A question

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I have a new book coming out with Graffeg soon. It is a narrative non-fiction story about a peregrine and the relationship of this bird with a woman who rehabilitates the bird and sends it back into the wild. It is a coincidence that this book has been written around the same time as H is for Hawk has done so well and I jokingly call it F is for Falcon and hope it benefits form the interest rather than suffering from comparison. I have yet to read H is for Hawk.

Anyway, there is discussion as to what the title should be. Below are a few suggestions. I would welcome comments, from individuals and from book sellers as to what they think.

So, please leave a comment. The image above will be the cover image.

1. A Hole in the Sky ( there is a phrase in the book,” A bird in a mews is a beautiful thing, but a bird in the mews leaves a hole in the sky”.)

2. For Love of a Wild Thing.

3. Ramsey Falcon.

4. About a Bird.

5. Fifty Shades of Falcon.

 

 

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Dark desk

So much to do, means working late, although I still had time to take Ivy out walking, up the hill and down the beach.

The last few days have involved doing battle with a double paged spread. Third time lucky-ish, and almost time to move on. She’s not the heroine of the book, or won’t be for most people. She is a character who fascinates me, neither good nor bad. She has just done something bad. Very bad.

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moths

harewoman

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Inside. Outside.

Today.

Walked dogs.

Finished swans, watched by creatures. Eleven. With crowns.

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Outside Pembrokeshire is looking so beautiful. I need to stay inside to paint.

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Walking with the White Cat: Pawprints

We woke to a morning of frosted grass and blue sky.

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With too much to do and deadlines looming the weather was too good to waste so we called Ffion to see if she and the Eelhound wanted to walk up the hill. It was time to see how the Fillyjonk would walk with the White Cat.

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Up the hill, through the green fields, the frost melting fast away, and the Fillyjonk and her sister ran circles and the White Cat came too.

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On top of the hill we stopped to look over the view.

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The White Cat rested on the rocks for a while. Eel hound checked the air for mischief. Then then Ivy ran, over the rocks and around the gorse, chasing a raven, the trickster bird and I thought she was gone as we called her and called, but then she halted and looked around and raced like the wind and back to our side.

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Blue sky, bright sea, Ramsey in mist. Warm winter sun, birds and peace.

7 8Home through the fields and the white Cat wanted to know what this string was that had Ivy on one end and me on the other.

Then home through the garden where we showed Ffion the new septic tank ( we know how to entertain guests in Pembrokeshire. ) And the White Cat had left his mark on the concrete.

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Menagerie: Let me introduce you to the Fillyjonk.

At the beginning of this working week I seem to find myself in a house with five cats, three of them miniature leopards,

3catssgwone old dog who is getting a little forgetful and now a Fillyjonk. Oh my. I hope she does not turn out to be a beautiful disaster.

filli filli2 eysAfter a short walk at the beautiful beach where the light was all bright and the wind playing with waves and a line of birds strung out like curious beads across the sea we came home.

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I introduced her to the neighbour’s ducks, who seemed to find her very amusing.

laughingducksAnd now she is trying so hard to settle down and relax. It’s a hard life being a Fillyjonk, especially when your sister is an Eelhound.

settledNow, time for someone to go to work.

I guess that will be me then.

Because the cats, who told me they were going to earn their catfood by working on a new book and calendar seem to be taking it easy.

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Wisdom from a 12 year old.

Another letter for Cardiff library. With so many libraries threatened with closure I think we should all write to our libraries and our councillors, so that the libraries know we value them and the councillors understand that they might not get another vote if they do not learn to listen.

Here, a twelve year old speaks from the heart:

Dear librarian,
I love the library. I’ve always loved it. And I hope I always will. There are many reasons I love the library. Reasons big and small. But all good reasons.
I love to read. I love stories and novels. But lots of the stories and novels that I have read are not still in my house. They were from the library. Without the library I could not be able to read all the books that I’ve read. When I go to the library I take as many books that I can. Not because I’m told to. But because I want to. And I love the library for that.
In school I’m told I can’t read what I choose because they are either too easy or too hard. I don’t get told what to read in the library. I can go to the adult’s books if I want. Or I can go to the children’s. Nobody minds. I can read what I want. I have the freedom to choose. If that freedom got lost I would start to lose interest. Lose interest in books. The thing I love the most. Reading would just become a chore at school. And I would hate that. Hate that my freedom has gone. But I love it now. I love the choice of books. And I love the library for that.
When I go to the library on Saturday it is the best sort of Saturday. A Saturday that I love. I go to the place I love. I see the things I love. I can go and get lost in books. I can leave the troubles of my life and I can enter a world that is full of imagination. A world that is full of wonder. It is the best place to be. I leave all thought of technology. I leave my phone far away from me. And that’s a good thing, right? I use my brain instead of Google. I challenge myself. But more than that, I enjoy myself. Who can actually say that they enjoy themselves on the phone scrolling through photos? I can genuinely say I enjoy myself. Many people say that the kindle is better. But I disagree. What if you can’t buy a kindle. What would you do then? The library provides books. For free. And I love the library for that.
Love
Phoebe Howard (aged 12)

