Coll, Day 2…

William flies the flag

I know, other people’s holiday snaps are rather passe. But I feel the need to prove to you that early spring in the Hebrides is but a small step from heaven.

It was one of those days in which you could wear hats and scarves or shorts and tea shirts, dependent on your age or fortitude.

Some of us even went swimming…

Happy birthday Michaela!

Michaela, journey

Today my lovely Michaela is 46.

We are away on the island of Coll with some friends… a few photos are required I think…

Commuting compensations…

Sunrise, the Clyde, western ferries, dunoon

Ask any of my friends and they will confirm that I am not a morning person. I do not like to communicate before mid morning, and sometimes then reluctantly.

At present, however, I am doing some work in Paisley, which involves getting up very early and being on the 7AM ferry, this being the only way to avoid sitting in the M8 car park of the rush hour. I get into work just after 8 and have a while before anyone else is there to practice sociability so it is not so bad.

This morning it was not bad at all. A beautiful sunrise, porpoises rolling in the calm water, even the traffic was relatively light this morning.

Unusually, I had my camera…

sunrise, the clyde,

Cowal Open Studios…

crafts1

Despite all the uncertainties in relation to our house (which will go on the market in the next couple of weeks) we have committed ourselves to being part of the wonderful Cowal Open Studios event again in September this year. It feels ever more important to hold on to the vision of making life through simple creative means…

Our page on the website is here.

Taking photos of the things we make always proves something of a challenge. I ended up making another collage of a variety of things made by Michaela, myself and our friend Pauline Beautyman (with whom Michaela runs workshops.) I quite like the result.

Talking of workshops, Michaela and Pauline are running a ‘Hand Made Craft Fair’ in Dunoon on the 22nd of March. It will also be a chance to do some hands on things too- they will be running sessions of various crafts throughout the day. I will share some more details later…

Here is one of my Clyde Puffers, made from bits of driftwood and the odd bit of copper heating pipe;

driftwood puffer

 

The hole it makes in everything…

out of town shopping precinct

The family of a man who starved to death four months after his benefits were cut off has called on the government to reform the way it treats people with mental health problems when it assesses their eligibility for benefits.

Mark Wood, 44, who had a number of complex mental health conditions, died at his home last August, months after an Atos fitness-for-work assessment found him fit for work. This assessment triggered a decision by the jobcentre to stop his sickness benefits, leaving him just £40 a week to live on. His housing benefits were stopped at around the same time.

The Guardian, 28th Feb 2014

 

United Kingdom, 2014

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He works in a shop in order to spend money

In another shops.

.

Some weeks

After the rent is paid

And the meter’s appetite sated

He buys a lottery ticket

(Because you never know.)

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Yesterday someone starved to death

Four months after ATOS

Pinched tight the withered umbilical.

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Nanny state

No more.

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And I can no longer escape the impression

That it is not the money that matters -

(It is not as though it will ever be enough.)

Rather it is the hole it makes

In everything.

 

Last ferry leaving…

IMGP5791

Last ferry leaving

 

I used to laugh at the Holy Hooverers

Those for whom God is an

Escape pod

From this sinful slough we live in

Called Earth.

 

But why would you ever want to leave the light

Through spring leaves;

The translucent skin that barely contains

What babies will be;

The gentle rain falling,

Falling?

 

But days like today will force a revelation;

I could do with a distant angel trump

If he will have me,

I am rapture-ready

 

I would wait

By some crystaled sea

For the last ferry

Leaving

 

 

Hebrides, winter…

hebrides, snow storm

A wee poem I have been working on following a trip to Islay. Uncharacteristically optimistic and upbeat by my usual standards I thought… call it an antidote to a really crap day.

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The horizon rises rust and golden

There is mild steel in the sky

But the curl of the sea still smiles at me

This light falls kind upon the eye

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A cold north wind unfurls these coat-flags

Slapping like a laugh at the side of your face

Peat smoke clouds my watered eye

Our ship lies soft in harbour embrace