Sunday, July 26, 2009


photo at:


Boxed in and pressed on all sides.
Shrouded by cloud and padded by double glazing.
Gone is the wide open blue of endless possibility.
I pace and sleep, pace and sleep,
I wait and wait, wait and wait.


It has rained unrelentlessly all morning the day before I am due to start my walking holiday in The Yorkshire Dales and I have to admit it has dampened my spirits somewhat. The clouds are so low, dark and heavy you can almost feel them smothering you. If only one could take a spear and launch it heavenward to pierce the grey and allow a chink of bright blue to to cascade down and lift one upwards. We know it is there, that is the hope for tomorrow.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What to do when you find a poem you like

What to do when you find a poem you like

Read it again
And write it
Learn it by heart
Recite it
Sing it
Rave it
Paint it on a flag
And wave it
Feed it
Ride it
Climb right down inside it
Fly on its back
For a night and a day
Then pat it and kiss it
And give it away

Adrian Mitchell - don

Sabrina Mahfouz, who I met on an Arvon course ( a very talented and creative person and excellent slam poet) posted this poem on FB. I love it, especially the lines "Climb right down inside it Fly on its back For a night and a day." When a poem touches you intensely, emotionally, you want to spend time with it, cuddled under the duvet just like a good book. You get lost in it and transported away. For days and even weeks it can be there by your side, touching your thoughts, shaping you and changing you.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


photo E How


You lay me down. We acquaint by gradual movements:
a stretch, a curl, a turn, through nights of
restless dreaming. Impressed

I spring to the rhythm of your lovemaking,
taut and in my prime; absorb the whispered secrets
of thrills and emissions.

The cycle of the moon bruises, your musky scent
lingers. Our lives merge undercover in the flickering
shadows of dusk.

There are days when you rarely leave me - sad, lost
hours where you cling to my sides like a frightened child.
Reluctant to wake to nature's chime

you bury your head in me and cry soft tears. You are mine
again. Salt-stained wounds dry with time,
life and laughter return.

Now weak and sagging with years, I cradle your trembling
foetal form, feel your breath rasp,
hesitate and depart.


Inspired by Jean Sprackland's 'Mattress'. This one - before the embankment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Race For Life

Well, this past weekend I finally did it - the Race For Life that is. It's over two months ago now that my friend suggested I do this race in Southampton for the cancer research charity. I jumped at the chance.I have always supported cancer research and I desperately needed to get fitter after a long period of illness. I have been training since then, gradually building up my fitness levels. I used to cross country run at high school and then rowed at Uni where running formed part of my training but since those days have done nothing - that's a lot of years to catch up on. Fortunately it has been a bit like riding a bike, I seemed to have slotted back into it quite quickly and am feeling all the better for it (more about that in another post). Have managed to raise about £200, thanks to my supporters

Southampton hosts one of the larger events. Over 9000 women of all ages, sizes, levels of fitness walking , running and jogging together. On each person's back the name or picture of the person they are running for - some past away, some in remission, some who have won the battle. Very moving experience and one you don't forget easily. Groups of young people, some in fancy dress, mothers and daughters, prams and wheelchairs, all types contributed.

I managed to complete the 5k race in 25 mins, a big achievement for me. Tired at the end but still smiling. Stiff legs now so I know I put the effort in. Well done to everyone who participated and helped raise a fantastic amount of money.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


The Day I Met Cinderella

The day I met Cinderella we went shopping.

First we went to the shoe shop.
I just bought sandles but Cinderella bought
tiny golden slippers.

Next we went to the clothes shop.
I bought some jeans but Cinderella bought
a beautiful blue dress.

After that we went to the Gardening Centre.
I bought some flowers but Cinderella bought
a bright orange pumpkin.

When we had lunch Cinderella ran away.
I asked where she was going and she replied,
"It's just too late"

I asked her again the next day.
She was daydreaming and sighed,
"He's just so handsome."

Then I knew where Cinderella had gone.