 

Thanks Phoebe. xxx

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The Devil’s Violin: It’s the twists that make the pattern beautiful.

The Devil’s Violin, one of the very best British storytelling teams combining music and story in an evening that will take you away from where you are, paint pictures so that they dance in your mind’s eye, weave you in to other worlds and answer questions you have yet to ask. If you can go and see them do. It will be time well spent.

For tour dates and places go to the Devil’s Violin website.

Open the forbidden door, always.

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Haverfordwest Library: ‘temporarily relocated.’

A library, the heart of a town. At one time libraries held archives on local history, easily accessible. At one time Haverfordwest had a library with a gallery space attached. The building also housed the school libraries book collection. Haverfordwest is the county town of Pembrokeshire. This is what its library looks like now.

The library has been ‘temporarily relocated’ to the community centre, down the hill, behind the old building, the stock much reduced, the staff still wonderful and helpful.

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inside

What does this say about a town and its town council, other than that there is a breakdown happening at the heart of local government as it buckles beneath the austerity measures enforced on it by national government? Or maybe it is just an inability to recognize the value of the library services?

When I was in the library there was a meeting happening where decisions were being made about the future of the library and it’s buildings. Waiting to hear the results.

I was glad to hear that they did have some of my books in the library and throughout the county too. But every time I drive past I can’t help but think this is a scar on the beautiful face of Pembrokeshire.

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Feathered. Tentative steps.

In November of this year I am having an exhibition with Catherine Hyde in The Lighthouse Gallery in Penzance.

The show is to be called ‘Feathered’ and part of my work there spins around a story. I have asked people to send me feathers that they find and many have come with stories. This is the third painting I have made spun around the feathers.

This one includes a pheasant feather from Five Sisters in Scotland, where bears sleep, dreaming of wild water streams filled with spawning salmon, a red tailed hawk from USA, a magpie feather from June in Ennerdale, salt stained seagull feathers washed onto Whitesands Beach in Pembrokeshire,a macaw, captive in a cage, a bluejay, a cardinal and a crow from USA, a tattered, battered and broken brown and white feather from the beach and a red kite’s feather that left the sky in July 2014, a woodcock feather, partially grown. One of the feathers is a left-winged flight feather. Some are breast feathers, some tail. There are gaps between and this wing would never fly, never lift, is unbound and so would leave it’s owner earth-bound. Still it holds some magic. But that is another story.

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longitutude

I love the poem that came with the crow feather, from Meredith in N Kingstown in USA. This is what she said of the feather:

” The feathers were collected over a period of several weeks. Sparrow, egret, cardinal, bluejay, starling. The crow feather outside the pouch, was found s i walked into a concert at a place where my mother worked for many years. i felt it was her contribution. She passed after a brief illness in December 2012, before I discovered you.”

The poem Meredith sent stopped me in my tracks. She said:

” The poem is mine, and seemed appropriate to send. I wrote it in Carmarthen in 1990. The title came from misreading of the title of George Herbert poem, ‘Easter Wings.’

 

Faster Wings

(c) Meredith E Brady

Oh, I cannot outrace this night,

And I cannot exceed my fears.

So, doomed, I wait impending tears-

A dreamer stranded, stilled from flight.

 

Just once I caught the wind to soar,

I caught a glimpse of hope ahead,

But now the air is close and dead.

How could I love you any more?

 

With faster wings, I’d chase the light,

I’d pace the sun’s own fiery rise.

For now I cannot meet your eyes-

A dreamer stranded, stilled from flight.

