns? Quick, send in the clowns. Don't bother, they're here.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

In the wrong place...

To the extreme right hand side of Anglesey, the ‘Island’ as it’s called around here, right on the tip of the jutting land, sits Beaumaris - a town out of place.

Why out of place? Well, to me it looks like it should sit in Devon or Dorset, Somerset even, with its dumpy castle, short pier, pastel painted-creamy-dreamy cottages and winding streets. Yes, it definitely belongs in the South West, not North Wales.

Still I’m not complaining, it’s a nice place to wander for a couple of hours on a holiday afternoon, looking across the Straits to the mountains, mingling with the crabbers on the pier, dodging the showers in gift shops - finding a surprise at every turn of the corner. It’s a town splattered with history, a Victorian posting box, a hidden house, 1766 scratched into the deep blue slate of a windowsill.

Need I go on? No - I expect by now you’ve guessed how much I like the place.

Beaumaris. Maybe it was washed north along the coast by a storm, dumped down on the shingle all higgledy-piggledy and jumbled, to be set straight and to stay. Go see for yourself, you’ll see what I mean.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Love Hearts, Chinese Whispers & Bowie...

Did or do you like Love Hearts, the sweets?

I didn’t, I always thought that they were like eating chalk, and the messages were a bit ‘lovey-dovey’ for boys – ‘Hug Me’, ‘Real Love’, ‘Dream Boy’, ‘Kiss Me’, ‘For Ever’, ‘Be Mine’, ‘I’m Yours’, ‘My Girl’ - even ‘Best Pal’ seemed a bit soft.

These days there are some new Love Heart messages – ‘Text Me’, ‘Luv U 24/7’, ‘Friend me’, ‘Think Pink’ to reflect the modern world we live in – what next?

As boys we spoke to each other in language learnt from comics and war films – ‘Roger’, ‘Charlie’, ‘Wilco’. Of course the ‘R’ in ‘Roger’ stood for received. We used ‘Roger’ when pretending to send radio messages to each other on imaginary walkie-talkies (crackle, crackle, pop). Sometimes we’d use ‘Charlie’ – Charlie was what the US army called Viet Cong troops, it came from ‘Victor Charlie’, a radio-alphabetic - VC for Viet Cong. Not that any of us had any idea of that at the time, the Vietnam war was far away and American.

I’m not even sure that when we affirmed ‘Wilco’, in our funny, nasal, radio voices that we knew it was a military abbreviation for ‘will comply’, to us it was just what you said after ‘Roger’.

‘OK’ was another well used Americanism by us boys, or sometimes ‘Okie Dokie’, which was a quirky way of saying okay, although quite where the ‘D’ fitted in is a mystery. My Uncle Charlie used to say Okie Kokie’ whenever he was asked would he like a cuppa, which was a better fit. How the term ‘OK’ was invented is another mystery.

Some say that the Greek words ‘Ola Kala’, meaning ‘everything's good’, was used by Greek railroad workers in the United States and that’s how it entered common usage. Other theories include the initials of the comically misspelled ‘Oll Korrect’ (no I don’t get that either), or ‘Old Kinderhook’ - a nickname for President Martin Van Buren (whoever he was), a reference to Van Buren's birthplace of Kinderhook, New York State. Of course with it being a US word and therefore of historical significance (albeit not as significant as 1066) there are those who claim it to be the Choctaw Indian wordokeh’ or even the African Bantu wordwaw-kay’. All of which are ‘Hunky Dory’ with me.

Hunky Dory’ is another US expression apparently, and quite another matter. The theory is that in the 19th century, a street in Yokohama, called ‘Honcho-dori’ was such a favourite hangout of U.S. sailors on shore leave in Japan that ‘Honcho-dori’ entered naval slang as hunky-dory - a synonym for ‘Easy Street’.

Now, how on earth did I get from Love Hearts to an early album by David Bowie? Chinese whispers? Mixed messages? Just goes to show how easy it is to start out trying to say one thing, and end up saying quite another – Roger, Charlie, do you copy? All OK and Hunky Dory. Wilco?

Over and out.


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Time wasting…

I can’t sit still for long on a beach. I try but it doesn’t work. I sit quietly for a few minutes and then I’m up and looking for something to do. Doing nothing feels like wasted time.

Sometimes though something finds me and stops me wasting my time, or causes me to, dependent on your viewpoint. It can be anything, this time it was pebbles. They just seemed to roll towards me and drop into my hand and before I knew what I was doing I’d started arranging them. A long line of quartz lined pebbles soon stretched along the beach, then a face popped up out of the sand.

Oh well, beach time is for wasting – it’s just a question of how you go about wasting it.

I wonder what his name is.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Perfect evening...

Saturday evening, a perfect evening, such dreamy skies and silhouettes.

