Monday, August 05, 2019

Edinburgh, You Rock!

What an exciting evening I've had. It's not every day you get an invite from the First Minister of Scotland to a reception celebrating the opening of Edinburgh's International Festival(s!). 


There's me thinking, 'lucky I didn't wear my red dress.'

Nicola (yes, I eventually just called her Nicola. Was that alright, etiquette wise? It felt okay)...Nicola made a lovely impromptu welcome speech about how important it was - now, more than ever, to support the Arts and foster better  communication and understanding. 

She went on to praise the Book Festival's newly-erected marquees outside Bute House. The process of building the book festival was so noisy, she could hardly hear Boris. I may have guffawed. I tried to do it politely. 

I met two great women from Edinburgh Science Festival. I loved how enthusiastic and passionate they were about science. The opposite of Donald Trump. 

Yes, we need Arts more than ever, but we desperately need science too. We need the Arts to speak for science.  I feel a link to Extinction Rebellion coming on. 

Arts, Science and the Climate Emergency, are all passions and preoccupations, as if you didn't know, if you've ever glanced at my Twitter feed. 

So, friends; a week to go before I will be reading at Edinburgh Book Festival. Monday 12th, 6pm.  The show is part of the Throwing Voices sequence and you can book tickets and learn more here.  It would be lovely to see you there for coffee and scones, poems and songs. And maybe a few guffaws. 




Sunday, July 14, 2019

Things we know and things we don't

I can be so contrary. I've changed the name of the ol' blog again. These things I know. That'll do for this week. 

It has echoes of one of my favourite novels; a book by Wally Lamb called,  'I Know This Much is True.'


And it ties in with a poetry theme I'll be exploring at Edinburgh Book Festival in August. Is parenting easier because you don't know what lies ahead? We learn fast as parents, we have to, and there's always  a skip-load more to learn. 

Hindsight is defined as: understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed. I think that's where most poetry hangs out. That's where we have to look for it. 

But wait - did I just say, Edinburgh International Book Festival? I'm still so thrilled to be asked. Here's the link to the Throwing Voices event (with photo of Basque writer Uxue Alberdi). Come along and see us. 

Before that, if you're in Glasgow on Wednesday evening, pop up to their cafe for this event, when I'll be talking about the fantastic New Writers' Awards and readíng a few poems alongside talented Kirstin Innes and Juliette Forrest, an ascending star in young adult literature. 

Did you catch 8 DAYS to the Moon and Back? It was a mind-expanding watch. I kept thinking, but HOW? How did they DO IT? They hadn't even invented the iPhone. Or the Internet. 

The moon looks beautiful tonight. Almost full. Once, I talked to a man who was taking photos of the moon with a tripod, by the V&A museum, on a cold February night. He confessed that most of the great moon shots are photo shopped. They shoot the moon as it is, but make it bigger in context to the buildings or landscape. That's okay in my book. A wee bit of embellishment can't hurt.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Old Tales, New Tales, Ease Your Troubled Mind

Would you look at that rain. And nearly June!

I've changed the title of my blog to Tales from the Mum-iverse. On a whim. I never liked the old title anyway. I googled Mum-iverse and no one else has used it, so I will. 

But, hey - it's not all about me. How are YOU? How are we ALL?

The country's gone crazy. The world's gone crazy. Brexit insanity and only 12 years left to avert an ecological tipping point into Climate Crisis. 

I don't know where to begin, with my armchair philosophy. I do all I can. I even went to meet my MP, Patrick Grady of the SNP. He is very personable and reasonable and he said, 'We are doing all we can'. He wrote letters to the council. The council wrote to me and said, 'We are doing all we can.'

But when I walk into my back garden at 8am and smell the exhaust -fume fug of rush-hour diesel and petrol from a busy road, three streets away, I just want it all to happen more quickly. In five or ten years, not 30 years! I really, really want clean air. 

Well, what else? I was honoured to work on Coorie Doon at the Children's Hospital in Glasgow, with parents of babies in the Special Care Unit. BBC Radio Scotland did a report you can listen to at 1 hour 35 minutes into this programme.  I think there will be a short film too. I'll post it when it's ready. 

I'm looking forward to the 'lit' thrill that is Edinburgh Book Festival, this year (Watch this space. Announcement pending. It may involve rabbits and double buggies. Surreal, and cryptic, huh?) 

Meanwhile, if you have any troubles, be sure and confide in Andrea Boto, Mustard Salesman from Dijon. He can help you stand up against your oppressors and ease your troubled mind. Until next time...




Thursday, January 17, 2019

Bloomin' January

Good People! Happy 2019! 

The cherry tree in the garden is leading the cheer, if not the cherries. The goldfish are hiding beneath the ice of the pond, like  orange sweets from a box of Quality Street.



Don't forget to spend those January Vouchers...


Doh! It's expired. 

I had a great day yesterday - on the day of my 51st Birthday. 

It was an honour to visit St Ninian's High School to teach and talk poetry with some of the S3 pupils there. We had two sessions and it was great to see their confidence grow by the second session, where they all wrote and read out their work. Bravo!

Big thanks to the wonderful Scottish Book Trust for supporting the visits. Check out how it works on The Live Literature Database.  


Klaxon: Blow My Own Trumpet alert! Did I tell you the Times Literary Supplement reviewed my poems ('striking') and called me 'a born enthusiast'? Well, I have now. End of trumpet-ry.

Past Love Pamphlet is still available here for a 'deep sea diver' at Tapsalteerie Press (shortlisted for a publishers award too).

And, just in case I get 'above myself', I always have my family to tip their buckets of black humour over me. Some might say this was a strange birthday card, but it did make me laugh. And that's the point, surely. Better get shopping for antique brooches.


Be kind to each other while I go for the groceries. Can you manage that? I have faith in you.