Videos, poetry and some sad news

Let’s start with the sad news. Which is that, unfortunately, our middle neighbour in our block of 3 flats died of heart troubles earlier this week. He’d been waiting for a heart operation in hospital and we’ve visited a couple of times, but he never made it to have the actual op. I’ll miss him – he could be an archetypal crusty old gent of the old school, but he was always, always fascinating. He could also be extraordinarily generous. When we moved in 17 years ago, he left a bottle of very good champagne and two rather posh glasses at our front door to help us celebrate – a gesture that always makes me smile, even today. He loved high-class wine, birds (of both varieties, in spite of his age!), poetry and Spain – and who can argue with that? It leaves a big gap in our little house, which feels much emptier today. You can find two of his marvellous books (and he wrote just as he spoke, so was always a writer who was very much in touch with his voice) on Spain and flamenco dancing here and here. Both come highly recommended.

Keeping on the subject of death and what we remember, and indeed poetry, here’s this week’s poem (about my father) from my poetry course:

September 1977

We live
only four minutes’ walk
from school

and my mother’s car waits
in the car park
so I know my father is dead.

Hair blows across my face
and in the distance
I hear laughter.

The sky is so blue
and my schoolbag weighs heavy
across my shoulders.

When I take it off,
the fabric drags along the ground.
Without looking, I can name the books

that spill from it:
a Latin grammar;
Voltaire’s Candide.

They smell new.
The way spines snap
when first opened

is a memory
that prickles my skin.
I am so close to the car now.

I reach out,
take hold of the handle.
Breathe.

Turning to book news, I’m happy to say that Thorn in the Flesh is now available at Amazon US and Amazon UK. And I have uploadedthe book trailer at YouTube.

Similarly, Pink Champagne and Apple Juice is now available with free worldwide delivery at The Book Depository. It too comes with its own book trailer – which is proving extraordinarily popular with 82 views since I uploaded it only a couple of days ago. Which just goes to show that the viewing public love comedy, jolly music and a pretty blonde girl. Must remember that for next time I write something new then!

And, finally, the latest chapter of The Prayer Seeker is now available for reading – it’s on anger, as Michael finds he has much to work through. As do we all, really.

But, to end (or almost …) with very exciting bird news, Lord H and I spent the day in Arne in Dorset yesterday – we saw some stunning sika deer, really close to, plus seven (yes, seven!!!) spoonbills, a couple of blackcaps, a few red-breasted mergansers – all of which were firsts for this year. Plus – the crowning glory and a lifetime first – a firecrest. Hurrah!

So, there are two haikus this Sunday for you:

The first signs of spring:
men on yellow bicycles;
a pink Fiesta.

It’s a conundrum:
how to persuade daffodils
to unfurl their blooms.

Heck, I bet Wordsworth never had those problems, on either count …

Anne Brooke – in fairly thoughtful mood
The Prayer Seeker’s Journal – where anger finds a voice

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