Mangoes on a walk

We went for a walk earlier as a family, round Downe, following in the footsteps of old Charlie Darwin and it was glorious.

Resident idiot
Can I resist a They Might Be Giants reference later?

I say all of this and post these photos not because I have run out of things to write here…oh no, but because while walking round earlier a couple of things happened.

1. I had an idea for a poem. I suspect it will turn into nothing, but having listened to our Laureate interview Chris Packham earlier about nature poetry (and punk rock) in the week I was half-attuned to the idea of writing a nature poem.

I reckon this subject for a post on its own, but for someone of countryside stock nature is not something I write much that about. I don’t know why. To be fair, punk rock doesn’t feature either, but we are concentrating on Nature poems (albeit briefly).

2. The other thing I noticed was that I had the time to notice this. (This was actually a line in an old poem – “You notice you have the time to notice this” – I can’t remember where the line breaks went or what the poem was called, but I may have to dig it out of the rejects folder).

The point is that this week has been the first week since the start of lockdown when I’ve been able to take a foot off the gas. Work has been quieter as a few projects are off and doing their thing for a bit before I need to tune back into them and thanks to a sore left knee I’ve not been running so much. This, and the fact I have massively reduced the to be reviewed list means that I’ve had the chance to do some of my own writing for the first time in about a month and a half. I know it’s not important in any scheme of things (whatever scale of grandness you choose to use), but it does feel good to be back at it.

And the drafts have happened. Some of this is more fully-fledged ideas gathering pace as they get closer to finished, but shockingly, there are two whole new poems being worked on this week. Both are ideas that have percolated for a while (a year or more), but given the paucity of work recently this is a flood. If I add that to the notes I’ve rescued from my email drafts and notes apps then I am a happy man. I like it. It’s almost productive.

Although, not as productive as my daughter. Two days ago she started mapping out her first novel in a series. It seems to have a vampire and witch theme—oddly, she’s been watching a lot of vampire and witch-based stuff on TV, but who cares about the theme; I’m just waiting to be able to retire off the back of the proceeds.


1 friend announcing she’s having a baby. Go on Beth and Matt!! Oh they grow up so fast

25 days of 25 press ups a day challenge completed. (and kept going)

3k running – Very poor, short run on Tuesday and felt my left knee afterwards. . I had loads of plans to do a long run this weekend too, but I’ve enjoyed not running…Still miss it though. Back to it next week. Knee-willing

3 poems worked on – Post-Surgery Club (drafts 8-11) and two new things called ‘Ingratitude’ and ‘Wetsuit’. We’ll see.

0 poems accepted, 0 poems rejected. It’s a delicate balance

1 submission – To The North. We’ll see.

2 x feedback to a friend on their poem. I love watching a draft of someone else’s work come together. Seeing what they take on board, what’s ignored and why… That’s a post at some point…*Take a note, Riches*

2 reviews. Two written and subbed.

1 review published. I was very pleased to be the first to review Suna Afshan’s ‘Belladonna’ for London Grip

3 Bottles of Chilli Sauce arrived from out of nowhere.

1 days without cigarettes…and then…Fits and starts, yeah!!

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green


Gone To Seed In A Beautiful Pea Green Boat
Chap Hop is Shite
I Haven’t Got Time For Latency


Social Distancing Distortion Playlist – Matt Berninger
Laura Veirs – The Lookout
Veruca Salt – American Thighs
Karl Marx – Stasi Acid
The Lilac Time – No Sad Songs
Seals & Crofts – I and II
Laraaji – Sun Piano

The Farewell Show Live At New Theatre, Oxford
Bonnie Unplugged
Tales from Terra Firma
You Don’t Know Anything
Beachcomber’s Windowsill

PJ Harvey – Dry
Poltergeist – Your Mind Is A Box (Let us Fill It With Wonder)
VA – Turds on a Bum Ride Vol1&2
Taylor Swift – folklore
VA – Documentary Sequences Vol.1
Major Lance – Major Lance’s Greatest Hits Recorded Live At The Torch
The National – High Violet

Rilo Kiley
Take Offs And Landings
Under The Blacklight

Jenny Lewis
On The Line
The Voyager

The Four Seasons – The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette

The Beths
Jump Rope Gazers
Future Me Hates Me

Laura Veirs – Carbon Glacier
Margo Guryan – Take A Picture

Hangouts/Video Calls/Zoom/Etc (not for work)

Mrs America E1-2
I May Destroy You E1

TMS – Monday
The Poet Laureate Has Gone To His Shed – Simon Armitage

Alice Oswald – Nobody
Matthew Francis – Mandeville
3 x Chillis Sauces (produced, of all things, by the drummer from Snow Patrol). Sent to me by my mate Paul Grey.

Black Cab Coffee
Matthew Francis – Mandeville

Connie Bensley – Finding a Leg to Stand On: New and Selected Poems (Must remember who recommended this)

Nope, not They Might Be Giants

3 thoughts on “Mangoes on a walk

  1. Pingback: Poetry Blog Digest 2020, Week 30 – Via Negativa

    • I’ve just found the original poem from 2005 (eek!!). It also has the line ‘Like Buzz Aldrin in flip flops’..I think I should retire from writing, but I ca’t work out whether it’s because that line is never going to be topped or absolutely awful. I suspect the truth is somewhere in-between

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