Natural Choreography

My trip to the nature reserve at Minsmere which I wrote about yesterday I now realise was curtailed too early. I had wondered why so many people were arriving at the RSPB reserve so late in the day. The clear evening skies were the perfect backdrop to see the glorious balletic murmurations of thousands of starlings above the reed beds.



It is estimated that there are tens of thousands of starlings in these groups as they perform these enigmatic shows.


Feather pillows in the sky

Sink and sway and undulate

Display of beauty to the eye

Swoop and gracefully gyrate

What instinct produces such a skill

That gives we onlookers such a thrill?


Competition Time

Glad to see the end of January and the emergence of new shoots appearing from the soil.


A fog bound mire, dark and scary

That’s the feel of January.

Gloomy, damp, dark and drear-

What a way to start the year!

Short the days and rare the sun,

Little joy and not much fun.

The best day though has come and gone-

Yesterday was 31.

With winter still taking a grip on all things including my motivation to get on with writing, I always welcome the chance to enter writing competitions to provide a bit of impetus. I came across one the other day which asked for submissions of short stories of exactly one hundred words.  This is a monthly competition run by and seems like a lot of fun.  There is a deadline at the end of each month, after which each author promotes their work on social media etc in order to win votes for their story. A prize is offered for the writer with the most votes at the end of ten days voting.

If anyone out there is moved to check out the site, my story is #20 and is entitled Sentence. All votes for this piece of fiction (or is it?) will be greatly appreciated.

Direct to the Point




For many years I have enjoyed my writing, be it short stories, novels or (occasionally) poetry. But more recently I have devoted my energies to playwriting, which opened up a whole new experience for me. Sales of my self-published novels remain in single figures and I have no expectation of that situation improving in the future. I am not an established ‘name’ in the literary world and have given away far more copies of my stories to friends and family, so it is just as well I am not trying to make a living out of it. Rather my writing is occupying my years of retirement, and very enjoyably. Some short stories have won prizes and have been published to an unseen readership. Playwriting, however, is an altogether different experience.  To see words and characters that you have created coming to life on a stage before an audience is quite a thrill.

In the last couple of years since moving to Suffolk I have been part of a local drama group, Circle 67, and have acted in several of their productions, the last one being an adaptation of Dickens The Old Curiosity Shop (see my blog post of Sept 23rd – What the Dickens!).  As I mentioned in a post last month, I am due to make my directorial debut in next summer’s (shorter) Shakespeare production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which I am already realising has many pitfalls – my potential directing I mean, not the play.

I am fortunate in that two one-act plays I have written have been accepted for this year’s local INK Festival of drama in April, for which experienced directors have been appointed. I hope therefore to learn as much as I can from them before I begin in earnest in May with the first of the rehearsals for our Shakespeare.

A Little Seasoning

scenic view of ocean during sunset




Clouds of dark blue-grey slide by,

Gilt-tinged by a low-slung sun.

The promised threat of wetter weather wanes,

As clearer patches fill the sky.

But chilling twilight has now begun

To frost the roofs and window panes,

Coating grass and naked trees,

Where birds seek out an errant crumb.

Through empty, rutted country lanes

Are etched signs of last summer. These

Pitted tracks that only months before did hum

With drones of pollen-poaching bees.


Change of Direction


The Circle 67 cast for Measure for Measure.


I was becoming quite comfortable having been a member of the local amateur dramatics group – Circle 67 – for two years since moving to Suffolk, and having appeared in several of the productions. However, I find it difficult to remember how I agreed to be the director of their next summer production.  Each year a shortened version (approximately an hour to an hour and a half) of a Shakespeare play is performed during the summer in local pub gardens and the grounds of a local ruined castle ( a great backdrop for last summer’s Macbeth).  Next summer is to be a performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor: a great play in which nobody dies for a change. And I somehow agreed to direct this!  It’s many a year since I took on such a challenge: in fact, forty five years – and that was a pantomime.

The first reading and casting of the play was undertaken a couple of evenings ago. The reason it was so far in advance is that in 2019 after the six performances around the Suffolk countryside, the production will be taken to France, a customary activity every couple of years, and it is necessary to know who will be available for such an excursion.

So, the challenge awaits…


The art of direction

involves introspection

in looking at how I’m performing.

As well as the actors

there are other factors,

such as –  am I informing

the correct way of playing

and if they’re conveying

the way that I see it done?

Now that I have been taxed

I must stay relaxed;

let’s face it, the show must go on.

Long Live the NHS!

My recent admission, albeit brief, to an NHS hospital for surgery, took me back to the last time I was in one when I was eleven years old. That’s almost sixty years ago! The easy comparisons to draw would be in terms of the new technologies and surgical techniques. This time I was subjected to a robotic keyhole procedure, which would have seemed like science fiction all those years before.What has not changed though, is the efficiency, care and professionalism of the hardworking staff in these hospitals, whose dedication in times of increasing pressures deserves the highest praise.

bed empty equipments floor

Photo by Pixabay on


There was a time when hospitals secreted

Smells of polish, disinfectant and stew.

With wards full of beds made of steel and starch-sheeted,

Where the matron patrolled in dark blue.

The doctors these days don’t wear those white coats;

Casual shirts, sometimes jeans, seem the style.

And they don’t need to write indecipherable notes;

The computer holds everyone’s file.

My recent experience, I’m happy to say,

Was brief – but the bed queues are getting longer.

Despite the doom news, the NHS is here to stay,

And with good government, I’m sure, will get stronger.