Category Archives: Life

Hello.

 

I’d like to think that I’m an optimist, but in reality I probably am a pessimist. I find that my personal thoughts often turn to the worst case scenario, rather than consider that a non-bad outcome (not necessarily good – let’s not walk before we can run here) is possible. This tree of negativity has many branches; from a lack of self belief in my own ability and possibilities, to worry that my children may one day be abducted, or may be hurt or injured and me not being there to help them or protect them, to the abject fear of ever being though badly of. This last example is partly why I am so hard on myself when I make mistakes, and also why I strive so hard to please others. I have recognised that even this blog, and the poetry I write is simply me crying out to be loved. “Love me!!!” I scream – and yet, when people do I struggle to believe it. Give me a compliment and I will bat it away, or deflect it, or ignore it. Not out of arrogance or rudeness, but because I find it virtually impossible to like myself, and therefore equally impossible to believe that somebody else will. Recognising and accepting my own worth is a feat yet to be mastered. I guess I crave acceptance and love from others so much, because I don’t accept or love myself.

I’m 46 years old, earn less than £20,000 per year, do not own my own home, and do a basic administrative job. I have a very large “can’t be bothered” theme running through me – I am overweight, and should exercise. The only thing I do is walk a mile to work each morning, and although I know the long term risks of my sedentary life, I do nothing about it. I’m lazy – and have been all my life, and I don’t know how to change it. Or, if I do – I can’t be arsed to actually do it. I’m still waiting for life to bring the answers to me – a lottery win, a fantastic job offer out off the blue, the recipient of the bone marrow donation I did four years ago turning out to be the Sultan of Brunei’s cousin and him contacting me with a cheque for millions. I know life won’t do these things, but the hours I spend fantasising about winning the lottery is ridiculous. It’s an immature trait I have, I feel.

At our I house, we have an exterior light that has gone and we bought a new one but have no idea how to fit the new one (add “Should Know DIY” to the list of sticks with which I beat myself). I was able to ask a friend (I wanted to type then ‘a friend who I met through my Fiancée – he’s not my friend’ – because why would he want to be friends with me. This is the negativity I battle with) to come over and fit the new light, and while he was doing so I was so envious of his skill and talent in being able to do that. The best I could do, was to wash up and clean the work surfaces down whilst he was working – not the most manliest of tasks. I constantly have the feeling that I am not doing enough in any facet of life.

So why am I telling you all this? Firstly, because it feels good to do so. I am having counselling sessions at present in which much of this stuff is being worked on. I wasn’t sure what I would be writing about when I started this blog post, but then this stuff started coming out, and I didn’t want to stop it. My negative inner self is telling me that the only reason I wrote this is because I am seeking attention. Maybe he is right – although at the time of typing this sentence you are reading, this blog post is on a word document and hasn’t been copied onto my blog, so maybe you will never read it. However, the fact I just spoke to you probably means it will. I could go round and round like this for ages which – like the rest of my negativity – will get me nowhere.

The second reason I am telling you this stuff, is because I could never tell you this stuff – at least not face to face, without breaking down. Many of my friends, family, and work colleagues read my blog (be they’re regretting that tonight), and would not have been aware of some of the stuff I have spoken about. So I have taken the easy route and have bared all to them from a digital distance. As for the other readers and followers of my blog who live in various places across the globe, it is unlikely we shall ever meet face to face, so I divulge my innermost fears almost anonymously. You don’t know me, I don’t know you, and that’s okay.

The third reason for me revealing this stuff is that it gives it a tangibility; although documents can be deleted, and websites can crash, I feel this stuff is “out there” now. I’ve put my cards on the table where everyone (including me) can see them in the daylight. The inner voice that whispers how shit I am has now been heard by all of you, and it doesn’t like that, because as long as only I heard it, the voice was strong. Out in the open, where the wind blows the voice can be taken away on the breeze and disappear. If other people hear what the voice is saying to me, then it weakens it’s power because it’s not just me that hears it – and although I might let that happen, other people might not.

