And everything is sinking into the quiet and lull of Christmas, and won’t be at full strength again until after the New Year. It’s been a roller coaster of a year, in some ways a struggle, in others pure delight.
Summer was late, but lovely, and several of the species that took a hammering last year have made up for it this year, with birds and bumble bees doing especially well round here. I don’t remember ever seeing so many nesting birds, and the swifts which were becoming scarcer, came back in mobs.
I didn’t have much poetry published this year – but I was included in the 4th Dark Mountain anthology, which made me very proud, and I was lucky enough to feature on the Stirling Council poem of the month page as well as the ReadRaw website. But I wrote a lot, and attended three workshops, run by Em Strang and Susan Richardson, Geraldine Green and Cora Greenhill.
I’ve written more reviews, for the Scottish Review of Books and for Northwords Now, which I’ve enjoyed doing, and my first ever endorsement appeared on the cover of Cora Greenhill’s collection The Point of Waking. And I was highly commended in the William Soutar competition, which pleased me enormously, as I got to meet several other brilliant poets. I didn’t meet the winner, Nikki Magennis, unfortunately, a great disappointment, as my fellow judge and Red Squirrel poet, Anne Connolly, and I had just awarded her first prize in the Red Squirrell James Kirkup memorial competition – another great source of satisfaction.
I’ll be updating this website, including adding a page for the herb project, over the holiday, and putting together the next issue of Stravaig. We’ve had more contributions than ever before, so we should have an excellent journal to share some time in April.
But mostly what I’ll be doing is enjoying the company of my family, including our two grand-daughters. There will be some serious cooking, music, film watching and present opening going on, and some time to think and reflect on renewal and light, hope and happiness. And this is what I wish you all for the Christmas holidays and the new year.