Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Most High God

here I am
ready and willing to be a servant
of the most high God
and all the 
most high God wants
is to hide away
in full view
but that’s ok
I know the most high God is here
in the same way I know I am here
which is tenuous
to say the least
so we’re quits
the most high God can get on with whatever
and I will get on with whatever
knitting reality from fog

it’s a start anyway

always as hard
thinking it’s something else
often just a little whisper 

in the morning
tapping on my window
some little bird to let me know

rattles around 
niggling at my conscience
inviting me to make a start

coming closer
is it in the sunshine
or the universal murmur 

loved and wanted
on the doorstep daily
coming closer every moment

in the morning
niggling at my conscience 
or the universal murmur 

it never leaves
universal murmur 
always loving in the background

Friday, 14 July 2017


looking sideways
constant vigilance
being the price of freedom

over your shoulder
through a mirror
mindfulness brings freedom

freedom sets you free
to be enslaved
by its pursuance

breathing in
I breathe in
breathing out
I breathe out

well at least I try

Too much I.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

River end...

Completed a  River booklet - 11 more to go.



The structure is a Dos a Dos with Psalm 46 (RSV) as the first section and two further sections containing five cinquains each. The cuff and cover are made from 200gsm cold pressed watercolour paper and the text block is inkjet printed on 80gsm copy paper.

Here are the cinquains:


old memories
threatening the present
letting go of all attachments

all to easy
into ways of thinking
listen to the tender silence

inner tensions
future looming larger
only in the present moment

seeking progress
walking quite awkwardly
always hold on to the vision

glimmering light
that of love within me
present in the presence of God

all to easy
future looming larger
always hold on to the vision

swelled with rail fall
up and down stream the same
only in this precious moment

carved from water
freely given wonder
only everything demanded

whispered come now
unaware it caught me
(I was seeking something other)

in the garden
children of soil play
innocent of any knowing

Monday, 19 June 2017

New Coptic Stitch

Same size as the others but this time a coptic stitch rather than tackett stitching. Fifth book made in five days. Pleased about that, goes to show what making time does.
Been to Le Prevo today in Newcastle, brilliand guys, very helpful, came away with lots of lovely coloured threads to stitch with.

Simple Closing

Peek Inside

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Another day...

Another book
A tackett book, just a little one A6, I like that size. Discovering ways to work with images and Blog on the iPad. All a bit of a learning curve. The trick seems to be to take the photo with the iPad and then enhance it with the Image Size app then get it into Google Photos. Do this by opening Google Photos and uploading the image from the iPad.
Here's another image:

Take 2

In the middle of another tackett stitched book. This time with two cutouts. I staggered the stitching on the one above and it means that the sections will move up and down. Nothing wrong with that but I want it a bit more stable.
Learning all the time. 'Every day's a school day.'

Friday, 16 June 2017

Day 1 Book 1

A little decoration on an old theme.

Just trying to figure how this works on the iPad. A new app (Image Size) and a bit of googling and I'm away.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Molloy (I do make I laugh!)

process or technique
take this morning
take now!
I begin to reflect
before reading
this is because I am led to explore the difference between the words I have just read. “more of a process than a technique” referring to Lectio Divina 1

A technique is in a sense limited. There are a finite, though granted it's a big number, of ways of expressing myself in words, paints, sketching, drawing, music, acting etc.
This is because in using resources as techniques. I am attempting to realise something. I have some sort of aim in mind; a painting, a play, a song, some sort of output.

A process however is a a way of journeying without any intended outcome. This doesn't mean that there will not be one.
1. 30 minutes then photograph the result from the south west at an angle of 45 degrees from the horizon.
2. Import this image into Photoshop and apply a filter based on rules I will decide by use of a dice.

Techniques produce a desired effect.
Processes are more open ended.

Techniques are about achieving a goal.

Processes are about possibilities serendipity and unintended outcomes.

Techniques are about step 1,2,3,4,5,6 etc end result repeatable scientific method?

Process is about steps of randomness.
The path is traceable, if you want it to be, but has more potential for discovery and innovation.