End of holidays. Determined to wring the last moment out I wander - Criccieth Castle, the view from Chwilog Hill across to Llanarmon.

These pictures don’t need my clumsy words to clutter them, they speak for themselves.

I gaze and dream my perfect evening, silently.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Perfect beach…

I spent the afternoon on the beach yesterday, sheer bliss, perfect with blue skies and a blue-green wave-swept sea, clean fine sand, rocks and rock pools to net in, lots of private places to set up your own space, not too many flies, and a barbecue lunch.

The most perfect beach I’ve ever sat on is in Barbados. Bathsheba - the first time we swung around the bend, coming down from the mountain, the yellow-white sand stretching for miles before us, it took my breath away. Bathsheba is on the Atlantic side of the island - huge, black, volcanic, rocks litter the beach, standing, as if carelessly tossed by some ancient giant, in rows at angles of thirty degrees. Palm trees fringe the road and others stand in line against the blue skies on the hills above.

Of course the Caribbean is far away, I love Bathsheba – I spend a lot of time there in my sleep - but I’ve found a beach closer to home that rivals Bathsheba in its perfection - Penllech beach, that’s where I spent yesterday afternoon.

Penllech has blue skies, blue-green, wave-swept, seas, clean, yellow-white sand, rocks and rock pools to net in, and lots of private individual coves to set up your own space – we have names for them all – Secret, Table, Happy, each a small enclosed beach, sheltered but big enough to map out a tennis court and set up a barbecue. Yesterday we set up camp on Secret beach, staking out our claim with a windbreak.

Penllech never gets too busy - the short walk through the fields to Penllech seems to put people off. I can’t understand why, the view from the hill is amazing. Of course there are no palm trees at Penllech, and you don’t need a wind-break at Bathsheba - but on a sunny day, with the right mood upon you, it’s hard to distinguish the two.

Did I really spend yesterday in North Wales or was I in the Caribbean? I’m sure I heard the sound of steel drums as I sat watching the waves.

Friday, 13 August 2010


It’s hard to know what to write today with it being Friday and everything. I’m feeling a little frayed today - maybe a quietly subdued rant is in order.

I was in Barmouth earlier in the week. Barmouth is on the fringes of Snowdonia, not part of it, or in it, but on the fringes like Tywyn. I think that when they drew up the Snowdonia boundaries they left Barmouth (and Tywyn) out of the National Park because it wasn’t quite the ‘right’ kind of place - after all, it isn’t Harlech or Aberdyfi is it?

Barmouth is very seaside with its amusements, rock shops, dodgems, pound stores, tattoo parlours and fast food – but it also has lots of history, a lovely little harbour with some good seafood restaurants, an amazing wooden rail bridge that stretches for ever across the water to Fairboune, incredibly beautiful views both inland and out to sea, and some impressive and grand buildings.

This might also explain why Blaenau Ffestiniog, right in the centre of Snowdonia, is also designated ‘outside’ of the National Park. It forms an island of non-parkness in a superior ocean of ‘approved’ landscape that doesn’t seem to include the beauty of the slate quarry, slag heap, and gray miner’s cottages.

How silly. Well, at least Barmouth has donkeys, real ones, not like the donkeys who drew up the boundaries of Snowdonia. In my book the donkeys alone are reason enough for Barmouth to be included in any National Park.

That feels a little better, not much, but a little - quietly subdued rant over.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Lamp posts…

Sometimes something, usually something very ordinary and usual, will catch my eye and my imagination, and take me to another place.

Lamp posts on the seafront at Pwllheli - dozens of them, far too many of them, too close together to be just for lighting, much too tall, ornate in a not-quite-antique sort of way. Just lamp posts on the sea front at Pwllheli, but here I go…

What if there were a steam train puffing through the sky between them, or a bowler-hatted man with an umbrella standing atop each one? What if an impossibly long spindle-legged, skeletal, flare-nosed, snorting, horse reared in the background? What if a winged boat full of strange creatures floated high in the air above the clouds weaved their way down and through the lamp posts like a celestial obstacle course?

Magritte, Dali, Breugel.

We are on the edges of the surreal all of the time. The surreal sits on the fringes of our normal, waiting to slip into our world like those children who slipped through that ordinary wardrobe into Narnia – or at least it does for me. I wonder what would happen if I let it in?

Narnia - now where did that come from? Ah! Maybe that explains the lamp posts.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

How to build a giraffe…

Another beach, another pile of wash-up. This time wooden fencing posts, plenty of them. Fantastic, with all that wood I might be able to build my giraffe at long last. Every time I hit a beach with the ‘mood’ upon me I know that I’m going to build a giraffe - tall and spindly, high in the air, balanced and beautiful, a giraffe for the very Dali himself to be proud of.

