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Ladies Who Amble…

I’ve joined the SAS. Yes, honestly.

Now before you get all worked up about me ziplining my way into guerilla hideouts I think I had better clarify:

SAS stands for Saturday Amblers Society. It is a walkign group for a group of *ahem* young ladies…well okay, Women of a Certain Age, who walk. Not hiking, no that would be altogether rather too strenuous – that entails measuring distance in terms of miles rather than kilometres. We decided that we needed a form of gentle exercise and that walking would be it. It would also involve the countryside and getting back to nature.

Oh who am I kidding? It really involves a ramble around some fields, woodlands or lanes and …”Oh look.  lo and behold there’s a pub and we might as well stop for a spot of lunch. Well it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?”  It is also an excuse to go into Blacks and other such outdoorsy types of shops and purchase walking paraphanalia (just what does one do with a ‘gaiter’?).

So the SAS involves some work colleagues and assorted friends. The idea is that once a month, on a Saturday, we go for a nice slow amble and a nice leisurely lunch.

Assorted walking footwear has been purchased, a small rucksack has been tried on for size (keys, phone, lipgloss and bottle of water all neatly fit inside – it is very small), nordic poles (purple) ordered. So everything’s ready for the first mission. Just call me Wainwright.

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(A response to a photo prompt:  Chair, water, shore and ocean  HD Photo by Tom van Hoogstraten)

empty chair

The Empty Chair

I love the sound of the wet gravel as I place my chair carefully onto the beach. I hold its smooth wooden top for a moment, balancing its weight, knowing that any sudden movement will cause it to lurch into the cold waves.  Cold waves that creep forward with a strange hissing sound, stealthily tumbling small smooth pebbles like a crowd of schoolchildren playing Grandmother’s footsteps. Almost touching. Before running shyly backwards to wait for the next turn.  I don’t want the chair to get wet.

I make a decision. This is the place.  I push down quickly, planting its legs as if their wood would take root.  I hear a satisfying crunch; like the inside-my-ear crunch that I hear if I grind my teeth.  I move my weight to the four corners of the chair, testing the stability, testing the tilt.  Yes, that’s good.  The pebbles glint in the fading sunlight.  From a distance they had appeared as one colour; a dirty beige colour. But close up I can see their glimmering wetness, can discern the orange and gold and yellow and white and black. Tiny multi-coloured jewels that cling together, cling to the legs of the chair, cling to my shoes.

Shoes? Why am I wearing shoes on the beach? Surely shoes are for cold days, for town days. Surely on the beach I should be wearing sandals with criss-crossed laces.  Or flip flops with plastic flowers and a hard plastic tube that rubs and cuts the soft skin between my big toe and its smaller neighbour.  Or better still, why aren’t I barefoot?  Wincing over the sharper stones but loving the feel of them sticking and falling, sticking and falling from my damp skin.  But no. These shoes are black and buckled up sharply.  I remember my Mother calling them Mary-Jane shoes. I have no idea where Mary-Jane is.  Maybe she will come and ask for her shoes back.

I hear Mary-Jane’s whisper in the sound of the sea and shingle.  I strain to hear the words, but I can’t make out what she’s saying.  I strain my eyes and look for her appearing along the long beach, but I can’t make out the shape of anyone coming towards me.  I think I am alone.  I feel like I am alone.  Just.  Now.

Breathe.  There is something special about the smell of the sea. A mixture of salt and sand and seaweed.  And a faint whiff of Nivea sun lotion.  Or did I imagine the last bit?  That was always the smell of our childhood days on the beach.  We would be slathered in white lotion that seemed to attract every stray fly and grain of sand.  Within a few moments our arms and legs would resemble sandpaper.  Annoyed, our mother would rush to brush off the sand with a towel, rubbing and cursing and flicking and tutting. Tiny specks of sand flying off our arms and into our eyes.  Rubbing the rest further and further into the skin on our arms; scratching and leaving tiny red trails that took days to fade away.  The Nivea smell lingers with the scratches.  I breathe in harder, trying to capture that familiar scent, but it’s gone.  Whisked away by the breeze that seems to have got quicker in the time I have been standing here holding onto this chair.

