December 2014 – Christmas and More

Finishing ‘Waymarks’ kept me busy for most of the month. I was mainly concerned with putting the poems in order although I also made a few slight changes. The main problem was struggling through about twenty versions of my new title poem. I still found time for Christmas though – a quiet one with a self-seeded, home-grown Christmas Tree, some good walks, otter sightings and lots of time for reading.

A surprise order for ‘Cry at Midnight’ came from the USA. This followed an earlier order from Canada. It was duly dispatched at horrendous postage cost, but it’s good to know that somehow, word has spread beyond our shores.

‘Slate Voices: Cwmorthin and Islands of Netherlorn’ also crossed the pond when a very positive and lengthy review appeared in ‘Galatea’, an American magazine. This can be found at

It begins with –

It is rare that one has the opportunity to compare and contrast the work of two poets addressing the same subject, albeit from a slightly different perspective, on such an extended scale but this is what is offered here. The subject is slate. The slate of Scotland and the slate of Wales: “two for the price of one.”

And after comments and several quoted passages, the review ends with-

In both sections, evocative black and white photographs enhance the text. The title of each photograph has been taken from the text itself. In this way the photographs become an integral part of the book. Close collaboration between the two poets has helped to make this a seamless collection whose strength and power amounts to more than the sum of its two parts.

An article on shells appeared in Scottish Islands Explorer magazine. I solved the problem of having sufficient illustrations by creating a card showing a typical shell collection. Intended as a holiday game for children, the shells are kept in a box for matching with the photographs.

I completed the article, Ravens, Hooded Crows and Chough which will feature in the March/April issue. Other articles are booked for the following five issues, there’s no hurry for these but it means that I have plenty to keep me writing. Although once 2015 begins I shall be concentrating on The Snake Wand, Book Three of The Hagstone Chronicles.

Finally, we viewed a number of spectacular sunrises from the house. This one was the most vivid.