Friday, December 30, 2016


And tomorrow is just another day away
To loose again its meagre heat upon winter
Slithering away at the approach of dusk
Across the heavy rime of unforgiving chill
The orange spider crawls off the world
For now night and the cold holds sway

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Time Bloom

We are a passage of innocence in a swift perfect chaos
Until we are torn asunder in time's irreverent perception
Looking back through the mocking occlusion of memory
All I remember is how extraordinary my awakening was
Memories of flowered sunshine under long, green days
Warm, careless fumblings and a burning to wreak change
Now innocent desire is lost in the slowing, reflective, days
But flowers remain as totems of remembrance to adventure
And if days shall darken more, they will scent the journey
For in the age of dwindling reason, hope blooms all the more 

Saturday, December 24, 2016


To fully celebrate the Christmas fable
We light the windows, trees and gable
Pile delicious food upon a groaning table

But I cannot pretend I rightly know
Just what happened 2000 years ago
In the biblical lands without any snow

And I am now a little long in the tooth
For all the misplaced optimism of youth
So forgive me if I just pour a Vermouth

In the custom of trying to find a better way
In truth's light and our chance of sorry to say
I do understand this need for one special day

But for me in my doubt, it is never, very clear
When if we profess to hold this goodwill so dear
Why is the world still full of misery and fear

So let's absolve the past in hopes of a better time
But don't quickly forget once bells cease to chime  
For lasting peace man still has a long way to climb

So in these Christmas festivities be of such good cheer
But throughout the New Year keep this thought near
For peace to be real, we have to forgive 365 days a year

Thursday, December 22, 2016


I finally got around to making a pannettone this year. I bought the baking tin about 10 years ago but kept thinking it would be incredibly hard to make - Wrong!! It takes quite a while as it has to proved in the refrigerator, but it is simple to make and cook. Can't believe how good it tastes toasted with some real butter. The recipe comes from Paul Hollywood of BBC fame. Good baker and good recipe. I did not use cherries and added extra fruit to make the weight. I also did not use whole almonds and substituted flaked almonds instead. On the second rise it is OK to do this outside of the refrigerator so long a you put it in a cool place. This would also work in a large, standard loaf tin as a great fruit loaf.


Paul Hollywood’s version of panettone is a recipe that sits between the classic panettone and a brioche. You will need an 18cm/7in panettone tin.

500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour

7g salt

50g/2oz caster sugar

2 x 7g sachets instant yeast

140ml/5fl oz warm milk

5 free-range eggs, at room temperature, plus extra for egg wash

250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

120g/4½oz dried cherries

120g/4½oz dried sultanas

120g/4½oz dried currants

100g/3½oz whole blanched almonds

Preparation method
1.Place the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, milk and the eggs into the bowl of a free-standing mixer fitted with a dough hook.

2.Mix slowly for two minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix for a further 6-8 minutes until you have a soft dough.

3.Add the softened butter and mix for another 5-8 minutes. Remember to scrape down the bowl periodically to ensure that the dough mixes well. It will be very soft.

4.Add the dried fruit and nuts. Mix until all is incorporated.

5.Tip the dough into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill overnight until the dough has firmed up enough for you to able to shape it.

6.Prepare a 18cm/7in panettone tin by brushing the inside generously with melted butter.

7.Remove the panettone dough from the fridge.

8.Knock back the dough, shape into a ball and place into the tin.

9.Leave to prove at room temperature for a further 2-3 hours, until the dough just starts to dome over the top of the tin.

10.Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

11.Brush the top of the panettone with egg wash and bake for about 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and bake for a further 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Check the panettone periodically in case of oven hot spots. Bear in mind that the sugar and butter in the dough could brown too much before it is actually fully baked.

12.Remove the panettone from the tin immediately and allow to cool.

