Tag Archives: Blogging

It’s Been A While…

30 Mar

I could grovel; or I could explain that I’ve been battling health issues for over a year, which is why this blog has been dormant. With all that’s happening in the world right now, I think I’ll just wave a nonchalant hand in the air and move on.

I will tell you this, though: in the last sixteen months the NHS saved my life and the sight in my right eye, and has dealt with sundry other issues – all for free. Trapped in the house (Hub and I are on a 12-week lockdown because we are both at risk, especially the Hub), I’m frustrated that I can’t help.

So here’s my offer: if ten people reading this make a donation to Masks For NHS Heroes, the Hub will shave me completely bald, and I’ll post the video here.

I know you are all battling for PPE in your own countries, so I’m aiming this at British readers.

Stay safe and well, lovelies, and I’ll see you on the other side x

Normal Service Will Shortly Be Resumed

2 Oct

Image result for i'll be back

Hello, bloggers who used to read me.

I have finished the MA and I’m on my rest month (very much needed), but I intend to begin blogging again, at least once a week.

I say ‘rest month’…it includes a choir concert (in which I sing, not listen in the audience. I say ‘sing’…), a visit from the grandson (his first to our home!), the usual writing groups, sundry poetry readings, poetry workshops, a visit to the Hub (still residing here, but I have to schedule him in), and SLEEP.

In the meantime, I thought I’d repost my favourite-ever photograph, to give you something gross to think about:

Photo by Best DSC!

When my hair was long, the Hub shoved it through my sleeve and told me I needed to shave my armpits.

My hair is now short but the latter is true. No time to shave ‘pits when you’re on a deadline.

See you in Movember, when I shall not be plucking my moustache hairs, in solidarity with lazy people.

Rules Are Made To Be Broken

1 Feb

Taking an inadvertent blogging break due to all of the studying I’m doing, I came across a post I wrote (hey, poets need downtime, too, you know), about a deliberate blogging break I took in 2013:

When I have time on my hands like this, I start thinking about myself. Always a mistake.  Last time I had nothing to do, I set a few rules and general guidelines to make Tilly Bud Tilly Blooming Lovely, Inside And Out.  Tilly Blooming Lovely IAO is, I am sure, well-groomed, relaxed, affable, clean, and at peace with herself.  Everyone will love her. Tilly Bud: The Menopause Years, not so much.

Forgive the use of an old photo; I wanted to look my best for you.

The Rules:

Presentation:

  • Tilly Bud shall forthwith cease and desist speaking of herself in the third person.
  • I’ll stop the pompous balderdash as well.
  • I will address the next lot of rules to ‘you’ because the use of first person negates the funny.  Take it as read that ‘you’ is ‘me’.

Diet:

  • When you eat the last Malteser, don’t open another box for at least an hour.
  • Stop eating: you cannot starve to death in a morning.
  • Exercise is not the enemy.  Dance, be a flibbertigibbet, chase the Hub around the house.
  • Galaxy Bubbles are not an acceptable substitute for Maltesers.  Nor are Galaxy Bars, Galaxy Ripples or Galaxy Minstrels.
  • They can, however, be enjoyed as a side dish.

Home:

  • Never miss an opportunity to clean.
  • The synchronicity of a dust bunny behind the couch and a vacuum cleaner in your hand should never be overlooked.

Computer:

  • Nothing bad will happen if you stay offline for ten minutes.
  • If your hand resembles a claw, put down the mouse and step away from the laptop.

Family:

  • It’s okay to be nice to the Hub.
  • Really.
  • Just because your child didn’t call doesn’t mean A) you are a bad mother or B) he doesn’t love you.  It means he’s a bad son who doesn’t appreciate your stretch marks.
  • Dogs are not substitute children.

Blog:

  • It’s okay to be nice about the Hub.
  • Really.
  • Serendipity gave him to you; keep him sweet by throwing out the occasional compliment.

General:

  • Stupid is as stupid does: pick a side.
  • Life is like a box of chocolates: you can be a soft centre and a nut.
  • Really.
  • Forrest Gump is not the Oracle.  And that’s all I have to say about that.
  • Never miss an opportunity to laugh (the first point under ‘Home’ refers)

This post first appeared five years ago.  Tilly Bud has since learned that the rules only work if you adhere to them.