 

If I could make the whole world right,

I couldn’t love you any more.

meredith

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Love letter to libraries: no , From Karin

It was suggested that Cathy Cassidy and I make templates so that people can easily write letters in support of the libraries in Cardiff, Liverpool and beyond. I think that the weight of letters can be powerful. But what we want, what we need, is for people to care, to claim their libraries. It doesn’t need to be a long letter sent. To see what I am talking about go to this blog post.

When you don’t offer a template this is what you get, from the heart. When you do  think you get a sack of letters that no one will read. What is more effective? Who can say. Myself, I love passion.

They will only be saved, invested in, if people care. We live in a democracy. Make it work.

This is one of the letter, from Karin of Celestine and the Hare:

“Here’s my love letter to the library
Dear Library,
You were the first house I dared to walk into alone. You were my first love. I was a shy child. So shy I dared not speak to people. I hid behind sofas, I did not talk at school to anyone. I found the world a bit bewildering and frightening but I had a love. A love of stories and books. I was one of the lucky ones. My house was full of books and my mum took me to join the library very young.
Every Saturday we got the bus into town. She went shopping. It scared me as there were so many people in the market and they all wanted to talk to me and I was scared I would lose her. One day when I was about 6 she asked if I wanted to stay in the library while she did her shopping. Oh the utter joy. I wouldn’t be left anywhere alone but the library was quiet and beautiful and safe and full of my friends. The stories I loved. I used to curl up in the corner of the library and read. I was allowed to read anything I wanted. I was not constricted to the children’s section or the novels or picture books. They let me wander those huge streets and alleyways of books. So many wonderful spines shining down at me tempting me. No one judged if it was the right age for me or if I couldn’t read all the words or understand everything. Sometimes I looked at the pictures in the art books, sometimes I read the medical journals. Mostly I read stories. Wonderful stories and I was allowed to read any story I wanted, not like at school where they had a scheme I’d finished but had to wait for the others to catch up.
I read. I read John Steinbeck’s the Red Pony when I was 6. I was entranced. I read all the children’s classics but I also read the likes of George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh.And poetry. I found writers and poets who understood me and oh my goodness my life was transported and transformed and I disappeared in books but appeared in life.
As an awkward teenager who was frightened of playgrounds and bullies and balls, I retreated to be a school librarian. Again, the joy of books and wandering the shelves finding new loves and new ideas and they gave me the confidence to speak and talk and to be me.
Libraries saved me. I love them.
When I had my son, I took him to the library of course. He loved choosing books and the librarian let him take out books from the adult section of our local village library once he had done the children’s section all through. He was a reference boy. Wanted facts and cars and not stories. They let him take out whatever he wanted. They understood him and did not judge.
One day he asked me how much the books cost to buy. I told him they were free. His eyes widened and he said you mean there is a house of books and you can just go in and borrow them and you don’t have to have money? Whoa! That is amazing. He could not believe there could be such a thing. Trust. Trust to borrow a book and bring it back. Our world is full of the lack of trust. It makes a difference that you can be trusted with a book.
He has borrowed his maximum books all his life. He still does now studying art. He borrows audio books as he is dyslexic and struggles with long texts. He used the internet there to apply for jobs when he had nothing and no money. They gave him somewhere to go and something to do when he needed it most and that helped him to become who he is now and he will give it back ten fold to society. And that is the good thing about libraries. They look after, they care, they inspire and give hope and help create a good society. They are often the first thing to be cut when money is needed to be saved but it is a false economy. Without libraries, we lose so much. We lose things that cannot be gained back. Times are hard. But when you only have a penny, you buy a rose. A book is a rose. Protect the libraries and you will help inspire the future generations who can help us save money. You will help people find hope and jobs which will save the council money in other areas.

My aunt is an a&e doctor. I told her she had the most important job in the world. She told me education was. She said she patched people when things went wrong. If people had education, they wouldn’t go so wrong. Libraries are education. Please don’t cut them, you lose too much.

Libraries are what make us a civilised nation. They show that we as a society are thoughtful, we appreciate education, we care. We care about people and society and citizenship. We trust. We trust to lend people books. Reading is precious. Libraries are precious. I love them. They were my first love, my son’s first love.
I want them to be there for his children one day. I want them to feel that absolute wide eyed love and joy and awe when they realise they are free to choose books and take them home. And then come back for more.
I love you libraries. I have made Wales my home. I hope the beautiful Cardiff library is there to take my grandchildren to. Please don’t die library, I love you too much to let go.”

 

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