Posts Tagged ‘stuff i love’

Things I Love Thursday #102: springtime in York edition

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

York March 15 (4)

It certainly has!

York March 15 (12)

York March 15 (13)

Bookshopping…

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York March 15 (7)

York March 15 (8)

York March 15 (40)

Vegan cake scoffing…

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Aimless wandering…

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York March 15 (11)

York March 15 (14)

York March 15 (18)

York March 15 (3)

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& kitty befriending!

York March 15 (17)

York March 15 (16)

Hello Spring!

York March 15 (36)

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Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Procrastination Station #140

Friday, February 27th, 2015

makers gonna make, yo
(Photo credit)

A couple of nice things happened to me recently: I found out, quite by accident, that I’d been shortlisted (twice!) for the Charles Causley Poetry Competition… AND I was featured in this exciting little anthology of new Scottish poets!

The spine must not be bent back and broken, the pages must not be marked with dog ears, there must be no underlining, no writing in the margins. Obviously, for those of us brought up on library books and school-owned textbooks (my copy of Browning bore the name of a dozen pupils who had used the text before me), there were simple and sensible reasons supporting this behavior. But the reverence went beyond a proper respect for those who would be reading the pages after you. Even when I bought a book myself, if my parents caught me breaking its spine so that it would lay open on the desk, they were shocked. Writing was sacred. In the beginning was the Word.

As an avid spine-breaker, page-folder, underliner and marginalia-writer, I approve this message.

Five long reads about the lives of great poets.

This is really interesting: an infographic that shows you the number of books written in an author’s lifetime, at what age — and at what age their ‘breakout novel’ happened.

I know I was influenced by my father. He wrote dreadful poetry (The Death of a Crab under a Piece of Damp Seaweed) but he was fantastically good at limericks and chirpy doggerel, and was always making up rhymes about anything and everything. When we put our coats on he would push our arms into the sleeves chanting “Moley moley, down the holey”, and tooth brushing was accompanied by songs. “Yellowy teeth make Grandma frown, so swish your toothbrush up and down.” In a different time my father might have been an actor.

Reading about Vivian French’s dad really reminded me of my dad… which is why I loved this piece about what inspires her!

So hey, you know David Harsent probably won the TS Eliot Prize ’cause his bff was on the judging panel? Turns out his book is also incredibly misogynistic! Yay poetry!

But in much happier news, there is a new anthology coming, which will represent the poetry of visible and invisible disability, and it is going to be absolutely freaking amazing. Submissions are open!

When T.S. Eliot begins “The Wasteland” with a quotation from Petronius in the original Latin and Greek, he is in effect saying, “You must be this educated to read my poem.” Eliot relies on a complex mechanism of traditional imagery and symbolic structures to score his aesthetic points. [...] Collins’ plain-spokenness, on the other hand, welcomes greater numbers as they are, including readers who (by virtue of class, sex, race, or any number of factors) might not have had the opportunity to learn a half-dozen European languages.

Billy Collins: officially awesome.

If you want to feel like the laziest person in the WHOLE WORLD, listen to Kaite Welsh talking about her freelancing career on The Mountain Shores. (No really, it’s very interesting and entertaining!)

UK indie bookstores had a good Christmas! Yay!

Inequality in literary magazines and inequality in pay are both important, and in connected ways. The visibility and status of women’s writing is important precisely because of a web of marginalization across all areas of life. If women’s voices are always peripheral to male voices intoning from the center of culture, then their voices are peripheral on all issues: the pay gap, consent, harassment, rape, domestic violence, reproductive freedom, the glass ceiling, childcare. The obscuring of women’s voices in media platforms, however elite, however niche, is part of the obscuring of their voices in general; and a lack of commitment to, or an inability to hear, their voices in literary culture is related to the same lacks and inabilities in relation to their voices in harassment, in sex, in courtrooms, and in the workplace.

This is a long read, but it should be required reading for basically every literary person. (My opinion? Screw the LRB and the logical fallacy it rode in on.)

