Sunday, 24 July 2011

writing stories

writing stories

fireside by which she's seated
and she's rocking in poppa's old chair 
with its comforting aroma of woodsmoke and whiskey
her fingers fret over nylon strings
and she hums a new melody that seems 
somehow familiar as she sings of love and of passion and things

riverside by which he's seated
and he's rocking on an old wooden chair
as woodsmoke drifts aimlessly in the breeze
his fingers strumming a vintage guitar
humming a new melody that seems
somehow familiar as he sings of love and passion and things

unexpectedly their two hearts collide in a crowded room
and somewhere, shrouded in mystery
ink flows upon the gloom of an empty page
forming ethereal patterns on an ancient parchment 

for the very first time they engage
their lips part with words
they converse 
each tells the other that less is said than is heard
and playful spirits tug of war somewhere outside this earth

slender fingers entwine as eyes grow tired 
and each feels a burning desire 
to know the other yet more
for surely this one day is not enough 
lest the other might another love
and heavenly languages continue to scribe
the joy of two dancing spirits 
time after time
turning page after page alive with yearning
as finally hearts and bodies converge

and marriage vows emerge upon yet another empty page 
and tempting me somewhere farther away 
so as not to unsettle the motion
of this most beautiful of days

their book is scarcely begun tho stories continue to unfold
one day to their childrens wide eyed children to be told 
late at night around a campfire with a familiar melody playing 
on old nylon strings as music fills the air and young love sings

and whilst woodsmoke keeps them warm out there
spirits write another chapter of this dear couples book
dare come and have a closer look 
unravel those beautiful mysteries within

For Ruth and Ian with love on their wedding day 23/07/2011

copyright lwm 2011

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Where are you?

Where are you?

I could've said I'm sorry
Perhaps a preamble to soften the palette
Yet no sooner shall it be raised to my lips
than I stumble, stutter and trip
and in the end I never say it at all

I miss how things used to be
how easy it seemed when I loved you like no other
and despite the insistent whispering of all these unsaid words
I couldn't have known the dangers of leaving them unheard
I never uttered a single one yet you were like a brother to me

You are my best friend, and my worst enemy
Recklessly I impart the withheld words I’ve clung to so long!
Be still and behold the pain you're imbuing
just stop for a minute and look what you're doing
I don't want to do this but I can't help myself
and now I want to be alone

I wish I could understand
but the hourglass sand is emptied and unspoken
words now stronger, I let go and contain them no longer
God help me
I'm losing my grasp on the leash of my tongue
words spew out like poisoned darts and you're stung


Now you’re gone

© LWM 2010
Inspired by 'Unsaid Words', 2010 by Sarah J Trigg

Phrases in italics are taken from the list of unsaid words from the unsaid words art project. 

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Welsh 1000m Peaks Race - 2010

Having arrived at the Royal Victoria in Llanberis after a 6 hour drive, waited at the check in desk behind a mile long queue of wedding guests and bemoaned the fact that for once I couldn't wave my Holiday Inn platinum card for attention, I attempted to speed the proceedings by explaining the difference between 'booked in' and 'checked in' to the poor reception clerk who was in a fair muddle. By the time Fran and I finally got to our stifling single bedroom (the only one left at the time of booking) we were starting to wonder whether 'Royal' in the hotel name was somewhat misleading. A bit like the presumptuously named chain of hotels called 'Quality Hotel Such and Such' which you simply wouldn't dare set foot in for fear of contracting some hideous disease from the sticky carpets, nicotine stained walls and the processed sludge served up as a 'continental style breakfast'.

Having realised the only water options in the bathroom were hot or hotter, I popped down to the hotel bar to find some cold water to fill my camelback (the only time it's had a slice of lemon and ice in it) whilst Fran did a spot of bedtime reading of the race rules and regulations, a hefty tome of which I was already familiar from previous years. After a momentary scare when Fran discovered that the use of GPS was banned for the first time, I hastily brushed up on my rusting map reading skills, conducted a quick kit and radio check, and we settled down for the night in rather close proximity.

