Tag Archives: improvement

Change is Easy…

I’m giving the new editor another try. I don’t particularly want to, but I do want to access some of my older photos and I can’t do that in the normal editor. Anyway, it’s time I started embracing new technology.

Julia has had an adventurous day, first cutting herself whilst trying a spot of woodcarving, then melting a hole in her fleece when she transferred her attention to pyrography. Well, I say “attention”, but if she’d been paying attention she wouldn’t actually have melted the fleece.

I’m now going to put some photos in, if I can. The new editor doesn’t seem keen. I’m already remembering why I switched it off and went back to the old one.

This, hopefully, is a selection of my favourite photos from the last year.

Spice selection
At Clumber Park



Cromer


Robin at Clumber, Nottinghamshire
Fungus close-up

I’m not finding it as easy as the old editor because I’m having to load one large photo at a time.

Change is easy, as they say, but improvement is hard.

Another 100 Day Challenge – Haiku

It’s Day 100 of the Haiku Challenge.

I now have over 1,000 haiku of indeterminate quality. Some of them aren’t haiku, some are senyru. Some are more like fragments, or notes. And many of them are merely bad.

Having taken all that into consideration, was it worth it?

Undoubtedly. I’ve learned a lot from the experience, including that in any 100 day challenge you are going to come to hate what you are doing. Whether this holds true for my new challenge remains to be seen.

I first came up with the idea from reading this this post whilst browsing the net for haiku-related posts. I then moved on to reading this article, which is a lot more ambitious.

My “rules”, garnered from the article, were simple. Ten haiku a day for 100 days, avoiding too much censorship and writing extra to catch up if I couldn’t manage ten one day. As the article admitted that experienced writers were only getting one good haiku out of ten or twenty attempts I felt justified in taking a laid back attitude.

So, what did I learn?

Well, I became more fluent in my writing and found ideas came more easily.

I became addicted to writing and couldn’t rest if I didn’t write at least ten a day. Apart from the days I needed a rest, because there were several days where I hated haiku so badly that I couldn’t write one. That did happen a couple of times, but I soon got over it after a day off.

I also ran out of nature several times. Despite becoming more observant and making better notes as time went on, I found I was struggling with enough nature observations to keep myself going. You don’t see much nature when you are just driving through town to work and back, and magpies and bare branches are simply not enough to feed a heavy haiku habit.

Towards the end of the time I noticed I was writing three line poems with the rhythms and vocabulary of haiku.

That last point is quite important. I started with a lot of long words and details which aren’t really needed in haiku. A three syllable word in a haiku, remember, is three thirteenths of the syllables needed for a modern haiku (seventeen is now considered old-fashioned). Three thirteenths of a sonnet is near enough three lines, so you can see how condensed a haiku is, and why you can’t waste a single syllable.

That was probably the most important thing I learned.

Now, it’s time to take Number Two Son to work.

Over the next few weeks I will do some rewriting and may show you a few poems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trend Continues

I forgot to tell you that another of my shirts disintegrated yesterday, I was tucking it in when I felt it give. That’s what happens when you have cotton shirts and a disinclination to spend money. It’s always a bit of a downer when an old favourite disintegrates, though not so much of a downer as when trousers disintegrate, I admit.

After posting I took Number Two son to work and dropped him off for an 11pm start.  About 1 am I had a text.

“Are you awake?”

I was naturally inclined to answer “No.” but decided I’d better admit that I was still up.

“Can you leave the chain off. I’ve been throwing up and I’m coming home.”

Oh, the language of Shakespeare…

So, to cut a tedious story short, I went to pick him up. If I’m going to get him to leave home he needs to save his money, not squander it on taxis. We nearly reached home before he decided to throw up again. Fortunately he managed to get out of the car before it happened.

I think it’s true to say that he has the same gastric bug as Julia, He just doesn’t handle it with the same panache.

We returned home around 2.30 am, which left plenty of time to write my haiku quota and get to the hospital for a 7am blood test. This was handled so efficiently that I was back at the car and out of the car park before my free half hour was over.

I had the results by 11.20. I passed, though they have adjusted the dose and I have to go back in two weeks.

I wonder if this is a sign that things may be looking up.

Haiku Challenge – Day 27 – Ups and Downs

I was going to post a couple of days ago when it was day 25. This would have been quarter of the way through, but I was diverted and didn’t get on with it.

However, if I had updated at that time I wouldn’t have been able to include details of my latest rejection, as mentioned yesterday. Nor would I have been able to contrast reality with my comment in the previous report. I said:

“However, I’m not going to make any boastful claims just now. I’m going to send some of the new haiku off over the next few weeks and see if any editors like them.”

It’s fortunate that I didn’t make any boastful claims, as I did send some off to an editor, and the editor returned them. It’s difficult to tell, but I suspect this indicates my haiku writing hasn’t improved as much as I thought.

Set against that, there is the Autumn edition of Wales Haiku Journal. Near the bottom of the page is my first published haiku. It’s under the name of Simon Wilson rather than Quercus, but it is me. If I was going to lie about it I’d have chosen a better one…

Hospital Food

I have been in hospital three times – 30 years ago, 12 years ago and 2 days ago.

Thirty years ago the menu system served to me was the meal that had been ordered by the previous occupant of my bed. That, at least, was the theory, but subsequent experience suggested it might be less logical than that.

The conversation tended to centre on “operations I have had”, which didn’t really improve the atmosphere around the dining table.

The random nature of the menu arrangement became clear when, after three days, I left without once getting the meal I’d ordered. What I did get was mainly boil-in-the-bag scrambled egg, consisting of a square yellow block surrounded by water. With the addition of random veg and bits of fish and meat…

I will leave this painful episode with a quote from one of the convalescents, who actually seemed to like the stuff: “You don’t get food like this at home, do you?”

I had to confess that I didn’t get food like that at home.

Spool forward 18 years and once again I’m in the grip of the NHS. They have had my trousers down, tested my prostate and declared an intention to insert a camera into my bladder via a passageway quite clearly not designed for the purpose.

They had to take me in again after getting it wrong the first time – I’ve run them into one as they were only a few months apart. On each occasion they cancelled first time due to lack of beds.

The first meal was cold because we were at the far end of the ward. The only choice was fish and chips (bread-crumbed fish garden peas)  because everything else had run out. There were five of us but only four fish, so they chopped the tail sections off and served them up to the fifth man.

They didn’t actually run out of food again in the next few days but we never had the full menu available or hot food. I did suggest it might be nice if they started at our end of the ward sometimes but they just looked at me in a snotty manner and ignored me.

To be fair, the food and system were both better than my previous experience.

Finally we have the latest round of visits – the December swelling and the events of Friday. More trousers, more tests and more cameras.

They have a new trolley, which keeps the food hot, and they seemed to have plenty of food. The choice is better and the standard is higher. The fish was better, it was battered and the peas were mushy, as is proper. It isn’t perfect, it tends to lack vegetables, but they do deliver it to your bed, and I did look forward to mealtimes.

That anticipation may have been due to boredom rather than the dining experience, but it’s definitely an advance on 30 years ago, when I used to dread the menu lottery and developed a fear of scrambled eggs.