Related reading: I am pleased to hear that VIDA has launched a brand new Women of Colour Count.

Fancy a new literary podcast to listen to?

“And, hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy,
and then he added,
“it’s actually about ethics in games journalism.”

I know I am too late for Valentine’s Day, but Romantic Poems for Misandrists is basically the best thing on the internet right now.

PETS WHO WANT TO STOP YOU FROM READING IS SUPER SUPER SUPER CUTE

There’s going to be an anthology of post-apocalyptic short stories and it sounds cool and you should totally back it on Kickstarter.

His Muse, if he had one, was a window
Filled with a brick wall, the left hand corner
Of his mind, a hand lined with grease
And sweat: literal things

The great poet Philip Levine died recently: here’s a wonderful poem about him by Dorianne Laux.

The Handmaid’s Tale: best novel ever? Probably.

Christian is not an interesting man. He doesn’t enjoy anything. I have no problem gallivanting about with someone who has issues and demons so long as they have some flavor, but Christian Grey is just bland and damaged. Throughout the movie Christian makes it clear he likes to be in control but he makes this known the same way he might tell you he enjoys pea soup. Ugh.

Here’s the amazing Roxane Gay being right-on (and hilarious) about 50 Shades at The Toast.

If you are an x-Files fan like myself, YOU MUST SEE THIS TUMBLR.

Hello, I would like to live in this house, because OMFG.
(Seriously, someone needs to gif Clementine’s “oh my god, I love this kitchen” moment from Eternal Sunshine, and put it in the comments of this story.)

OMG Joan Didion just got even cooler!

Help save Tchai Ovna — it’s a Glasgow institution!

Edinburgh has been voted the world’s fourth most beautiful city, after the three really obvious ones. Woo!


I love this short film of fat women talking about their everyday lives, and busting some myths. (Featuring the amazing Bethany Rutter! Also, fabulous person with the glasses? I would like to know where you acquired your excellent shirt.)


Need a laugh? This is pretty great…
(even if it is on RHGN, and Russell Howard is a rape-joke-making fool.)


Ten years ago I was obsessed with Red House Painters, and then I kinda forgot they existed. I just rediscovered them and it was a great joy that made me feel 18 again.

Have a great weekend!

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Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #89: it’s the small things

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

A few little things that brightened up my January:

Good cake shared with good friends.

Once again, The Chocolate Tree wins.  #whatveganseat

Good cake shared with a good friend :)

This dragon.

Chocolate dragon!

This sign. And hazelnut spread on toast.

This sign is excellent.  As is the nomlicious spread.

Cutting through the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens as a shortcut when it’s raining.

Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, January.

Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, January.

My sister’s brilliant taste in jumpers.

Mole's jumper is better than your jumper.

My sister’s wry facial expressions. (Also, the fact that her hair looks great here.)

I don't know what this means, but Mole's hair looks great.

Fleeting graffiti.

Free your mind

Friends who come to visit, and bring you a little bit of spring!

A little bit of Spring in January!

& finally, knitting! (I just started learning, and I am already addicted.)

Newsflash: I am learning to knit!

What are YOU loving this week?

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Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #84: Autumnal adventures

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Goldenacre Path.  My new neighbourhood!

Pinterest-y photo of my sister on the Goldenacre Path

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This isn’t the first time that “autumn” has appeared on my Things I Love list… and I doubt it will be the last. It is my favouritest season for many, many reasons, and even more so now that I’ve moved house. I now live really close to the beautiful Goldenacre Path, and only a stone’s throw from Stockbridge. Both providing some beautiful autumnal foliage and last-ditch Scottish sunshine right about now!

Foraging! Brambles & elderberries

Autumn veggie stew, made by Lovely Boyfriend.

