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A shot rang out. September 23, 2012

Posted by phoenixaeon in Birthdays, E301, Kaya, OU, Poetry, The Principessa Files, Titian poem.
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Not really. Although it’s almost like a shot, as I’ve not posted in ages. I suppose I should try to post more often, but that ‘what should I post?’ demon has appeared again. Sigh.

Well, nowt much has been going on since my ‘distinction, yay!’ post. And oh. My. God. How crap is this entry reading so far? I might as well do a shopping list of what’s happened…

  • Writing. Not really done much, despite the fire being stoked after reading Dadwhowrites‘ novel (which I loved and I can’t wait to read the sequel[s?]). But here are the two Twitter poems I tapped out for the National Gallery‘s #titianpoem competition.

Poem based on the Diana and Actaeon painting. Retracted due to using ‘bollocks’!

Second poem based on the Diana and Callisto painting. Heavy on alliteration and (at the time) unintended end rhymes. Submitted as competition entry.

  • Beginning of E301. Yep, my final Open Uni course is on the go. I am petrified! It’s a level 3 English language course – and me being me didn’t do the level 2, so there is a ton of new terminology, and a smattering of stuff I stumbled across whilst doing the literature and mythology courses. Fingers crossed I don’t hurt my noggin too much, as I can see a crash course in sociolinguistics upsiding me across the back of the head!

The next nine months of my life… Apt, considering writing these essays is almost as painful as giving birth!

  • My little Munchkin turned 8!

Blowing out the candles (and making the modern art version of a Storm Trooper helmet with sausages and napkins).

  • Kaya. We added a new member to the family. She would be the bitey, snappy, poop machine member! But, when she is good she is very, very good, and also so very cute that she might be evil!

The woofer.

And that’s that, my boring update post. I shall now go and bury my head in the granular multiverse of sand and the whispering silence of lost lexicology.

In the bleak midwinter. December 22, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in Building work, frrrreeeeezzzziiinnngggg, Poetry, Sick again, sick Principessa, Snow, TMA03.

So. Snow in December. Who’da thunk it? But with the snow has come horribly low temperatures, the lowest came on Monday when it hit -11. (Ignore all the little pictures of sun, it’s not been like that. Although the sun is now peeking out from the clouds. Oh, and that positive temp for today? Hasn’t been reached. Currently we are on a balmy 0 degrees Celcius.)

I wouldn’t mind the cold temperatures so much if we had central heating. But we don’t. We haven’t had central heating since May, when the new boiler was fitted. Since then, we have been back and forth with the building inspector’s office trying to get the heating sorted out. Somehow, when the plumbers were fitting the boiler and pipes, they managed to fit the new huge boiler with pipes that are too small in diameter to cope with the pressure of the gas going through them when both the heating and the fire are on. This morning we finally heard back from the local council offices. According to their reports, there is nothing wrong with the central heating. So why is it when the gasman checks the gas pressure that the fluctuations he observes are verging on dangerous? It looks like another Christmas in the cold for us.

Last year, while we had central heating, the front room was cold because the fire had been condemned the year before. We couldn’t get that changed because we had a back boiler, so a whole new central heating system was needed. That’s why it had been left until the extension had been built. I found this on the notes on the iPhone from last Christmas:

The gaping maw of the fireplace stares eyelessly aghast, screaming a silent, frozen “Oh!” The warm red focal point is now a cold reminder of Christmas passed and Christmas future, and the oh so nearly (though hardly a) Christmas present.

Yep. My dream of there being a working fire has been replaced by the cold reality of the massive probability that we might be having another cold December.

Hmm. Reading that back, it appears that I had a premonition of a cold Christmas this year. If only I had known how cold! And now it seems that there is no solution on the horizon. (You know when you look at a word and it just looks wrong? That’s just happened with horizon.) The building inspector is sending us a copy of the report as evidence and it seems that we have to then get an individual assessment done to prove it wrong. I can’t believe that something that was supposed to make life easier (the building of the extension) has caused so much stress. And it hasn’t helped that Princi and I have both been struggling with a cough since the beginning of November. This has caused the further stress of having to do peak flow tests every night with Princi for almost the last four weeks to make sure that her cough isn’t asthma. The first two weeks results were inconclusive, but last weeks results are much improved and more uniform. From what I can see, I’d say that she doesn’t have asthma due to the consistency of the results and the minimal effect that the salbutamol has on them. Phew.

Anyways. Enough of my whinging. I think, while Princi has herself occupied, I shall go and continue fighting with my latest essay for the Open University – a poetry analysis of Coleridge’s ‘Frost at midnight.’ And no, the irony has not escaped me.

Persephone, Cassandra: Forsaken. February 12, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in Bendy beds and springy seats are supposed to be good for the health, blogs, Building work, Children's Literature, EA300, OU, Personal Mythology: A Triumvirate, Poetry, TMA04.

