Burning ambitions. 3 Luib’s Cottages, Kilmartin, Scotland. 1997.

‘It is strange how my head can be so full of great, innovative, stories and ideas and then, suddenly, as soon as I pick up a pen and paper, all of this burgeoning, creative talent vanishes. leaving me floating in a frustrated void.
Fire flickr’ing tounges.

Tempting caverns within the embers.

Taking Sunday slowly, sheltering,

From the slashing, freaking, gusting weather

With an attitude of prooving our resistance.

T.V. and wellies.

The slow contented sigh of a man.

The crackling fire warms my arse as I sit with my knees up.

Blinking with dry eyes.

In my mind my ambitions burn, then mingle and merge , like smoke.

Confusing me.

Where to begin again?!!’





‘Refuge of the Road’ by Joni Mitchell. Lyrics.

(2017– Another few pages of copied out lyrics. Joni Mitchell called to me. Her genius lyrics so powerful for me at that time. Now I can see how impossible it would have been then, really, for me to settle down. I was not finished yet….I sat, drank wine and cried buckets when I istened to this stunning song.)

Refuge of the Roads

I met a friend of spirit
He drank and womanized
And I sat before his sanity
I was holding back from crying
He saw my complications
And he mirrored me back simplified
And we laughed how our perfection
Would always be denied
“Heart and humor and humility”
He said “Will lighten up your heavy load”
I left him for the refuge of the roads
I fell in with some drifters
Cast upon a beach town
Winn Dixie cold cuts and highway hand me downs
And I wound up fixing dinner
For them and Boston Jim
I well up with affection
Thinking back down the roads to then
The nets were overflowing
In the Gulf of Mexico
They were overflowing in the refuge of the roads
There was spring along the ditches
There were good times in the cities
Oh, radiant happiness
It was all so light and easy
Till I started analyzing
And I brought on my old ways
A thunderhead of judgment was
Gathering in my gaze
And it made most people nervous
They just didn’t want to know
What I was seeing in the refuge of the roads
I pulled off into a forest
Crickets clicking in the ferns
Like a wheel of fortune
I heard my fate turn, turn turn
And I went running down a white sand road
I was running like a white-assed deer
Running to lose the blues
To the innocence in here
These are the clouds of Michelangelo
Muscular with gods and sungold
Shine on your witness in the refuge of the roads
In a highway service station
Over the month of June
Was a photograph of the earth
Taken coming back from the moon
And you couldn’t see a city
On that marbled bowling ball
Or a forest or a highway
Or me here least of all
You couldn’t see these cold water restrooms
Or this baggage overload
Westbound and rolling taking refuge in the road

Hejira by Joni Mitchell

(2017– I copied out the lyrics from ‘Hejira’ by Joni Mitchell, who has just come on Radio 6 as I type this! It used to make me cry everytime I heard it.)


I’m traveling in some vehicle
I’m sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars

That shell shock love away
There’s comfort in melancholy
When there’s no need to explain
It’s just as natural as the weather
In this moody sky today
In our possessive coupling
So much could not be expressed
So now I’m returning to myself
These things that you and I suppressed
I see something of myself in everyone
Just at this moment of the world
As snow gathers like bolts of lace
Waltzing on a ballroom girl

You know it never has been easy
Whether you do or you do not resign
Whether you travel the breadth of extremities
Or stick to some straighter line
Now here’s a man and a woman sitting on a rock
They’re either going to thaw out or freeze
Strains of Benny Goodman
Coming through the snow and the pinewood trees
I’m porous with travel fever
But you know I’m so glad to be on my own
Still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger
Can set up trembling in my bones
I know no one’s going to show me everything
We all come and go unknown
Each so deep and superficial
Between the forceps and the stone

Well I looked at the granite markers
Those tribute to finality to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality
In the church they light the candles
And the wax rolls down like tears
There’s the hope and the hopelessness
I’ve witnessed thirty years
We’re only particles of change I know I know
Orbiting around the sun
But how can I have that point of view
When I’m always bound and tied to someone
White flags of winter chimneys
Waving truce against the moon
In the mirrors of a modern bank
From the window of a hotel room

I’m traveling in some vehicle
I’m sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
Until love sucks me back that way

Relax. 3 Luibs Cottages, Kilmartin, Scotland.

“Recently I’ve had huge waves of realization as to why I am still up here, in Argyll. It’s as if here, in the cottage with my boyfriend, I’m beginning to be able to trust and really relax into myself. Enjoy the possibilities within me, visualize creative futures and see that they are all possible from here. Often I feel tense and nervous still, but then realize I do not have to!

There is no ettiquette to abid to, no questions of dependance, no gratefulness to show, no pressure to ‘display’, ‘behave’ or ‘be ‘normal”….I do not even have to employ the kind of defense system necessary while on the road or in the city.

Through this I am learning a humility, allowing myself to become smaller, softer. It feels good, a balance being born. The only danger is completely forgetting how to protect myslef, or recognizing what shit that is in the first place and keeping myself in the ‘outback’, in ease and a relaxed mental space, with no challenge, until I die!

