And so it began. The time: 07.30 am. The day: St George’s Day – the eldest kept quiet in a way that only teenagers can but both Will and Lydia, with backing vocals from mum, gave it their all as they belted out the song (which according to Mark Radcliffe and BBC4 is the richest song in the world, ever), Happy birthday to you…

A late shift the day before dictated that my forty third year on earth had, somewhat, blurry beginnings but the fog soon cleared with a barrage of gifts and cards and more songs. We like birthdays! Lydia is especially enthusiastic as her own special day follows forty eight hours later. Fortunately we’ve had no illness and much to Lydia’s relief, no daughter inspired poetry such as April Birthday with you can read at the UK Poetry Library buy following this link:

As well as a birthday day it was also the start of a full seven days leave after what seemed like a winter that had began to test our patience.

Let the celebrations begin…

Special breakfast followed by a mooch around Hebden Bridge followed by lunch at Mooch followed by further mooching in The Book Case (a great independent bookshop that’s now fully restored after last year’s flood) followed by a quick drive home before finally finishing the day with a great family meal at Discovery Bay (made famous by Gordon Ramsey’s F Word). Phew!

But that was only the start of the celebrations. The next day (to quote David Bowie) began with the alternative drainage folks finally managing to get their wagon up the lane to empty the septic tank (it’s a long story and one that should only be told with addition of speciality cleaning products) followed by garden time followed by a fantastic open mic night at the Castle Hotel in Manchester hosted by Bad Language where the brilliant Rosie Garland headlined. You can find out more about Bad Language at Phew!

And then it was year seven for daughter. After second special breakfast we promptly shipped the birthday girl off to school and went shopping which amazingly coincided with lunch at Bolster Moor farm shop (it’s all about the pies) followed by family celebrations and birthday party followed by Amanda’s unveiling of her amazing ‘Poodle’ cake followed by signing on at the cricket club. Phew!

And then Friday was I Am Kloot day at The Picturdrome followed by photograph of set list gifted by kind sound engineer.

Set List - I Am Kloot

Cuckoo Day – yes, we really do worship those darn birds, arrived on the Saturday and after months of organisation for the day long outside event, so did the snow. Fortunately it was only pretend snow and the showers soon passed to reveal a bright blue sunny type of day where a minority of motorists could shout at us for closing roads to allow the parade to pass and where the day finally finished to the sounds of Prince’s Purple Rain being played by our local rock band in the sunshine from the steps of the Methodist Church – only in Marsden.

Now after celebrating the success of the Cuckoo with several real ales and support for the local Chinese it would have been nice for a rest but, as I said, we like birthdays and this year Lydia’s grand finale was a trip to the Blue Planet (cue photograph of shark)


followed by a wet and windy ice cream at West Kirby beach. Phew!

On Monday I had a rest – leave can be very tiring – and finally got round to submitting a new pamphlet for the latest competition. So now I’m looking longingly at the collection of new books, including Sean Borrodale’s Bee Journal, Adam Feinstein’s autobiography on Neruda and John Burnside’s collection Black Cat Bone, not to mention the plentiful supply of pamphlets from the wonderful Happenstance Press, all propped at the side waiting for some dedicated me time – or is that asking too much.

Now, after the briefest of warm weather (don’t mention London but cue picture of tree taken from horizontal position whilst children modelled wetsuits for first wild swim of the year)


we have now been forced back inside the halls where the now sadly overlooked word, ‘cinematic’ is found nestling beneath the floorboards waiting to join the introduction for this week’s selection from the zero players.

Whatever the weather, there will always be poetry and music.