Here’s One I Wrote Earlier

10 Dec

Hello, dear reader!  (I’m assuming I only have one left now, so long have I been gone).  I’ve been busy since September and here’s an article I wrote, first published in October on the Write Out Loud website, to explain why:

                             My student ID pic

Since graduating with a BA in literature in 2008, it has been my dream to complete an MA in creative writing; specifically, poetry. I knew I needed to mature as a writer, and that happened to coincide with having no money. I was able to apply to Manchester Metropolitan University this summer, however, because a couple of years ago the government introduced student loans for a second degree.

Reader, I was accepted. I was overjoyed, particularly as the news came at the end of Freshers Week, when I was wondering why I hadn’t yet received my rejection email.

A welcome email arrived on the Thursday, from the writing school’s manager; followed by the offer email on Friday, around five pm. I was excited and panicked at the same time: I have to apply for student finance? (You certainly do!) When do I start? (Monday?!). Will I be allowed to attend class if my finance isn’t in place? (Yes). Where do I go? (The old Cornerhouse). What do I do? (Not panic…oops, too late).

My first degree was with the Open University so I was excited to go to a “real” i.e. brick university but, oh, how at first I wish I hadn’t bothered. Two weeks in and it was all YOU OWE US MONEY GIVE US MONEY YOU WILL BE SANCTIONED IF YOU DON’T PAY THE MONEY SHOW US THE MONEY.

I understand that education is big business these days, but please, MMU, don’t invite me at the last minute so that I miss out on the helpful information; leave me to flounder; and then nag me to the death of joy. Truthfully, at this stage I’d be happier with my notebook and pen and just the one degree, thank you very much.

From the ridiculous to the sublime: three weeks in, the course is fabulous. It is challenging and difficult and I am surrounded by so much talent I can’t help feeling they made a mistake when they sent out the offer letter. But you’d have to pry it from my cold, dead Gmail account first.

You know you’ve never had it so good when one of your professors is Michael Symmons Roberts and the other is Carol Ann Duffy. And when the poet laureate hands out free books, takes you across the road to the pub and buys you a drink and, when you ask for some advice says, “That’s what I’m here for,” you know you’ll say: “Here’s the money! I had to sell my children to get it, but it is totally worth it!”

Excited? Yes. Terrified? Yes. Fed up with officialdom? Always. Would I want to be anywhere else? What do you think?

I Lost A Friend

9 May

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor

Photo copyright RR Nichols

Her personal blog

Her political blog

Some of you read Laurie Nichols’ blog; more of you will have seen her comments on my blog.  For those who have been wondering, I’m sad to report that Laurie passed away on February 17th, aged 49, due to complications caused by her cancer.  Her husband Robert told me that he was with her the last 60 days of her life full time in the room, talking, and holding her hand and making sure she was comfortable.

Laurie was a beautiful woman, inside and out.  She was sweet and kind and lived life to the full.  She loved politics, gardening, travelling with her husband, cooking, movies, her dogs but, above all, she loved her family.

She was one of my greatest cheerleaders and we corresponded privately as well as through our blogs.  A favourite memory is the time she sent me some elephant ears, all the way from the US to the UK.  You can read about it here.  That post arose from another post (read that one here) I had written, and here is the conversation which ensued in the second post, which was the first post (hey, I may be missing Laurie but she’d expect me to write as confusingly as always):

Laurie: Love, love, love this! I bake Elephant ear cookies (Palmier cookies in French) so I thought that the bad man had thrown her cookies off the balcony, I never heard of a plant called Elephant ears. I would have been crying too if a bad man had thrown my cookies off the balcony, they are so delicious, flaky pastry dough folded umpteenth times in sugar and baked until golden and caramelized, cookie bliss. 🙂

TB: Drooling…

Laurie: Sorry about the drool, they are drool worthy though, next time I make a batch, I’ll be sure to send you some. 🙂

TB: The reading of this comment constitutes a legally binding contract under blog law.  Can’t wait! 🙂

Laurie: Don’t worry I honor all of my promises, you will be getting a surprise by the end of the month or the beginning of April the latest. 🙂

TB: Bless you!

Laurie: Anything for my Tilly 😀

And that’s Laurie in a biscuit tin.  The biscuits arrived as promised, and were devoured.  I still have the tin she sent them in.