Writing this stuff here tonight does nothing to change the things I am struggling with. What it does do is bring them out of the shadows, out from the dark place where they are in control. I feel that I am showing them to the world and am saying ‘This is me; this is where I am right now”

I’m not asking for anything – please do not think that I am. If you know me, are my friend, or have had me in your life at one point or another, then you have/are doing enough already. I have felt like I have been hiding this stuff for a long time behind my façade of being jokey, funny Larry/Laurence/Laurie/Lazza/Lagrueski (Delete as appropriate based on personal knowledge of me), and I still will be the same crap joke telling, awesome poetry writing, hunky chap with a beard as I always was.

 

I’m just not prepared to continue hiding this stuff anymore.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

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Hello, and welcome to my blog!

I’m sorry that this post is so late, but it’s been a bit of an evening with everything being delayed by a faulty light switch in a car.

It’s a long story, which I won’t bore you with.

Instead I’ll bore you with a blog I wrote six years ago. Who am I kidding!? I know you lot love this stuff!!

So, here it is. Enjoy!!

Boring, Stilts, Embarrassment, and Early

Blimey! that was a close one.

I started writing this blog, and then got distracted and did something else. When I came back to my blog, I had a quick read through – and discovered that it was the most boring piece of writing you had ever encountered. I actually thought that telling you about how the display adapter in my laptop was on the way out would make a good topic for my blog.

I wouldn’t, it didn’t, I won’t.

Although just this second, as if to make a point, my screen flickered in a worrying sort of way……..

But never mind that (he said, saving his progress), if it turns out that my screen fails before I finish this blog, then so be it. Mind you, if I don’t get to publish it, you’ll never get  to read it and might just as well think that I simply stopped writing my blog. But if you did that, wouldn’t some of you wonder why a man who put the effort in to writing a blog every single day would simply stop out of the blue? Would you wonder if I was dead, or ill, or dead from being ill. Maybe you would think that I had some personal tragedy in my life which had made me think about the frailty of our lives and existence , and subsequently made me realise that wasting time on such frivolous things as Social Networking sites, or writing nonsense everyday, was simply a waste of my time, and therefore I decided to stop.

Or maybe you would just think “Oh, he’s stopped writing his blog – what’s for tea?”

Incidentally, halfway through that last paragraph my screen failed, and it took 10 minutes for me to get the computer working again. This is not good……

These are Roll Stilts. For some reason, I had a pair of these as a kid. Basically, you stood on them and the held the ropes in each hand and could walk about on them. I don’t know why I had them because as I was a tall child (six-foot by the age of twelve), I can’t understand the need to make myself taller. Now, these may look like harmless little stilts, but let me tell you – they could be deadly. In my experience, what would invariably happen was that due to poor foot positioning, the stilts would topple over. The first problem with this is that you more often than not twisted your ankle as you foot went over, but then as the curved edge of the stilts made contact with the ground, they would roll away from you throwing you backwards to the floor. Mind you, if there is one thing that can take your mind off a twisted ankle, it’s a crack on the back of your head.

I had a brief visitor this evening – and that’s not someone who pops round to look at your pants -, my good Friend Alyn Williams. He was in the vicinity because he was getting a take away for  his and his pretty-much-wife-but-their-not-married partner, Emma as he had been paid today. He is a man much after my own heart. He popped in to say hello and catch up while his take away was prepared. I always enjoy visitors, but was absolutely mortified when Alyn sat on my sofa and noticed a bit of food lying on the cushion next to him. I was horrified – I am not a total slob, and do tidy my house regularly. On this occasion I had forgotten that I was having any visitors and therefore did not run my Hoover round. I would also like to say that did not know that piece of food was there. if I had known, I would have cleared it up – I’m not in the habit of spreading food around my home to act as conversation starters when friend come round. So all in all, I’m very embarrassed.

Guess what I’ve got coming to work tomorrow? that’s right – a forty-foot container!! In truth, this one should not be a problem, there not too many different items, a lot of the boxes are large (= takes up more space in the container = the container takes less time to empty), and I’ve already got the warehouse sorted so every item has a place to go. I am still going in to work early though as I am currently one fifth of the way through entering 124 orders on the system. Before you gasp in admiration and horror, each order is only four lines, so it’s not too bad. If I get in for half six, I should get a good number done by the time the container arrives.

Well, I made it to the end of this blog without the comput

just kidding!!!! (I will be getting the Blogger App for my phone in case of system failure)

Good evening and welcome to my blog.

I have given this blog a life expectancy of thirty minutes – that is, thirty minutes in which to say all that I want to say. Should I complete this task in less than the allotted time, then fine. If not, I will publish it as it is – including mid-sentence if needed.