CN3 Age 8yrs

My daughter loves to copy me. She is fascinated when she sees me scribbling or tapping away on my laptop. She has endless little books of poems, prayers and stories that she leaves all over the house -started but not finished (again like me). This is one of her latest poems that I promised to post for her. Then she will be really like mummy!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Villanelle

This lovely late summer painting from:

After that dark and somewhat depressing villanelle of mine yesterday here is an antidote. 'Summer Villanelle' by Wendy Cope is light, breezy and sunny. This is from 'Poem for the Day One'. She wrote on a hot Saturday afternoon instead of going to do a Sainsbury's shop - a woman after my own heart! Read in the garden with a large glass of Pimms and lemonade.

Summer Villanelle

You know exactly what to do -
Your kiss your fingers, on my thigh -
I think of little else but you.

It's bliss to have a lover who,
Touching one shoulder, makes me sigh -
You know exactly what to do.

You make me happy through and through,
The way the sun lights up the sky-
I think of little else but you.

I hardly sleep - an hour or two;
I can't eat much and this is why-
You know exactly what to do.

The movie in my mind is blue -
As June runs into warm July
I think of little else but you.

But is it love? And is it true?
Who cares? This much I can't deny;
You know exactly what to do;
I think of little else but you.

Wendy Cope

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Villain Elle

Image fromLIFE

The Addict

He sits alone amid the mangled sheet,
pale corpse of himself, eyes shot red;
awake for days without the need for sleep.

Awaits the last sharp fix to come and sweep
from him the hell inside his head.
He bleeds alone amid the mangled sheet,

the tracks leave scars and the wounds run deep.
Shoots again the pain that keeps him spread
awake for days without the need for sleep.

He weeps inside the tears he can't secrete.
Syringes, puke and filth surround the bed;
he shits alone amid the mangled sheet.

No friends, no dreams venture down his street,
just endless hours and fear of that dread
awake for days without the need for sleep.

Highs, lows, rushes, shakes - incomplete
snapped life hung by a single thread.
He dies alone amid the mangled sheet,
awake for days but now its time for sleep.


My first attempt at a Villanelle or a 'Villain Elle' as Nicky in my writing class calls them (can you guess she's not a fan!). Very tricky, both in following a set form and finding suitable subject matter. Where on earth this came from I do not know - it's not from personal experience. I apologise for the depressing topic, no light little ditty's from me.

Monday, June 29, 2009

One of those days

Yes, today was one of those days! Nothing went to plan. I was hot and frazzled and tired and although I was running myself silly trying to do all sorts I felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall -ouchhh! A bit like this antelope below. Maybe the lesson is to slow down?

By the way my kids love this clip, it is so their sense of humour.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Photos from The Hurst

Here finally are some more of the photos from my Arvon poetry week at The Hurst in Shropshire. It has taken me so long to post them. Thank you Clive for sending me some of yours.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009



The crescent mirror over the bed

reflects the light of its sister

through parted curtains and

in a flash of luminescence

slices the sleeper

in two.

Guillotined and guilty,

still writhing and riding

a memory of her lover,

she is slaughtered.

Stains seep silently,

soak the marital altar.

Secrets are secreted,

all - consuming crimson.

She weeps a solitary tear,

not of shame but sorrow,

for those who choose

to stone instead of love.

Her soft soul, yet raw,

resurrects to a new dawn.

I wrote this poem some time ago. There are several variations, even one in a crescent moon shape which my writing group wanted but which I dislike. I still haven't decided on a final version.

Having recently watched Jeremy Paxman's BBC series on The Victorians I was introduced to the art of the period The painting is by George Frederic Watts Found Drowned (c.1849-50)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Goodnight Moon

Still on the theme of The Moon, this book was a favourite bedtime story to read to my daughter. A little rabbit says goodnight to every object in his bedroom in an attempt to prepare for , or delay, bedtime. The story quietens to a whisper as the room darkens and there is only the moon left to say 'goodnight' to.

We used to have to say 'goodnight' to everything in her room too. A bit of a pain for me who was champing at the bit to have some adult time but wonderfully calming and reassuring for her. That and a blessing was all it took and we have never had any sleep problems.

Remembering this routine some years later I wrote a 'Go to Sleep Moon' poem for her. The picture is by the wonderful artist Peter Alexander who I discovered on 'The English Muse' blog.

Go To Sleep Moon

New Moon,
Blue Moon,
Out Too Soon Moon.

Fine Moon,
Shine Moon,
Have A Good Time Moon.

Zoom Moon,
Soon Moon,
Wishes Come True Moon.

