Skip to content

Sunday 21 November 2010

Don’t delete me from Google Reader or whatever you use. Leave me sitting there as an empty heading. That way, when I come back and scream in cyberspace, someone will hear me.

Wednesday 4 December 2013
Found myself expostulating to a friend:
I have almost completely (except on a bad day) stopped thinking *back* to when I could. There’s only so much living in what-if and if-only that a gal can take. Took me a while though; in fact I’m still perfecting it. As I re-emerge from the isolation of the last few years, I’m faced over n over again with things that I used to take for granted.
And I keep wanting to tell people: I used to be an efficient PA! I used to be the best secretary on the site! I could do event-organising and schedules, and before that I was bookish and academic! I once spent a week walking through a desert! I could run and jump and dance (uphill at that) with a three-year-old on my head! …
Instead I try to learn whatever it is that my new self can do and wants to do. With the focus on learning, it does feel like ever-onward – rather than the looking-back thing which just kills, doesn’t it.

You can all read this month’s Quill & Parchment NOW

Thursday 10 February 2011

Quill & Parchment usually requires you to subscribe to view the latest six months’ poetry and recipes, but they have made their February 2011 issue open to everyone, as a Valentine’s gift to the world.

Imagine being in love with everyone.

To see it, use this link with the top secret username Pink and password Heart. Yes, the initial capitals do seem to make a difference. My poem ‘Wasp in my glass’ is in there, which of course makes me that soupçon more interested.  🙂

The featured poet is Larry Jaffe, and as well as a couple of reviews and four romantic recipes, this issue contains a dozen poems – all about the moon, longing, licking, ice, fruit, adoration, and such things; almost all by writers far more successful and widely known than I am.

I’m no critic, but my own favourite is ‘Dream weaver’ by Ed Bennett. ‘And one day we will touch / to the click and thump / of the loom’s approval’

Nip across and enjoy it now.

Not one but two poems in Quill & Parchment!

Monday 24 January 2011

My poem ‘December day’ is in last month’s issue of Quill & Parchment. (I did have reasons for not mentioning this sooner!)

In next month’s, they are going to publish my ‘Wasp in a glass’.

Q&P keep the latest six months’ issues viewable by members only; subscription is US$12 for a year.

This could be the hastiest blogpost I’ve ever written.

Loads of words, compensating for lack of words

Sunday 21 November 2010

write or be written offClicking Random Post a few times (under Blog Info), I am shocked how often I have bemoaned not keeping Travel Hopefully as busy as I intended. And how far back the trend goes. It seems I know myself less well than I thought, one of the drawbacks of reading old diary/blog entries. Once I found a warm and favourable first impression of someone I’d later come to believe I had hated on sight.


Regulars to the Travel Hopefully Blog (you know who you are) will have noticed its lapse into dormancy over the past half-year. It is time to apologise for and explain this, and to formalise it. To tidy it up.


When the choice is between kicking a poem into shape for submission and polishing a blogpost, I’m afraid the poem has to win. I’ve submitted to two or three places and am chuffed to say Quill & Parchment will publish one in their December issue.

More stamina-intensive writing is on hold.


Some of you know I am ‘on disability’. In the last 12-18 months I have tried various means of contributing some amount of income to the household, and have ruled out one possibility after another (tutoring from home, eBaying, writing for Suite101). It’s good to find out, and to know that I am not after all lazily accepting the comfy status quo. I did think I might be.

In February we finally got in touch with Social Services to arrange some help around the house. I don’t feel the would ‘disabled’ fits me, but on the other hand I can’t Have A Life without support and everyone’s entitled to have a life. I’m about halfway to having the help they say I’m entitled to. (No one exclaim it’s been nine months already; I knew to expect that.)

The effect of my conditions is that I have on average 1½ functional hours where a healthy person has a full working day. Dealing with SS has, like the baby cuckoo, ousted my writing. Of course that means I’m also dealing with the withdrawal symptoms (when not writing regularly I sleep badly, for example), but I’m good at enduring. I can last, as long as I believe it’s not for ever.

Although some days I do wonder if, when the endurance is over, there’ll be any of my lifetime left.