0600 felt like a lie in after the 0445 starts that Hugh normally demands on such a day to check and double check the contents of his 1st world war backpack and tape his feet with army issue duct tape, not knowing that compeeds have been around for some years now.  That said, Fran had already woken me up at 0300 by inadvertently pouring a jug of cold water and ice over my head from which she was apparently attempting to take a sip in the dark.  Nevertheless, she took pity, made up some peanut butter sarnies and followed our 0645 bus to the start at Aber in time to watch the sending off of the scores of military and early starters at 0730. I collected my dibber (an electronic doobery wotsit that clocks you at each checkpoint) and joined the 27 other Mountaineers for the start, getting a friendly wave off at 0800 from my support team slash wife as we set off for Aber Falls and the first of our four 1000m peaks.

Luckily, with the GPS ban tugging at my nerves, navigation was a piece of cake this year with blazing sunshine and any cloud well above the summits, unlike the biblical storms of 2009. It actually made a surprisingly refreshing change to be technologyless for the day and learn the names of all the peaks I'd been running over for the last few years because rather than being a numbered waypoint or a beep on a handheld gizmo, some kind topographer at ordnance survey had been generous enough to write them on the maps for me.

That said, a new checkpoint at Aryg seemed a little excessive since checkpoints did mean actually using a compass; a device I thought had been resigned to the 20th century and the only one I have being a hand me down from Grandad, most likely his standard army issue. However, this apparently unwelcome checkpoint actually broke up rather nicely the first wild and remote slog upwards between the Bera's and toward the Carnedds and I have to concede, made one feel a small sense of accomplishment fairly early on in the race.

I finally made the first two 1000m peaks of the day - Carnedds Llewelyn and Dafydd, with spectacular views offered to the north and Conwy bay by the fabulously clear weather conditions and started feeling rather pleased with the proceedings.

Onwards and downward toward Ogwen and halfway, I took on and won a brief fight with a deeper than expected patch of marshland part way just to keep things interesting although this did leave me with some nasty cramp... Made halfway a smudge inside 3hr40 and refilled my almost empty 3 litre camelback. Support teams no longer being allowed to park here, Fran instead met me at the campsite at Helyg and came a few hundred yards with me up the most tortuous leg of the race toward Pen y Pass. With the blazing heat and gradients better suited to skiing down than walking up, even the gazelle-like fell runners were slowing down on this stretch and by the time I hit Pen y Pass at 5 hours 52, the fire in my thighs was starting to make me wonder whether my legs would hold out for Snowdon.

As good fortune would have it, Fran was passing the time at Pen y Pass, chatting up an RAF Officer and was all geared up for a clamber up Pyg Track with me. She set a good pace up Snowdon, pushing her way through a colourful array of tourists and their craghopping pets. Despite Fran's wonderful moral support, I moaned, grumbled and stumbled continuously on the way up, cursing at the thought of Ugain presenting another most unwanted challenge to my poor legs before I could head to the finish at Snowdon's summit.

With Fran pausing at the junction between the two peaks, I managed to 'slog up' and 'jog down' Ugain and then back up toward Snowdon although any 'jogging' at this stage was later revealed by some unfortunate photographic evidence as the running motion of the upper body, with relevant heart rate and facial expression, but with the legs disobediently trailing behind at half the speed.

Finally collapsing over the finishing line in 6th position after 7 hours and 58 minutes, 23 gruelling miles, 6500 calories and 8000ft of climb, I was suddenly presented by the beaming face of a friend who couldn't possibly have been at the top of Snowdon at that precise day and hour - none other than the infinitely cheeky Scott and his lovely and significant other, Catherine – an absolutely wonderful surprise to round off an otherwise particularly excruciating day gallivanting around the Snowdonia National Park. Furthermore, somebody had finally gotten round to finishing the summit cafĂ© refurbishment so we all popped in for a nice hot cuppa before making the 5 mile descent back to Llanberis and a mouthwatering stop at the local fish and chip shop.

Even the Royal Victoria redeemed itself with a right royal breakfast for two the following morning as the rain began to lash furiously down and Fran and I thanked our lucky stars it was all over for another year.

