Ten Thoughts on a Friday Evening


  1. Sipping a glass of wine when you’re cooking is one of life’s pleasures.
  2. Making a big fish pie and adding leaks, sweet potato and spinach, (it’s scrumptious, truly), and asking your 14 year old son to wash up while it’s in the oven, means that there is a delicious, nutritious meal on the way and there’s only one big dish and four plates to clear up after.  Thank you, Johnny, by the way.
  3. Emily Berry’s book, ‘Dear Boy’, is a book I carry around with me and read and re-read again and again. It is possibly one of my favourite poetry books.  Never mind possibly, it is one of my favourite books.  I resisted buying it for about one whole year after it first came out.  I hated all the publicity it received (why? I don’t know!  I suppose it’s because I really DO NOT LIKE being told what to do) and I felt determined not to be persuaded to buy it just because it was all over social media.  Even when it was nominated for and won awards, I resisted.  Eventually, I gave in.  I can’t remember why.  And I’ve been reading and re-reading and thinking about it and going back to it for help when I’m writing poems, ever since.
  4. I recently asked my daughter, Kitty, who’s 16, which poems she remembers from when she was little and she told me she remembers the ones that made her laugh,  especially Michael Rosen’s ‘Chocolate Cake’, Benjamin Zephaniah’s ‘Talking Turkeys!!’, Brian Patten’s ‘The Race to Get to Sleep’ and Spike Milligan’s ‘On the Ning-Nang-Nong’.  I’ve been thinking about writing for children and doing some more writing workshops in schools.  I ran some poetry workshops for children a few years ago, and wrote a poem called ‘I Sat in a Quiet Classroom and I Heard…’ which was a group poem made with the participation of about 90 children! (how did I manage that?)  I’d like to do more of this kind of thing next year so I’ve been reading children’s poetry recently (in between the Emily Berry – I always have about half a dozen books on the go, don’t you?) and beginning some drafts of new poems for children.  And I’m remembering what Kitty said about laughing.
  5. I don’t know if this list is a good idea.  I’m already onto my second large glass and the fish pie is almost ready.
  6. Twitter has been awfully quiet today.  Is it because Twitter is on the way out?  I read somewhere that that’s a possibility.  Or is it because it’s Half-Term in the UK and everyone’s gone away on holiday or is just too busy?  Is it because everyone’s busy doing far more exciting stuff than I am?
  7. Are you ?!? And have you noticed that Twitter is quiet or is it just me?
  8. I’m reading ‘King Lear’.  (In between Emily Berry, Michael Rosen,…. etc.) This is because a) I’ve never read it. b) My daughter is studying ‘A’ Level English Literature and reading ‘Wuthering Heights’ and told me she’d read, in a critical essay somewhere, that ‘Wuthering Heights’ was influenced by ‘King Lear’.  I suddenly realised how badly-read I am.  No suddenly about it, I’ve known for years I need to read more.  I left school so early, worked for 12 years and went back to full-time education as a mature student.  I haven’t read enough and I’m going to make up for it now.   Anyway, I’m reading ‘King Lear’, I’m enjoying it, I like it, I don’t always understand it, it has interesting themes, I love the language, and, yes, I can see how it influenced ‘Wuthering Heights’.
  9. I’ve been thinking recently about kindness.  I’m so blooming placid and easy-going.  I really loathe confrontation.  But there have been a couple of things I’ve seen which I haven’t liked. One was someone posting a really mean review of someone else’s work. Neither the reviewer,  or the poet being reviewed, big poets, neither published by a mainstream publisher, and the poet being reviewed somebody starting out, published by a small press.  I thought about confronting the reviewer but then remembered how I hate confrontation.  So,  instead, I unfollowed the person on Twitter, and I unfollowed a few people who showed they were in agreement with the review, (go me, so passive-aggressive – but that is my way!) and I’ve decided never EVER to post anything mean about another person.  Not that I write many reviews but if I ever do, and someone gives me a book that I don’t think much of, I will choose, instead, to turn down the review, to say I can’t find in the book much of merit, which itself would be hard for a writer to hear, without resorting to vitriolic comments posted on a blog for all to see.
  10. Is a third glass wise?  I’m not sure it is, but Andrew is home from work, eating the fish pie, it’s Friday night, the clocks go back this weekend, summer is most definitely over, our family is all together for the weekend, I’m verging on being tipsy, I have a new poem on the go (that’s apart from my poems for young people), I’m grateful to be alive, do please let me know anything you’re up to yourself, what you’re eating, reading, thinking about, planning, even if it isn’t a list of ten things.


