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Saponification – Sapoemification from Pieku to Soap


Lovely Veronica from Royston and Hayes sent me a soap [if you saw the earlier post you’ll see a theme developing here]. Not any soap, an enormous, fragrant, Hawaiian White Ginger soap, personalised with my name. When I say enormous I’m talking about 1Kg! Veronica had watched the progress of the pieku competition and decided to make a soap for the competition winner and would I like one myself? She asked what my favourite colours were too; so teal and mauve it is.  The camera doesn’t do great justice to the detail in the layering, including the glitter on the lettering and the Bray’s Cottage inspired pig. The soap came with full instructions for cutting, so I can share some out among friends, now the photo is safely in the can I’m looking forward to trying it out, it smells gorgeous.

I wonder if I can conjure up any soap based poetry……



Red Currents

The events of the last few days have left me, once again dismayed and confused about humans, life and how we interact with each other.  I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to be close to events such as those in Norway, how to react, cries of ‘what must be done?’ – should anything be done, should we just try to normalise and move on?  Then there are the thoughts of hundreds of deaths around the globe which could be avoided, treated, prevented.  In the end yesterday evening I could not cope with all the confused thoughts in my brain.  I wanted to do something simple, I picked red currants, but even there the metaphors caught up with me – so I came in prepped the fruit for the freezer and listened guiltily to Mike Brearley, possibly England’s greatest ever cricket captain, talking from his autobiography about the 1981 test matches.  Memories of wandering around Torquay trying to catch up with the game; which as every bar and pub was crowded out with people watching and listening to the game was easy, people shouted out the scores as you went past. Of course nothing has changed in the world, but small moments of calm help.

A playlist here

Red Currents

Garnet berries,
Arterial blood, drips from bushes,
Gathering should heal,
Life and death are bitter-sweet.

Warning – Illustration Friday

Based on Jenny Joseph's poem - Warning

The topic for this week’s Illustration Friday is ‘Warning’. I didn’t even stop to look for other poems – there could only be one; beloved of women of a ‘certain age’.  Warning by Jenny Joseph, encourages misbehaviour and I will always say we have no money for butter. Sadly there is no Red Hat Chapter in Suffolk – perhaps we should start one……

Phenomenon – Illustration Friday – The reach of my arms…

The topic  for Illustration Friday is Phenomenon, there is a wonderful poem by Maya Angelou called Phenomenal Woman, take a look and you will see why my woman has long arms and wide hips. I also learned from Lynne Clark aka @josordoni that there is a pattern of Loetz glass, called Phänomen, hence the design for her dress.

The Paisley Stoater

Illustration Friday - Stoater

Over at Illustration Friday the topic of the week it ‘Paisley’.  Regular readers will know I am fond of poetry and Paisley being in the heartland of the great Scottish bairds I thought I would find some worthy ancient verse to share. However, in my travels I found a gorgeous poem called ‘She’s Just a Stoater’ by Peter Thomson.

I have clad her in a tartan skirt; if only it was longer it might prevent her from getting erythema ab igne, a condition I used to see a lot years ago.  I picture her sitting one side of the fire while her old man sits the other side. She has developed erythema ab igne (Granny’s tartan) on her right leg, the smoking won’t have helped her circulation.  He probably has a tartan leg on the left.  I presume she pawned the ring, but she wouldn’t have received much cash for it as it was not pure enough gold, hence turning her finger green.  Still, she probably bought some coal and fags with the proceeds.  I have to admit I have no idea what a “HAWN’-N-CAN” is, in the poem; I’ve assumed it is a handle-less bucket that she is off outside to fill with more coal.

One thing I do know, he loves her; after all she’s a stoater.  I think this calls for music – Link to Spotify playlist here

Choices – Japonica Glistens Like Coral

Back on the theme of choices, in this pre-election period; possibly the most difficult thing for me to understand is war. When I don’t understand things I tend to look to poetry, art, literature; basically anything other than political rhetoric to try and gain perspective.

This morning the japonica is in flower.  Japonica makes me cry when I think of the poem “Naming of parts” by Henry Reed.  For me the poem is about the physical and emotional unpreparedness of the prepared and their essential fragility no mater how tough they are.

However, I also reflect on the poem “First they came“, attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller.  I don’t know that I am any further forward in assessing the rights and wrongs of the current disputes, wars and disturbances.  I do know they can have a tremendous impact on individuals and communities.

Difficult choices.  You can find out some of what your MP has or hasn’t been involved in voting at

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