I had the wood, now all I needed were some other materials – maybe some polythene sheeting, a few plastic bottles, a largish quantity of string or rope, something ‘head shaped’ for the head. They needed to be light, I wanted this giraffe to be at least ten feet tall, and heavier materials were going to be – well, too heavy. So, polythene, bottles, string, lightweight stuff - the sort of stuff that any self-respecting beach in our part of Wales is always bedecked with.

I walked the beach – plenty of wood, great, more wood, fantastic, seaweed, mmmm, more wood, okay, more seaweed, ahhh, a short length of frayed orange twine…

I walked the beach for a while clutching my piece of orange twine. Where was the polythene sheeting, the plastic bottles, the string, where was that ‘head shaped’ something for the head? All I could see stretching in front of me was a beach littered with fencing posts and draped with seaweed. How was I going to make my giraffe with only these limited materials at hand? This was going to be a real challenge.

An hour or so later I happened across this funny creature, he’s a woolly mammoth, a small one admittedly, but a woolly mammoth nonetheless.

And my giraffe? Well, maybe next time.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Bryn Celli Ddu...

We wandered back three thousand years the other day, back to the late Neolithic times with its old gods, tribal chieftains, and giving thanks to the sun.

Anglesey, Ynys Mon, and the mound of Bryn Celli Ddu.

I was expecting a long and steep walk, but instead found a well signposted gravel path a half mile walk up a slight incline to the site. I was expecting a charge and attendants, but it was unmanned and free. I was expecting fences and barriers, but apart from iron railings to keep the sheep out, I was free to touch, walk on, and even go inside the mound surrounded by its standing stones.


The mound was originally a henge which are rare in Wales, it comprised of a ditch and rings of standing stones, but at some point the henge was replaced with a burial chamber and mound. The mound was excavated back in the twenties, and when they re-covered the chamber, they decided to reduce the mound by two thirds. It must have been huge, almost a mountain, extending much further out than it does today to the ring of pavement stones that would once have formed a perimeter wall.

A large standing stone stands at the dark entrance to the tomb, its surface carved with curves and snaking designs that, whilst worn by time and weather, is beautiful and intricate in its meandering detail. That artist was a genius. I wonder who he was and how he knew to make those marks in that way, that hypnotising, vertigo, drawing in, ‘I need to look away’ way.

Approaching the tomb along its gloomy, narrow entrance passage I entered the chamber to find another standing stone, slightly off-centre in the circular space, and in my mind I could see the rays of the rising summer solstice sun as it crept into the chamber, kissing the stone with a rosy light.

I touched the stone, slightly warm and glancing to the earthen floor I noticed three black feathers, the tail feathers of a crow scattered on the dusty floor beneath the stone. You can see them in the picture - a modern day offering, an ancient spell?

Back outside in the open air, massive black clouds were gathering - time to go before the heavens opened and drenched us. But just a hundred yards along the path away from the mound, as we beat our hasty retreat, the sun shone, the breeze died, and summer was all around once more. Looking over our shoulders, the black cloud hanging like a bad mood in the sky directly over the mound, a dark island surrounded by a pure blue sea of sky… how strange?

Turning away, we crossed our fingers and quickened our pace. Perhaps the feather spell had worked.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Sunflowers and Ladydids…













I have my first sunflower, not huge at four feet or so and the leaves are a bit battered by the wind, but a wonderful ‘happy day’ yellow and bright enough to draw the thunder-flies.

August, and everything is heavy with life. I love and hate this time of year. The garden in full bloom, but at the same time just on the edge of toppling into finished. And how I hate finished with all that brownness and going over. I’ve never managed to love the garden past mid-July - and the insects!

I spray them but it seems to do no good. Something has taken my white aquilegia to skeletal and eaten the foliage of my sunburst dahlia; the leaves are full of holes. I was happy to see a Ladydid, a six-spotter, carefully wending her way along the front wall, but they seem few and far between this year, such a pity that you can’t say the same for the greenfly and Lilly bugs.

September’s on its way, you can see it in the yellowing courgette leaves, it’s still a sunny day or two away, but I begin to feel it, it’ll soon be here, and then will be the autumn.

For now though, I still have more sunflowers to come - and the odd Ladydid to wend her way along my cream dashed summer wall.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The Weather Witch...

The Weather Witch was around all day yesterday, messing with the weather, casting spells of sunshine, then spells of rain. That’s the thing with the Weather Witch she does as she pleases and hangs the consequences.

Look at what she did with the evening. One moment we were under a clear blue sky, the next, storm clouds had been conjured from nowhere. The pleasant blue world was sent suddenly black with storm clouds and gold with the setting sun, then simply black as the witch did her worst and sent a deluge of rain. The road a river, the trees bent in service to the wind.

