Blog of Oonah V Joslin -- please visit my Parallel Oonahverse at WordPress

where I post stories and poems that have not been seen elsewhere - also recipes and various other stuff.

and see me At the Cumberland Arms 2011

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Three Pounds of Cells -- Availble on Amazon

I am happy to announce that Three Pounds of Cells is Poetry Kit's Book of the Month. And to celebrate I'll probably open a bottle of wine. Forgive me if I uncharacteristically go WHOOPEE! (just this once)…/poetry-kit-book-of-the-month-f…

Three Pounds of Cells is the weight of a human brain -- but not its capacity. Oh no! That's a whole different bag of cats...
Buy via this LINK
and I would appreciate some reviews on Amazon too. Please spread the word.

Thanks Marie Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Mickelson, John Stocks and Don Webb, Dave Morehouse, Pippa Little, Geraldine Green, James Graham, 
Noel, my sister Esme and everyone who believed in me.  I hope you enjoy the poetry.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Sunday Pipe 3 -- x 3 Meerschaums

This trio of handsome Meerschaums are just lovely to look at. The two 'tea' coloured ones are not 'aged' as such though they are between 15 and 20 years old. They are Manz Meerschaums. The clay from which they are made is still block meerscahum but it comes fro Africa and is that colour naturally. You can just see on the stem of the pipe on the left, a little mark -- that is the maker's mark and it's actually Isle of Man legs -- hence Manx Meerscahum. The stems are standard vulcanite and the bands are stainless steel (we think). You can see that the one on the left has a bigger and rounder bowl than that on the right. Both of these pipes were purchased in the Tobacconist's at the corner of Pink Lane. Sadly that shop no longer exists. Like so many other tobacconists it has fallen foul of a healthier lifestyle but

To me the pipe is an ancient art, 
entirely unlike the quick fix addictive brain-rush of the cigarette. 
It's more a hobby than a smoke! 
It's a leisurely 
of peace 
a drift 
of cloud, 
 a pipedream, 
 an aromatic room-note 
prairie prayers 
a mini hearth 
winter warmth 

By comparison the middle pipe is white as white, with it could be said a cadger's bowl. It has a faux amber stem made of resin. Durham Market has a rather fine tobacconist still and this came from there about 5 years ago. It has no maker's mark but it is pure turkish block meerscahum and apparently a very nice smoke. Wisps upward like a ghost of winter!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Sunday Pipe -- 2 The Meerschaum

Meerschaum (the word mean seafoam) pipes have been made since the 1720's as a substitute for lower grade clay pipes. 
The material is a naturally occurring soft clay mineral called sepiolite which was sometimes found floating on the Black Sea. The clay is truned, carved, smoothed with glass paper, heated and then polished. It's the porous material that makes the pipe cool-smoking. It's also lightweight and pure white which makes these pipes rather beautiful and also makes it viable to carve huge ones! Some of the bigger Turkish pipes are really more like tourist souvenirs (in common with our Calumet of last week) 
But the true beauty of the Meerschaum is in its unique character -- the faces themselves and the fact that they take on years of patina with smoking and turn through yellow to dark amber with use. It's not a pipe that stays the same! It's a pipe with personality.

This one was bought 30 years ago in Uff's Tobacconist's in Canton Cardiff as a present for Noel's birthday. And he's ageing beautifully -- well -- they both are! :)

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Sunday Pipe -- 1 Peace and Long Life

Okay so this is a special treat for anybody who likes pipes. I don't smoke a pipe (you do get lady's pipes but I gave up smoking years ago) but my grandfather always smoked a pipe. He started age 13 and continued into his nineties. I always wanted to marry a pipe-smoking man -- love the smell of good tobacco! Now my husband Noel has a very fine selection to view and I just adore them so I am going to show you some of the them -- to educate :)

The Calumet
Pipe smoking began long, long ago in the mid west with pipes smoked on the prairies to seal deals between tribes. Dear knows what was in those pipes! I'll bet it was herbal ;) 
And that is also where this pipe came from. It is a traditional hand-carved calumet from Pipestone National Park MN and that's where we bought it four years ago. So it's the oldest pipe in the world in one way but new. It has been smoked but it's mostly display cum souvenir. 
The walnut wall rack was made by friend of ours from an old clock base and I just love the way it looks like a walk through a quarry! The stem is wood with leather trim but the bowl is carved from the soft red stone of a sacred quarry where only hand tools are allowed. And here is the man who carved it. It's a dying art unfortunately.