They can overlap, and often do. I can be drawing and just letting the pencil meander across the page with no intention other than that of making a mark.
Whilst doing this I can be enjoying some reverie and suddenly a form will appear which I am invited to mound and shape into something.
This is how creativity happens for me sometimes.

Techniques can stifle.
They can constrain by their dogmatism; we use this glue, this colour, this card and this drill. This is how we make.
If we follow this sequence of actions we will produce that which we seek - reproduction.

Processes can liberate.
We have glue, paints, card and a drill. What can we make?
If we play with these things what outcomes might there be? - newness.

Techniques when practiced lead to skilful reproduction, processes when explored and combined can lead to unintended outcomes.
When we make an attempt to raise up our mind and heart to God we are entering into a process.

Walking on stepping stones are a technique for crossing a river.
If you are on one side and wish to get to the other side.
There are things you must be able to do in order to get from one side to the other.
Follow the steps, literally, and you will get to the other side.
This technique is ok to a point but of little use if you are blind, in a wheelchair, have a broken leg, afraid of falling in etc.
Getting to the other side now involves the need to be open to the possibilities and the resources around you, and indeed, to question the very essence of the task.
You may even decide not to attempt the crossing, in doing so you begin to enter a process rather than employing a technique.

I don't know that I am any nearer really.
Technique is about tools.
Process is about possibilities.

What does this have to do with prayer/ praying or getting ‘closer’ to God?
Language strains a bit. I'm not physically trying to cross a river.
These things are not about me doing, probably more about me being - God is involved.
What does that mean?
How is God involved?
I think there's a lot more wrestling time involved.
Maybe this discussion is about method and technique, perhaps process and technique are synonyms?
Language it seems has let me down.
Or is it my flawed logic, or will logic also let me down in the end?

It's how language is employed, now there's the thing.
Perhaps how I use it determines its meaning.
But then perhaps that meaning would only hold true for me, I think Wittgenstein had something to say about that.

It seems, like Beckett's sucking stone sequence in 'Molloy', 2 in the end it's all a matter.
It only matters when it matters and then does it matter?!

Spent all morning till now on this - time to go and wrestle with the weeds.

Sometimes  I do make I laugh!

1 Wiederkehr, M. (1995). Tree Full of Angels. HarperCollins, San Francisco. (p 58)

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Words End

in the silence
without expectation
gently returning to the breath

Friday, 26 May 2017


treads softly now
takes nothing for granted
walking into futures freely

when watering
just water


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The River

I forgot the river’s name
lagging behind the others
walking slowly now
unerring in step
grateful for every breath 
senses locked into automatic 
revealing something of the folly of it all

I forgot the river’s name
thankfully however it remembers mine 
and so I am enabled to gather fragments
memories of an uncertain past 
echoing down the years
tumbling into bed with myself
lost in the wonder of it all

I forgot the river’s name
faster flowing now
than is good for a body
but look 
the bank sustains the edges
holding up life in all its forms
gently now in darkened pools of light

I forgot the river's name
but dawn reflected light
sparkled clear as crystal 
bright as any sunlit dewdrop tear
on half forgotten pointed leaf
gently gathering 
mild morning magical mist

I forgot the river's name
was it childhood
walking back from school
paddling in new shoes
walking them dry home
wondering about transgressions 
even at that age of innocence

I forgot the river's name
sat upon the shore 
watching the others
splashing about all laughter
all light and connectedness
fearing nothing in those days
secure in her loving arms

I forgot the river's name
but not the blackberry redness
oozing in autumn’s loose grip
cobwebbed remembrances
never tasted so good back then
but then the world was younger
more disposed to smiling and laughter


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Book Review*

O’Rourke, B. (2010) Finding Your Hidden Treasure. London: Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd.

