Goldfish in the beauty parlour ?


For several weeks now I have been dismayed during the pilates class. Initially my discomfort was caused by a complete inability to engage my stomachs (well – only one, but a casual observer may be fooled into thinking there were more) in the interests of fulfilling the pose and strengthening my ‘core’.

Laterly however the source of my agitation has been with my eyes. More accurately the bags beneath them which threaten to obscure all sight when in an inverted position – and yes, I can now assume an inverted position – of sorts.

Each shoulder bridge or down-face dog found my eye-pouches appearing like pink  mounds to conceal a substantial part of my field of vision. Something had to be done.

I presented myself at the local beauty parlour, whose posters promised face lifts without surgery, peels, lymph drains and all manner of alluring (!) possibilities. The face of the receptionist fell as I suggested that my youthful beauty be restored or at least, the eye-bags reduced, in time for my daughter’s wedding 4 weeks hence. Much circular conversation later we settled on an aquapeel thingy with built in lymph do-dah.

I dutifully divested myself of all upper garments and crawled beneath the fleece blanket to lie face-up with my eyes closed on the couch as requested. Little did I know that this beauty treatment has much in common with leeching – in so far as it appeared to use living creatures to achieve its purpose – in this case it was gobbling fish…

First I was anointed with a slimy concoction smelling much like dried fish food with gritty bits. That made absolute sense when a few seconds later sucking goldfish began to crawl across and seemingly devour the paste. I know it was a goldfish … it may have been a guppy… or perhaps one of those bottom feeding types that snuffles around the edges of aquaria opening and closing its mouth as it sucks up slime.

The next fish she set grazing on my skin had a similar modus operandus – only with teeth. It felt like small pointy teeth inside a wide fishy mouth as it scratched and sucked its way into the crannies around my nose, the dimple in my chin and across my cheeks into my hairline.

My scourged face was then zapped with LED lights and soothed with a lotion smelling oddly like – you guessed it – pond water. I declined to view the ‘results’ of the process which had been proudly collected in a large glass tube…paid and fled.

My next pilates class will be the ultimate test as to whether the hillocks under my eyes succumbed to this fishy treatment, but for now I am off to replace the smell of garden ponds with my favourite, lemony soap.

Posted in ageing, beauty treatments, daily life, lifestyle | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Slants of Light – a windswept launch

Slants of Light – a windswept launch.

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Slants of Light Anthology Launch and much more…

Slants of Light Anthology Launch and much more….

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Found – for dVerse

Mallory's body exposed by avalancheFound

Where blizzard swept in ceaseless spindthrift
A suffocating tourbillion
Now shards of shale form harsher drift,
Fathomless, frozen shroud quite gone.
In prostrate pose of dedication
Mallory worships at his altar,
Arms outstretched in supplication,
Cast into perpetual prayer,
By avalanche and cold ice shriven,
Surrendering to their cruel caress,
Success or failure still unproven,
Atman at one with Everest.

I wrote this is 1999 when an avalanche exposed Mallory’s body on the slopes of Everest. It is I think , one of the sparest poems I have written ….although I have included qualifiers.

I have resurrected it for the dVerse challenge at

Posted in Dversepoetry, free verse, poet, poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Feedback is king

This year, in company with many other people, I sent Christmas cards that I had made myself and far fewer than ever before. I also cut back drastically on the number and size of the presents I gave.

As a compromise I gave what I think of as my ‘When a card is not enough…’ gifts to those people to whom I wanted to give more than a card, but for whom I could not afford a gift.

I took two of my favourite poems, In a Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti and When the North Wind Doth Blow, traditional rhyme I remember from my own childhood and which I taught to my children many years ago. I painted robin pictures to illustrate the nursery rhyme (and these also became my Christmas card designs) and searched out chilly pictures from last years’ snowy time to illustrate a modified version of the Rossetti poem.

Midwinter collage

With some fiddling on the computer I fashioned small A6 books, printed them and sent these as a card and gift combined. And so, for the price of a second class stamp and a little printer ink, I had sent gift and card combined.

Imagine my delight when I received a phone call this morning from an ecstatic friend who had received one of these ‘more than cards’. In the post I also received a thank you note from a recipient of the midwinter book. What a surprise!

The compliments paid made me blush and do not need to be repeated, but suffice it to say that a little thought …not to mention the happy time spent painting the cheeky robins and searching out just the right image to suit Rossetti’s words…had produced a more dramatic result from my friends than any present I have ever bought and given before.

The moral of this little tale is twofold I think. Firstly home-made gifts become treasures and secondly a small thank you goes a very, very long way.

What a great way to end 2013…Happy New year to anyone reading this.

north wind collage



Posted in artist, Christmas, frost, garden, natural world, painting, poet, poetry, seasons, Uncategorized, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Paragram’s ‘Slants of Light’ reading event will be on Valentine’s Night

We are excited to announce that the reading event you have been waiting for – the chance to read your winning poems to the world will be held on Valentine’s Night at the Poetry Place in Betterton Street, Covent Garden.

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Once again we have been privileged and lucky enough to book the venue that fronts the Poetry Society in central London. This means that, with the easy transport routes into the city and to Covent Garden from the mainline termini, we should have an amazing line-up of prize winning poems to be heard, read by the poets themselves.

This event will be free to attend and doors will open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start…though the Poetry Cafe itself is open all day and serves great snacks and drinks for those who arrive early.

Invitations will be sent to all poets in the anthology ‘Slants of Light’ giving further details for the performers…this is a heads up to keep the date free.

If you do not have your copy of the Slants of Light anthology yet a very few copies are still available from

Copies of Paragram’s previous anthologies A Toe in the Water and  Connections are also available from which is Paragram’s principal shopping site.

Paragram publications

Watch the Paragram website for more information about the Slants of Light event…we will update you as fast as we can.

Posted in Betterton Street, Book selling, book signing event, Connections poetry anthology, Paragram, performance poetry, performing your writing, poet, poetry, poetry collections, Poetry Society, poets, Toe in the Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment