Friday, 24 June 2022

Midsummer: Day 6


Another day of celebrating the summer season! Today was a day of Midsummer-themed snacks and nice things with family members - and that's no bad thing at all.

Afternoon Tea at Heaton Park





Me and my mum went out for a nice spot of afternoon tea at the Hidden Gem Coffee Shop at Heaton Park Garden Centre today. Lovely carrot cake!

Midsummer Earrings



Since I was going out for tea, I wore possibly my weirdest Midsummer earrings today... a pair of cucumber slices! (Sadly, I didn't have cucumber sandwiches to go with them. Just cheese.)

Midsummer Tea



Today's Midsummer tea (from the Whittard selection box) was Earl Grey.

Midsummer Myst





My brother came round tonight for our weekly Myst replay session (we're up to Revelation now). Tonight had a Midsummer flavour, though , as we had Pimm's and Pina Colada-style fruit and nut mix!

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Midsummer: Day 5


It's our fifth day of Midsummer celebrations today, and it's had a very definite 'Summer Holidays' vibe for me (I even took my parasol when I went out this afternoon).

Summer Holidays Local History Talk




Today I gave a local history talk at the College of the Third Age in Crumpsall, and, in honour of the season, it was all about summer holidays, wakes, rushcarts and fairs. I got to talk about 7th-century missionaries and the Declaration of Sports, as well as sheep-shearing, morris dancers and rush-bearing, and Delaunay's dyeworks, working class respectability movements and the popularity of fortune-telling pigs. And the attendees shared stories of dads who refused to take their ties off on the beach, Yelloway coaches, going to the Isle of Man (because 'it felt like it was abroad') and (from my 90-year-old neighbour) being propositioned by soldiers on Blackpool pier. We also had a brief singalong to Cliff Richard at the beginning, some birthday cake for one of the ladies halfway through, and an inflatable palm tree.

Midsummer Earrings



So today's Midsummer earrings (in honour of my Summer Holidays history talk) were a pair of funky watermelon slices.

Midsummer Tea



Today's Midsummer tea (another of my Whittard selection box) was Mango and Bergamot.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Midsummer: Day 4


Another day of celebrating Midsummer, and it was the Summer Solstice this morning as well. Work meant that we wouldn't be able to stay up all night to enjoy the solstice, so we decided to at least honour it with a beautiful sunset.

Midsummer Earrings



Today's Midsummer (and Solstice) earrings were these lovely suns, a gift from my equally lovely husband Rob.

Midsummer Tea



My dad gave me a little selection box of Whittard teas a couple of months ago, and they were so summery-looking I decided to save them as a tea-a-day treat over Midsummer. Today's tea was English Breakfast.

Saddleworth Moor






In honour of the Summer Solstice, we went out to watch the sun set over Saddleworth Moor.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Midsummer: Day 3


It was a bit of a busy day at work today, so not a lot of celebrating sadly. At least we've got another week of Midsummer fun to look forward to though!

Midsummer Earrings





Today's seasonal earrings were a very cute little pair of purple fairies.

Weeds



My seasonal reading for our Midsummer week is Weeds: The Story of Outlaw Plants by Richard Mabey.

Monday, 20 June 2022

Midsummer: Day 2


The second day of our Midsummer celebrations coincided with our monthly day off together, so we decided to have a trip out. Since Midsummer is (for some) associated with the Fair Folk, we decided to go somewhere that might (depending on what you believe) be a good place to spot fairies.

Midsummer Earrings



Since we were going to a (possible) fairy site, today's earrings were a sparkly fairy and star set.

Castlerigg Stone Circle





We took a trip out to Castlerigg Stone Circle near Keswick today. After a picnic near the stones, we carried on for a walk (which was a lot longer than we'd been led to expect!) through the stunning landscape around Blencathra to Tewet Tarn. When we arrived back at the stone circle, we took a bit of time just to appreciate the setting, accompanied by a cup of Fairies Chapel (lemon and wild berries) tea from The Tea Crew.

‘Sheep, Hay and Rushes’




I ended the day reading the second chapter about Midsummer in Ronald Hutton's The Stations of the Sun: 'Sheep, Hay and Rushes'.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Midsummer: Day 1


It's Midsummer (Litha) time! We're onto our fourth event in our Year of Celebrating the Seasons! And it's a bumper celebration this time, as we've decided to do nine days instead of the usual seven (because we have stuff planned this weekend and next, so we wanted to include it all). So we'll be taking in the Summer Solstice and Midsummer's Day, as well as plenty of other days.

Midsummer Earrings



I've cracked out my next set of seasonal earrings... today's were strawberries and bees!

