Thursday, 13 June 2019

Garden Haircut

It's been a busy week for me, with my work's conference taking place. I always leave having a haircut and shave to the last minute, as I've never liked getting a haircut, but I feel I have to do it just to show respect for my workplace and my colleagues.

I think this dislike stems from being a child, when I would always come away with snips of hair stuck in the collar of my clothes, which would itch and scratch at my neck. And no matter how many times they got washed, they never seemed to come out. My parents never seemed to take it seriously, and thought that I was just whining. But I knew how uncomfortable it was, and how much it irritated my neck.

In the end my Dad used to cut my hair for a bit, and then we used to have a hairdresser come around to the house. This made it much easier, as I could jump straight into the shower and there wasn't really time for hair to get stuck to my clothes.

After I left home, I grew my hair long at University, but later had to start getting it cut at barbers again. By now I had learned to wear the same top every time I went, usually something a bit old that I never really wore that often, but now I hated going because of the question: "How do you want it?"

Personally, I just wanted it cut. I didn't really care what it looked like, I just wanted it shorter. This was never a good enough answer though, and so once again I would take long periods of time between cuts, only going when I really had no choice not to go.

Now however I have a wife who can cut my hair for me, but between us we always seem to put it off until the last minute still. I think there must still be some residual block in my mind to getting it done, even though it does feel somewhat liberating when we finally get around to it.

This time we did the cutting out in the garden, on a nice warm afternoon, which also had the bonus of us not having to do any hoovering. So here's a little vignette of poetry, since I've not had much time to share my mind with non-work activities.

Wind whips the snips of hair away
Swirling in the air the settle on the grass
Nesting material for birds

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Stopping the Rot

I've been struggling to find something to blog about over the past few days. You could probably call it a creative rut. So it occurred to me that that's exactly what I should blog about.

It hasn't helped that the kids haven't slept all that well lately, and so we haven't slept well either. There's also the spectre of my work's Conference next week, over which I've been pretty anxious on the basis that I have to be in a small space with a few hundred people for two days. (Yes I am an introvert). Needless to say, none of these things help the creative process.

It is also quite common to have creative peaks and troughs, so it is not a concern. I had a much worse period at the beginning of the year when I had so little mental energy that I couldn't even begin. It just gets a bit frustrating after a while, especially since I have very high expectations of myself and what I should be doing.

But you just end up thinking about the blog, or trying to write a poem and nothing inspires you. Not the things your kids say, or the fact that there's no milk in the office again, and I don't even want to think about Donald Trump. But having opened my mind a little and come up with the inspiration to write about a lack of inspiration, it suddenly flows. It's a strange thing this creativity.

Anyway, there are some of my thoughts on creativity and inspiration, and so here is my poem:

Up and down
Like a rollercoaster ride
I just can't decide
What to write next
I'm not hexed
Just vexed
When my brain is blank
And I can't think
Pushed to the brink
Of the precipice

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Day at the Museum

I recently took my eldest to the Natural History Museum (for the second time). She had an interest in dinosaurs a year ago, but it has grown stronger over the last year. However, the funny thing is that her fascination has rekindled the love of dinosaurs that I had when I was a child. I can't help but wondering if this is something that other parents have noticed when their kids start taking interest in something that they loved as children?

They have a great bit in the museum where you can look at and handle real fossils, bones, animal skins and shells, and the people help out by asking questions. They also don't provide the answers, so they just let the kids think about it, using their natural inquisitiveness to bring out good ways of thinking. Here, my daughter showed off her dinosaur knowledge of Stegosaurus (her favourite) and Spinosaurus.

We also saw a great show about oceans, the creatures that live in them, and how we have to look after our environment to ensure that animals survive. We also saw Sophie the Stegosaurus and had a good look around the dinosaur gallery, where again my daughter showed she had more knowledge about dinosaurs than some of the other kids there.

She was also thrilled to see Andy's clock from Andy's Dinosaur Adventures and Andy's Prehistoric Adventures (both Cbeebies programmes).

Anyway, all this dinosaur stuff has inspired a dinosaur poem:

In the morning I trapped a Velociraptor
While on my way to work
It caught its claws
In the closing doors
And the train driver went beserk

Later my tour bus was a Brachiosaurus
And I sat astride its neck
Standing tall
At the palace wall
We made the Queen a nervous wreck

I practiced judo kicks with Archeopteryx
In the local park
With feathers flapping
And sharp beak snapping
All the dogs began to bark

Then I foiled a con with Iguanadon
We came to an old man’s aid
The thief he paled
At the thumb spike wailed
And fell to the floor and prayed

I planted crops with Triceratops
When the farmer was unwell
He used his horns
To dig out the thorns
But his dung made an awful smell

I taught some phonics with a Baryonyx
At one of the local schools
But parents complained
That it hadn’t been trained
And must be against the rules

I rowed the Isis with some Coelophysis
Though they struggled with the oars
But as a team
They picked up steam
And we won the coxless fours