Gloom Moon,
Croon Moon,
Play Me A Tune Moon.

Glow Moon,
Know Moon,
Show Me Home Moon.

Clean Moon,
Gleam Moon,
Have A Sweet Dream Moon.

Peep Moon,
Deep Moon,
Time For Sleep Moon

by Suzi

Friday, June 12, 2009

Almost Moon

I have just finished reading a book called 'the Almost Moon' by Alice Sebold. I struggled to read it and would not reccomend it. However the title of the book intrigued me and a quote contained within.

"So much in life is about almost, not quites." "Like the moon" Helen quipped.

I love gazing at the moon on a cloudless night. I love pictures of the moon and poetry about the moon. Sharing a moonlit view with a loved one has to be one of the most romantic and atmospheric things to do. I even have a moon widget on my blog - I must like it!

The whole moon is always there in front of us, although we cannot always see it in its entirety. Except on those nights when it is full, we can do no more than almost see it.

Life mirrors this. The lives of those around us are always there in front of us, however, we seldom see them in their entirety. We can imagine. We almost see them, but we do never quite have the full picture. Why then do we presume, rush to hasty opinions and judge others? What arrogance makes us believe that we are the only ones who see the moon in it's fullness at all times.

Gaze at the moon, ponder , wonder, imagine, but remember it is often not the whole picture. Life, and lives are a mystery.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Piano

I love this short animation and the music which accompanies it. My son introduced me to it as he is currently learning to play it on the piano.Very moving and uplifting at the same time. It had my daughter in tears. Hope you enjoy it too.

An old man shares his life story with his young grandchild through evocative music.

The song is: "Comptine d'un autre été: l'après midi" composed by: Yann Tiersen
Animation by Aidan Gibbons

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Blue sky and sunny days

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle."

Thich NHat Hanh quotes (Vietnamese Monk, Activist and Writer. b.1926)

The sky has been so so blue all week and the sun has been shining. Colours are more vibrant, shimmering and buzzing in the heat. Energy levels are up and there is the sound of life at it's fullest everywhere.

I have been sitting in my favourite deckchair - a present from my friends when I left Connecticut - by the garden pond......and today saw the first waterlilies open. They are such peaceful and beautiful plants to meditate on.

Hope the sky is blue where you are too!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Hot Bath

For a recent writing class we had to make a list of 10 of our favourite things. Not an easy task to pick 10 out of so many but way up there at the top of the list for me was a deep, hot bath. Not very eco friendly but I'm afraid a mere 2 inches just doesn't do it for me.
No one else in my family can take it as hot as me. I have to feel completely submerged and for real luxury I add Badedas bubble bath - I love the smell of the horse chestnut.
I lie there relaxing, meditating, sometimes praying, sometimes drifting off into a complete void. I have to lock the door otherwise my youngest daughter will still try to get in the bath with me and then there's no peace. A dream come true for me would be to have a huge skylight in my bathroom so I could open it while lying in the bath and stare at the sky at the same time.

One of my favourite children's books is '5 minutes peace' by
Jill Murphy. It tells the story of The Large elephant family and How Mrs Large tries to escape from her rambunctious children for a few minutes peace. Mum's love this book!!

Just by chance a friend lent me Sylvia Plath's 'The Bell Jar' to read which has been on my 'to read' list for ages. She describes having a bath so perfectly, obviously a woman after my own heart.

'There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. Whenever I’m sad I’m going to die or so nervous I can’t sleep, or in love with somebody I won’t be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: ‘I’ll go take a hot bath.’
I meditate in the bath. The water needs to be very hot, so hot you can barely stand putting your foot in it. Then you lower yourself, inch by inch, till the water’s up to your neck................I never feel so much myself as when I’m in a hot bath. I lay in that tub...... and I felt myself growing pure again. I don’t believe in baptism or the waters of Jordan or anything like that but I guess I feel about a hot bath the way those religious people feel about holy water.
I said to myself: ‘Doreen is dissolving, Lenny Shepherd is dissolving, New York is dissolving and none of them matter anymore. I don’t know them, I have never known them and I am very pure. All that liquor and those sticky kisses I saw and the dirt that settled on my skin on the way back is turning into something pure.’
The longer I lay there in the clear hot water the purer I felt, and when I stepped out at last and wrapped myself in one of the big, soft white hotel bath-towels I felt pure and sweet as a new baby.'