The best thing about living on Edinburgh’s “path network”? The foraging opportunities! So far, I’ve scored elderberries, raspberries and tubs and tubs of brambles, which has made for some pretty delicious pies and scones, I can tell you. I’m hoping to learn more about wild greens next, so that in the spring I can get out there and gather myself a salad, too!
(Not foraged, but also delicious, is all the autumnal food Lovely Boyfriend — aka Lovely Personal Chef! — is cooking up now that it’s getting colder. His veggie stews are to die for.)

My sister, usually known as Mole, left, & me.

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One of my autumn rituals is hanging out with my sister for Halloween. We always get together to talk costumes, watch Hocus Pocus and carve pumpkins (here are last year’s rather paltry efforts!). This year, we also found a massive spoon in a thrift store, and decided we needed it (for cauldron stirring, yeah?), and played a very scary game of Fiasco: the Halloween special!

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Lovely Boyfriend cauldron-stirring...

This year, we really upped our pumpkin game. My delightful new workplace is running a pumpkin carving contest, no less, so I needed to really bring it. Like the owl? One of the fiddliest things I’ve ever done! I don’t know how these mad geniuses do it.
(And when I spotted Lovely Boyfriend stirring a big pot of soup with our pumpkin creations sitting right next to him, I couldn’t resist running to get my witch hat and taking a photo. Cruel, I know, but you’d have done the same, right?)

What have YOU been loving this week?

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Budding writer? Creative person in need of a fun job? Check out the various resources and services at Bookworm Tutors. Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #79

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

This week, I have loved:

Reading old copies of The International Times
Re-reading my old copies of The International Times. This one’s from their special issue about Edinburgh counter-culture.

MATE
Greenery taking over. I’m on TEAM SPRING!

Vegan brunch 04/05/13! NOM!
Vegan brunch. Always.

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Being cosy.

The Lovely Boyfriend
Hanging out with the Lovely Boyfriend.

Ye Olde Forest Free Shoppe!
Getting FREE STUFF from the Forest Free Shop.

Making it Home book
This brilliant collaborative poem the women of the Making It Home project wrote! (See it better in our forthcoming book!)

OMG for me?  No?  OK :(
This freakin’ massive bouquet of flowers. (It wasn’t for me… it was for my neighbour, but they were out. So I got to look at them for a whole afternoon, and my living room smelled lovely!)

WORLD PEACE MANIFEST YOUR DESTINY
Subtle — but mighty — messages from the Universe.

Secret garden
Secret gardens. (There is A GATE BEHIND THERE! Mysterious…)

Students are SO WEIRD
Hilarious student graffiti. (Seriously: you’ve got a bare wall, a pen, and a quiet corridor… and you write THAT.)

Mascot
Cars who have their own personal mascots.

Sunshine over Granton
& finally, sunshine over Granton. (This amazing sight greeted me last night as I came out of work, exhausted, after my evening class. Thanks, Edinburgh.)

What are YOU loving this week?

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Budding writer? Creative person in need of a fun job? Check out the various resources and services at Bookworm Tutors. Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #67: Paris edition

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Paris (40)

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

Parisian adventures

What are you loving this week?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #63

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

It’s been several months since I did my last TiLT, and I’ve had quite a summer! Here are just a few of the things I’ve been loving loads since I last expressed my gratitude here!

Rainbows everywhere!
Long, summery days in my sunshine-filled living room, crystals in the window throwing tiny rainbows everywhere, drinking tea, reading books, writing poems, not having to go to work.
(Like my mug? I got it from Rust Belt Threads, perhaps my favourite Etsy vintage store after Edinburgh Vintage!)

View from our living room window, Hydra.
Hydra, Greece — Lovely Boyfriend and I stayed there for a week, holed up in a tiny whitewashed-stone cottage, writing, reading, occasionally going out to swim in the sea or scratch the noses of the town donkeys. This^ was the view from our living room window!

My SUISS class of 2012
My SUISS class of 2012 — Jill, Joanna, Linda, Dan, Daniel and Sarah, thank you so much for all your hard work and inspiration!

Watsky x2 performers
I MET GEORGE WATSKY, and it was amazing! Thank you a million billion to McGuire, Ryan, Jenny, George and Paul for making One Night Stanzas presents Watsky x2 such an amazing success.

