Sunday, 20 November 2011


I would so much have liked to attract your interest with a picture but I'm afraid I have tried and failed.  I have a facebook page and I have this blog but neither are of my own doing.  I try, but there is much in this fast-moving technological world which I don't understand.  But I DO have a blog AND I am on facebook thanks to the generosity of two people.  They offered their help and expertise in an area in which I am unsure and a little uncomfortable.  It was offered willingly and without bribery or emotional blackmail!

As an emerging poet a few years ago, I met with some well-established poets who took me under their wings.  They encouraged me, guided me, spent time with me and, most of all, gave me self belief.  They had no reason to be particularly kind to me or to include me in their events and poetic lives but they did.  Their prominence grew and still I was included.

I am extremely fortunate to have met some really genuine people over the last few years, and the one thing they have in common is generosity.  They have been generous with their advice, generous with their praise, generous with their support and, most of all, generous with their time.  Without their generosity I certainly wouldn't have a blog page and I probably wouldn't write anything either.

We all have the ability to influence others, whether that be in a positive or a negative way.  I'm sure we would all like to think that we are positive and inspiring to others.  We may not go out of our way to do so, things constantly come across our paths and the situations are there for us to react to as we will.  Sometimes it may be a situation we have been in before, a question raised before, another boring event for a good cause but, it is how we react that demonstrates our generosity.

I would never knowingly offend or demoralise those with whom I rub shoulders. However, I am not blind to the fact that some people, maybe unknowingly (to give them the benefit of the doubt), do not have the ability to be generous.  They are self motivated, confident, experienced in the world of writing and performing and seek only to further themselves.  They, too, are given the same opportunities to encourage new talent, offer a little moral support, take someone under their wing if only fleetingly.  But in an instant the new comer is dismissed, their work trivialised, their confidence shattered.  Ten people can tell you that your work is good and shows promise, it only takes one to make you put down your pen.  I was unfortunate enough to see this take place recently.  We poetry types are known for our tolerance and politeness as an audience;  shame on that person who doesn't understand the meaning of generosity.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Decadent Poetry Divas hit Birmingham Artsfest

Four decadent poetry divas will be performing as part of the Birmingham Artsfest on Saturday, September 10th at The Mac, Cannon Hill, Birmingham (4.30.p.m.) and The Club, Broad Street, Birmingham on Sunday, September 11th (12.30.p.m.)  They will be transporting the audience back in time as seen through their eyes to their personal preceding decade.  If you have 25 minutes to remember when Oil of Olay was called Ulay, when Wagon Wheels were twice the size they are now, when pop was delivered to your door and teenagers mixed their own taped music, come and join in our nostalgia. Charlie Jordan, Lorna Meehan, Laura Yates and me would love to transport you back in time and maybe jog one or two personal memories. Go on, you know you want to hear the secrets of "women of a certain age" and we criss cross four decades.  Come and listen.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Bard of Worcestershire

Well, the Worcestershire Literary Festival is offically open and the first Bard of Worcestershire has been crowned - Theo Theobald.  According to his profile, he has a long history in journalism (national and local papers) and has won two poetry slams in the Midlands, he can now add Worcestershire Poet Laureate to his CV!  He was a highly accomplished act on the night, and a pork pie style hat, together with a couple of carrier bags, helped jettison him in to first place.  The panel of judges went out of sight to make their decision and returned an agonising 20-25 minutes later.  Congratulations to my mate, Fergus McGonigal, who has already started his duties as runner up, and also to friend Heather Wastie who claimed a very respectable third place.  The venue, Worcester Cathedral was stunning and the performers were not only dazzling but dazzled by the selection of official bling that was displayed by visiting dignitaries.

Although I did not finish in the top three, the comments from friends and strangers alike, helped overcome the disappointment which naturally crept in.  Special mention must be made to Sarah James who always delivers. Immaculate might seem a strange word to use about a poet but she literally paints pictures with her words.  I am somewhat surprised that she, too, was relegated to the losers bench.  However, we are united in defeat and go on to perform at The Marrs Bar on June 20th, Little Venice - Parole Parlate on 23rd, and the Worcester Slam, Drummonds on 26th.

The whole lead up to this event has made me knuckle down to more writing and I am delighted to say that I shall be joining ex Birmingham Poet Laureate, Charlie Jordan, Lorna Mehan and Laura Biding in a four diva show as part of the Birmingham Arts Fest later this year. 

If you are in Worcester on June 22nd, why don't you call in to the Arts Cafe and catch a couple of short plays?  A bawdy romp and a classic case of till rage!  Hope to see you there but if Birmingham is nearer to you, I shall be at the Birmingham Library Theatre on Monday, June 20th and the Irish Nite at The Old Crown, Digbeth on June 29th.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Busy and exciting June

WLF strapline master

I can't believe that May has come and gone and we are almost half way through 2011.  Worse still, I didn't put anything on my blog.  Well, hopefully, June will make amends.

For me, the Worcestershire Literary Festival dominates the next few weeks.  This is the first one and congratulations and plaudits must go to Lisa Ventura and her fantastic team for bringing the festival to life from what was an idealistic dream of Lisa's.  Events, workshops, plays, slams, poetry readings etc. etc.  just go to their website for all information.  I have the honour to be one of ten poets shortlisted for Bard of Worcestershire, the first Worcestershire Poet Laureate.  The title will be bestowed on one of us on Friday, June 17th, at Worcester Cathedral.  All welcome.  A rehearsal took place at the cathedral yesterday and what a venue!  The Lord Mayor of Worcester will officially launch the festival on that night and thereafter follows ten days of literary events for all,  whatever your tastes.

