“The Unlived-lives of Dora Wunbery” – my book of poems now published and to be launched

My poem book is published! You can buy it from Lulu right now, if you like, or come to one of the launches:

Thursday 14 February, at Bristol Buddhist Centre, 162 Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 9AE – Starting at 7.30 pm, it’s open to all, not just Buddhists. This will be simply an evening of sharing the poems by reading some of them, talking about them and answering questions about anything to do with them and the mysterious process of poem-writing. And drinking tea, of course.

Wednesday 10 April (April’s new moon) at The Birdcage, 28 Clare St, Bristol, BS1 1YE. I’ll be having a sort of ‘at home’* from about 4.00 pm – sitting on sofas, drinking tea, that kind of thing. I thought I’d make an afternoon and evening of it and then from 7.00 pm there’s an ‘open mic’ night – which any one is welcome to join, if you turn up early enough to book. The nice folk in the Birdcage have been kind enough to book me a half-hour slot so I’ll be reading my poems between 7.30 and 8 pm.. (*I’d have you all round to the Garret Hermitage, but there simply isn’t room – so it’s nice to have somewhere to have an ‘at home’ just 5 mins from my door.)

I’ll have copies of the book to sell (and sign ;-) ) at both events – it’s £6.95 and obviously that would save the P & P.

The ‘Unlived-lives of Dora Wunbery’ is a collection of poems I’ve written between 2002 and 2012 and the book also contains a generous selection from ‘Puzzle’, the collection of my poems from 1998-2002. ‘Dora Wunbery’ features in many of the poems – to find out who she was and how we are related, follow this link. All the poems from the collection ‘Puzzle’ available free on this website, so do have a look. I think the newer poems are an improvement on these – but check it out for yourself…

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Six months in one post!

Hmm. Well, it seems to be often the case with people’s blogs that they have a burst of enthusiasm, then disappear for months (or years). So it has been with me – though partly because of a gremlin which objected to my endeavouring to upload some rather nice photos of the Sangharakshita Land Project in Herefordshire, which we visited in September. Ach well. Here’s one of the flying buttresses, with which I’m very taken. There’s something rather wonderfully down to earth about having them made of brick…

July saw me and Lucy Bray meditating on Brandon Hill on the morning of the full-moon day, during our Reading Week. (Rainbow blanket courtesy of Mary, rainbow brolley from Sherbet.)

August is balloon-time in Garret-land and there was rather a nice crop which went past my window one morning…

September took me on another visit to Mavra, in St Leonards, who’s not been well…

September was the trip to Coddington (above) and in October I learned (sitting out the Royal Festival Hall en route to the Poetry Library, en route to North London Wolf at the Door) that my favourite tree on Brandon Hill, Lucy, was on a list to be felled… Fortunately I’d met the National Trust’s national expert on ancient trees on a tree walk in September. I asked him to take a look at the info and he sent a helpful email declaring she was a veteran tree and should be saved as she wasn’t unhealthy, just hollow. After much correspondence with the Tree Officer and various other bods, Lucy was saved to dance for another year…

In October Ananda and I took the Wolf to Amsterdam, where we met a heron

Then the rest of November was… erm… Mitra Convenors’ gathering at Tiratanaloka, quickly followed by our Urban Retreat ‘Making the Most of Life’, Sangha Day AND my complete kitchen refit, necessitating moving out.

About to have a final meal before moving out, after packing the whole kitchen onto the sofa and bookshelves in 2 hours flat, thanks to Jaffa!

I’ve arrived in December about to do a solitary retreat in the Garret, tired but happy!

So a final image from the cosy shed as we approach the solstice…

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Manjusvara’s Oak Tree en route to Dhanakosa


Larry and I are on our way to Dhanakosa, along with Manjusvara’s oak tree in a sturdy green bag, along with protective chicken wire.


A cafe stop in Stirling when we missed the Callander bus by 5 mins.

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The Wolf en route to Dhanakosa


Ananda and our luggage (OK, mostly MY luggage!) at Temple Meads as we set out for Scotland & the DK Wolf Retreat. We’re having a silent day on Wednesday 13th when we’ll be remembering Manjusvara and planting an oak tree for him. The oak tree has been grown by Larry Butler’s friend, Gerry Loose. To read the story of the oak tree (and Gerry’s careful instructions for planting it) follow this link: http://carbeth.blogspot.com/

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Pegging out the washing…


Happiness of a sunny day and a garden to peg out washing in… Not to mention this gorgeous being:


And a companion, while I meditated on a bench in the garden whilst waiting for the washing:


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Birthday morning with Olympic torch & Brandon Hill

Since they were kind enough to route the Olympic torch within 5 mins of the Garret (albeit at 05.56!) AND on my birthday, I thought I’d go & have a shuftie….


And then on to gorgeous Brandon Hill…


Where Reg is coming into blossom…


…and Lucy continues to dance:


Before that, the delight of early (early!) morning birthday tea, in a brand new birthday mug, courtesy of Mavra:


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The Wolf has been to Brighton


On the train en route home from a Wolf-at-the-Door weekend workshop attended by 17 people, a number of whom take part in a regular Wolf-inspired writing group run by Danielle, who also joined us.

Ananda and I used the idea of ‘the quest and the question’ to invite folk to ‘Make Friends with their Imagination.’

Our journey through the stages of a quest included the stage of the ‘ordeal’, a time of trial when we often don’t get what we want or enjoy, but something much more valuable can result. Ananda led an exercise in which we wrote couplets, the first beginning ‘what I wanted’ and the second ‘what I got’.

This was what I wrote:

I asked for freedom
And what I got was fear.
I asked for a path,
I was given shoes, a rucksack and a map.
I asked for awareness and calm
And what I got was a door swinging open.
I asked for teachings
And I was given a mirror.
I asked for practices
And I was given a cloth.
I longed for death
And I was given awareness of impermanence.
I asked for answers -
I was given questions.

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A further random selection of things I made

This gallery contains 12 photos.

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A wabi sabi bench in Clifton Village

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Looking for a sheltered spot to read, having given up on ‘big walk’ plans due to the greyness & windiness of the day… I came upon this

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Just managed to resist fishing this out of a skip…


…. But aren’t they pretty?!

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