books come along
taking you by the hand
magically lead you to water 
you drink

there is no coercion
in "Finding Your Hidden Treasure"
the royal red carpet unrolls
enabling a path you always knew
to be covered in thickets of chaotic
because of hard won stories
others brought back
curiosity kept you
and now
sitting by the river
the highway

becoming no easier
but generously illumined by
a voice of authenticity
becomes crystal clear
invitingly desert smoothed
walk hand in hand a page or two
find yourself
comfortably alone
peacefully connected to everything
at last
even wanton fragments
find their place
necessary faults
in the landscape of soul

The last time I did a book review was "The Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds." That was back in 1962/3 I was at school and won a prize for it. This is my first book review since then so have a care.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

St Augustine

Your True Teacher

"Your true teacher 
will always be 
the teacher within. 
It is he who enables you to understand, 
in the depths of your being, 
the truth of what is said to you." *

*O’Rourke, B. (2010) Finding Your Hidden Treasure. London: Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd p91

Monday, 8 May 2017

Waiting on Morning Prayer.

awareness dawned
just aware of being
hand in hand we walk together

I looked for God
everywhere else but here
he waited patiently at home
for me

awareness dawned
coming home to myself
ceasing all the strife and longing

nothing needed doing
just aware of being
is enough to see the picture

pilgrim father
greets the prodigal son
hand in hand we walk together

rewarded soul
nothing to do but wait
opening to the mystery

Friday, 5 May 2017

Three Masted Prayer

50 Words:
“Your mind is not your friend - God is.”

My mind is not my friend - God is.
these words do not come easy
yet they bring solace
mind is illusion
endless storehouse of past and present
attachment rejection
constant turmoil my mind is not my friend
God is
though I confess to little understanding
just now
it  rings true.

Second Mast:
Logic and reason
have been my friendly
rafts getting me thus far
round and round
nowhere substantial
simplicity abandoned
for certainty

I have made an island
of the raft
mistaking it for land
now it is time to erect
the sail of unknowing
driven by the breath of wind
to some other shore

compass in the hand of God
sailing the welcoming
wide eternal seascape
of my soul
sighting hope
in another story
exchanging sea for land.

letting things be
mind was never helpful
living in the present moment

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

I really need to stop trying

no progress made (nowhere to go)
no progress to be made
nothing to do but to listen

one day
in mind’s busy silence
raging torrents threaten the bank
watching the soil crumble away
attempting regular diligent return
get away down stream
still  waters run deeply
just beyond
surface calmly reflecting sun
dazzling brightness
lost wonder
burning senses
shiny insights rippled
across soulscape
one day

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Resolving Paradoxes


see what to do
reflecting on outcomes
somehow now in tune with rhythm

what do I do
having to make a choice
without access to all the facts

see what to do
walk into the future
reaching out into the darkness

doing something
reflecting on outcomes
seeing if it’s life enhancing

nothing changes
everything is different
somehow now in tune with rhythm

morning pages
opening windows wide
touched by something deep within me

Monday, 24 April 2017

John 3:1-8

The Gospel taken from Mass today.

John 3:1-8 (NAB)
There was one of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a leading Jew, who came to Jesus by night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who comes from God; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him.’ Jesus answered:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born from above,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.’
Nicodemus said, ‘How can a grown man be born? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born through water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God:
what is born of the flesh is flesh;
what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not be surprised when I say:
You must be born from above.
The wind blows wherever it pleases;
you hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’

“You must be born from above.”
what on earth might that mean
born form above…
the ordinary understanding of words appears at first to collapse, but John records Jesus speaking these words twice and asks his hearers not to be surprised by them because it is the work of water and the spirit.
He leaves me with the idea of the spirit being like the wind - it comes and goes as it pleases but you cannot tell where the wind comes from.
Now, obviously, I now have the BBC and weather vanes at a push. These however only tell me the properties of the wind not about its nature which is always a mystery. It comes from variation in air pressure. What causes a change in air pressure? Ascending and descending air. What causes the air to ascend and descend? Heat and cold. The sun heats the air at ground level this reduces its density which drives convection to drive the warm air vertically causing heat lows. What drives the engine? Well that’s as easy as predicting the weather and as I know highly reliable, thanks to the Chaos theory.
Perhaps the message is unless I become insubstantial I won't enter the kingdom - what's that? - because the reign of God is made of such things and unrecognisable from a material point of view.

Language and reason have brought me to a threshold and although words may be all I have they are useful only as far as they go, as vehicles, and I abandon them at my peril but canonise them at greater peril.

 So get into the mindset of the above. Paraphysical reality or Paramateriality because to me, at least, it seems that’s what John is saying Jesus is saying that's what the reign of God is about.

Materiality is about time and places and objects in space time and ‘stuff’whilst the reign of God is about the hum behind the universe the cosmic background noise the inconspicuous which makes the rest possible - leaving me with the question what does make the world go round? Love perhaps, money perhaps?

You chose; today I set before you life or death. Be blown along, flow with the water or attempt to resist change.

Of course it might just be used as biblical support for the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation which would make life far simpler.

Sunday, 23 April 2017


gifted morning
another type of sight
watching life and its unfolding

crowning sunshine
warming up the morning
who knows where the journey takes us

gifted morning
never take for granted
one day there will be no morning

no senses now
another type of sight
like that easter morning sunrise

changes it all
the point and the meaning
watching life and its unfolding

stopping to rest
sitting in the silence
everything is as it should be

Thursday, 30 March 2017


green blushed with spring
six months of warm weather
hopefully new seeds are planted
old friends

change assures that
nothing changes
elements remain
if not the same
clearly identifiable
amid the new strands
there we were bumping along
when suddenly this happens
we became different
yet remained the same

trying hard to see the acorn in the oak
the rain drop in the ocean
the cloud in the river
and they are easy
I construct the horizon
set the limits
at times they are so very small
I’m tempted to feel ashamed
but realise in time that breathing
saves me like nothing else

it seems there is reality
and ultimate reality
like infinity which
isn’t just a big number
ultimate reality isn’t just another
because you smash one idol
in favour of another
doesn’t make the new one
any less of an idol

life’s searching
it seems
will yield up no answers
only more questions
because there is no end of questions
until the hard wiring itself breaks down
stopping the process
counting the breath
becoming the 'noble detached observer'*,

I come to see myself
as the horizon
running towards it
does not bring it any closer
only by stopping
will it come to me
like god or a butterfly
or some other illusion
which I can watch arise
and fall away

thankfully words fail
eventually I collapse exhausted
and am able to see
the beauty of the clouds
scurry across the sky
hear the dawn chorus
smell the new spring season
taste the food which breaks my fast
get on with living
while still alive.

*Giacobbe, G. C. (2009) How to Become a Buddha in 5 Weeks: The Simple Way to Self-realisation. London: Arcturus Publishing. (p95)

Thursday, 16 March 2017


grey day
sunshine hiding
seemingly anytime
yesterday today tomorrow

mind pulls this way and that
never thought to ask in whose interests
false delusion of ego mind
gets too big for its boots
ultimate reality clouds over
right mindfulness polishes the mirror
seeing nothing
going nowhere
constant vigilance needed
so not to miss the miracle of the moment

Tuesday, 14 March 2017


breathing new life
energy is rising
winter blues are almost over

50 Words
warm days begin opening buds
springtime gently strolls up the lane
blessing all in her path
generous lady
green mantled
fresh as a daisy
welcome back from the wintry depths
teach me how to savour moments
without rushing into some imagined future
help me learn the precious jewel of now.

It’s true though, all I want to be is somewhere else, when now is all there can be. Slowing down and observing activity in a non-judgemental way is the only way to live. Every moment examined without thought or correction or ethics. Emotion kills the present moment by making judgements over past deeds or imagined futures in which there are rights and wrongs when in fact there is only now. Watching the manifestation of necessary conditions. Watching them arise and fall without attachment or aversion. Bubbles in the ocean of mind which can lead to confusion about self-identification and wrong perceptions of my being.

Monday, 13 March 2017

A Book In Time Saves Nine

Started work on the “Classification” book, I just thought, as a sideline, a few pages a day would make a book in time.

