Thursday, 8 April 2010


I'm in Delft, enjoying the apparent simplicity of my task: to look after three very kittenish cats while my sister is away, to walk about the tilting, tiled streets and canals, learn how to cook some new food, write my 1000 words a day, read, a lot – Landing Light (Don Paterson); Distance and Proximity (Thomas A.Clark); The Complete Writings of Emily Carr; Strong Words (Bloodaxe's Modern Poets on Modern Poetry) and Strong Medicine, a book about the history of general practice on Canada's northwest coast.

It's perverse how much easier these things are, away from home.

The Dutch folk big and small whizz about very upright on their bicycles, and I am accommodating to the generalisation; walking more upright, and feel my lungs unruffling, uncreasing, unrolling like a pair of sails. Sometimes it's a relief to be anonymous, and sometimes, as the other day, it's a treat to have the small-world experience.

When I leave Shetland, I don't expect to run into anyone I know, but in Edinburgh Airport I met a friend, from Edinburgh, who I first met at the Fiddle Frenzy writing course last summer, in Shetland, who was on my flight to the Netherlands with her partner. When I settled into my seat, the woman next to me said "excuse me, I have a feeling I know you, from a reading at the Scottish Poetry Library..."

Squid for my tea...

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