Ian Richardson, Alison Parker, Dettra Rose, Philippa Hawley

        So pleased to have been able to contribute to ‘The Practice Of Solitude’.

Each author wrote 25 words which were then combined by the editors and made into a 100 word piece. I’ll let you guess which 25 words were mine.

100 Words Of Solitude

Grasp

Posting ruddy face mask welts and lockdown haircuts
we reconnect through screens, rehearse our daily routines, and wait
for the vaccine cavalry to restitch reality.

I scroll, I tap, I ‘Read More’. Graphs, quotes, opinions, read more!
I need to salve the agitation simmering deep.
All I find is distraction.

Pixilated Mum. Close up ear on upside-down phone.
Tiny Mum in zoom cubicle. Disembodied voice.
One year, more, she can’t crush me in her arms.

I weep in my bunk, in my hand a tangerine
with a dusting of green where once
a stalk joined it to tree and family.

Ian Richardson has been reading books and comics for a long time. Eventually, inevitably, he began to write and gained confidence to share his work. He lives in Scotland and enjoys walking his dog and exploring local countryside with camera in hand. His micro poetry can be found on…

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Meditation

Sri Lanka 1978

I know a married couple, now retired from working in the NHS. During those years they were unable to take enough time off together for holidays of any length. Early retirement was the answer, while they were still fit to travel and explore.

Ten years on, they still live in the same, warm house, with generous garden, where they spent too little time during the decades of long hours on duty. They think how blessed they are compared to many, despite lockdown isolation and missing grown-up children and baby granddaughter 70 miles away. They exercise most days with a morning walk then lunch together before parting company for the afternoon.

She goes to her study, reads or sits at her computer sorting folders. She might look at photos of shared adventures or pictures of the children, before she writes. She tests her imagination and exercises her writing muscles as a tutor on a writing course once advised.

He on the other hand meditates or at least practises his version of meditation and it’s one to recommend. He puts his feet up, closes his eyes, then travels in his mind to the destination of the day. For an hour or so he takes himself to a favourite country, often revisiting a special hotel in Sicily or good friends in the Netherlands. On a cold day he’ll ski in the Aosta Valley, Arabba, Cervinia or Wengen, or maybe even visit the geysers in Iceland.

‘It’s Wednesday, I’m off the Grand Canyon,’ he might say, or ‘Thursday today, I think I’ll go to Vietnam and Cambodia.’

At teatime he reports on his journey and they remember pasties de nata in a square in Lisbon, waffles by the River Scheldt in Antwerp, ice cream with a view of Etna in Taormina. They’ll recall wines they’ve tasted in different countries and think of opening an Italian Fiano or Austrian Grüner Veltliner for supper.

Not a bad way to spend the days until lockdown is done and vaccines given, I think. I plan to take up meditation myself tomorrow, I fancy a trip to Sri Lanka.

Press Release January 2021 — stmaryswivenhoe

WIVENHOE CHURCH STARTS WORK ON THE TRANSFORMATION PROJECT After nine years of careful consideration and planning, St Mary the Virgin church in Wivenhoe has signed the building contract with Bakers of Danbury for work to begin on its Transformation Project. The project comprises the re-ordering of the existing Nave, and the construction of an annexe […]

Press Release January 2021 — stmaryswivenhoe

This press release explains clearly how the Transformation Project will bring something positive to the residents of Wivenhoe, from all backgrounds. It is reassuring for interested local people to learn of the many years of consideration and hard work that have gone into the project, alongside pubic consultation.

I am hopeful this important building, which stands at the centre of our small town, will remain more than just a landmark, and be a beautiful and welcoming place to visit and meet, providing social opportunities and support within the community.

As a member of local writing groups and reading groups I imagine the Annexe will make a great meeting place for some of our meetings and locally run courses. Can’t wait!

Lockdown Isolation

Wivenhoe has been quiet this month. Walks by the river have become highlights of the week and it’s easy to feel isolated from family, friends and the rest of humanity. The good new is that a coronavirus vaccine may eventually be with us in 2021.

Meanwhile I’ve been thinking how much worse this situation of restriction and social isolation must be for those who are blind or visually impaired. Organisations such as the Colchester Talking Newspapers try to help, keeping recipients in touch with local news, delivered by friendly voices.

I’ve been a volunteer reader for the Talking Newspaper for about five years now. Until March 2020 we readers met in rotating groups of three, in a studio at Essex University to create a weekly edition for our recipients.

After the arrival of Covid-19 the studio recordings came to an end and for 20 weeks volunteer readers who felt able to do so made home recordings of the local news stories, taken as usual from the Gazette ( the local paper with whom we have an agreement). This must have been intriguing for the listeners, hearing lots of different and varied voices in one week, rather than the usual three at a time on the rota. Our director, Bob deserves a medal for sorting out the variations of sound quality he must have dealt with along the way. The studio opened up again for 6 weeks when the first lockdown eased, but now in November, and for the immediate future, we are back to ‘back bedroom recordings’.

Colchester and District Talking Newspapers is therefore still alive a well. Edition number 2400 was posted on November 19th, plans are underway for a special Christmas edition in December ( recorded from our homes of course) and then the volunteer team of trustees, readers, sound recordists, dispatchers and everyone else who helps, will work on into 2021.

If you know anyone with visual impairment who would benefit from receiving the Talking News, do get in touch – the details are here on the poster.