I’ve wanted to visit Sicily ever since I saw The Godfather. The film was released in 1972, so I must have watched it a bit later on the television. While chatting with other tourists, several mentioned that scenes from the film In Postino prompted their visit. I can’t remember seeing that film but like us, they were rather off-piste as Il Postino was filmed in Messina and the location for The Godfather was in towns outside Taormina. However, when we reached Ragusa, we learnt that this was the location for the Inspector Montalbano TV series, so we did finally make it a film location.
Beaumont Park is a fabulous 20 acre site on the outskirts of Huddersfield. Constructed in 1880s it was accessed by a tramway from the town and boasted a castle, pavilion and bandstand. According to Henry F Beaumont, the landowner who provided fields for the conversion, ‘Parks are necessary for large and populous towns to increase the happiness and promote good health and elevate the minds of people.’
The Friends of Beaumont Park work with Kirklees Council to restore the park and I’m proud to be part of a project which aims to bring art and nature together. My poem, Walk was selected from entries to the poetry trail competition and is now on permanent display.
My poem is one of 25 included in the poetry trail. The acrylic plaques work well displaying every 12 line poem to great effect. It’s wonderful to wander around the gardens and read poetry written by the very young and the more mature. Indeed, I was so impressed with the whole idea of bringing poetry into a public space, I talked with one of the organisers of the poetry trail to find out whether is possible replicate the project elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »
Being such a lovely morning, there was no excuse. I’ve managed to put off doing a decent walk every weekend this year. Usually I claim there isn’t enough time and we settle from a stomp along the sea front from Preston to Weymouth. Today, the glaze of blue sky and warm sun had me dig out my walking boots and we headed off.
I chose a walk from cuttings David had saved from a magazine. I ruled out the strenuous ones, and we settled on a circular walk around Corscombe. However, when we’d gone about a quarter of the way (and David was struggling with the instructions) he realised page two of the route was from a totally different walk. Not being ones to retrace our steps, we followed our noses and found a path.
Sheep followed us at one point.
And the clumps of snow drops were compensation for trailing through mud.
We’ll be better planned, next time.
This is the view from the third floor office where I work at the University of South Wales, Treforest Campus. It’s been impossible to take a photograph until today, when it’s finally stopped raining. I’m enjoying my time on the campus. It’s great working with enthusiastic students and I’m finally able to make use of the library for my PhD research after relying on remote access as a distance learning student.
Most weeks I leave home for work at 6am, arriving around 3 hours later and begin teaching at 11am on Monday. I stay in Pontypridd most weeks from Monday until Thursday, when I deliver a session with third year students. This talented group are working towards a major project for submission later in the year. I’ve also been busy marking assignments which critically compare examples of historical and contemporary children’s literature.
I have started work as a lecturer with the University of South Wales delivering a module titled ‘Writing for Children’. The post is for 12 weeks to allow my PhD supervisor relief from his teaching schedule to undertake research. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I’m thoroughly enjoying the chance to support students in the second and third year of their undergraduate studies in creative writing.
This being the third day of January, I’m celebrating the fact that I’ve booked three holidays for 2016! (I’ve ditched my Boxing Day blues and have begun to look forward.)
First up, I’ll be travelling with my husband to Sicily for 6 days at the end of April. A quick flick through the Rough Guide (a Christmas present from my mother) and I saw we could travel from Catania to Palermo by buses or trains and booked flights to and from these airports. Other destinations I’d like to cover are Taormina for the Teatro Greco and Siracusa.
In June, my friend Cathie is over from Australia and I’ve arranged a visit to Santiago de Compostela. I lived in the city for a year in 1986 and studied for my A levels while Brian Henry and others worked at El Centro Britanico teaching English as a foreign language. I took my family to the area last year and loved it so much that Cathie’s visit provided a good excuse for another trip. I’ve since been brushing up my Spanish and hope to engage in many more conversations that I was able to do last time. I love the old streets and plazas of the city.
Edinburgh is my third destination with a visit during the fringe (although I particularly like going to the book festival). I usually attend the ten at ten sessions where visiting writers share a short reading. It’s always a good way to start the morning.
What holiday plans do you have for 2016?
I’m always relieved when Christmas Day has past without any major falling-outs or disappointments. My children have got used to me being less than enthusiastic about the whole event so on Boxing Day we headed to the beach and had a blustery trudge along the shingle. With surprise, we found the Hive Cafe open and serving coffee and cakes. It was good to be amongst others who needed escape from the Christmas stir-crazy feeling. Perhaps my ambivalent attitude towards the holiday is not so unusual.