The Cork Board

Four days in the life of…


I suppose I should be blogging. I have, after all, more time on my hands than I have had in recent months, though that time fills up with other stuff leaving the whole “time” thing illusory.

Perhaps I should start be describing the last four days which has seen us run a number of emotions, situations and opportunities. We began Thursday with a family medical incident which was out of the blue and caused us some concern. If emergencies were planned they wouldn’t be emergencies, would they ? And so we absorbed the worry and shock whilst looking forward to the evening which would be spent at our first session of the Swindon Poetry Festival.

The festival has been running for a couple of years or so now driven on by a dedicated group who are determined to play their part in bringing culture to a town who’s very mention of the name does not initiate the immediate notion of culture, sandwiched, as it is, between London to the east and Bath/Bristol to the west.

So Mrs. Monkey and I went along to see what was happening. Ticket holders we may have been but we couldn’t have received a warmer welcome amongst a small and select audience assembled in a small marquee to hear the readings. I have been to such things before, some years ago I admit, in other towns, and there has always been a sense of elitism wrapped in polo neck shirts and multi-coloured Doctor Who scarves. They couldn’t have been more off-putting. The clique well and truly barricaded in.

This was completely different. Small audience, chilled out and friendly, drinking whatever. And as the evening melded into early morning, for some anyway, generous helpings of toast were served.

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Daljit Nagra

Three readers, Daljit Nagra, Jacqueline Saphra and Tania Hershman, gave us some superb poetry, both funny and thoughtful, and even sometimes, rude.

Friday saw us embark on the Medical Visit to check out the injured party, a 350 mile round trip, and then back for Saturday morning and a return to the Poetry Festival for a workshop led by the wonderful Daljit Nagra. Now I admit, I’ve been off the poetry pace for a couple of years, focusing mainly on fiction and non-fiction tomes, but I bought Daljit’s new book “British Museum” at the reading on Thursday evening. Took it straight home to bed and was blown away. Mrs. Monkey and I were to be in the same room, and led by, greatness. Sure enough, the workshop, focusing on political poetry, was enthralling and enriching.

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Weekends must go on and we must prepare for the next week so home to reap the harvest from the garden. Beetroots of all colours, apples, grapes, a second crop of strawberries and berries. All to be prepared for winter with pickling, straining, juicing and what-not. Domestic gods are we.

Sunday morning saw us back at the Poetry Festival again for two more workshops. Mrs. Monkey taking inspiration from a meditation session and me joining Rishi Dastidar for a session based upon taking inspiration from the music you listen to. Another great session.

Suffice to say that after mixing it with the professionals for three days we have enough ideas to keep us quiet till Christmas.

But now, its time for a walk in the autumn sunshine – tomorrow work starts again, and all this will be a memory we desperately cling to – until next year’s Swindon Poetry Festival.

3 thoughts on “Four days in the life of…

  1. hope all’s ok re- the family medical incident, most likely yes – all’s fine – otherwise you’d not have attended the literary events! i’m glad to ‘view’ a bit of culture, as here in the ‘bosque’ there’s an immersion in nature and lots of old favorite books, but rare to bask in the brilliance of talented writers.

    thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Lisa. My father-in-law had a mild heart attack and after a week in hospital is back where he belongs – in control of the tv remote control ! 🙂 The Poetry Festival was a small affair but superb fun and due to the intimacy was mightily fulfilling. I’m developing my writing habit….. along with my guitar habit and my cycling habit and my drawing habit and all the other habits…. 🙂

      1. Those heart scares will get anyone’s attention! Glad things are going better, and that you’re having some amazing artistic immersions.. a little of this and a little of that — sounds like a ditty for some fun guitar moments!

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