19 thoughts on “Ten Thoughts on a Friday Evening”

  1. Josephine, thank you for a blog post full of life, love and laughter! (And, yes, I heartily agree with you on said public display of meanness).
    This week being half term (in Leics), I’ve done a little gardening, more than a little sitting in coffee shops, a mega catch-up on ModPo and a lot of reading – mainly stuff that’s slipped down my To Read pile, with some more recent additions. A mixed diet of The US Beats and Imagists, all my swag from Free Verse Poetry Fair, some of Eavan Boland’s New Selected, a couple lucky charity shop finds (both first collections of fave poets), some of Diana Athill’s ‘Instead of a Letter’, Google happenstance and research for a possible writing project…
    Sweet chilli chicken stir fry demolished by hubby and I (with a little help from cat senior), the central heating’s on, cat junior is bedding down on my fleece-dressingowned lap. And I’m about to watch last Sunday’s episode of Downton.
    Enjoy your weekend 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really loved that post and could almost taste the pie But was really eating aspargus dipped in soft boiled eggs. I don’t do twitter and only add my posts to facebook and add like to some of my friends pics.
    Yes well I mean No to mean stuff life is too short! Who do some people think they are? It’s great people are creative in any shape or form. Thank you for lovely list. Ann

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those are fine thoughts. In particular, a destructive review can do huge damage to the author, with little effort on the part of the reviewer. When I was writing reviews I always tried to avoid doing it, unless I was FURIOUS with the work.

    All best,

    Imogen Sent from my Windows Phone


    1. Even sadder when there IS effort from the reviewer – a waste of their talents, in my opinion. Anyway, trying not to focus on that item. In some ways I wish I hadn’t mentioned it although it has been bugging me. Thanks for commenting, Imogen! 🙂


  4. I agree – sipping a glass of wine while cooking is a very fine thing indeed! Thanks for mentioning Dear Boy – I’ve just ordered a copy on your fantastic recommendation. I’m currently enjoying some new short story collections picked up at last week’s Durham Book Festival – particularly enjoying Carys Davies’ and Christa Ermiya. Enjoy your weekend 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anouska, you are the third person to tell me you’ve ordered the book after reading my rave! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have. I’m also enjoying renewing my love affair with short stories. I’ve recently read a few by Daphne du Maurier (‘The Birds’ among them – far more chilling than the film it inspired!) and I have a big block of John Cheever stories which are fantastic. Thanks for popping in to my blog and sharing your recommendations! 🙂


  5. What a life enhancing post this was – I could taste that fish pie. Note to self to get sons to do the washing up before the meail – what an excellent idea.

    Such a shame about the mean spirited review. I tend to go in the opposite direction and only write reviews of books I’ve really liked.

    Is it too early for a glass of wine?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your post suddenly reminded me of the system in our house when the kids were growing up in the 70s and into the 80s. It was that one word ‘asked’ that did it. My kids didn’t get spending money. They got wages. We had a jobs board that they signed up for. Jobs had tariffs. For instance, cleaning out the ashes and laying a fresh lot of kindling was worth 5p. Siding pots earned less than washing up or wiping or laying the table. There would be fierce arguments over the high-tariff jobs. Friday night was pay night. Jobs could change, seasonally, obviously. (At the same time, each of them got an equable amount paid into a post office account which they plundered for holidays).So the idea of ‘asking’ a son or daughter to do a job threw me. And I think it made me feel mildy, and retrospectively, Victorian. Anyway. Just thought I’d share the story. I should say that, when my wife started full-time work, Saturday night was frequently the night when I cooked meals for the following Monday to Friday and bunged them in the freezer. Friday night was take-away night, on a strict rota. Asking? Blimey.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks so much for such a generous response to my post, Caroline! Hope you sourced a glass of wine at a suitable moment. Yes, I’m like you, I’ve only reviewed books if I liked them. I keep meaning to review more but a lack of confidence and a lack of time prevents me. Anyway, I’ll try to pop into your blog soon. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


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