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Northern Viper

The Northern Viper

On Spring mornings, as fair weather joggers pace by,
he is there, basking in the warmth
of a south-facing windrow.

His old self lies discarded in bracken, blows to dust
in the wind. Transformed, he glistens sleek black
and silver, yet his adder sense bids him linger.
Like a mobile phone on charge, soaks up the glow,
his visceral length taut with latent energy.

Vulnerable to the shadow of a passing buzzard he remains
coiled. Springs only to the challenge of a rival, wraps him
in a neck brace and grapples like an Indian wrestler
to the mat; wormlike they retreat.

Elliptical eyes hold you entranced. He will follow
your zigzag scent through sand and slash, ring you
with his muscular form, his tongue flickering
while you quiver in response. You lie entwined,
for hours.

Releases, and famished dives into the larder
of a nearby stream, the croak still audible within
his gaping gullet.


The Northern Viper is another name for the British Adder which is our only venomous snake. I was reading about them in a Simon Barnes article in The Times and it inspired me to read up on them and write a poem. They are to be found in early Spring after awaking from hibernation, basking in sunny spots and waiting for mates. Hengistbury Head which I have written about recently is one place they are to be found along with the also protected Natterjack Toad.
A windrow is a line of woody debris either natural and blown by the wind or left after logging. Some members of my writing group weren't sure about this word as it was confusing with 'window' but I quite liked it so have left it for now.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beach Huts

I invariably take a photo of the beach huts at Mudeford each time I visit. They are so picturesque. Like gaily coloured party bunting lining the coast. Mudeford Spit is a sandbank bordered on one side by Christchurch Bay and the Solent, and on the other side by Christchurch Harbour. There are about 300 beach huts situated on the sandbank. My daughter would like me to buy one. She can't imagine they would cost very much!! These are not your average beach huts, spacious, with sleeping areas and all tastefully decorated. I plan to go down with my watercolours on a sunny day and spend some time painting and writing in this magical place.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dancing My Soul Out

I love these photos by Hal Eastman which show women dancers breaking free through dance in natural settings to reveal their innermost selves.

I like to dance in the kitchen. I'll be cooking the tea or washing up with the radio on and suddenly I'll get this incredible urge to 'let rip'. I crank up the music and literally shake my hair and booty till I work up a sweat. Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' happens to be a favourite at the moment. Now I'm not saying I'm poetry in motion as the above image portrays but boy does it feel good just for that short while. There's something about that movement which releases a lot of tension and really lifts the soul. I'm always smiling at the end. It's a bit like being in a church and feeling so moved by the spirit that despite yourself you just raise your arms up towards the heavens and allow yourself to be filled by the presence.

My kids are getting to the age where they are mortified by my outbursts but I have promised never to do it when friends are round.

I'd love to join this guy Matt in his dance around the world.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sea Pink

I am very proud of this picture of 'sea pinks' or 'thrift' as they are more commonly known (real name: armeria maritima) . They were growing wild on the artificially created sea defences at Hengistbury Head. Like little ballerina tutu's on slender green stems. I love how you just can't hold nature back, 'what will be, will be' as they say. I love how beauty can root itself in seemingly inhospitable places.
I wish I had a photo of me taking this photo, now that would have been comical! It was not easy, I was being held up by my bottom as they were quite high up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pink Blossom

Most of the cherry blossoms have now tumbled to the ground with each whisper of a breeze, like rose petal confetti thrown over a newly married couple. The love affair with Spring is now official. Two little girls enjoy the beauty of the pink frosted ground.

There is some new treasure appearing each day. I now have the wonderful pink sight and scent of my archway covered in Clematis. It makes my heart skip each time I turn the corner.

My favourite blooms of the day have to be these lovely scented stocks brought by a close friend who I thank God for every day as she has been there for me through a very difficult time.

" Your words fall soft and gentle, like petals, from your lips"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Child's Foot

A child's foot doesn't know it's a foot yet
And it wants to be a butterfly or an apple
But then the rocks and pieces of glass,
the streets, the stairways
and the roads of hard earth
keep teaching the foot that it can't fly,
that it can't be a round fruit on a branch.
Then the child's foot was defeated it fell
in battle,
it was a prisoner,
condemned to life in a shoe..........

