Month: November 2016

‘I heard the blackbird sing. I have lived’

‘I heard the blackbird sing. I have lived’.

So wrote Henning Mankell. He was keeping a cancer diary of what would be his last year on earth. Read this final farewell published on The Guardian in January this year. He’d already died (October 2015)

It got me thinking what I might write to say I’d lived.

So I’ve come up with these few pithy sentences. Meant to be humorously, and not too seriously, saying truthful things about the last couple of years I’ve lived, and shared my life, with Miss Hazel Brown.

I picked those autumn berries. I have lived.
I chucked away my telly. I have lived.
I worked when necessary. I have lived.
I never had a penny. I have lived.
I was made for not making merry. I have lived.
I chugged along rock steady. I have lived.

I wasn’t rude like Geoffrey. I have lived.
I hoola hooped so many. I have lived.
I hogged down pud aplenty. I have lived.
I smelt the unmade coffee. I have lived.
I bloodied every bleddy. I have lived.
I charged up ever ready. I have lived.
I wasn’t wildly hairy. I have lived.

I flew with a golden faerie. I have lived.
I mooned around her belly. I have lived.
I split her swollen cherry. I have lived.
I made her tremor very. I have lived
I flickered with her gently. I have lived.

I exquisited so heavenly. I have lived.

I cherish every memory. I have lived.

To be continued……

Words & Reflections: Ian Nisbet

Message in a Bottle Found!

Haze’s Message in a Bottle has been found in Hastings on the 20th October by a German from Berlin called Alexander. He was taking part in a Battle of Hastings Re-enactment on the beach.

He’s picked Haze’s yellow lidded plastic peanut jar up, he’s looked inside, read her message, probably passed it around for other re-enacters to read; decided to add his own little message to the jar, and then chucked it back into the sea. He took one of Haze’s drawings, and her email address, back to Berlin so he could message a reply.

It’s wonderful. It’s just the kind of magic we wanted to happen when we set these messages in bottles off on their improbably bibbily bobbly journeys (see here > back in March.

So for the last 7 months, Haze’s bottle has been floating its way across Lyme Bay to Weymouth, past Swanage, veering around Isle of Wight, onto Bognor Regis, onto Worthing, onto Brighton, onto Eastbourne, to be finally washed up on Hastings beach; a distance in excess of 200 miles.


Right up the English Channel the little message went. Who knows where it will end up next. Across to Calais perhaps?. Or onto Holland? Or maybe up into the North Sea towards Denmark, or Norway even?! Haze is thrilled. Thrilled to bits. Wants us to reply to Alexander on the weekend; send a warm greeting to him and his wife and daughter.

Who said fairy tales don’t happen?! It’s magical. It’s marvelous.

Footnote: Meanwhile, my little Hungarian slivovitz vodka bottle with its cryptic puzzle is nowhere. Sunk into oblivion. In all probability never to be seen, or heard of, again.

The Hide on Dawlish Warren

Dawlish Warren on a sunny Saturday autumn afternoon.

We walk out to The Hide, but a low tide means we don’t see many wading birdies: a solitary curlew, a solitary little egret; a flocket of linnets, a couple of crows – and that’s about it.

But it feels snuggly being in this hide drinking homemade lentil and ginger soup looking out on the soggy mudflats of the estuary.

I’m doing my customary clips of films, trying to capture a Golden Medal moment that isn’t quite happening due to lack of bird activity. But it’s feeling ok enough – more Bronze than Gold.

The quiet of the hide hiding us from the exposed basin of The Bight feels becalming.

On the limp back we snapple a few tall reeds for the reed boat Haze wants to make for her Unicorn box.

I’m stroking the noses of docile Shetland ponies.

A pair of swans yap lap green algae off the top of a reedy pond next to the visitor centre.

By 4 it’s just turned towards dimpsy and the day feels done; time to be heading back for buttered crumpets.

Dartmoor Stones


Quartz pitted
Lichened by light

Stone rows.
Circles and cup marks
Cairns on Cut Hill
Cists at Drizzlecombe

Who were they, these people of stone?

Into a 21st century dawn, tumbled
Bracelets, baskets and beads…!
Her goods for the ever-life
Leaving behind … her fears..tears..?
The stone people live on.
We are they.

Drawing & Poem: Hazel Brown