A book in time saves nine.


sun singing out
warming and siren like
inviting me to come and see

50 Word Story
there are fields 
which hold pots of fairy gold
waiting to be found 
by those prepared to swap wanderings 
for journey
as intentions firm
options grow fewer
no longer having a hold
before the setting of the sun
unremembered promises must be kept
their meanings becoming clearer daily
deep inside

300 Words
Another seam perhaps? Without application and discipline all the maps, tools and gold in the money bag, discovery and exploration become impossible. Taking up the burden daily is the only way forward, laying down the burden daily, same thing, no one really knows the way of it. 

Said, join in the dance
said, form a ring
said, stoke it higher
said, see how they smile
said, joy is the game
said, all ends in love.
The old ones are always present 
engaged in the daily run 
making us laugh and cry in equal amounts 
as did they in their own ways
on this good earth

So we make guesses
call them truths
building ever higher towers
tottering over our insecurities
as if that weren’t enough
teetering on the brink of something
almost unable to bear the tension
building walls to keep out the space 
between us suffocating 
in stifling air

Who will free us from all this
who will lead us out 
into the safety of the wilderness
no one answers
very well then
this is how it will be
until the tower falls and
honest ignorance is allowed a say
we will ruck and maul around
as if in some game in which 
truth's severed head is passed from one to each 
back and forth until the setting sun draws our game 
to a close 
leaving all tainted
blood on our hands
sweating and worn out we collapse 
melded into mud.

Seek another way
step out bravely
sit by stream
walk by river

Hope is a desolate field
in which we sow our seed
until we find our daily golden bread
and learn to forgive ourselves
over and over again
I know the tune
it’s just the words that I forget 
from time to time.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

If at first...

you don't succeed

Not happy.
Try again...

Happier 1
Happier 2
Still not sure about finishing off though.

Time to do the daily mulch run another 10 bags should see me off today.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Monday Mulch.

Bright sunny day so best not waste it. Off to see Lloyd and collect some much for the newly moved fruit bushes.
The Pile
Just took eight bags in the car to see how many I might need. Fill your ow bags at 50p a bag can't be bad, quite heavy, I could only just manage two at a time.
Quite a weight.
Eight bags covered two beds, but each bed could probably do with another bag on each as it's a bit thin in places. Same again tomorrow I guess.
Two beds done.
What a great day in the sunshine. The ground is pretty much waterlogged in places but with the bit of sun and some wind it will soon dry out.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Presses and boards...

Today has been about making some presses.
I seem to be making things in fours so I thought it would be good to make four presses. They are from some 'found' wood and a packet of bolts from Wilko's. Worked out at £1 each - can't be bad. About 300mm x 190mm they will take up to A5 so I have enough to keep things pressed.


The other thing I have done today is cut all the boards chamfer them and laminate them with some thin card stock.
Laminated board.

A busy day all in all, just going to finish of the last of the boards now, so I will be able to start attaching them tomorrow.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Spine lining

Spent yesterday doing the bands other end of the four blocks. It was a lot easier this time around though I didn't get the consistency right yet. The tagging trips me up each time and I haven't got the finishing right yet. These are half decent though.
Woven bands

Adding some watercolour paper to fill the gaps between the spine and the sewing threads.

Watercolour Paper

Measure the gap:
Apply just a little PVA.

Apply a little glue to the paper and then mould it into place and rub down well with a bone folder.

The top pieces also help to stabilise the headband which is unsupported until now.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Too easily satisfied.

Started this morning with a will only to be somewhat disheartened. Seemed as if yesterday and all I had learned was for nothing but after several false starts I found this website. and had a go at doing it that way.
Some learnings:
It's good to pierce the hole before starting. It makes it so that the needle will pass through easier.
It makes it so that the needle will pass through easier.


This method just catches a stitch in the middle 
rather than each signature as I was doing before.
Tagging half way along 


It ends up with a nice finish.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Where's my Cigar?!

Getting there.
Just had another go and it worked a treat, well I'm pleased with it. Another successful day on the set of four.