DSCN2836

I miss her.  I miss her a lot.

 

In The Last Week I Have

18 Nov
  • Photo by Pam RobinsonDisplaying FB_IMG_1479336801999.jpg
  • Given three short poetry readings
  • Hosted my firstborn child, Rarity Boy
  • Made the best fairy cakes I’ve ever baked
  • Made the worst fairy cakes I’ve ever baked
  • Baked!  Who’d have thunk it?
  • Chatted to the Mayor
  • Put a hole in my knee (and my favourite black leggings)
  • Proofread and/or critiqued at least five documents of one sort or another
  • Missed the Supermoon, as expected – Stockport doesn’t do celestial events, being under one continuous cloud blanket since I moved here in 1996
  • Made a roast dinner in a state of mild hysteria
  • Attended two meetings
  • Been unable to buy train tickets on a website because it’s just too hard!
  • Allowed my last born child to patronise me because he knows how to buy train tickets off the internet
  • Felt immense guilt that I haven’t replied to your comments or returned your visits
  • Not been paid for anything on this list
  • Wished I had a penny for every moment of guilt felt because then I could pay someone to reply to your comments and return your visits
  • Found the first photo of me I’ve actually liked since 2003 (banner photo notwithstanding, because that’s of the Hub and I, who I love soooooo much)
  • Considered replacing the Hub, who broke my Tree of War mug, even though he offered to give me his as a replacement; maybe I’ll replace him with his mug…or just bean him with it
  • Put off going in the shower by writing this when I should be getting ready to go out to another meeting

I apologise for the smell

Viv

15 Jul
My favourite photo of Viv

My favourite photo of Viv

I never truly understood the concept of a heavy heart until this past week, when I heard the news that my beloved friend Viv had died.

Many of you knew her, whether online or in person; many more must have read her comments on my blog: she was one of my greatest supporters and cheerleaders. I loved her very much.  I’m glad I told her so.

I am not alone in my love: once the news had been posted by her family, on her blog, comments poured in from all over the world; dismay and sadness were the chief emotions, but many happy memories were shared.  The comment box not being enough, other bloggers posted their own tributes to Viv.  She deserves each and every one.

This isn’t a case of not speaking evil of the dead: she was a genuinely good and generous woman.  She was passionate about music, nature, the environment, quilting, poetry, education, friends, family…but most of all, she was passionate about life.  She lived.  She lived fully.  Despite pain and suffering, she lived right up to the end.  You could never accuse her of apathy.

She was always honest – here’s what turned out to be her last critique of one of my poems:

No and thrice no.  In questionable taste and unfunny!!!!!

I shall treasure it forever.

DSCN0956My heart has been heavy because of her loss; but also because I wanted to write this post – even had it roughed out in my head – but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  If I put it into print, then it became true: my dear Viv has gone.

My dear Viv has gone.

Upon hearing the news of a beloved’s death, people react differently: some cry, some scream, some freeze.  Some pretend it never happened. Some can’t believe that it happened.  All wish it hadn’t happened.

But for each person, no matter their reaction, there is one constant: emotion, like a boulder, sits on the chest – in the chest – where the beloved once resided.  Like Sisyphus, we try to push it away.  Unlike Sisyphus, we eventually succeed.  It may take months, years, decades but, sooner or later, the unbearable loss becomes bearable, and only love remains.

Once a person lodges in your heart, they never leave.  An osmosis occurs; and separation is merely physical.

Viv will always be a part of my life; I will always remember her.  How could I not? Before I met her, when we were friends online only, her personality was such that I was convinced ‘Viv’ was short for ‘vivacious’.  Imagine the full force of her charm and sweetness (she was often tart in print; never in person, that I ever saw) once we actually did meet.  I loved her at once.  You would have, too.

ViV compressed

Photo © Blake/Hutt
Viv graduating from the Open University

Do yourself a favour and visit her blog, if you haven’t before.  She wrote poetry from the heart – like she lived her life – but it was always accessible.  Enjoy her rants on war, politicians, terrorism, the way we treat the environment.  Revel in her sublime appreciation of nature.  Mourn the loss of a unique and special woman; and, like me, be grateful if you knew her at all.

 

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