Swans make good parents!

This sequence of photos was taken one evening earlier this year (late May) I was captivated by the intelligence and care shown by these two swans as they led this summer’s brood to greener pastures. The photos speak for themselves – no need for more words.

Now it’s September and we look forward to seeing the geese arrive from Svalbard – they’re mostly Barnacle geese, but we also get Pink Foot.

Watching birds and indeed any animals or insects, I often feel that they have so much to teach us humans. The human race is wrong to feel superior.


Trees and the seasons

It’s hard to imagine what living in an area where there are hardly any trees would be like. Here we watch the changing seasons in a landscape where trees play a huge part in defining whether it is still late summer of whether we are moving into autumn or from autumn into early winter.


Each season brings its own particular beauty. Just now – early November we see the delicate tracery of the bare branches silhouetted against the sky. Either in the glow of dawn,a grey afternoon or the fiery shades of sunset, the delicate skeletal patterns are every bit as beautiful as the leafy, if more colourful autumn vistas.

I am reminded of someone who dreaded autumn because to her it was a time of dying. Ever since I was a child loving the walk home from school through drifts of crunchy autumn leaves or, after rain the glistening glow of birch and maple jewels, I’ve always looked forward to autumn.

Autumn is a time for taking stock, for winding down; a time for lighting the fire, toasting crumpets and sitting with the cat curled up with us listening to quiet jazz playing. (He’s quite a cool cat who loves Bill Evans and Ben Webster)  This is the season where normally we could share and experience hygge with friends. The hard part now is that with the restrictions necessary because of Covid 19, we can only share such things through the medium of Zoom. Thankfully we can still see and chat to folk using Zoom and Skype etc. How much worse would it be without the modern means of communication?

It’s time however to think of those who are homeless and not just think about them but do something.

The Country’s No Place for the Homeless

 ‘It’s not easy being poor here

Not everyone who’s poor

wants to live in the town.’

She said.

‘Where can I find a home?

Houses let for holidays

not for people like me.’

She said.

‘I walk miles and miles

looking for work.

I don’t want to be poor.’

She said.

‘They don’t want you here.

Not if you’ve no money.’

‘Go back to the town!’

They said

Each day the tiny figure

tramps the lanes.

head high, proud stiff back.

‘I get angry.’ She said.

Nearly There …

After many hours, or rather days, weeks and months of work, we have at last got the poetry collection From the Mountains to the Sea to the proof-reading stage. The photos selected complement the poems perfectly and I think they really give the book a lift.

Hopefully we’ll have the book on sale in time for Christmas and with luck the launch and subsequent readings will help to raise the profile of fibromyalgia and raise money for Versus Arthritis and their research into this debilitating condition.

The book will be perfect bound, has sixty eight pages of photographs by Les Dunford alongside my poems inspired by this beautiful corner of Scotland and written since we moved here in 2002. (NB – Photos on this blog have been taken by me – his are better!)


About half of the poems in the book have been published in various poetry magazines and online on StAnza’s Poetry map of Scotland and Poetry Scotland’s Open Mouse but the rest haven’t been published before.Watch this space for more information re launch dates etc!


Stepping into the Past

Sometimes on a walk we come across a reminder of times when this part of the country wasn’t quite such an idyllic peaceful place to be.


Observation Post

It looms ahead of us, a monster

of dark concrete, its square

empty eye sockets facing

our coastal path.


Now redundant, the look-out

stands, a chill reminder

of unhappier times. I step into its

darkness, only one, two steps

before a hasty retreat


to back away from

shadows of the past, into

the reassuring normality

of the present where there’s

fresh air, sunlight


where celandines line the path –

saffron beacons beckoning peaceful invaders.