Well, it’s been six months to the day since I sent my poems out. There’s been a deafening no response. Ho hum. I wonder if it’s because I used classical mythology? I remember reading a post on the Magma poetry blog asking if poems using classical mythology had a place in contemporary poetry. To my experience, no. No-one wants them. So, as I like them I am going to post them up here.


As for other stuff; yay! I have submitted TMA04. It’s gone! So relieved. As usual it’s a collection of blah, I don’t think it’s very good blah, (oh, distracted by the Tazcat chasing his tail. Daft animal!), but at least it’s done. I wasn’t actually sure I would get through it, as I felt like giving up half way through. Now there are only two more essays left and the dissertation style ECA at the end. Another three months and the course will be finished. Can’t believe I’ve managed to get this far! Hoinka doinka! <– The new congratulatory expression.

The building work. Hmph. That’s come to a nails down a blackboard screeching stop. I should’ve known that it wouldn’t be done in the time frame they gave us, despite the fact that they were three weeks ahead in the first week of work due to good weather. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s mostly done. Kitchen’s in, almost all of the bathroom’s done, the bedroom’s done. There’s a few bits of finishing off – architraves and skirting boards, things like that – but nothing major. Except for paving the patio and constructing the wheelchair ramps round the back and front of the house. But guess what. There are no tradesmen to be seen, and there hasn’t been since about Tuesday. Grrr. Still, I can’t use the rooms yet because I don’t have the bendy bed or the shower chair. So I suppose there’s no rush yet.

Plumbers and poems. December 2, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Building work, Children's Literature, EA300, OU, Poetry.
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Today the plumbers are in sorting out the new boiler. Ooh, it’s exciting to think that we might have a fire in the front room this Christmas! Last year it was grim, but thankfully not so cold, after the fire was condemned – in May 2008 or round about then – because the fluebox had split. We couldn’t replace the fire as the central heating (at the mo) runs on a back boiler, so we’ve had to wait until the boiler was moved to get a new fire. That day has finally arrived! Woohoo! But the house has been in turmoil over the last few days with moving the furniture out of the way of pipes and whatnot that need replacing. But it is all sorted now and the plumbers are hard at work. Yay!

Well, so much for me not fretting about the last essay. I really hate the fact that my marks will be going down because of the second rate work. I keep telling myself that I have done the best I could, but I’m not sure I did. I’m going to have to bump up my marks a little with the next essay, but at least I feel a little more confident about it with it being poetry. I am more secure when analysing poems, especially when I can choose one of my favourite children’s poems. But I don’t expect I could use the Spike Milligan fave:

Can a parrot eat a carrot

Standing on it’s head?

If I did that my mum would send me

Straight upstairs to bed.

(C) Spike Milligan

because it’s too short! I am thinking of using On the Ning Nang Nong though. Or possibly William Blake’s The Tiger But I think I’ll work through the block before choosing a poem. I might even ask Princi to choose a poem (that isn’t Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, as that was used in the first essay), but she might choose Solomon Grundy or Brian’s Picnic by Judith Nicholls, as they are her other favourite poems.

But for now I think I shall go and read The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

Another poem – Meat. November 4, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Meat, Poetry.

I had thought about using this next poem for the first post, but I don’t know… It’s a poem about loss in a sort of way, it is about the loss of the ability to control my body (stupid muscles!), but it is about more than that too. I still wanted to post it up, so here it is.


The body bag is weighed,
Hooked and hung; flesh, left to mature.
Meat; emulsified, fattened,
Weeping. Lamb shoulders lament,
Bleating like ovine; hunted
By wolves baying for blood and bones.

The body bag is weighed
Down, forced groundward by crab apples.
Meat; degrading, festering,
Weakened. Rump steaks slumping,
Swaying like bovine; crazed
From the feasting of flesh and friends.

The body bag is weighed;
Come, take your pound of flesh!
Meat; no longer lean – flaccid,
Wobbling. Pork belly bellows,
Grunting like porcine; bathed
In bloody mud stirred by villainous villeins.

The body bag is weighed.
Meat; is all that remains.

Defensive Crouch. November 4, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Defensive Crouch, Poetry.

I thought I’d give another of the writing prompts at sleep is for the weak a go. Okay, this might not be something entirely new, but hey ho, I’m using it.

5. Share with us a story of loss, if this is something that you feel comfortable doing. And you can interpret this any way you like.
– Inspired by me, after my sad goodbye this week.

Defensive crouch

Strange little girl.

Stupid, little
good for nothing.


Come and have a go ‘cos I know
you’re hard enough.

Come and have a go ‘cos you know
I’m a pushover.

Come and have a go ‘cos your words pack a punch
as hard as your kick.

Remember when you asked:
‘How can anyone hate her?’

ASK your fists.
ASK your feet.

ASK your whipping tongue.

One day,
you’ll be sorry.

One day,
you won’t see me coming.

One day,
I’ll hit back.