Can you feel the suspense rising?

Try harder.

I have looked at the clock and it is 21:07 GMT – I estimate that I have already been writing for three or four minutes, so my time runs out at 21:33 GMT. Time to get on with it!

I am a fan of James Bond films. I like the recent ones, and the older ones have a certain “cheesy” charm to them. I have liked all the “Bonds” – There is the question of who was better – Sean Connery or Roger Moore, and I think Sean Connery just nicks it for me. However, I have to admit recently watching a bond film that I didn’t like. It was “Never Say Never Again”, and it was awful! It just looked like it was on a very low budget – at least for the first half of the movie; the fight scenes were crap, Connery was clearly wearing a wig and his make up looked awful – in one scene he looked almost orange!

The second half of the film was better – Kim Basinger in a leotard will improve any film – as it seemed that the producers had realised they needed a bigger budget. But by then it was too late – I couldn’t watch any more.

I assume Bond saved the day?

I recently had a bit of a wobble about my poem writing, infact I’m still “rippling” as the wobbling stops. I had some rejection letters from publishers, and although I accept it was naïve of me to expect to get published straight away, to have someone say they don’t like my poetry was hard to hear. I bought a book about the rhythm and flow of poetry, but found that when I wrote as suggested in this book, my ‘voice diminished’. Fortunately, I received some guidance and advice from another very experience poet I met at an open mic night, who not only said that he thought I had a good poetry voice and he liked what I wrote, but also said I shouldn’t worry at this stage about the flow etc. that will come. For now, I just need to continue writing.

And not just poetry. Writing this blog is of immense help to me, so I intend to continue.

Times up!

Good evening, and welcome to my blog.

This is another re-visit to the former incarnation of my blog – larry an every now and then blog – which I wrote every day between 2011 and 2012.

This blog is quite special in the fact that all the sentiment in it about dogs is exactly the same today as it was when I wrote it.

The only thing about this blog that has changed is the statement from me that “Cats are okay”. I now have a cat, Toby who is a much-loved pet and is more than okay to me.

Here is the blog post:

Dogs

Today’s Blog is dedicated to Megan, Joey, Herbie, Tyson,  Donkey, Jack, Alfie, Bertie (Dirty! Bertie!), Solomon, Bosun, Blacky and Misty.

If you don’t get the connection between all these names, allow me to elaborate: They are all Dogs. Most are still with us, some have left us for greener kennels.

Megan, Herbie and Joey are – in my opinion – The Best Dogs In The World. They belong to Louisa. Tyson was Louisa’s dog when Megan was a puppy. Donkey is my Boss’s dog. Jack belongs to Leigh and Jim, Alfie is the dog that lives with Ben, Michelle and Cain (I’m not sure whose dog he is exactly). Bertie lives with Gwen. Solomon and Bosun were my parents dogs at different times. Blacky was my Aunty Agnes’s dog. Misty was my dog, many years ago.

In my opinion, these dogs – in fact all dogs – have one thing in common: They only ever give love. Dogs don’t do jealously, material greed, envy, hatred, frustration, sarcasm, spitefulness, bitterness, regret, revenge, or any of the thousand other negative emotions and things that humans do. Any behavioural issues with a dog is based on the way it is treated and trained, in my opinion. Dogs only do love – they don’t always get love back.

If you sit with a dog for three hours in a room, and then walk out of the room and close the door for fifteen seconds leaving the dog inside alone, when you open the door again, the dog is instantly pleased to see you. Every morning, when your dog sees you, happiness pours from it’s every fibre by the bucket load. How many of the people we see every day have the same reaction?

After a hard days work, the best way for me to wind down was to walk the dogs. Having a small dog snuggle up to me on the sofa – and then have a large dog leap into my lap because it thinks it is a small dog even when it’s a Springer Spaniel – made my soul soar.

Dogs don’t get a very good deal in most cases. Whether they get walked is at the discretion of their owner, in some cases the same applies to their being fed. We leave our dogs for long periods of time while we go to work, or go to the pub on a Friday or Saturday night. We shout at our dogs if they happen to be in our way when we  are in a bad mood. Some people kick and beat their dogs. Some people kill their dogs, or train them to fight to the death.

