Sunday, 23 June 2019

A Valediction









Dear Reader,

Visiting Lyme Regis museum again last week I found out about an amazing woman called Mary Anning and I thought I would tell you a snippet about her.


Mary Anning was born on 21st May,1799 in Lyme Regis, Dorset.  Her father, Richard, was a cabinet maker and amateur fossil hunter.  He often took Mary and brother Joseph fossil hunting around the cliffs of Lyme Regis.  They sold their finds to tourists.  Mary became an expert fossil hunter and found her first complete Plesiosaurus skeleton on December 10th, 1823.  Over the course of her life she made incredible discoveries and this made her famous among scientists of the day.  She died of breast cancer at the age of 47.  Her death was recorded by the Geological Society (which did not admit women until 1904) and her life is commenorated by a stained glass window in St.Michael's Parish church in Lyme.

SEAGULL news.   Whilst we were eating our lunch on the sea front we saw a seagull swoop onto a man's bread roll and the bird took it clean out of his hands.  And I read that an elderly couple, Mr and Mrs Pickard, from Morecombe Bay, have been forced to stay in their home because otherwise they are attacked by two herring gulls as soon as they open the front door.  At one point Mr. Pickard was so viciously attacked that he ended up with a head wound which required hospital treatment. 

The gulls seem to be winning.

                                                                        *

A Valediction

To innocence
to childhood
to youth
to skipping about
to making daisy chains
to looking in the mirror
seeing someone pretty
to wearing gypsy clothes
feeling exotic in them
to flirting and being flirted with
to kissing someone new
drowning in that indescrible
feeling of lust and love
to smoking king-size cigarettes
to being passionate about something
daydreaming about a bright future
to changing the world
making poverty unknown
the poor rich.

But knowing now the truth
about old age being shite
hello to fudge and ice cold gins,
small pleasures and quieter things.

                                                                              *

With very best wishes, Patricia

P.S.   You can get my new book  'The Ragbag of a Human Heart' on Amazon.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

The House



                                                                                  Frida Kahlo

Dear Reader.



I went to the most interesting lecture this week about a Mexican painter called Frida Kahlo.

Frida Kahlo de Rivera (1907-1954) painted many portraits, self portraits and works inspired by
the nature and artifacts of Mexico.  She employed a native folk art style to explore questions of identity, post colonialism, gender, class and race in Mexican society.  She was disabled by polio as a
child and had a traffic accident at the age of eighteen which cause lifelong pain and medical problems.  In 1927 she joined the Mexican Communist Party, where she met and married a fellow
artist, Diego Rivera.  Her work as an artist was relatively unknown until the last 1970s when it was re-discovered by art historians and political activists.

                                                                             *

The House

Was it the sound of Chopin
filling the street air,
escaping from a large keyhole
in the weathered front door,
or the first glimpse of pale
stone flooring and a rocking horse
in the hall corner, or was it the
Easter lilies rising tall out of
white enamel jugs, and books
everywhere, everywhere?

Was it the ancient dog
in front of a small log fire,
protected by a staunch Victorian fireguard,
or the scrubbed table and gentian-blue
hyacinths peeking out of a copper bowl,
Rockingham pottery plates
each one different,
or the sculpture of an unknown woman
young, rounded smooth,
placed lovingly on a window shelf
catching a flicker of the January sun?

Or was it the smell of beef stew,
a nursery smell dredged from childhood,
or the sight of home-grown pears
floating in sugared juice?
Or was it the feeling of safety,
warmth and love
everywhere, everywhere
that overwhelmed me?

                                                                       *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Bus Stop Princess




Dear Reader,

I thought this piece from Francis Kilvert's diary on June 12th, 1874 was rather funny and hope you do too.

'Bathing yesterday and to-day.  Yesterday the sea was very calm, but the wind has changed to the East and this morning a rough troublesome sea came tumbling into the bay and plunging in foam upon the shore.  The bay was full of white horses.  At Shanklin one has to adopt the detestable custom of bathing in drawers.  If ladies don't like to see men naked why don't they keep away from the sight?  To-day I had a pair of drawers given to me which I could not keep on.  The rough waves stripped them off and tore them down round my ankles.  While thus fettered I was seized and flung down by a heavy sea which retreating suddenly left me lying naked on the sharp shingle from which I rose streaming with blood.  After this I took the wretched and dangerous rag off and of course there were some ladies looking on as I came out of the water. '
                                                                           


                                                                             *



Bus Stop Princess

She waited, unnoticed, invisible.
Her fluffy green jersey egg-stained,
uninteresting trousers and sensible shoes
inviting no attention.
She was a brown paper parcel,
loosely string-tied.

But she smiles at me
with such sweetness,
such a smile of goodness,
I saw her sensible shoes
become sparkling slippers,
her shabby clothes
turn into a ball dress
fashioned from sunlight,
stitched up with love.

Not then a story-book princess
but a real princess
glimpsed at a bus stop.


                                                                            *

Very Best wishes, Patricia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Kitchen Clean.








Dear Reader,

I am putting the photo of my new book on again because I forgot to let you know last week what my email address is.  Well here it is if you want to email me about buying it instead of writing.

patricia.huthellis@googlemail.com

                                                                        *

We have been watching a series of films about Colditz, the notorious prison in Germany where British prisoners were sent when caught in the 1940/45 war, and it was supposed to be somewhere where no one could possibly escape.  But guess what?  Many of the men, (officers) spent their whole day thinking of ways to get out.  In fact this is a true story and one officer, a Captain Patrick Reid,
did escape and as did several others later.   Many others made elaborate and dangerous plans which they carried out, but to no avail and they were, it seems, always caught, and sometimes shot.   Now my question is this: would I have spent my days there thinking how to escape?  Perhaps, because I am not a brave person, I would have just obeyed the rules and stayed there quietly supporting the escapees.  The prison itself looked very much like some of the many boarding schools I went to, and endured.  Perhaps also it is because I am a woman.   So are men braver than women on the whole?  I wonder.