Sneak peek
A great summer for Edinburgh Vintage with tons of lovely new stuff being added to the store all the time, nearly 200 sales and some really lovely customer encounters! Thank you everyone who’s browsed, bought, clicked, liked, re-tweeted and given feedback!

Vegan pumpkin pancakes.
Yet more delicious vegan food — since my last TiLT, Lovely Boyfriend has also gone vegan! This means even more delicious vegan meals for my very happy belly. ^These are sweet potato pancakes with maple syrup, and they were UTTERLY LUSH.

Rainbows over Tollcross
Autumn arriving — my favourite time of year. I have already started taking autumnal walks, foraging for early brambles, sitting in the blustery Meadows with my boy watching cute dogs chase leaves, drinking amazing Chocolate Tree vegan hot chocolate, and planning my Halloween antics.

What are YOU loving right now?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #62

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Things I’ve loved over the past seven days.

MY WEEK…
…which looked like this:

The Mermaid and the Sailors

Hooping in the Meadows

Barter Books, Alnwick.

Our rental

One of my all-time favourite things:

Whitby churchyard

Lovely Boyfriend

Sunset over Whitby

Kitties!

Whitby in the dusk...

♥ Hawking the second print-run of my book ♥ Hula hooping in the sunny Meadows, learning some new tricks ♥ Visiting Barter Books, one of the UK’s biggest second-hand bookstores, and one of my favourite places, natch ♥ Going to pick up our supposedly-bog-standard ‘economy’ rental and getting a brand-spanking-new jet black Fiat 500 ♥ Paddling in an incredibly warm North Sea ♥ Visiting a major literary landmark and saying hi to Dracula ♥ Lovely Boyfriend being lovely ♥ Hanging out on the beach til late with beers and waves and a sunset ♥ KITTEHS ♥ One of my all-time favourite towns: Whitby

Honourable mentions: Um, this! This this this this this! // I finally finished The Book of Men — I’ve been reading it slowly, savouring each poem. It is incredible. // Goes without saying, but… the sunshine. Oh my goodness, the sunshine. // Driving. I forget how much I enjoy it. Hooray for roadtrips! // Good sleep. Nuff said. // Lovely Boyfriend choosing to make his computer game avatars female. SERIOUSLY, this makes me so happy // Lending my flat to friends and coming home to find they’ve tidied up and left snacks! // Plotting big exciting future travels and possible mega life decisions // Tea, as always // Getting back into doing Wardrobe Remix. So good for my sporadic phases of BDD.

What are YOU loving this week?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Procrastination Station #108

Friday, May 18th, 2012

{13/365} Tea, book & bed

STUFF that the INTERWEBNETS hath fruitfully provided this week…

“[N]othing changes here except in memory. I loved the way chimneys cast shadows on sunny afternoons, the way buildings were made to precede you and outlive you while housing you, as if you too will live forever. The haar that crept in from the sea. The cemeteries bumpy with centuries of flesh. The way locals asked ‘Where do you stay?’ and my neighbours invited me for a ‘fish supper’. The way nobody is too interested in you – a great British quality, this live-and-let-live discretion – and yet you end up talking with strangers in shops, because Edinburgh people have time. The worn stone steps that lead to unexpected passages of time. The palatial smugness of Morningside and the smashed-up people of Leith.”

I’m becoming increasingly sick and bloody tired of Scotland thanks to the perpetual winter that seems to be happening (worse than usual) this year. Thanks to Kapka Kassabova for reminding me why it’s actually a magic place.

The image, from this brilliant slideshow, of Hunter S Thompson out partying with Johnny Depp and John Cusack (OMG, dreamteam!) made me extremely happy.

An extra-super-useful list of (mostly North American) print journals that accept electronic submissions (and therefore deserve a cookie. Postal-only submissions are so not cool).

