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On these days

Sun in Gemini

On Days thisAAFinal

On this day

A meagre seven years ago

I woke to find you gone

A day premature

Just the nursing angel in your hand

The phone receiver in mine

Now, at these times

I picture you in your old shop

Happy to leave your kitchen

For shop’s bell, whose call

To seek but not always to find

Mattered little, but sharing chat did

Then, happier, returning to your TV

On these days

I miss you most

The simple routine of your day

Grown golden in my mind

Only seven years ago

And a million miles away

©Copyright Stephen Tanham

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One size fits all?

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Breaking the Mould, by sculptor Andrew Mckeown Breaking the Mould, by sculptor Andrew Mckeown

I had to chuckle at the emotions that flitted across my son’s face. He even managed to continue his sentence without a blink, yet the whole internal ‘did she just say that?’ conversation was written in a millisecond across his face

Have you ever noticed how it is with children, no matter what their age, when a subject comes up that they really, really do not want to associate with their parents? Sex is a good one, as parents have, quite obviously never indulged in ‘that type of thing’ and, according to my eldest son, his was an immaculate conception. Anything else cannot be contemplated. He was actually born of roses, but that is a whole other story….

We had been talking about talent and sculptors and he’d mentioned artists working from life. I repeated what I’d said…

“I did some life modelling.”

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Spring cleaning the bookshelf…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Quite where any adventure really begins is a matter for debate. When you are writing a story, it begins with that ‘once upon a time’ moment and the first words on the page. In ‘real life’, you can trace it back, and yet further back, looking at the chain of events that bring you to a given moment… but you can never go back and change a thing. Thankfully, with a book, you can do just that.

A few years ago, Stuart France and I began an adventure. It had taken a lifetime to bring us to that moment where everything began to get weird enough to fall into place. Like the scattered pieces of a jigsaw, the experiences and things we had learned throughout our lives only started to reveal their hidden story when we put them together and became, ourselves, pieces of the picture. Even so, without the…

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The land of the ‘stone father’

The Silent Eye

At the heart of an ancient landscape is the Dorset village of Cerne Abbas. The village grew up around a Benedictine Abbey founded there over a thousand years ago and it is still a place where folklore, myth and legend come together…and few of them agree.

The holy spring rose from where St Augustine struck the ground… or where St Edwold saw a vision, depending on which story you prefer, just as the giant on the hillside dates from the Iron Age… or is a seventeenth century political statement. The mysteries here are real… but underpinning them all is the fact that the place was undeniably seen as sacred.

The name is interesting in itself in that respect; ‘Cerne’ is believed to come from a Celtic word for ‘stone’ and ‘Abbas’ is the Medieval Latin ‘abbot’, which means ‘father’. Does the name refer to the Abbey, or did the abbey…

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Frankenstein, Gollum and the unseen will…

The Silent Eye

“I’m re-reading Tolkien,” said my son.
“Cool. How far have you got?”
“The riddles in the dark bit.” That made me smile, as we’d taken inspiration from that chapter for the December workshop.
“What do you reckon… when Gollum says ‘my precious’, is he talking to the ring or himself?”
“I asked myself the same question when I first heard that story.”  Our teacher, Miss Bedford, had read The Hobbit to a class full of ten-year-olds, sitting silent and enrapt on the library floor. I remember quite vividly being struck by that anomaly, even then. “Both.”
“Hmm…” said my son, settling back with his morning tea. “Elaborate…”

The character of Gollum is a moral tale all on its own. Greed and desire cost him his home and his place amongst his people. He murders his best friend to obtain the ring and is driven to slink away invisible, into the…

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Daydreamer…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

image: pixabay

Crack.
The ruler slapped down on the desk, narrowly missing my knuckles and dissolving the magic.
“Daydreaming again? You will pay attention in my class, young lady!” The French mistress, determinedly optimistic to the last, turned her back and returned to the blackboard. Oddly enough, French was always one of my favourite subjects and one at which I did best… in spite of the daydreaming.

It was not the anxious, fretting kind of daydream, not was it just wandering attention. It was like stepping into a wardrobe and coming out the other side into a magical land where anything was possible.

I could daydream my way through most things and still take in, process and apply the information, and was always in the higher sets. I was lucky… back then, I only got into trouble for daydreaming. A few years later and I would probably have been sent to…

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Saving for a rainy day …

The Silent Eye

The fish need feeding… their food cannisters need refilling too. The bird feeder needs completely restocking…and it is freezing outside. Not only is it cold enough to make a snowman shiver, it is raining… the kind of rain that falls as stinging darts making the presence of each drop sharp and immediate. I shiver, watching the blood withdraw from my fingertips, feeling them shrink and stiffen with the cold and I wrestle with the frozen metal of the lock. Raindrops trickle across my scalp, slithering down my neck. It is not a day to be outdoors… but the fish and the birds need to be fed, regardless of my misery.

Opening the shed, I squeeze past my son’s wheelchair to reach the feed. I remember, just for a moment, coming onto the hospital ward one day and seeing the longing on his face as he watched the raindrops on the…

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Castles of the Mind

The Silent Eye

Bamburgh Castle smaller

Do we have ‘castles of the mind’?

Traditionally, ancient castles were built where there was trouble… Do we have the equivalent in our minds and emotions? Have we, over the course of our lives, built up strong fortifications with which to repel those intrusions which, as children, we considered frightening?

The foundations for such things can begin very early, and be formed of some very primitive fears and, even, strong dislikes. That dark green colour of the man in the long raincoat who collected money and caused mother great distress. The child would see the pain of a caring parent whose finances were stretched to the limit; the deeper truth that it was a door-to-door insurance man, making his Friday call in time to tap into the new pay packet would not be seen until later in life… but the coloured raincoat would be remembered…

We smile at such memories…

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Shaping the world

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

fox 001

Back in the earliest days when mankind had his beginnings, it was the land and our response to it that had shaped us. It has been suggested that it was the long grass that caused us first to stand on two legs… a need to spot potential predators at a distance. As animals our physical defences are minimal. It is our intellect, adaptability and ability to use what comes to hand to serve our needs that allowed us to thrive. It was the land, the environment and climate that offered the raw materials to the responsive hunter, moving with the game and the seasons and which later planted the first seeds of agriculture from which our modern societies have sprung.

We are not very old as a species. It is thought that the earliest homo sapiens dates back a mere 200,000 years. On a planet that is 4.6 billion years…

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Honour My Name He Says: Lament for a Warrior

strangegoingsonintheshed

desktop-background-3091211_1920 Nietjuh , Pixabay

The fallen warrior gasps his last breath, entreats comrades to “honour my name, place rosemary upon my pyre in remembrance”

All stand in silence, remembering what had passed, what had unfolded, so did their tears fall like rain from the skies

On this day did the gods of their land bid one more sweet farewell, sing did they, tales of beginnings, and tales of heroic acts

Carry him do they to the funeral pyre, with torches of divine fire, set the heavens alight, open the gates to the narrow and silent path

So does the Guide open her arms, welcomes the departed from places of light and laughter, beyond these lands all is shadowed

All is devoid of sound, precious words buried deep in gloom

His honour guard line the way, carry forth his spirit, for they too are the beloved dead, enacting sacred rites, and offering…

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