Meditation During a Storm

Tyres rolling against tarmac.

My anxious heart.

The wind provokes something that has come loose on the roof,

the single beat of a drum, rising up against the symphony.

Drum beats against drum against heart.

A satisfying syncopation,

transforming the beats into something familiar,

a name and a memory

which, upon recalling, comforts.














Lego in Libraries

Yesterday I spent a fun couple of hours at the Library where I work playing with Lego. Well I say fun but most of it sucked because I am terrible at Lego.  It wasn’t until I found a step by step tutorial on Youtube that I finally began to enjoy myself. In this sort of situation I need to be instructed, told which kind of brick to put where.

The whole reason I was playing with the stuff was because it’s my turn to run the Lego Club next week and it’s kind of annoying when the kids are all making incredible objet d’art and I can only manage things that are square or rectangular – last week I made the border of a garden then gave up when I didn’t understand how to fit a gate, whilst the eight year old beside me constructed the ground floor of his house replete with white goods and soft furnishings.

Frustration and incompetence aside the Lego Club is one of our most popular activities but does it really belong in a library? I chose to work in a library because I love books. The reality of it is that, in order to keep libraries open, you have to love various other things too  (well, maybe not love, maybe get to grips with is a better phrase)

In my job, as well as the book related stuff, I take applications for concessionary travel passes, help people get online, issue public transport and tourist information, take police enquiries, facilitate various kids and adult activities (sometimes with a strong book theme, sometimes tenuous, and sometimes not at all) and signpost people to local services. I’d love to just talk books with the people who come through our door, but sadly those days are long gone.

But is sad the right word to use? Maybe not. In our increasingly fragmented societies the existence of a place that people can visit without any expectations of them, is in itself something to be celebrated. You are welcome through our doors and, other than reasonable behaviour of course, we won’t expect anything of you. You don’t even have to whisper!  Borrow a book, or not. Engage with us, or not – we love to chat to our customers, but we are also happy to let you be. Stay as long as you want, five minutes or all day, and it won’t cost you a penny. I can’t think of another place as enticing as that!

So, as I sit amongst the eight year old’s constructing another Lego disaster I will remind myself that Libraries exist to service the communities they are a part of.  As our communities evolve we have to evolve with them. I don’t think our communities have ever needed libraries more and we must by any means possible remind people of two important facts:

  1. We are here
  2. We are here for you

We will always have books. I will always have books. Libraries will always have books.  What we need more of is space to breathe, to take a time out from the insane whirlwind of modern life. Somewhere to go where we can be alone. Somewhere we can go to be amongst people who want nothing from you. Time out. Time out of time.

If Lego is a tool to get people who have forgotten us or who are unaware of our services, through the door then I’ll happily humiliate myself before the child gods of Lego.


My humble Lego attempt- after following step by step idiot guide!


Foul Weather Fun!

Giving up your 4 bed detached suburban home to live in a caravan by the river has plenty of up sides. You might think risk of flooding isn’t one of them, but this morning I got to ride on the bucket of a tractor! So, every cloud……….


Mother’s Day

I remember the day that changed me.
You sat opposite,
Dad inbetween.
We each held a hand
And when the moment came, I looked at you
And I could see that your only thought,
In your terrible grief,
Was me.
Holding it all in,
For me.
And when, on that other
Dark day
I came to you, breathless with fear
You looked me in the eye and said
“I’m ok, look”
And I did, and I saw
Such courage and such love that I have never known since.


Links not Chains

In every cry of every Man, 
In every Infants cry of fear, 
In every voice: in every ban, 
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear 
from “London” by William Blake


Anxiety; the plague of modernity. A dirty trick we have played on ourselves by allowing our societies to be overrun with consumerism, making temples out of shopping malls and worshipping the god of instant gratification.  Like rats on a wheel we make ourselves busy without ever going anywhere, whilst our brains struggle to catch up. They linger in that utopia that existed before we fenced in the land and enslaved the animals, modifying and shaping them both to our will. Before we measured our self worth by number of followers likes and swipes; before we obsessed and fawned over images of the unobtainable, before we settled in mega citys side by side with billions of others whose names we never know and faces we fail to see. Our minds are discombobulated, our consciousness disconnected from a primal brain that is still running with the deer. When was that sweet spot, that Goldilocks moment when everything was just right?  Who the hell was it that first decided it wasn’t enough? When did we become afraid of our own humanity and bury it beneath the cheap plastic trinkets and tech we discard as quickly as we buy, soon bored by their inherent lack of any meaning yet unable to see that this is the reason for our boredom, our ennui, our anxieties our lassitude? if only we could hold on to that boredom for just a moment, and examine it under a microscope what would it reveal? Would we see our own eye reflected back at us?  Would we see the trance state we are living in, under the control and command of those who benefit from our insatiable desire to consume.  This knowledge, this vision could break that trance and free us. The “mind forg’d manacles” of Blake’s eighteenth century London endure into the twenty first, if nothing the bonds are tighter and further spread throughout the globe. Never has their been such a need for us to wake up and throw them off as now. As the destructive effects of consumerism ravage the planet and our very selves time is running out for us to come together, reforge not chains but links that will bind us together in some form of positive collective action against a society that seems intent on our destruction.



These times