                                                                          *

Do you remember I wrote about the netting that a council had put up to stop the sand martins nesting in Bacton Sands in Norfolk?  Well the good news is that the first sand martin chicks have been born there since the netting has been removed, thanks to many nature lovers who complained about it.  The martins have been seen removing waste from the nests, which is evidence the first chicks have been hatched.
                                                                           *

Kitchen Clean

He made a chicken supper
vegetables and pudding
lots of dirty saucepans
and bowls strewn around
the kitchen.
Lovely food and terrible mess.
Left it.

Three a.m. couldn't sleep
pattered down to the kitchen
and there it was
an immaculate picture of
cleanliness ad tidiness
he had worked on
when I had gone to bed.

My heart filled with love.

                                                                          *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 26 May 2019

The Ragbag of a Human Heart









Dear Reader,

It was rather an exciting time for me this week because my new book had just come back from the printers.  It is rather a strange feeling seeing your work published in a book after all the hard work that goes into the completion and the editing.  If you feel  inclined to buy a copy I hope you will enjoy the poems, some of them you may have read but perhaps there are some new ones
that you have not yet seen.

You are invited to send £10 from within the UK.  For overseas purchases please send £12.50p equivalent.  These prices include postage and packaging.

The address is:            36 Ticknell Piece Road,
                                     Charlbury
                                     Chipping Norton
                                     OX7 3TW

Looking forward to sending you your book by return of post.



                                                                                       *

I wrote this poem after thinking about the complex and complicated way we humans think and behave.  I find myself difficult to understand sometimes as I am sure we all do.  For all modern psychoanalysis, understanding human behaviour is a subject still in its infancy.

                                                                                        *

The Ragbag of the Human Heart

He saw the girl
young, beautiful, innocent,
inflamed her with clever words,
caught her
seduced her
smiled, walked away.


At the bus stop
he saw an old lady
waiting in the rain,
offered her a lift,
drove her back to her house,
made her a cup of tea,
hugged her,
smiled, and walked away.

                                                                                        *

With very best wishes, Patricia





Sunday, 19 May 2019

Attic Trunk


Dear Reader,






Dear Reader,

I asked a couple of fairly new and lovely friends for coffee this week from the same village that I live in.  We talked in general terms about holidays we had been on, Brexit, and exchanged ideas and experiences of dementia.  But it wasn't until the visit was nearly at its end that we discussed our respective families.  I asked them about their children, how many they had and what did they do.  And they asked me about mine.  It was all very interesting and illuminating.  But what we all discovered was that nobody else ever asked us these questions.  I once travelled up to Stratford with a new friend and although I asked her about her children, she didn't ask me about mine the whole car journey to and from Stratford. This is very strange, I think and know now why we like our old friends best, the ones who know our history and what is precious to us. 

                                                                             *




Attic Trunk

Searching through her mother's attic trunk
she recognised a dusty, broken cricket bat,
saw a tiny knotted shawl that must have shrunk
and a youthful photo of Aunt Dora, looking fat.
She found silver shoes wrapped in a crimson gypsy skirt
and a purple box housing a worn-thin wedding ring,
a Spanish fan trimmed with lace, and a grandad shirt
embracing faded love letters, tied with ageing string.
From sepia postcards she studied unknown folk,
and pulled out, lovingly, a greasy-tweed cloth cap,
her father's penny whistle, a badger carved from oak,
and brass rubbings, rolled up in a parchment map.
Precious things we keep are candles on our life's tree,
their discovery tells secret stories, provides a key.


                                                                               *

With very best wishes, Patricia


Sunday, 12 May 2019

Loss




Dear Reader,

It was announced this week that an archaeological treasure had been found in England during road widening works in Essex, between Aldi supermarket and a pub. Do you remember dear reader when I wrote about Richard III's bones that were found under a car park in Leicester two years ago?

Well this treasure, found under the supermarket, is what archaeologists believe to be the earliest Christian royal tomb ever unearthed in the UK.  The site  at Prittlewell, near Southend, discovered in 2003, has uncovered a trove of artifacts providing an unrivalled snapshot of Anglo-Saxon England at the end of the sixth century.  In the chamber they found an ornate lyre, a painted box and a flagon thought to have come from Syria, and gold foil crosses.  The body (possibly King Seaxa) had been laid in a wooden coffin with  small gold foil cross over each eye. The box in the tomb is the only surviving example of painted Anglo-Saxon woodwork in Britain.

Sophie Jackson, the museum's director of research said: "It's a really interesting time when Christianity is sort of creeping in and this is all possibly before Augustine sent his mission to Britain to convert the country to Christianity, so they would have been just on the transition between having pagan burials with all your gear but also having these crosses."

                                                                             *


Loss

The old woman
totters slowly down the path,
holding her hand we
go into the field
pick daffodils and buttercups,
spring is on its way.

Later in the kitchen
she tries to say something, to find words
which seem to flutter away,
escape her, but she manages:
"I don't live
in this house, I live elsewhere."

She lies down on the sofa.
"I like looking at the sky" she murmurs,
and closing her eyes she falls asleep.
I kiss her on her pale, cold cheeks,
and weep  .......

                                                                            *

With very best wishes, Patricia