All a dog wants is to be fed, exercised, and loved. Imagine how simple life would be if that was all that you desired. It is not a lot to ask, yet in return they give unconditional love, loyalty, and they protect you as best they can if the need arises. Admittedly, they yapping bark of a Yorkshire Terrier might not deter a burglar or mugger, but the intent from the Yorkie is there. It’s like the saying says – “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size if the fight in the dog”. Although, I don’t want to think about where that saying originated.

I am a dog lover. Cats are okay, but it’s dogs for me every time. Yes they chew furniture, crap in the house when they are young, bark at nothing in the middle of the night, dig holes in the garden, and all the annoying things that dogs do. But they never tell you that you’re worthless, they never criticise, or complain. That wagging tail will mend a thousand broken hearts, fix a million bad days, and dry an endless river of tears – and all you have to do is acknowledge the dog that owns it.

If there is a dog nearby as you read this, give it some love. I guarantee it will love you right back – but you’ll stop way before it does.

If you haven’t got a dog – you don’t know what you are missing.

Hello, and welcome to my blog.

Never underestimate the power of your memories.

Modern life is a throw-away-and-move-on kind of existence. What is fashionable today, is out of date tomorrow. Yes retro is currently enjoying a resurgence, but that won’t last forever, and all too soon we will have something else shoved in our face that we must love or desire. It’s like a very rubbish conveyor belt game from “The Generation Game”.

(If you are under twenty, ask your parents).

But your memories last – even though you may not be aware of it until something recalls one of them. We keep them locked safely in our brains for years and years just waiting to be pulled out and looked at like a photograph album. Some memories are painful to remember, but I think we mostly retain the good ones – and they are never alone when they come back; one memory of a thing, or a place, or an event brings with it memories of the people you were with at that moment. Names and faces of friends and loved ones long gone appear before you, the sound of your laughter and theirs rings in your ears, the touch of their hand is felt on your skin, and even when remembering those we have loved and lost, a smile appears on our faces if only for an instant.

I had such a recall today. I was in town, shopping for a new notebook. I was in The Works (other stationery and book retailers are available) when I saw these books on display:

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The moment I saw them, a memory of me reading these books as a child came flooding back to me – along with memories of the house I lived in, and my family. I must have been about 7 when I had these books – and they were my favourites at the time. I picked one up (Megs Eggs) and flicked through the pages – already knowing the story because my memory had stored it from all those years ago! Spoiler Alert: One page stuck out in particular; the page where a Stegosaurus is eating cabbages and Mog (the cat) is counting ’98, 99, 100!’. I immediately remembered counting that with my mum in bed at bedtime.

Mum died when I was sixteen, and memories of her are scarce because before she died she suffered a lot with Depression and spent a lot of her time alone in her room not being able to face the world. This memory of her and this book was so deep it wasn’t amongst the memories I was able to recall recently when asked by someone what memories I had of her.

Seeing those books again made me feel wonderful. I very nearly bought one – and as I write this, I wish I had. Although they don’t smell the same (yes I smelled these books; part of the memory of them was the smell of the pages), as the books I had as a child, the pictures and wording were exactly like they used to be.

For a moment, I was back home as a child with my mum and dad – a place where ever since they have passed away, I have wanted to be.

People are always saying “never forget where you come from”, and whilst I like what that message is trying to convey, I personally prefer “Always be prepared to let your past into your present”

I believe that our minds are subconsciously perpetually storing memories – a book, a song, a place, a single moment in time, it could be anything. And likewise, anything could trigger the recollection of them.

I find it comforting to know that in this fast-paced, disposable world we live in we have some long-lasting memories that come back now and then to take us away from the rush and bustle.

Thank you Meg & Mog, for taking me home today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello, and welcome to my blog.

 

I’ve found my happy place. Surprisingly, it is in a barber’s chair.

Friday was my monthly haircut and beard trim; with the exception of my blog writing and poetry (which I do at home mostly), this is my only “me time”. This is my treat, my little bit of self indulgence – and we all need a little self indulgence from time to time.

The barber’s chair in which I drift away, straighten out my knots, and untangle myself from the brambles of stress lives at number 26, High East Street, Dorchester Dorset – otherwise known as “Seventh Seal“. This is a Gentleman’s Apothecary, Barber and Clothier where gentleman like myself can come for a haircut, by some beautiful fragranced treatments for skin and hair, buy some clothes, or simply pop in and have a coffee and a chat.

