Twit twoo

The evening before Easter weekend, I deactivated my primary Twitter account. In the great time-suck that is social media, Twitter is the Big Boss. Facebook has messed with the algorithms of the newsfeed to such an extent that it’s barely worth looking at it, because everything is advertising or repeats from three days earlier. Instagram is a pleasant skim-through, done in five minutes. But Twitter – especially what I think of as my Big Twitter newsfeed – is intensely literary, political and oft-times angry and once I open it (which I mostly do without thinking) I sit there reading and feeling shittier and shittier.

Even the good threads and conversations can be crap if you aren’t in the right head-space for them, and this year began with events which mean that although I am well and taking care of myself, I am also very aware of time passing. I spend more of that time worrying about people I love than ever before (consciously, anyway. My parents didn’t answer the phone one evening last week, and I had a small panic attack because I was convinced that one or both of them was ill or in hospital and no one had called to tell me so as not to worry me. It was a very specific and unfounded conclusion to jump to [except for the part about not being told, which is totally something my family does].).

I fully don’t have the head space for a constant stream of opinions and observations by mostly near-strangers on the internet, so I turned them off. And I’ve kept them off since then, and felt an awful lot better. This is the first time in a very long time I’m enthusiastic about writing a blog post, and I wonder if being away from all that noise has contributed. I’ll be re-activating the account with intent later this month probably, but for now I’m sticking to my music Twitter, which is all new music and gigs and local events. Those things make me happy.

I’m still writing fiction stuff. I have an agent looking at the result of what is, essentially, a rewrite-and-resubmit request (with additional help and feedback) on the MS for which I won that Northern Writers’ Award. Please cross your fingers.

There’s a tonne of other stuff to catch people up on, assuming anyone is even still subscribed to this blog, but I’m keeping this short. If you want to see what’s happening with music, head to In most recent of recent times in our poky little house, today I have been playing in the garden with my new teeny tent (for reasons that will become apparent later this year) and taking it in turns with the Coffee Monster to take photos of the birds around our garden using his Good Camera.

There is a ridiculous looking pair of pigeons, with tiny heads and scruffy necks and very fat bodies, who like to pose in the trees around our garden. I think they’re trying to build a nest, but they keep getting side-tracked watching the magpie couple, who are also trying to build a nest and who are being far more industrious about it, if not entirely successful. While one of them is, I suppose, weaving the twigs together, the other has been picking up veritable planks and trying to get them into the tree – and failing because they keep choosing pieces about 3ft long, which smack into the roofs and windows of every house they fly past and then get tangled in the branches nowhere near the nest.

An Owl Service plate, from the Bodleian Library archives

It’s been a birdy sort of weekend. Yesterday I went to the Dorman Museum and the gorgeous Petals and Claws exhibition, for a talk about Alan Garner’s The Owl Service. The Dorman Museum have been instrumental in helping the Garners figure out who designed pattern on the real owl service: the plate set that inspired the book. I hadn’t realised there was a whole cult of Owl Service fans, or that there was hunt on for this information spanning decades. Griselda Garner – whose family owned the plates, and who I just am in awe of – gave a talk about the discoveries so far. Now they pretty much have the designer confirmed as Christopher Dresser, she wants to know whether he knew about the legend of Llyn and Blodeuwedd when he was working on the pattern. That legend makes up the foundation of the Owl Service. The version at the link is a really basic, unpoetic telling, but we were lucky enough to have a storyteller, Fiona Collins, relate the tale fantastically well. I’m a convert to the cause, of course, and I expect to be learning more about the period’s botanical art in the near future in case it holds a clue.

Okay, I was enthusiastic about writing a post when I started, but now I’m just tired so I’m going to cut this off here, with a snapshot of a headline that sounded like a weirdly romantic journey, as if the train was trying to save these passengers from something, or just give them a nice surprise.


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