Its amasing how things work out. His landlady has contacted him suggesting that he rent out her room. I cannot imagine a more nourishing place than this to be and he has suggested that I move in with him. I’d be paying rent and have my own space. We both need/feel good for a bit of genuine company and support. It is almost too good to be true!

I can cycle about here and get fit. I can complete the jobs at the farm by arranging days to come over and work therefore not appearing ungrateful.

I’d like to get a camera to take some natural shots…the light on a tree, the mists in the early morning. I’d also like to begin collecting natural materials to sell at a market stall in the city. I can easily get a van down south and bring it up here to do up….for further adventures.

Although I miss India and my friends down south I am essentially happy here and believe it is too good an opurtunity to miss. I hope that folk will come up and visit sometimes. In reality also there is nothing stopping me making the effort, on this tiny island!, of going down to visit them also.

This is the most stable, non-pressured, open space that has ‘happened’ for me….provided that he and I continue to get on!

If feelings of loosing touch become too strong, I only have to go…..Relax.”

Thursday 5th December 1996. Braevallich Cottage, Scotland.

(2017– an unusually detailed, day to day, mundane entry. Editing the 5 pages of writing to give just the flavour! I think I was experimenting with writing styles and needing to air some personal frustrations!)

“Bitter sweet, winter days….foggy, misty glens and saffron, snow burdeoned, clouds. The low winter sun casts a pale yellow aura on the barks and bracken. Air that feels like ice. Frost lies in the shadows.
Slept badly, tossing and turning, awoke to the dream sound of my mother crying. I felt very frightened….took a long time to get to sleep again.”

Followed by a long description of a very frustrating day, trying to get my bike into a car, discovering that the car would not start, the saga of trying to find jump leads on my Dad’s farm ending with this telling sentence…

“…and when I went to hug him and to apologize for using his time, he stiffened and curtly pointed out how I always seemed to have to spread my problems widley and involve everyone in my shit…. I saw red. He said I should realise how lucky I am to even have a car. I do not ‘have’ a car. I get to use the precious farm car, that would normally be sitting virtually unused. I pay my own fuel, I maintain and keep an eye on it….o.k. it is depreciating, but it is an old , well-used car. of course I am grateful for being able to use it and I express that, or try to! I do not need to be told to be and therefore subtley accused of being irresponsible and disrespectful!!! Aaargh.
I’d spent 3 hours trying to get his car started, to take it to his mechanic to remedy some serious faults that would have got worse if no action was taken. I felt gulity that I had bothered everyone and stupid that I was not able to do it all myself…..judge from the above what is true. I began the drive into Lochgilphead in angry floods of tears…”

(after leaving vehicle at the garage, cycled the 6 miles back to my boyfreind’s house)

“Such a beautiful cycle ride back. Really cleared my head….The bridge over the canal was spectacular. The pink, slate reflective water, the heron flying through the clinging mists….”

Remembering freedom and feeling like a sinner. Bamburgh, Wednesday 4th December. 1996.

(2017– short sections, copied from a longer piece, regarding a family journey to my great aunt’s funeral in Bamburgh, Northumberland)

“Eight hours in the back of the family wagon today….to remember my dear great aunt…who died last week, naturally and not before her time.

We are a bizarre bunch. I feel so disconnected somehow.

Greeted in Bamburgh by the searing, bitter wind and big skies of Northumberland.

…awkard in high heels and billowing skirt, ‘going to seed’ body and hair, make-up less, due to my natural beliefs, and my nose ring removed as a concession to the occasion. Suddenly dirty nails and peeling nail varnish….

….our family, en masse, has an embarressing habit of taking over, entire, public spaces. We seem to roar our appreciation, or distaste, at immeidiate surroundings, explore them, arrange ourselves over a vast area and relax as if they are our front room. The old guy, trying to have a quiet pint, in the corner, will definately have something to say when he gets home!….

..I swallowed my giant yorkshire pudding, peas and chips, along with any misconceptions, I’d ever had, that I’d ever fit in, comfortably, in their eccentric world. In some ways I compliment it beautifully….but the secure fantasy of it all unsettles me.

Back into the bitter air. Better.

The church stood, solid and square between blackened bent trees…

She had chosen three, intriquing and obscure hymns that no-one sung very well. I did cry, but more for the fragility of human lives and the lack of any true, spiritual meaning, than out of greif.

She had represented freedom to me…a blunt directness in speech….a filthy sense of humour….a terrific courage….and revelry in spinsterdom.

The skies outside the church windows turned moody and wild, threatening snow. This was the Northumberland she loved. I longed to go. To escape to the dunes, perhaps with a miniture malt and some tabacco, and remember her there instead. Although she had been a devout Christian and her faith was a big part of her strength, my great aunt was most herself on those desolate beaches.

I took communion and felt like a sinner. I suffered and felt guilty under the eyes of the Lord and left the church, back into the suffocating back of the car and on to the grave, grave yard.

Wondering about people. How far beyond our grasp the understanding really is of these worlds within worlds, the living and dying. How pathetic our attempts to rationalize it all….

…collected the dog who smelt of biscuits and someone elses house, then back to ‘home’, Braevallich, with all of it’s histories.

I dreamt of a new life with D. while that little voice , in the back of my brain, kept repeating, “Nah, fuck it all.” to romance.”