Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Last time in the chair

In 2002 I accepted the chair for Chorley and District Writers' Circle as a stop-gap until the next AGM. Six AGMs later and I've finally resigned. Being a creative writing tutor I find myself in the position of being able to direct people to the group but for professional reasons it's better that I'm no longer in it.

As a group we've organised writing festivals, launched our magazine, Aware, (now up to Issue 3), created a blog and more importantly provided positive critique and encouragement to local writers.
Will I miss it? I'll miss being at centre of the action but being me I'm sure I'll soon be at the centre of something else!

Monday, 26 May 2008

White Coppice 6.25am

Yesterday I left the family in bed and met the gusty breezes at White Coppice for a 4-hour ramble.

I walked to Waterman's Cottage listening to warblers and black caps weaving tunes through the willow and the early morning pheasants' croaks. Also saw a sleepy brown hare. The dipper chivvied up the watercourse as I began scanning dead trees for the cuckoo but it wasn't there.

Disappointed to yet again not see the pied flycatchers despite waiting AGES. I tried all last summer, too, and I've still NEVER seen them!

Back to White Coppice then up and over the moors to have the meadow pipits lift my spirits. Heard the cuckoo’s lonely distant call (poem on the way). In Heather Lea, the pines creaked the pauses between chaffinch and nuthatch songs. On leaving I admired swallows skimming the moorland grass and I searched for the yaffling green pecker.

Then home - to cook peppered steak for bleary-eyed young men!

Pied flycatcher image copied from www.rspb.org.uk
Moorland image by me.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

How to read...

My youngest has fallen into the habit of reading from my book to his friends. What can you do when someone else's performance of your writing makes you cringe?

'Well, how do you perform words that march across the page?' he said.

'Like this,' and I showed him how I use eye and slight head movement to track the birds' movements.

Subtle - but even he admitted it works (as long I remember not to raise my eyebrows too much!)
Well, young men always have to have the last word, don't they?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

2nd batch of from the field book arrived

I've sold out of the first batch of from the field book and have just received a second order today - a dozen of which have already been sold. Maybe I should have ordered more in the first place? But it's demoralising to be surrounded by loads of unsold books, not to mention having nowhere to store them. Hope I manage to sell all this delivery soon!

Monday, 5 May 2008


I always look out for dippers and kingfishers when I walk along the Yarrow. I've seen them there - but not for a long time. Sad.
Anyway here is a poem which I recently had published in REACH. And yes, it's about more than dippers...


underneath the spreading beech,
where the weir horseshoes to a pool,
then tumbles over rocks where the mill-race
joins the stream, is where
I always hoped that we would build
a seat, where we could wait
until the dipper came, and watch
it dart, without hesitation,
into the tingling flow,
splashing kisses
against the water’s push.

But we lingered
too long, never built
the seat, never waded in.
The dipper flew off long ago,
and though I often pass this way,
pause on the bank,
the dipper never comes this way again.

Try something new every day

In keeping with my promise to myself, today I tried a few new local footpaths linking them with some know ones into a circular walk. The disadvantage of taking the paths less traveled are that there's usually a reason for it (namely MUD!) and the routes aren't clear. But armed with my map I got through. Today's best find were sand martins around a remote stretch of the River Yarrow and willow warblers (didn't know we had any in Euxton!).
Photo copied from www.bbc.co.uk

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Bank Holiday - before the rain

7am at White Coppice was rewarded with a pair of garden warblers, whitethroat, wheatear, loads of willow warblers, meadow pipits, pied & grey wagtails, kestrel, grey heron, 2 dippers at separate sights - one was almost swimming and coming up with what appeared to be tiny fish.... Cuckoo, green pecker & chiffchaff heard. Lots of other common species. And then down came the rain...
Image from http://breakspics.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/dipper1dunsop.gif

from the field book

from the field book
An inspiring gift for anyone who enjoys watching nature.