One day (probably not long from now) nobody will smoke pipes any more. Oh I know smoking isn't good for you but I am not going to be politically correct here in this section of my blog. I am going to celebrate the noble art of pipe-smoking 
and long live Gandalf!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Family Files -- July 2016

My sister Christine was 60 on Sunday and she is the youngest of our family. Robin, who is with us in this photo is our nephew. That cause a bit of confusion when he and Christinme were teenagers -- he'd say 'That's my aunt' and girls would reply -- 'Oh yeah!' He will be 60 next May! I am 62 this week. Esme has been for her annual holiday this year. Here she is at Wallington. and us on Holy Island Dear me -- where does it go? T I M E?

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

May flowers etc

Just at the end of April we had sleet and ice and snow. The daffodils weren't put off by it. Seems as long as the days are lengthening the birds and the bees are okay with that. 
 Daffs down by Belsay castle
Bluebells beginning A bank of primroses and a bush of flowering blackcurrant with it's sweet, heady, tom-cat perfume.

Pathways lined with blossoms The stinking, the slightly absurd and the highly scented -- all have their place here.
Such a range of plants and colours

Purple Shadows
Britain May 2016 -- I wish it was all as idyllic as it looks.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Pretending to be Northumbrian for St George's Day

14th April is a special date for me. It is the date on which I moved to Northumberland after 14 years in Wales. I got all the furniture into a Pickford's van, locked the front door on our house in Port Talbot, dropped the key off at the estate agents and took a National Express Coach to Newcastle -- for good! Big stuff!!! Noel met me at Strawberry Lane and that evening we went to The Tandoor Mahal for a meal. Our furniture caught up with us after Easter when moved into a lovely house in the grounds of St Mary's Stanningtom where Noel was working.That was 24 years ago. I have now lived in Morpeth longer than anywhere else -- so I'm pretending to be Northumbrian now.

Last night The Morpeth Poetry Recital Group helped us celebrate by joining in with gusto on my poem George and the Stobhill Worme. Thanks everyone who read a part and Margaret Kerswell for being such a good dragon and to the audience for their hisses and boos. It was great! I am told I won a raffle token for the ICEBAR too. I love icecream!
There is a video of the poem but you have to be a member of the group to see it.

There were bright books.

there was song.
There was Verner and Adrian as the Squire and the Thane
There were hisses and there was booze
There were even farts and poos!

and there was charity of course. We raised the roof and £50.
The ICE BAR is C O O L

Friday, 8 April 2016

The Almost Silent Converation -- a poem of pictures + a Whiplington called Ruby

At Belsay House and Gardens there is colour all year round

but spring is a feast of sight and scents and sound. 

Imagine a constant buzzing of bees

a flitting of waspy things and hover flies. 

Imagine that high pitched chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff-chiff 

and the drill of the woodpecker and the screigh 

of pheasants echoing round quarry walls. 

Imagine dappled sun light shifting 

under new leaf and in and out of shade, 

the smell of damp lichens after rain, the scent

the wonder of the waxy yellow bog lily's flower

the gunneras which grow bigger hour on hour 

a thousand daffodils wafting in light breeze

the peppery nose-pricking breath of flowering blackcurrant its  

dangle of pink blooms all a-buzz with bees, 

Listen for new lambs calling for their ma-a-a-a-a-a. 

Sit yourself down in early spring sunshine and take it in

 -- the almost silent conversation that is Belsay in April.

This is a lovely doggy we met with her lovely owners. I had never seen this cross before -- whippet and Bedlington Terrier -- a gorgeous cross I am sure you'll agree. It was lovely to meet you, Ruby.x