‘The Midsummer Fires’




I should probably have started reading this at the start of the year (tbh I've only just thought of it!), but I'm now accompanying our seasonal celebrations with the relevant chapters from Ronald Hutton's The Stations of the Sun. I read 'The Midsummer Fires' tonight.

Midsummer Candle




We lit our Midsummer candle from Chalice Creations for the first time tonight as well... jasmine, rose, lavender, ylang ylang, geranium, helichrysum and melissa lemon to last us through the week.

Cocktails




Not strictly a Midsummer thing, but I've decided to count it! We've been rewatching Waking the Dead over the past couple of months. Our Waking the Dead rewatch is an annual thing, and we like to make a bit of an event of it. This year, I've been making cocktails inspired by the characters. Tonight's cocktails were based on Felix (aka Miserable Frankie) and Stella (aka French Mel). The recipes are up on my Twitter.

My Year in Books 2022: May

This is a bit of a disappointing post to write. Once again, there's only one book on my list for the month, and I'm posting it terribly late. I still seem to be having a problem reading for pleasure. I've read quite a few other books this month, but they were all for review or research. When it comes to just reading for fun, I'm still a bit stuck to be honest. Possibly (I'm not sure), part of the problem this month was that I got bogged down in a book that I just wasn't that into. I don't know if that was the book's fault or mine, but I've reluctantly decided to set it to one side for June to see if I can find something that sparks my interest a bit more. Sadly, it's not the first time I've done that this year, which isn't like me at all.

I don't know if this is an aftereffect of lockdown, or just a symptom of being really tired and busy. I hope it passes soon though.

Anyway, if you're interested, here are my lists for the rest of the year: January, February, March, April

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz (2021)


I bought this for the setting more than anything else. I like island mysteries, but I can’t remember reading one set on Alderney before. I also can’t remember if I’ve read any of Horowitz’s other novels, but I’m a big fan of his TV work (specifically Foyle’s War and his work on Poirot – which should come as no surprise!). A Line to Kill is the third book in his Hawthorne and Horowitz series. I haven’t read the other two, but that wasn’t a barrier to enjoying the book at all. Because of the conceit behind the series, there were quite a lot of references to the earlier two cases, but Horowitz avoids both spoilers and plot points that require some prior knowledge. The series features a character called Anthony Horowitz, a novelist who has previously worked as a TV writer, and who has now turned his hand to crime writing. This is an incredibly self-referential set-up! Horowitz (the character) is on Alderney with his detective muse, Hawthorne, to attend a literary festival and promote the first book in the series, The Word is Murder, ahead of the publication of the second book, The Sentence is Death. But wouldn’t you know it? shortly after the guests arrive, the festival’s sponsor is found dead. A Line to Kill is a lot of fun. I enjoyed the self-referentiality, and the use of the setting was nicely done. The influence of Agatha Christie is noticeable, but it’s definitely not derivative. I enjoyed this one.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

OUT NOW: Face in the Mirror: A Students' Guide, ed. by Judy Morris (ZunTold, 2022)

A new student anthology of poetry, featuring my poems 'Isti Mirant Stella', 'table', 'Your Poem Here' and 'Delaunay's Dye'...


Who am I? Is it okay for me to be different? Just what is my place in the world?

Life can be a difficult path to walk. But poetry can be a powerful and loyal friend, bringing light and joy when things seem dark, helping us find our way.

This book is a unique collection of classical and modern poetry for young people, covering a vast range of human experience. You will find the voices of young people in these pages as well as poets who lived many years ago. Their words can touch our minds and hearts, unlock our emotions and help us maintain good mental health.

A poem can help you to say, 'This is how I feel: this is my reality.' And that can be the start of a journey towards personal happiness, inner peace and wellbeing.

Poetry by:

Paul Morris, Emily Dickinson, Peter Kalu, Edgar Albert Guest, Abbie Farwell Brown, Hannah Kate, William Blake, William Shakespeare, Rosie Garland, Judy Morris, Tesni Penney, Mojisola Oladiti, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, George Eliot, Mary Frye, Aya Ahmad, Marian Allen, Wilfred Owen, Elaine Bousfield, Emily Jane, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christian D. Larson, Emily Brontë, Robert Louis Stevenson, Wang Zhihuan, Rudyard Kipling, Charlotte Brontë, Robert Frost, Sara Teasdale and William Ernest Henley.

This text accompanies Face in the Mirror: A Teachers’ Guide for using poetry to support good mental health in the classroom and beyond.

For more information, or to buy a copy of the book, please visit the ZunTold website.