I was booked in for 4:30pm and true to recent form, I was running late from work. I really hate it when I am late; I try hard not to be, and I feel genuinely quite bad when I am. I took the liberty of calling ahead to Seventh Seal as I attempted (badly) to speed walk down Dorchester high street, as I felt it only right to inform them.

As I inadvertently minced towards my appointment, I needn’t have worried; my barber – and proprietor of Seventh Seal – Thomas, was running a little late himself. I find this completely acceptable, as I have experienced first hand the level of attention to detail and personal service given here. This isn’t one of those large, “chain” of hairdressers where it’s a production line of haircuts. I have always found a very unique, individual focused service at Seventh Seal – one I would not begrudge anyone this.

So I arrived, slightly out of breath and frazzled. I was greeted by Toby, the other proprietor, and giver of excellent coffee. All customers receiving a haircut or treatment get a coffee on the house, so I asked for a flat white, and sat in the leather Chesterfield-Esque chair they have just added to the décor. My coffee was presented to me, and while I waited I sat and leafed through the selection of gentleman’s fashion magazines that were on offer (my favourite is a publication titled “The Chap“), along with the highly enjoyable book, “Crap Taxidermy”. My relaxation began as I perused sharp suits, fantastic facial hair, and a badger with a duck’s bill glued badly on its face. With exemplary timing, just as I finished my coffee Thomas came over and greeted me. He showed me to my chair, and my treatment began; I was having the hair on my head clippered to a grade zero, my beard tidied up, and a shave with a cutthroat razor.

I cannot emphasise enough just how much of a talent Thomas is.  His attention to detail is brilliant. He is patient, attentive, calm, gentle, thorough and skilful. He checks and re-checks, makes you feel so at ease, and the quality of his work is unquestionable.

That’s a fiver he owes me.

My favourite part of the whole treatment is the cutthroat shave; please be aware that I may get the exact order of this mixed up somewhat. The only excuse I can give is that during this treatment I always almost pass out completely from sheer relaxation.

Thomas started by massaging some shave oil into my skin. Then he wraps a hot towel around my face, leaving only my nose poking out so I can breathe. I must admit, that the very first time this happened, I was a little unsure and felt claustrophobic even. But now, I love it – I bathe in it’s warmth, and close my eyes and feel my stress melt away.  It’s like falling gently without fear of harm – truly relaxing. It’s actually a good thing that I have a towel covering my face at this point, because I expect that in that state of relaxation, my mouth would fall open and my tongue would loll out of one side like an overheating French Bulldog. Before removing the towel, Thomas massages my beard and neck a little, and I almost fall asleep.

The shave comes next. Now, cutthroat razors have got a bit of a bad press thanks to Sweeney Todd, but I have never had such an excellent close shave in my life. No pain, no wincing as my skin gets nicked, no bleeding to death. Thomas is careful, and precise. After the shave, I have some more after-shave oil stuff (that’s a technical term folks) rubbed into my face, head and neck. These oils come in a variety of fragrances; my choice on this occasion was Sandalwood.

And that was my treatment finished. I went in frantic and stressed, and I came out soothed relaxed, happy and looking sharper than a Fox in a suit.

I’ve already booked my next treatment. I will try to get less stressed in between (it is something I struggle with greatly), and although I don’t rely on it it is good to know that my little pampering session will also help me unwind.

Just wrap me in a hot towel and leave me – I’ll be fine.

 

 

 

 

Hello and welcome to my blog.

So, how was your weekend? I hope it was good.

Mine was a good one for sure, and was a weekend of contrasts. My fiancée and I were without the kids this weekend, which meant that we were able to visit places that were of interest to us, without the fear of unbridled moaning from the little people in our lives. We were like kids in a sweet shop – no, not off our heads on sugar with chocolate smeared on our faces – excited at the possibilities!

Saturday in Dorset was a glorious day – the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the world was our oyster. We decided to go to Bridport, as this weekend they were having their famous Hat Festival – where the best and brightest from the world of Millinery parade their wares and compare notes. We set off in good spirits – but soon a cloud of concern filled our horizon; a cloud in the shape of a traffic jam. Our journey to Bridport took us past Dorchester – where this weekend, the famous Dorset County Show was taking place. As we passed by the main routes into Dorchester, we could see miles and miles of queuing traffic – holiday makers, visitors to the County Show, local people who had forgotten about the risk of congestion, caravanners –  they were all there. All the drivers and their passengers looked so fed up on the already hot day, who knows how long it would take them to get where they were going?