I stopped the car and watched her as she raced around causing chaos, and then as quickly as it had started the rain was gone. Looking across to the distant sea, I saw the rarest of clouds all shimmering above the horizon, nacreous clouds coloured with an internal rainbow. Perhaps it was an effect of the solar flares I’ve heard about in the news, a stellar apology for not being able to see the Aurora Borealis as promised last Thursday night - too much cloud, the work of the Weather Witch again. How beautiful those clouds, with the Weather Witch nowhere to be seen, chased away by the shifting aura of that luminescent light.

She’ll be back though, she can’t stay away, she always returns - always.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Misty's last post...













Hello my faithful fans. Well, I couldn’t let you go without giving you one last treaty could I? Mu-Mu knows what Fridays will be like for you in the future, what will you to have to look forward to without me to read about? I can’t see much point to Hisfault’s hissing blog without me starring in it.

Anyway, what a funny old hissing week, being deaded has taken a bit of getting used to I can tell you. Since that nasty car thing bumped me right out of my body last Friday I’ve hardly had a minute to catch my breath – so to speak. I seem to have caused a right old hissing fuss, thanks for all your messages, but thundering fish-heads, it really isn’t as bad as all that.

I was sure that I had at least a few more lives left, but it looks like I was wrong, I must be more of a hissing risk taker than I thought. The good news is that it’s nice here, in fact it’s just the same, same fields, same fun, same everything – but I don’t have to wear a hissing collar, and the miceys don’t go all deaded when you are playing with them because they already are.

I miss Foodies, and Hisfault, and the Whirling Girl Thing – well the treaties and strokes - but it isn’t as if I can’t see them. I’ve been back a few times just to check up on them, to make sure they’re not getting into any mischief. They can’t see me but I can see them, so they better hissing cheer up soon, those long faces are enough to put you right off.

So that’s it fans - the magnificent Misty signing out for now. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I did. I got up to some real hissing hoots and I hope that I educated you a little on the superior race – us cats that is. Oh, I may pop up every now and then just to keep you on your hissing toes, but there’s so much new stuff to do here and I’ve made so many new friends - so we’ll have to wait and see.

Got to go, it’s almost nin-nins over at the big barn and it’s my favourite – chicken and prawn.

Bye for now…


I hope it is like this for her. I’ve yet to write down my side of that day, I can’t yet, but I need to. I will soon I expect, after all it’s only been a week and not a single day has gone by without, well let’s just say without and leave it at that.

Goodbye Misty - Misty Moo, Moo Moo, Mr. Moo, the magnificent Moo, Moo the mighty, my friend, my cat. Have fun out there playing in the fields.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


I saw a flock of sparrows up on the headland playing in the barley and the gorse. Whenever I see sparrows a line from a poem springs into mind, a line from a poem I always thought I was going to write but never have and probably never will.

When I was a boy we had a jasmine bush attached to brown and broken trellis outside our front door, the one below the porch I learnt to fly from. The sparrows would play there filling the foliage with their chatter and flurry. It seemed to me that they were fighting, for all I know they were.

One day as I watched and listened to them play or fight, whichever it was, this popped into my head:

Sparrows fighting in the jasmine.

And there it has stayed ever since, the first line of a poem that I’ll probably never write.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Beautiful sky...

There was a beautiful sky last evening. A deep blue, cloud edged silver with falling sun almost like lightening amongst the clouds. I watched until it was gone, watching for Misty - listening for the jangle of her bell, trying to catch her shape on the darkening land, imagining her until it was dark.

I didn’t see or hear her, but she was out there somewhere.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Dolphins in the distance...

We went for a walk along the beach to Porth Dinllaen yesterday afternoon. Getting out seems the thing to do at the moment. The beach was crowded, yachts flew along on the deep blue water, the mountains all hung with cloud.

Around the headland we went, past the pub and along the narrow walkway through the rocks with its rough-made steps and solid wooden pontoons, and up onto the golf course. It’s a long walk for me with the weight that I carry, but we took it easy in the growing afternoon sunshine.

We walked along the steeply rising path - and then in the distance, out on the sea, something broke the waves. A dark line of movement followed by an expectant stillness. Over and over we saw the spectacle, every minute or two, the dark line breaking the surface. What was it, it drew the interest of two small boats, and then a leap of something fast. Was it a single creature or many acting as one? We watched for an hour, sometimes we decided that we were watching a whale, other times a school of at least half a dozen dolphins. Eventually, as the individual animals broke from their play our sighting was confirmed as Dolphins at play in the Irish Sea.

Despite the distance and the lack of detail I can’t begin to explain the wonder of the sighting, how it held us spellbound, excited for the next break from the calm water. Just the knowledge that something so wonderful was in the water was enough for a while.