I love babies feet. So soft, warm and chubby. I love to kiss them, nibble them, play with the little toes and nails. They always smell so clean and lovely. Adult feet - now that's an entirely different story, lets just say it's not my favourite part of the human body.

I also love this poem by Pablo Neruda. It's a translation from the Spanish and is from a compilation I'm reading called "Full woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon". It's a fabulous book, it has the english and spanish versions side by side. I love to see how the poet works with rhymes and rhythms and line endings in his own language. I don't speak Spanish but I know some Portuguese so I can appreciate the original versions. In the above poem "To A Foot from It's Child" the foot is used as a metaphor for the crushing of a child's spirit through the challenges and restrictions that life places upon him.

Neruda writes wonderfully about the simple things in life. In particular he has written many odes to such simple things as a pair of socks, to laughter, to wine, to ironing, to an onion etc. If you want an introduction to Neruda or to read the rest of this poem I don't think you can go wrong with this book.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


It was a welcome smell, like an old friend
come to call, he'd long forgotten.

Waves of bittersweet memory washed away
the here and now as scenes of Class 2a
floated to the surface.

He saw her now, Miss Jenkins with her flowery
skirt. The rows of guillotined sugar paper,
sequins, sweet pencil shavings, string,
and the gloopy smell of Copydex.

He remembered how perfectly the little pot fitted
his tense hand. How he lifted the brush dripping
with the glorious stuff, let it glob onto a smooth
sheet of blue, poked in his nose and sniffed

She'd put a hand on his shoulder as he worked,
"How wonderful, real promise"

The picture dried. A daybreak of concrete floor
greeted his body. He shook the can - empty.

Gluesniffer by Suzi

This was a poem written during my week at The Hurst. The exercise was to write a poem including some of the following: a childhood memory, a brand name, a metaphor, a simile, an unusual word, the past linked to the present.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hillier Gardens

After a morning of jobs and a wee bit of writing I had to escape into the fresh air and I went to the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. I have been a member here for several years and it is well worth the money. There is something new to see each time you go, so much variety and so many different plants and trees.
One of my favourite parts of the garden is The Winter Garden. Despite the profusion of Spring blooms I find myself drawn again and again to the textures colours and shapes that I find here in bark and stems and leaves. It is all so architectural. Above is a montage of some of the photos I took.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Space to Write

My desk in the Thomas Gunn room

This was my writing space, at The Clocktower, a simple wooden desk, nothing fancy, yet even this felt like luxury as I don't have a space just for me at home. The kids have taken over the office and all available bedrooms. I get very cold sat still with my laptop and I am most often to be found in my bed under the duvet, laptop on my legs and a half drunk cup of tea on the bedside table. Occasionally I sit at the kitchen table as this is the sunniest room in the house although the kitchen cupboards and fridge can be a big distraction here. How I long for a pretty inspirational writing space like that of fellow blogger the English Muse :

or a garden shed like Roald Dahl:

but my dream would be to have an attic at the top of the house just like Jo in 'Little Women' by Louisa M Alcott, one of my favourite childhood books. In fact I desperately wanted to be Jo.

A page from my notebook: a 10 min writing exercise where I imagined my attic.

Gorgeous notebooks, pens (Paperchase style), Moleskins, all may help the creative act, the 'getting down to it' but I actually prefer my cheap Asda notebooks - I don't want to worry that what I write has to be beautiful and perfect because it is in an expensive book.

But in fact the biggest barriers in getting down to it, writing that is, are emotional and mental. You have to be motivated, disciplined, you have to be confident and believe in yourself, that you have something to say and that others will listen. Like any art you have to train to get better and you can only get better by sitting down and DOING IT! Here's to doing it in 2009.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Poetry in Shropshire

The Clocktower at The Hurst

Well I've been extremely quiet for a week and that's because I've been staying here, in the Clocktower on a week long poetry course run by The Arvon Foundation. This house used to be owned by the playwright John Osborne renowned for the play 'Look Back in Anger'. Surrounded by Housman's 'blue remembered hills', and featuring three 18th century buildings thirty acres of sprawling woodland and a spring-fed lake. It is close to the village of Clun which has its own ruined castle. Half of the group (there were 16 of us) stayed here and the rest in the main house.

