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Sunday, 5 February 2017


I've been absent for the whole of January and taking a break sounds more considered than the actuality. Truth is, when the skies are grey, the heating is on the blink and a dozen other things are queueing for attention the desired order gets reshuffled. You want to sit down around the fire of creativity and feed it logs of inspiration, but stuff

Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Party started already

Rotherham, England 11:5 am GMT December 31st 2016

The other Rotherham, a village in the Hurunui District of Canterbury Region on New Zealand's South Island is already there. Thirteen hours ahead of the UK and among the first places dipping a toe into 2017 with the rest of us not far behind.

Whatever 2016 brought for you, may the new year be the start of something more beautiful.

Here's to you all, wherever you may be, a Happy New Year.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Seasons Greetings

If you prefer, Merry Christmas, and the compliments of the season to one and all.

An odd little thing caught my eye while wandering around the internet a few days ago. A discussion on the correct way to handle "Tis the Season to be jolly..." in whatever format the words are encountered, and questions were  raised as to what "Tis" actually means. This is and It is were both offered as candidates.

Obviously English and old, but that depends on where you hail from in this sceptred isle. For many inhabitants of the north "Tis" is part of our day to day vocabulary, and means "It is," Personally, I would write it as 't is. The leading apostrophe replaces the capital I, but in the spoken form the whole lot is crunched together.

A distinctive feature of the native Sheffield dialect is this crunching together of the words in a sentence to sound like a single continuous stream. A legacy of the noise in the steelworks and factories where conversation was slotted in between the din of heavy industry.

The late Les Dawson, a popular comedian in his day, worked a double act of two Lancashire women whose conversation would frequently drop out of hearing, leaving only the exagerated lip movements and facial expressions to convey the meaning. Shifting it to a comic setting with a running stream of innuendo prompting the silences let the viewer'a imagination fill in the gaps.

He was tapping into a traditional form of comunication used by the workers in the cotton mills, again striving to converse over the sound of the machines. So the key is pronunciation, and the confusion is about conveying a dialectic element without confusion.

As with local  advice in West Yorkshire regarding foul weather attire. Should you find yourself on a the hills without suitable head gear, be careful. Tha knows what happened on Ilkey moor bar t' 'at.

The truth of it, it doesn't really matter how you say it, we all know what it means and when we say it, the words come out right.

So as 't is, t' season, may your's be jolly and bright, and a happy Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Going the distance

1st December 2016, I posted a congratulatory note for the valiant band who had emerged from the thirty day maelstrom of NaNoWriMo. Successful or not, maybe the truth is that it doesn't matter.
You, whoever you are, were there.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Been there, done that

Not this November,

Congratulations to all of you. The valiant who plunged into a month long journey of discovery. Charging headlong into a mealstrom of creativity at the witching hour of hallowe'en and now, a month later the words are out, transcribed on to screen or paper and they cannot be put back.

For the first timers this November  was your "one day..." and you followed it with twenty nine others

Now the pressure is off, a little, but that promise to write "One day" has been kept and you willl never be the same again.

Pause a moment and give yourself a chance to relfect on the achievement, whether you hit the target or not, the last thirty days says something about you. You stuck it out and gave it your best. So they words were still pouring out as the deadline loomed, you were there, in the thick of it,  drawing with your imagination on the raw pulse of your inspiration until you crossed the line.

That feleing you have now, the potent mixture of sensations, that's yours to hold and treasure and no-one can take that away from you.

Hang on to it, enjoy it, you've earned it.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Colour Coded

One of the surprising threads on social media after the US elections discussed the colour of Hillary Clinton's jacket lapels, many tweets expounded theories about the colour choice. Comments blended the Democrat Blue and the Republican Red into a common purple echoed in the words of Mrs Clinton's  speech after the vote, and the campaign slogan "Stronger Together."

Friday, 11 November 2016

He was a soldier too.

I often think about him at this time of year, an old gentleman I used to see quite often. Almost every morning close to a war memorial, roughly the same time of day, about nine o’clock. Quiet, reflective, the sort of man who keeps himself to himself. Occasionally we would exchange a few words beyond good morning and then he would go about his business.

One day he wasn’t there, and he would never be again, but before that day he shared something that had a profound effect on me. He’d left a card on the memorial, asking people to remember those who had died in the second battle of them Somme. I paused to read the card and he said quietly “I wish I had died with them.”