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Finding a White Peacock

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We never thought of finding a rare white peacock in Scotland but this beautiful bird graces the grounds of Scone Palace near Perth.

We visited the Palace to see the replica of the ‘stone of destiny’ which was used for enthroning Scottish monarchs at Scone until it was removed to Westminster Abbey by Edward 1 in 1296.

The original stone was returned to Scotland in 1996 by our current Queen Elizabeth and is on display in Edinburgh Castle, albeit on loan until required for the coronation of the next British monarch.

Kings, Queens and nobles have kept peacocks in their gardens for centuries, both as guards and as living ornaments, and Scone Palace is also home to Indian blue peacocks who cry out and strut their plumage for the visitors.

We preferred the white peacock as it danced like a ballerina while dazzling people with a display of pristine feathers.

It also reminded me of a white peahen which landed in our backyard when I was a child. One of its legs was dangling by a thread and ended in a ball of ice where its foot should have been.

After a few days of feeding and coaxing, dad cut the tendon so that it might be free of its ‘ball and chain’. It survived and flew off some time later to become a distant memory.

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Capturing a Kelpie

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Capturing a Kelpie or mythical water horse is easier than you think if you head to Falkirk in Scotland.

In fact the heads of two giant Kelpies can be seen in the hub of the town’s Helix park. One with its head raised out of the water and the other with its head bending down towards the water.

I captured the latter reflected in the water of the Forth and Clyde canal which winds its way through the park.

Visitors to the 30′ tall Kelpies sculpted by Andy Scott can also enjoy miles of footpaths which lead to many places including the town’s other famous metal structure, the Falkirk Wheel.

Just remember to beware that the Kelpies do not capture you as according to legend they aim to lure people into the water to drown them!

 

Scotland: The Autobiography

Scotland: The Autobiography is the book I have just finished reading prior to going to work in the Highlands this summer.

I chose it as I wanted to brush up on my Scottish history before visiting the country and selected this particular version of Scotland’s history as it is compiled of a selection of first hand accounts of key events from A.D.80 to 2013.

These eye witness reports refreshed my memory of the history I thought I remembered from school and gave me an insight into the trials, tribulations and achievements of Scottish people from a variety of walks of life.

This anthology of what may be called ‘life writing’ was edited by Rosemary Goring and published as part of  Penguin Books’, Read More series in 2014.

Not only has it inspired me to read more, it has also given me the idea for the thread of a story which I will be researching en route North.

If at first you don’t succeed …

It was at primary school that I first heard the quote: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.’

I believe it refers to King Robert the Bruce of Scotland watching a spider build and rebuild its web while he was hiding in a cave following defeat in a battle against the English.

He watched the spider persevere until it completed the task and determined to do the same, and so did I.

I am now pleased to confirm that a correct and fully working epub version of my new poetry collection Finding Sanctuary is available as a free download through https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JudithLesleyMarshall

 

A Chaos of Delight

A Chaos of Delight was the working title for a collection of poems recently published under the title of Finding Sanctuary at Smashwords.com.

The working title refers to Charles Darwin’s description of New Zealand when he briefly stopped there in 1809 and is also referenced in my poem In Godzona.

I am beginning to think that I should have retained the title for the eBook as the publishing of a polished version is proving to be ‘a chaos of delight’.

My fault entirely as I mistakenly uploaded an earlier version of the manuscript which I had spent several hours bookmarking, hyperlinking and linking back to the list of poems in the table of contents.

As soon as I realised the mistake I tried to rectify it by uploading the correct version, which works beautifully as a word document, only to find that it has failed to convert. I am now in the process of trying to find out how to put that right.

The poems and the words are all in the right order even though the technicalities are proving to be more challenging than I remember.

So, in the meantime, if you would like to read the collection and feel you can forgive a few formatting issues, please download a free copy from https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JudithLesleyMarshall

Surprised by ‘A Quiet Passion’

I was recently surprised  to hear of the film ‘A Quiet Passion’ which portrays the life of 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson, one of my personal favourites.

Although the film was scheduled for release in the UK in September 2016 it was being reviewed by Mark Kermode when I happened to switch the TV on the other night.

This was the first I had heard of the film, but the timing was serendipitous as I had only just finished rereading my copy of The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson produced by The Wordsworth Poetry Library.

The poems are collected into four ‘books’ on the themes of Life, Love, Nature, Time and Eternity from which come the lines: ‘The world is not conclusion, a sequel stands beyond…’

Very few of the poems were published during her lifetime. In many ways Dickinson was a poet before her time and her work only gained recognition after her death.

One can only hope that in the world beyond she was able to return to the more vivacious, outgoing version of herself as shown by director Terence Davies rather than the reclusive person that she became in later life.

I leave you to ponder what she has to say about a book:

There is no frigate like a book                                                                                                               To take us lands away.                                                                                                                     Nor any coursers like a page                                                                                                                 Of prancing poetry.                                                                                                                                  This traverse may the poorest take                                                                                                     Without oppress of toll;                                                                                                                          How frugal is the chariot                                                                                                                      That bears a human soul!

n.b. The unusual placement of the lines is computer generated and something that I seem unable to alter. It does however create an interesting new layout for the original words.

View from the Poet’s Pavement

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Unlike centuries of poets and painters I was not struck by the muse  so much as struck dumb by the view and shaky legs on a recent visit to the limestone pavement above Malham Cove.

Also called the Poet’s pavement after the poet Thomas Gray, and the location for a scene in the Harry Potter films, the area did inspire my husband Ian to take many creative photos such as the one above.

The pavement and cove continue to draw huge numbers of visitors to the area each year, and while not all will find inspiration, it is impossible not to feel a sense of achievement when reaching the top.

 

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via Robots Will Change The Way We Write — A Writer’s Path

Reflections on Bowie’s creative journey

by Maja S. Todorovi In January 8, 2017, we celebrated David Bowie’s 70th birthday and marked a year of his passing. Let us remember how great artist he was: Ever since I was a little kid, as a great fan of gothic and mythological stories, my first recollection of David Bowie has to do with […]

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by Kelsie Engen The moment you think you know everything about writing, that’s the moment your writing plateaus. Last week I talked about why writers should read voraciously. But that was a post focused on fiction. You know, reading in the genre you write. For instance, if you write fantasy, you ought to be familiar […]

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