The Main House

Each morning after breakfast we had workshops and writing exercises till 1pm run by our two tutors Jean Sprackland and Andy Brown, both published poets (more about them later).

Jean Sprackland and Andy Brown

Lunch was followed by some time for ourselves, to write or to explore the beautiful grounds. All the woodland flowers were flowering, the Clun sheep all had lambs and there were the most amazing Redwoods.

The Lake

Each student also had an afternoon tutorial with one of the tutors to discuss work in progress. Each day at 4:30 a group of us took it in turns to cook the evening meal for the whole group. We assembled for wine and nibbles on the patio at 6:30, and dinner was at 7. Each evening we had a recital or workshop from 8:30 till 10. Jean and Andy shared their poetry on Tues, we had a guest poet on Wed, Anthony Wilson, to read from his book 'Full Stretch' and we had to read out our own work on Friday (eek!).

Our Group

I met a fantastic group of people from varied backgrounds, worked hard and learnt a lot. We were so lucky with the weather, it was dry and bright all week. Can't wait to sign up next year.
If you want to know more about Arvon and the courses they run go to:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Illusion of Spring

Daffodils at Hampton Court

The Illusion of Spring

Too long deprived of light, and life, and sound,
but now young Spring begins to cast her spell;
she breathes, the warm air melts the icy ground.

As if by magic soil begins to swell
with tender, fresh, green shoots drawn to the sun.
The earth soaks up the soft rain like a well,

now Winter’s harshest trials are undone.
Unfurling leaves, lean stems and tiny buds,
stand proud and speak of promises to come.

Nature’s treasures, presents from the Gods -
their beauty, scent, and colour unsurpassed -
fill England’s meadows, lawns and shady woods.

Perfume pales, blooms fade, leaves fall - too fast.
So sad to say, illusions do not last.


This was one of my first attempts at a poem after starting my creative writing class and my first attempt at a Terza Rima, an interlocking three line rhyme scheme. It was difficult! It has quite an old fashioned feel to it probably because I had not read a ton of modern poetry at this stage. I have to say I do like the old fashioned poets though, particularly Gerard Manley Hopkins. I have yet to attempt another Terza Rima, maybe that's a challenge for me this year.

It tries to convey the magic of this time of year when everything comes alive again. Spring is personified and seen as the illusionist who creates beauty and wonder with her colours, shapes and smells. It also speaks of the transient nature of these wonders which seem to fade as suddenly as they appear. That's perhaps why we appreciate them all the more, because they are temporary and will not last.

Swathes of daffodils on banks and in fields are one of my favourite sights, as are carpeted bluebell woods and bursting, blossoming trees of all colours. Valley Park Woods, where I live are listed as one of the best places to see bluebells in Hampshire by the Woodland Trust.

Me in the bluebells when I was a student.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pooh Sticks and Sticky Bobs

One of my favourite things is getting out into the fresh air and going for a walk. It's exercise, it's cheap, it gives you a real boost if you are feeling down, it's really good for creativity, particularly if you write- I always come back inspired.
Last week I walked along the Itchen way with my children. The boys in particular,always drag their feet in protest the first 5 mins(I don't think it's cool to be seen to want to go for a walk) but they always end up having great fun. I love how they can suddenly forget the sophistication of X box and dvd's and enjoy such simple pleasures as 'Pooh sticks' from the bridge or feeding grass to the horses, throwing sticky bobs on each others backs and lying down in a carpet of celandines.
What pleasure they had playing by the bridge, finding the 'best stick' in order to compete. 'Pooh Sticks' derives from the Winnie-the-Pooh books. Basically you throw a stick in upstream of the bridge, then race to the other side to see whose emerges first. Eeyore tells us the technique is to throw it in a 'twitchy' sort of way. The boys, not enamoured with the name'Pooh' call them 'Evil Sticks' and add an extra dimension to the game in running alongside the river and then splashing in to retrieve their sticks in their wellies.

Wellies! If you must get your kids one thing get them a good pair of wellies for wading and splashing. Endless fun and amusement. Another simple pleasure was throwing 'Sticky Bobs' at each other, the dry sticky seed heads of .....? I'm afraid I don't know the real name, if anyone can enlighten me I would be really grateful. Here's a picture of them.

Go on then, go for a walk!