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Time out in Northumberland

June 11, 2014

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
I have been thinking a lot about white space lately in both my writing and my life, so I decided to take some time out to breathe and take in the air in Northumberland, one of my favourite English counties.
The photo above was taken by my husband while we were walking on Bamburgh beach, one of my favourite places to spend time out.
Although I’ve been to Bamburgh many times before I’ve never visited the Grace Darling museum, so I made a point of doing so on this occasion.
The museum has a free exhibition about the life of Grace Darling who became famous after she rowed out in a storm with her father to rescue passengers and crew from the S.S.Forfarshire, a steamer which had broken up on the rocks in a hurricane force storm. She was 22 years old at the time (07/09/1938) and only lived a further four years after that eventful night.
Her story inspired poems by Wordsworth and Swinburne, and the following by myself:

One mile I rowed that night,
one mile there and one mile back.

Nine souls I hauled that night,
the angel’s share of a mermaid’s catch.

The fate I snagged that night,
fame, fortune and a shorter life.

The name I made that night,
borne forever on the wind and tide.

The price I paid that night,
no bairns to carry on my line.

Where do you go when you want to take time out? What new things are there still to discover in your favourite places? How can you fit more white space in your life and your writing?


From → Poetry

  1. Thank you for this, Judith, I too have spent time at Bamburgh and in the Grace Darling museum and found both very inspiring/thought-provoking. And I too was struck by the shortness of her life and wondered how it was connected to that night.

    • Hi Kate. Perhaps there’s some kind of undercurrent that we’ve picked up on with regards to Grace. As for White Space it seems to have been on the mind of another writer I know. In a recent newsletter, Avril Joy commented on surprising and unusual writing coming out of periods of silence, walking, and meditation. I think it allows for some kind of alchemy. Am also interested in the fact that ‘pace’ can be found within ‘space’ and that white space on a page informs the pace of the written word both for the writer and the reader. Perhaps this is something you’ve considered already. Judith

      • From my own experience I find walking – mindful walking, when I’m in touch with my body and the world around me, not when I’m busy in my head – feeds my writing. I am very lucky to have the sea on my doorstep (not literally, of course, that wouldn’t be lucky) and I find ‘meditating’ on its changing moods and the way it intersects with the horizon helps me find a space within for creation.

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