Elevation Profile:

Route Map:

View Welsh 1000m Peaks Race in a larger map

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Friday, 2 October 2009

Skate '99

Only 10 years late, but finally, a skateboarding video from the tumblingtumbleweed studios. Featuring Ruth, Nathan, Ralph, Nick, Luke, Duncan. Check out Ruth's double skateboard trick! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Thank y'all - Birthday River Trip to Islip


I'd just like to thank you for braving the dangers of the wild weather, raging river and Ralph's a la carte 'baked, on glowing embers to an unrecognisable black crisp, sweet potatoes', to make my twenty tenth birthday such a good one. Especially, I'd like to thank my lovely wife Fran, who, despite knowing I loathe the thought of surprises, somehow arranged you rowdy lot to secretly crash our supposed romantic riverside weekend.

A little rain Saturday night was no match for Paul's tent which appeared to have been designed as emergency housing for half of Oxfordshire. I don't know why he even bothered with a tent given that the only time he got out of the river all weekend was to get back on the rope swing. Ian, on an apparently sponsored sleepathon, didn't notice the weather either way, despite being camped in a tent half the size of himself from which his feet comically protruded. Ruth couldn't be bothered with a tent at all and instead took the opportunity for a nighttime swim during which she apparently got attacked by a submerged tree monster. Scott kept us all amused by pouring whiskey on the fire and generally playing the fool, although this year he DID refrain from pretending to fall in the river when we were all asleep - I think he was too busy trying to cuddle up to poor Louis who will no doubt be bringing his own tent in future. Rumour has it that Louis' tent resembles a nasa comms outpost but he couldn't bring it because the hydroelectric module is still under construction.

My birthday kayak, from Fran, mum and dad and in law's was duly christened 'Dragonfly'. Being an inflatable, smashing Pete's bottle of champagne against her hull for the occasion was out of the question, so sadly, we had to drink it instead. She was put through her paces by everyone from Fran who forgot the paddle was double ended and subsequently rowed herself around in perpetual circles, to Melissa who failed to grasp the basic exit criteria of maintaining the centre of gravity and promptly pitched herself into the river, to Heather and Ralph who narrowly avoided a domestic working out who was going in the driving seat. Hugh later disappeared on the craft for several hours and was reputedly spotted by the locals racing punts through central Oxford.

Heather and Fran spent the last 6 months baking yummy vegan cakes which was great as I got to blow out candles at least 5 times, but unfortunately, Pete had one slice too many causing the dramatic collapse of his borrowed tesco value camping chair. Carolyn made a cameo appearance to ensure everyone was up to date on the history of absolutely everything for the last 2 years while Esther played musical chairs / logs around the campfire trying to avoid taking up smoking. The too cool for school competition was decided when Joakim and Susy pitched up on Sunday with the most English looking picnic basket I've ever laid eyes on, replete with real cups and plates and wine and all sorts of other goodies. I understand Philip wowed you all with a wonderful poetry recital which lasted the exact half hour that Nick was feebly trying to row me back up the raging torrent of the Cherwell in the kayak, so sadly I missed it; he did bring mighty fine flapjack though so I'll let him off. Lorna took a few lessons in survival from Ralph, such as chopping wood, and went on to lead a successful navy seal style search and rescue mission for her glasses, deposited at the bottom of theriver after a particularly magnificent swing off the rope. Even Billy, Cob and Daisy showed up but promptly disappeared upon discovering what Ralph had cooked them for dinner.

Seriously though, beautiful people, lovely gifts, and much riverside fun, was more than I could have asked for. Thank you all very much for making it so special, to Fran for organising and Ralph and Heather for assisting. If you have any photo's, do email them through. Until next time...


Monday, 22 June 2009

Welsh Million Metre Peaks Race: Results

Hoorah, the results are finally out, despite nearly two thirds of entrants dropping out, getting lost in the fog or being airlifted to safety! Apart from that and the mach2 gales and 6 feet of rainfall, we had a great time. The freezing mists of Avalon were out in force everywhere, and sadly my hands were too numb with cold to undo my rucksack, otherwise I would have delighted you all with a photo of D with frost and icicles on his face. Instead, I've attached a photo of me at the finishing line with red flannel shorts....

results (we're in mountaineers category):

After all the fun we had, Ralph's considering entering next year - any other takers?