How long have I been standing here?  The sun has dipped lower and is kissing the tops of the waves.  The light is starting to fade, and the pebbles are losing their energy.  I can still make out the waves as they continue to edge towards the chair.  I consider moving it but instead I remain where I am.  I wonder how long it will take for the waves to reach the polished wood, to start its wet rise.  I wonder how long it will take for the waves to reach the seat of the chair, to flow over its woven top.  I wonder how long it will take for the waves to tug the legs free of the pebbles and rush backwards, backwards out into the wide, open sea.  I wonder if I should sit on the chair.

I keep my hands on the curved wood, gently rocking and feeling the stones shift under my feet.  I don’t know this chair. I don’t know who put it there. Maybe it was Mary-Jane.

Poem A Day May: Day 5

Day 5: Time for an ekphrastic poetry prompt. Write a poem in response to Grayson Perry’s ‘Vote Alan Measles for God’. I researched the artist and learned that he created a fantasy life involving his teddy bear who became something of a “father-figure”.

Alan Measles

He sits on the end of my bed

Innocently inanimate by day.

Floppy limbed and softly napped.

Eyes embroidered and unseeing.

 

But night.

The house is quiet.

And dark.

 

Alan Measles awakes.

Eyes open and glaring red

Slashing teeth snapping at the dark air.

I look out from under the covers and he’s standing in front of my face

So close I can feel the heat from his fur.

His claws flash past my cheek and I think I can feel a scratch

Think I can feel a trickle of blood

But I daren’t move to feel it.

I can see something grasped in his fist.

Metal. Glass. A needle. A plunger.

He moves closer, waving the syringe menacingly.

Ready to inject me with its horrific virus.

Ready to infect me with the appalling life threatening disease of adulthood.

I clutch the sheets tighter.

 

I begin to whimper.

I don’t want to grow up.

Not yet.

 

Morning comes.

He sits on the end of my bed.

Floppy limbed and softly napped.

Eyes embroidered but all-seeing.

 

Poem A Day May: Day 4

Poem A Day May: Day 4
Write a poem from the point of view of a favourite character from a film or book.
(A lighthearted draft)

The Edge of Reason

Do NOT snigger as I totter
past on vertiginous heels that threaten
to topple me
chest first onto the floor.
They may be more Brantano than Louboutin
But they still make my calves look slim…ish.

This morning I washed my own hair
I didn’t get it “done” into cappucino
and crème caramel waves.
I’m more Superdrug than Oribe
I’m more curly frizz than sleek tresses
But it still smells of papaya and coconut.

You may know all about contouring
while I have only just learned to use blusher
in subtle shades
and suck in my cheeks while I do it
I may use more No.7 than La Mere
But I’m still wrinkle-free…mostly

You’re all Chanel and I’m more Dorothy Perkins
I’m more M&S than Agent Provocateur
But don’t look down your
rhinoplasticised nose at me
YOU may think that
you epitomise cool and that I epitomise lukewarm
But…Mark Darcy loves ME!

Poem a Day May: Day 3

Fib is an experimental Western poetry form, bearing similarities to haiku, but based on the Fibonacci Sequence. Write a poem that follows the Fibonacci sequence.  My poem follows the sequence thus: 1/1/2/3/5/8/13/8/5/3/2/1/1

‘The Sea’

hush

sea

waves hiss

swell and flow

backwards now forwards

sea spittle soaking into sand

depositing rubber strips of salty mermaid’s purse

coiled wetly on their gritty bed

teased again by waves

forwards now backwards

ebb and flow

sand shifts

sea

shore

Poem A Day May: Day 2

Day 2: Use 6 random words and incorporate them into a 12 line poem

Tree House

I like to watch the world
Gaping through sliver cracks at the world below.
Always the same place.
Scramble up the tree bent over like an old man
Old man bark-skin scrapes young soft knee-skin.
I’m helpless to stop it so suck sharp breath through tightened lips.
Here.
My fingers clutch the still sticky wood as I drag myself through.
Walls gleam solid and true after four loving coats of varnish
Pure golden syrup.
Not yet sweet. Yet a sweet death for an inquisitive bug.
Stuck.

Poem a day May: day 1

Short (definitely),  creative (hopefully) bursts in response to given prompts.

Day 1:
‘Waiting’

I press my hand onto
the cool glass
Warm skin leaves a misty outline –
The breath of angels.
I watch it fade.

A cold, wet droplet
hangs swollen
Then trickles downwards –
The tears of angels.
I watch it flow.

I look past the tear-splattered glass
Gaze through mist at sodden trees.
Drip. Drip.
I sigh.
My dog sighs.
We want to explore but
We’re waiting for the rain to stop.