I felt lucky that we were going in the opposite direction, and hoped these queues would be gone by the time we returned. Soon enough, we arrived in Bridport and after parking the car we wandered down to the festival.

 

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You can leave your hat on….

Well, mould me over a hat block and stick me in a drying cabinet – there were hats – thousands of them – and such variety of designs; almost everything you could think of was there. There were planes, trains, cakes, snakes, fruit, fish, houses, fairgrounds, beer glasses, top hats, Berets, Trilbys, tricorns, caps, chefs hats, big hats, small hats, hats with plants, hats with tools, hats with cards, hats with jewels, and so much more!.

Of course, my fiancée and me were suitably adorned; she had a hat on which she made herself – including some exquisite beading, and I had one of those hats on which made me look like a member of an Indie Band who, despite being way past his best days, can’t quite let go. To complete the outfit, I had my t-shirt on which read “If your dad doesn’t have a beard, you have two moms”, which got its fair share of reaction from other festival goers.

The festival was really good; along with the multitude of hats on display there were exhibitions of Millinery, plus competitions for professional hat makers, and live music from a number of excellent bands. There were also various stalls selling a wide variety of things including antiques, tools, and toys. There was even a group photo of everyone wearing their hats – taken by professional photographers hanging out of an attic window. There were meant to be two main photographs taken – one with everyone cheering, and one with everyone cheering AND raising their hats in the air. Some people had difficulty dealing with these two separate instructions and cheered when they should have raised, and vice versa – but it didn’t matter really.

We ended our visit to Bridport with a cooling drink in one of the many establishments catering for people’s thirsts and tastes. The afternoon sun was still warm, and the sounds of chatting and laughter drifted through the air, making the perfect accompaniment to the atmosphere.

It really was an excellent day – and I would recommend the festival to anyone.

 

Sunday, in terms of weather was a completely different affair. It was raining all day, and windy with it. I don’t know if this was the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, or Hector, or Humphrey – or whatever it was called, but it made for very grim conditions. This was definitely a day for staying in and keeping dry.

So naturally, I went out.

Regular followers of my blog will know that each and every Friday I post a brand new Friday Poem. What some of you might not know is that I regularly read my poems at Open Mic events in the local area, and it just so happened that down at Lyme Regis they were holding a Folk Festival, and as part of that Festival there was an open mic poetry reading event. I had been invited to attend, and was excited about reading my own work to a new audience.

The drive to Lyme Regis took me an hour, and the coastal conditions made the already wet weather, that little bit worse. The sea was choppier than a chopping board on a Harley Davidson, with the foam tipped waves crashing relentlessly against the battered shore. Sadly, because of the weather there were nowhere near the numbers of visitors to this lovely seaside town with its incredible history of fossil hunting. Only a few hardy tourists and locals braved the sea front, dragging their bedraggled dogs behind them. Still, I was in good spirits and with my portfolio of poetic prowess with me, I sought out the venue for the open mic event.

The venue was small, but overlooked the beach, and the sound of the waves provided a beautiful background to the poetry being read. It was a small audience, again because of the weather, and was largely consisted of poets and those performing. The event got underway, and I recognised some of the poets from other open mic events I had attended. I was really cool to listen to other poets work; to my not confident mind everyone else’s poetry sounded a million times better than mine – better written, better words, better message, but I find it incredibly useful to hear these other forms of poetry.

Soon it was my turn; I took to the front of the room, adjusted the microphone, and read four of my poems; Loose Skin (Friday Poem #34), Bat Poem (#33 I think), A Cautionary Tale, and Archie Pelago. The last two have not yet been posted on this blog yet, so keep an eye out!

The response I got to my poems was incredible; people laughed out loud, and applauded each poem. And at the end, a member of the public approached me and asked where he could access these poems. I gave him a business card, and told him about my blog. He then asked if I had a book published – as he thought my poems would make an excellent present for someone. I was blown away by that – I would love to get my poetry published, and to know that someone would buy it if I did is a great confidence boost!

So, I think you’ll agree it was a very good weekend all round!!