Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rhubarb and remembrance

Book News:

I'm very pleased to say that my poem, Meditation 21, appears in the Winter 2010 issue of Eat a Peach poetry journal today (scroll down to view), and of course can also be found amongst its friends in my poetry collection, Salt and Gold, which is now available at a discount at Lulu Books. Ideal Christmas present for your poetic and/or religious friends, naturally ... And speaking of wintry gifts, this time ideal for the darker and more sinister Christmas (and really what could be nicer?), don't forget that crime novel, Thorn in the Flesh, continues to be eligible for free delivery at Amazon and comes with some very nice reviews too.

On a very different note, Tommy's Blind Date was strutting its stuff at No 31 in the Amazon charts, though has now slipped somewhat. And I was also pleased to see my latest poetry collection, Sunday Haiku hanging on in there in the Amazon poetry charts. Returning briefly to Lulu Books, I'm happy to announce that all my books at Lulu now have very worthwhile discounts and some are even free, so definitely worth a browse!

And a big thank you to Stephanie for her 5-star review at Goodreads of The Hit List - many thanks, Stephanie.

This week's meditations:

Meditation 460
A shadowy room,
the faint glitter of skin
and the subtle flow
of oil

bring a blessing
he will remember
when the celebrations
and plots begin.

Meditation 461
God is like
a man in a watchtower
waiting for your arrival;

he is like
a horseman galloping
to find you

in the fields of Naboth;
a messenger who refuses
to leave your side

once the words
are spoken; he is
an arrow through your heart.

Sunday haiku:

I search for my word
lurking at the edge, eerie
and dark: discontent.

Life News:

I must say that Tesco's rhubarb crumble cake, though bizarrely named and yes it doesn't look like much, is seriously scrummy with one's essential cup of tea - highly recommended. Rush out and buy some is what I say. Anyway, in between the rain (honestly, where does it all come from?...) I have managed to squeeze in a game of golf with Marian - not my best game, but my putting was pretty damn cool and on the first I actually chipped in from the green, hurrah. Who needs a putter? Just call me Smug. Marian did.

Saturday morning, Lynda came to shape up my hair which now looks lovely, though I say it myself and shouldn't - and this morning I've even managed to get it looking like some faint echo of how Lynda does it, though I'm unlikely to do that again, wash-and-go being my main aim in life. K is primed to say how lovely it looks as soon as Lynda leaves - much like Pavlov's Husband, if Pavlov had a husband. Which is a good thing as I think I can count on the fingers of half a hand the times in my life when anyone has actually noticed I've had a haircut - a sad fact of life that does make me a bit snippety as I try to make sure I do comment on everyone else's haircuts if I think they've been done. Positively of course! Despite what you think, my Bitch Quota is quite low really. Anyway, I must wear some kind of invisibility cloak over my head for the week after The Haircut, but I swear I don't know who puts it there. Ah well.

Yesterday, we were at the Cathedral listening to Guildford Choral Society (nice singing, Robin, Gavin & Liz - well done, all!) perform not one but two requiems. The Faure one and the Durufle one (sorry, no idea about how to get accents on either of those). A great performance, even though I'm not a huge fan of the requiem per se, and think that when you've encountered one you've probably encountered them all. Much like Madonna and Child paintings, really. And even K thinks two requiems might have been a requiem too far. The programme for next year looks more my style though, so I shall look forward to that.

This morning, K and I have of course attended the Remembrance Service at Shackleford. I particularly like their take on this as when we're all standing around the War Memorial in the village, the names of those from the village who died in the First World and Second World Wars are read out and people come and place crosses on with the appropriate name in the soil as they're being read. I do find that very moving and it brings it all home really. This time we also didn't get a sermon but instead one of our congregation told us the story of his father who'd been in the army and spent five years as a prisoner of war in Germany during the Second World War - fascinating stuff. As the senior officer in the camp, he'd been in charge of coordinating the escape plans, and also of getting essential information back to the UK government by means of a series of letters supposedly to the Tiptree Jam Factory (near where I grew up, coincidentally) and in code. He was rescued by the Americans at the end of the war, as he wasn't allowed to escape himself as he was too useful to the British government where he was. Which just goes to show  another side of the war, and I was gripped by it. Great stuff.

Meanwhile, at home, the neighbour's chimney isn't quite finished yet, and has suffered something of a setback - the foolhardy builders rested one side of the scaffolding on the kitchen roof instead of on the ground (the fools! The fools!) and it's now caused damage to the roof and broken the glass in the window, dammit. Gisela and I were running around trying to contact said builders this weekend to get it sorted, but luckily they came round yesterday and the scaffolding is now resting on the ground. Where it should have been in the first place - this is a Victorian property after all! It's not made to support scaffolding ...

Finally, on a happier note, I'm thrilled to see the good news that those Somali pirates have finally let the Chandlers go - double hurrahs and thank God for it! They've certainly been on my mind for the past year and I'm glad they're free now. Great news for us all.

Anne Brooke


Jason Shaw said...

What a nice post, always lovely to read about your life. Cant stand rhubarb - been right off it ever since I pulled some up in my neighbours garden and started munching it as a kid!

Yes one requiem is enough for any sane person on a summer/winters morn. nuff said. Although, as I tread the path to crumbled decrepit pensionerhood, I find myself stopping more and more to listen to the choir.

Looking around the south east, it's not all that hard to see the little tell tale signs of war, mostly hidden, but there. The hexagonal pill boxes in fields. The treeless space on Reigate hill where a plane was shot down. The former gun emplacements along the coast, the hidden bunkers and tunnels. We are alive with history all around us, yet it takes a special day, like this, for people to remember.

Anne Brooke said...

You are sooo right about history being right with us right now, and you say it so poetically too - thanks for the reminder, Jason!

And hope you're continuing to have a fab time - get down to that beach asap! :))