Taming the Headband

The thing is there are too many variables for me. There's the thread, weave, tension, newness of it all and having no idea what I'm doing. The biggest problem of course is that every time I get it wrong that's another book spoiled, though thinking about it, I could always undo the last one.

I decided to eliminate a few of the variables and go for something that would get me into the weaving rhythm. I made a jig to simulate a book and it worked well. At least now I have some idea of what it looks like and the rhythm of the pattern.

I'm not trying to insult anyone's intelligence here - just hoping it might help other beginners.

This is the jig with the back and front below. I can undo and redo it a few times now and then give it a go on the book. I know it will be a different matter but at least I will have a bit more of an idea.



Headbands - good try but no cigar.


This is my first go at headbands, it's a bit like learning to swim by reading a book! Anyway here's what a false start looks like! Struggling with the tension and so forth, that and only having two hands.

Start again.

"Always we begin again". St Benedict was right.

Simple things learned by doing, like when it says in the book, 'from here on maintain equal tension' it isn't until doing that you realise the threads can be just gently tugged and they will hold themselves in the pages.

Seems ok...
going on a pace now and things seem to be going well - you see I know the end of the story!

Hmmm... maybe not!
Seem to have missed the kettle stitch hole here in my eagerness to get it finished. Eagerness is not a great thing to have when sewing headbands apparently.

Clearly the blue thread which is supposed to form the bead went walkabout after the first section, and there was me as pleased as punch, before close inspection!
Good job I have three more to go.

What have I learned: make sure the blue thread goes back in and round the yellow at each section. Don't be too eager. But it's a start

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Next in Line

Ready to go.
Next project 4 A6 K118 style books. A little bigger than the last one but the point here is to practise the binding style. I learned this at a summer school last year at the Grange it was taught by Glenn Malkin. Like many other things I never got round to making one in between so it's hard to remember  - even with his very helpful notes, so making four of them is enough of a challenge and should help get it fixed in my mind.

All sewn now. Just stopped to make an observation.

Today I have tried to be more relaxed, over the last while I have been a bit tense, worrying about getting it ‘wrong’.

I just thought the unthinkable - what if the weaver’s knot didn’t take and had snipped off the ends? Of course I’d just undo the stitches to a place where it was long enough to attach, and that would be that.

Funny where the tension comes from and how trying to be mindful helps out a bit.

See how that theory works when it comes to the next bit.

Meticulous planning, path-working and tidiness are the keys.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Three Sneaky Peeks!

I am really pleased with how this turned out. I just wanted to get a sense of the proportions of this book that I am obsessing over at the moment. It will make a nice little journal. I have a long way to go in typesetting the Psalms which I hope to print out and then eventually bind in leather. These little steps give me confidence and help me learn the techniques.


I have learned a lot over the last few weeks of folding, sewing and glueing. Each time I case a book in I get a little less afraid of messing it up. It's ok when you are on a course and the teacher is there to help and advise, but at home, on your own you have to sort out your own muckravels.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Ta Da!

Geography of the Soul.
Just taken these out of the press after a couple of days. My faith in myself has been restored and I am now ready to take a couple more steps.
I have lots of 'makings' for more like this. Strips of mull, boards, book cloth and some simple templates so I can make more at the drop of a hat. These are for little gifts and I think they have homes already. 
They need explanatory bookmarks now and then that's it done.


Thursday, 2 February 2017


Pleased to say progress made.
All sewn up now and cases made. I decided on making a cover for the five:

Book Cover
Learning a lot as I am going, how important it is to check and check again and to give everything a 'dry-run'. To tidy everything away after each process and to keep dry and wet stuff away from each other. I am learning that it is important to take time and not to rush, to scrap things that go wrong and know when to stop wrestling and let go.

Tomorrow is casing in and I struggle with that.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Back to Bay 6

Here we go, back to Bay 6.
Found a hoard of recycled A4 decided to free the log jam by getting on and making. Cut a pile of boards and folded the paper cut the mull and I’m on the way. Just a few simples to get me back into the swing of things.


All the untangling saved ages!