Sometimes friends exceed expectations and so it was this year when my friend Kathleen Mickelson not only took great pains to edit Three Pounds of Cells but then took a long flight all the way from Minnesota to Northumberland to read with me at The Stanza on 17th November. And I will never be able to thank her enough for her complete support because if I have little faith in myself, I know Kathleen  never bullshits me! In this she provides a much needed touchstone of reality. If Kath says it’s good — it’s good. If it’s not good she’d tell me! Kath got back home just in time for Thanksgiving and Jim coped with a poorly dachshund and the shopping and work so thanks to Jim too and to my husband for being so supportive.

15073329_10207849178123106_6215204103710419585_nMusician Peter Lagan was wonderful on the night providing some set and some improvised music upon the lute to accompany my reading. Peter knew the poems well having had a proof copy to work from and he took only a book when he could have asked for payment for his work. stanzab

Mandy Maxwell and Harry Gallagher provided the venue Beldon’s Cafe at The Exchange, North Shields, Bob Beagrie, Jane Burns and Cath Campbell kindly read and said some nice things about me and Steve Pottinger, a remarkable and very funny poet whom I’d never met before, was very lovely in his FB comment to me after the event. Two of my Unique Boutique friends Sean and Hannah came and they really enjoyed the evening and meeting my husband who doesn’t go to many dress shops as a rule 😉 15027730_10207834904926285_1524306528382672095_nAnd of course there’s Marie Fitzpatrick manager of The Linnet’s Wings, whose idea the whole book was and who couldn’t join us but we managed a skype chat which was lovely and Kath and I have plans to meet up with her next year.

Dublin you have been warned!

November rolled out the sunshine for Kath and we went back in time to 1913 in Beamish and had a pint in The Sun Inn (well I had three third pints) (and a half). You have to sample the past properly 🙂 We ate coconut haystacks and sweeties and then visited the dentist. We were so glad to be alive in the 21st C. Alnwick’s famous bookshop and a visit to Grannies (cafe), a stroll at Newbiggin, at Belsay and at Wallington where Kath met my Aspen from the poem ‘My Aspen at Wallington’ in ‘Cells’ 15095052_10207841780658174_8850453653149247064_nI never said it was warm! Just sunny — and with some very impressive leaves. Alas my camera is broken and I had to ‘borrow’ all these photos. I am hoping Santa will do something about that! 15036591_10207841780978182_8699333788644565938_nAnd I won’t even tell you what I cooked up for Kath’s visit — because your mouth would water… and some of you might want to visit me immediately and now is the time when prickly customers like me like to hide behind leaves and such and hibernate until the first snowdrops peek through. But you know there’s lots of good reading for you over Christmas from The Linnet’s Wings and they all make good presents so buy a book or a mag from us this year. They are gorgeous! Go to:

The Linnet’s Wings

canzonet16the perfect Christmas gift.

And as my friend Margaret Kerswell says: “And now I must sleep”