But not today.
No, today I’ll just let it happen.

And again.

Where is my backbone?

Of progress and poetry October 29, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Building work, Poetry, The Tooth Fairy Benevolence Fund.

So the builders are cracking on again and have been here for the last 45 minutes working hard. I’m so impressed at the speed they’ve been working, so here’s some pictures of the rate of progress.

Wednesday morning day 8

First thing, Wednesday morning. (Day 8 ) Footings and dampcourse complete.

Thursday morning Day 9

First thing, Thursday morning (day 9).

And they have almost finished the last bit of the front wall around the door and window. Fab!

As for poetry, I’ve been meaning to post this one up for ages. It’s a silly little poem and was based on a bedtime conversation between Princi and I. The italics indicates Princi’s half of the conversation and the red is because it’s her favourite colour.

The Tooth Fairy Benevolence Fund

Good night,

Sleep tight.

Don’t let the bedbugs


I love you.

I love you, too.

I love you to infinity!

And beyond…

Good night, sweet


Yes, I shall dream

about fishies

Swim, little fishy. Swim! Swim!

And running – 00h!

I need the loo!

Run! Run like the wind with a wing at your heel!

And doors…

Where will they lead?

To butterflies and magic.

And I will dream

about my tooth



and about the tooth



to give me a quid!

(Oh no! The cat is puking everywhere! I hope it’s just because he’s eaten something that doesn’t agree with him.)

And to add insult to injury… August 6, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Poetry.

I have just had my first rejection letter. Does this make me a real writer now?

I wonder… Who balanced the scales of happiness and my life sucks worse than an elephant with no trunk, because they mucked up the equilibrium.

*******EDIT 20:59*******

I had thought of giving up, feeling that my writing was a bit naff, really. But instead I have sent the rejected poems to another magazine. Let’s see what happens next. I will also get moving on sending Abyss, gazing out.

Oh! The bedbugs! August 4, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Bedbugs, The Principessa Files.

Being rushed this morning, I forgot to blog about the bedbugs. Bedbugs are Princi’s best friends when she goes to bed, so conversations sound a little sinister when it’s time for sleep.

P: Are the bedbugs ready for bed, Mummy?

M: Probably.

P: Yes. Craze has eaten her bones and the bedbugs have eaten their dead skin and drank their blood. Bedbugs do drink blood, don’t they Mummy?

You know, it’s amazing I don’t go to sleep with nightmares, what with bone-munching teddy bears and sanguineous bedbugs! Oh, and a little girl with a sponge for a brain!

The end is nigh! July 4, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Happy learning Principessa, LRRH, Oh woe is Murray, Poetry, Reading with Principessa, tennis, Wimbledon.
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Oh well. I didn’t get either of the Wimbledon finals I was hoping for. Today it’s an all American/Williams/sister affair. Again. I suppose I’ll be supporting Serena, as she’s the underdog – she only (yes, I said only!) has two Wimbledon singles titles to Venus’s five. In which case, it is most likely that Venus will win.

Tomorrow it is Federer versus Roddick. Of course, I wanted a Murray versus Haas match. But as it isn’t I would love to see Andy Roddick win the final, just for something different. However, I have no doubt that Federer will win. Again. OK, I know he is a fantastic player and most of the time he constructs immaculate points and is a genius with a tennis racket, but it gets so boring! The same thing all the time. I just want a change. I know Nadal won last year, but even then it was much of a muchness, what with all the finals they have contested against each other. I also know that Federer is on the charge to beat Pete Sampras‘s record of 14 grand slam titles, the same number Federer currently holds, but please! Different! So, c’mon Roddick!

On other things other than tennis… Princi has been moved up a level or two on her school’s reading scheme. The stage 6 books are now far too easy for her, although every now and again there will be a word she stumbles over (in the last book it was wrestle and its variants and baboon), so they’ve started her on stage 7C. Her teachers even call her to the front to read books to the other kids during ‘mat-time’. I am so proud of her. She is also enjoying her phonics in school, using the Jolly Phonics (JP) method. I’m not sure how she’s doing with writing her letters though, so I might experiment with her today by breaking out the JP book I have and printing out a few pages for her. (Currently, she is watching Playhouse Disney. God, how I hate Playhouse Disney! Give me CBeebies any day.)

As for me, I have worked a lot of kinks out of the Rosie story. There’s still stuff to be done and that definitely includes combing it for obvious grammar mistakes (I am sure there’ll be some in there, there always is!), but I think it is reading better. I am still having the doubts about the flashback scene though, but I really don’t think swapping it around would make it any better.

The poems are starting to resemble finished products. There’s a lot of working out to go through on Gambling on inheritance. Not so much on Defensive crouch or Abyss, gazing. I am hoping to have these submissions ready mid next week. I want to have everything out of the door by next Friday. And then I think my productivity will diminish. After all, I have a lot of reading to get through at the moment, too.