Hope to see you at the Arts Cafe on June 22nd (two plays, one especially written for the festival), Parole Parlate, Little Venice on June 23rd, and the Worcester Slam at Drummonds on June 26th.  Dozens of other events to choose from too.


Saturday, 30 April 2011


Jo Bell's workshop - Lydbrook
What an interesting month!  I had a personal birthday; a child's birthday; a wedding anniversary;
  • two writing courses - one just outside Hereford (Jo Bell - excellent - she is doing a joint one with Bohdan Piasecki, he of the now famous Hit the Ode, on September 3rd and 4th in Lydbrook, Herefordshire) 
  • and the other on-line;
  • one workshop - Mark Neil - very good ) - part of the WLF events - see their website for details of future Learn, Eat Perform workshops) 
  • and the NaPoWriMo challenge - catch up with Heather Wastie on Radio Wildfire on Monday next.. 
  • I still manged to cook a few meals for my husband, at least I think it was my husband, I haven't met up with him for a while!;
  • performed in two plays; attended one rehearsal;
  • audience participated at the up and coming "jewel in Worcester" - Little Venice (next event Thursday, May 5th);
  • went to the theatre - Swan Theatre, Hello Dolly;
  • went to the NIA - Peter Kay;
  • guested at the Birmingham Library Theatre with Roy Macfarlane's Mother' Day celebration (watch out for his Fathers' Day special in June);
  • got my haircut and put a few plants in the garden.
Oh, and I went uniform shopping for my youngest granddaughter.  Goodness only knows how I would have made time for all these events if I had paid work!

Unfortunately, I ran out of steam for the Much Wenlock Festival which I am sure would have been brilliant with Spoz & Co. running the Slam.  Congratulations to my mate Emma Purshouse who won.  I also missed out on Hit the Ode which is obviously going from strength to strength and, from what I hear, the open mic section is rivalling the headliners - how's that for measuring success!

I am delighted to see that so many of my friends and colleagues are now publicising all kinds of events of interest to us arty types and am also thrilled to see a couple of us "oldies" venturing into the realms of cyber space.  I am particularly pleased to read the blog of my friend Marcus Moore, a blog I certainly recommend to all discerning readers.  If you want up-beat nostalgia, witty and dry observations mingled with a generous helping of mischief, or just plain old-fashioned good writing Marcus is your man.

Next month sees me and a friend (not my husband, he doesn't know a dandelion from a dinasaur), as invited guests to a QVC day out.  (QVC being the shopping channel which French and Saunders made famous!  Actually, it is rather good).  Although my garden is the size of a postage stamp according to one of my sons-in-law, I spend a fortune on it and have been rewarded by a champagne lunch and a trip around some beautiful gardens. 

But for now I have "homework" to do for my internet course and feel I have earned a mid-day drink in my postage stamp garden.

Monday, 25 April 2011


I used to think that time raced by much more quickly as one got older.  However, I now think that we are all in the same time zone.  My children tell me that their weekends fly by, that their children grow as they look at them, and Christmas seems like last week. As I now shuffle my way towards the top of the deck of cards which is life, I wonder about where time went.  Of course, I have the material verification of what has taken place over the decades and also memories (mainly jogged by photos I hasten to add), but where has time gone?  I don't mean this as a maudlin thought more a "blimey, how did I get here, now, and with grey hair?" Plus that irritating other question "where did all this additional weight come from?"  A meditative mood is not for me today though, things to write - too many things to write - people to see as they say, but most of all I am still here to do them whether time races by or just meanders at a comfortable pace.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Lydbrook Workshop with Jo Bell

How do you fancy spending a day by the river with the sun at your back and poets surrounding you?  Plus freshly made scones and copious amounts of tea and coffee to stimulate the senses whilst being guided through the joys of writing by none other than Jo Bell.  Poetry heaven came to Lydbrook (Herefordshire -nearly into Wales) and I was there.  Excellent company, good food (and wine) and a few muses came for good measure.  Same again on September 3rd and 4th for any of you out there who might be interested but this time Jo is joining forces with Bohdan Piasecki from Apples & Snakes.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Little Venice, April 7th : Parole Parlate

This regular event at Little Venice in Worcester is gaining more momentum every month.  Tonight there was a splendid line-up including the current Birmingham Poet Laureate, Roy Macfarlane; Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate, Laura Dedicoat; runner up Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate, Beth Edwards; past Birmingham Poet Laureate, Giovanni "Spoz" Esposito and another past Birmingham Poet Laureate, Julie Boden, who was having a busman's holiday.

David Calcutt (of "Bugged" fame) had us perched on the edge of our seats with his tale of a tortured knight, Spoz gave us a high tech gizmo as well as some great poetry, and Roy took us on both a tour of the Midlands and a political round-up - rousing stuff.  The youngsters, Laura and Beth, gave us something to think about and performed with great confidence - it will be a pleasure to follow them as they progress on their literary journey. Amanda Bonnick, Neil Richards, Caroline Ferguson and Ddotti Bluebell got the audience nicely in the mood for the "guest" poets and this is certainly an event which is going from strength to strength.  Next Parole Parlate, May 5th .... make a note in your diary.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Maggie Live!

Finally, I am mixing with those of you who have blogged for ages.  To actually be typing in this box is a major achievement and would never have been possible without Ruth, to whom I am indebted.  I hope you will want to join me now and again and read some of my posts which will let you know of forthcoming events I know about, and places I have been to recently. In the meantime, enjoy the sunshine.