13. Serve toasted with butter or use for a delicious bread and butter pudding by spreading marmalade on slices, pouring hot custard over and briefly baking

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


The shrouded accomplice to imagination
Comes as spectre of our ghostly collaborations
The emissary of fear reverses our intelligence
And where a life imitates its art and withers
So broaches evil night upon the counterpane
A tangible icon of cultured terror to senses
A tarantula that paws the cover relentlessly
Hairy drumming made to a slow music of night
And it repeats in dreams of shadowed dismay
Or it is the rasping creak of danger upon stairs
The slow footsteps ever upon riser and tread
That falter briefly, ere they resume more softly
And then to fade like an echo of abandonment
To ask in earnest that we tell a different story
While we may still imagine a better world
Before we wake to another bloody dawn 

Monday, December 19, 2016


The days are ever renewed by small degrees and we shall say they are but the seasons. Short passages of changing wonder wrought by the writ of a cosmic science. And yet, this is indeed a glorious globe, a glittering orb of enchantment laid to full recline by winters crushing touch that readies to rise from her slumber. And marvel of this obliquity of a green-blue silk wrapping a starry throat. The soft rise and fall of this graceful body with her daily imperceptible changes. And is it not a wondrous thing that sated and coldly exhausted from her resting passions the softer, longer, light of a new spring, shall come.

Here's a graphic of the solstices. I made it - so a guide only.

Saturday, December 17, 2016


Though this is no new day
I am made almost complete
A dawn born without night
Splendour has forsaken me
You may turn your eyes away
Focus upon the distant vistas
Pretend you do not see me
There is no clarity upon this
No empty space to ease within
Everywhere is taken and held
Save the cold, dark places
But who would venture thus
Unless the world was within them
And they were born incomplete
And so the journey begins...

Friday, December 16, 2016


A light I made for Christmas from a sheet of A3 matte photo paper which I made into a tube and then lit with battery lights. It's reverse says Happy New Year so it's a 2 for 1 light. It looks good and bright in a dark place.

New Days

The new, unwelcome days ignite
But always where there is loss
New flowers will bloom the swifter
In blossom enough to change hearts
So remember if days sadden and fail
Buds will open to incense our sorrow
And leave trails of beauty to follow 

Monday, December 12, 2016


When iced breath of night is exhaled
Clarity is spun coldly about living things
Tis a seeing glass that wraps about growth
To set its glossy crust of harm on promise
Only to depart on the first kiss of dawn
This swift yet ruinous embrace of rime
Like lover's promises before ardour withdraws
All wilts under the early morning sun
The rigid stem is broken and droops
And only blasted leaves now remain 
What fools we were to think of more
To let patience usurp a wanton desire
That makes us cultivate too quickly
When still there is ever risk of more frost

Friday, December 09, 2016


The brief tapestry of dusk
Subsumes the last threads of cobalt
And the day closes shut again
Shadows run across desire
The orange weft comes swift
Upon a day yielding climbing skies
But where sun sails to darkness.
Just for a moment I see another place
Sitting below the rim of the world
It lies unfettered beyond reach
And nothing of this absurdity
That passes for advancement
Can touch its sweet existence
And if such illusion passes swift
As night's spider weaves dark webs
It is ever a good dream for sunset

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Entwistle Reservoir

The annual Christmas tree dressing is in full flow at the reservoir. Well I am not sure it is the right thing to do here, but it does no harm I guess as long as they remove them again. Oh dear my humbug is showing again!

Friday, December 02, 2016


Today I saw an old man; he looked a bit like me
Or at least how I'll look, when I reach seventy three
He was resting on a bench, soaking up the midday heat
And all seemed well, till he tried to stand on unsteady feet
No one else saw his trouble, as he struggled to get upright
Mostly we pretend to look at the floor, than do what is right
I offered him assistance, but he dismissed it out of hand
"I don’t need help thanks, though it takes longer I can still stand"
"When I can't look after myself, that's a day to know I'm done"
"So save your pity for yourself, for you'll be here one-day son"
So if you see an old man who looks like he needs help in a crowd
Don’t bother to offer aid; let him alone and able to stand proud