It’s making me much better at prioritising. SS and parenting fight for top place on my list. The sanity factors, writing and socialising (including the blog), have to come second. It is temporary.


I promised certain blogposts, and I promised myself more than I recklessly mentioned to you. A fuller account of Prof Hyland’s thinking was one. I hate that I haven’t kept to my very broadly sketched-in schedule. But these plans are not cancelled, only postponed.

There’s plenty of correspondence I haven’t got back to. I probably undertook to reply to your newsy email during this year. If so, sorry … it will be next year.


Image by Vicki's Nature via Flickr

Naturally, traffic to the Travel Hopefully Blog has dwindled. It’s silly to put the work n to produce blogposts in dribs and drabs, for without the behind-the-scenes ‘continuity’ work, too few people will see them. In other words it’s silly to limp along when it’s inevitable I’ll be left behind anyway.

Therefore I am officially putting this, and its sister the Travel Hopefully Slog, into stasis. When I inject this carefully-stored liquid procured by distilling the blood of spiderbots, they will spring into life, never fear. Meanwhile if you hold a mirror to their lips, you may see condensation: the blogroll slowly growing, a sidebar stretching, turning and settling down again. No more than that.


I expect I’ll manage to remind you to have a look at Quill & Parchment when the relevant (to me) issue is out. Otherwise, I’m wishing you a Happy New Year. See you in (the early part, I hope, of) 2011!

So I’m not the only one into semi-colons

Friday 24 September 2010
Thomas Prichard Rossiter:Spilt Milk, oil on ca...

Image via Wikipedia

Relevant to a very old post on the Travel Hopefully Blog, guess what poem I’ve just found? Yes, Semi-colon by Stephanie Davies.

It’s in issue three of a magazine called Spilt Milk. Which is nothing to do with my bloggy friend at Spilt Milk.

Just fancy.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): a new harsher test

Thursday 16 September 2010

Read this:

Employment and Support Allowance: a new harsher test

If it’s too long, start halfway down at “Both old and new tests are based on scoring points”.

Or if that’s still too much, read these excerpts:

Some sentences are complete nonsense. Examples: ‘Customer does pottery all day’ (the claimant told the ‘doctor’ that she was pottering about) [Rightsnet Forum 2008] and: ‘The client’s Amputation of Upper Limb is mild. They have seen a specialist for this problem’ [Rightsnet Forum 2010].”

… Absurdity built in:

“A judge complained that Atos [the DWP’s contractor] refused publishing its handbook because of commercial confidentiality [CIB/664/2005]. For this reason, one of our clients will never know why LiMA decided that he can walk 100 metres, pick things from the floor and sit on a chair for 30 minutes on the basis that he is ‘usually able to use a microwave’ [BHUWC].”

… Unfairness built in:

“… low level problems score zero, while they were scoring something (three points) in the old test; yet the effect of combined low level problems can make people incapable to work [CAB, pp. 13-15].”

… The one that really scares me, with fibromyalgia, which fluctuates about as much as anything can:

“… the ‘doctors’ are recommended to disregard symptoms which come and go (variable conditions).
Back in 1996, a judicial decision had obliged the government to take variable conditions into account in the old test; now, using the excuse that the WCA is a new test, the government has wiped out what had been established!”

… Harshness built in:

“If we compare the old and new tests, descriptor by descriptor, we are surprised how strict the new test is.
Under the old PCA, for example, if a claimant was unable to walk up or down a flight of stairs of 12 steps, he scored 15 points and was ‘unfit to work’; if he could climb 12 steps only with the help of a banister, he could still score some points. Under the new WCA, in order to score more than zero, one should not be able to climb two steps, even with the help of a handrail. This is extreme.”

… extreme. Harsh, unfair, absurd.

My choice is between:

  • being a mother to my children;
  • ignoring my children in order to work at finding a way I can earn a living; and
  • concentrating all my limited time (disability is so time-consuming!) and limited energy not only on form-filling, but on working out what the questions on the forms even mean.

How would you prioritise?

… I feel helpless.

Related: Benefits and Work – Employment and Support (