Decide it is time to go on a juice fast, yes definitely, you will get SO MUCH WORK done on a juice fast, but WHICH juice fast, haste thee to the internet, it is certainly not a good idea to go on a juice fast without EXTENSIVE RESEARCH, oh look here is an entire website devoted to funny videos of kittens.

The always-golden Rejectionist: when procrastination strikes!

I really enjoyed reading this interview with fellow typewriter enthusiast Rob of Rob Around Books!

I love this illustrated guide to the favourite snacks of great writers. (Thanks Camilla!)

“I remember after a reading somebody came up to me and said, I love that political poem of yours, and my husband, who was standing next to me, said, ‘Which one? They’re all political,’ and I was pleased by that. I would feel the same if she had said, ‘I love that feminist poem of yours.’ It’s a point of view, it’s a stance, it’s an attitude towards life that affects, and afflicts, everything I do.”

This article is great, but it should maybe be called ‘ten feminist poets you should know before you start reading the squillions of others.’

The Southbank Centre are seeking poets to help them build an arts village!

Dear movie of On The Road: please don’t suck as much as you look like you’re going to. Thanks, love C.

Although I am not a parent — and possibly never will be — I really love Dorkymum’s blog. And I particularly loved her take on Twitter… it is so utterly right-on.

“Somehow I understood it in my bones, as deeply and simply as know I have hazel eyes and cannot sing: I was never going to carry a child inside my body, and I was completely at peace with that. The need, want and drive are simply not there. Nearly three decades later, that hasn’t wavered, though it has hardly gone unassailed by others who have felt compelled to critique or to pry.”

And speaking of possibly-never-having-children and things that are totally right-on — I nodded furiously all the way through reading this article.

Aaaand from calm-and-collected protest to righteously angry diatribe: I love Margaret Cho.

I have greatly enjoyed reading and watching and seeing the various tales of first love over at Something Fine. Friend of ONS Rachel McCrum has a piece up there!

“I like my fat friends. I like my fat family members. I like my fat colleagues. I like my fat acquaintances. I like my fat neighbors. I like the fat members of this community. I like your fat partners and your fat kids and your fat friends, too. I like the fat people I see walking their dogs. I like the fat people I see at the grocery store. I like the fat people I see at the movies. I like the fat people I see at restaurants, on the local trails, at the vet, at the corner store picking up milk. I like the fat lady who told me, when I went out shopping in a sleeveless shirt on a hot day for the first time in my life at 38 years old, “I like your shirt!” And I love my fat self.”

Amen, amen, amen, amen, Melissa! Yet another diamond from Shakesville.

And in case that Shakesville post didn’t warm the cockles of your heart quite enough — here are some hedgehogs taking a bath. You’re welcome. (Thanks again to Camilla!)

Do you have a friend who is like me, and loves vinyl records almost as much as they love books? Yes? Here is an excellent gift idea for you!

Oh my goodness. You’ve got to love Edinburgh!


I just discovered the brilliant poet, activist and scholar Minnie Bruce Pratt. I could listen to her talk about this stuff for hours.


Have I posted this before? This man is my ultimate hoopspiration. Breathtaking. And a GREAT track.


This is actually pretty well done and a must for Disney fanfolk!

Have a great weekend!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Things I Love Thursday #61

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

OK, it’s another visual TiLT today… but there are reasons. Honest.

Stuff I love this week:

LOWTHER CASTLE & GARDENS
Last week/end I took a trip Southwards across the border, supposedly to perform at a poetry reading in Durham (more on that in a minute). But I took the opportunity to go and visit my parents, who live in Cumbria. While I was there, we decided to go and visit Lowther Castle, which has recently begun a massive, multi-million pound renovation.

At Lowther Castle Gardens

When my mum was a child — and visiting Lowther regularly as many of our relatives lived there — the Castle was a ruin, and the gardens totally overrun by undergrowth and trees. The estate was basically bankrupted in the early 20th century, and the grounds were hired out first for tank testing during WW2, and then later as a conifer plantation. All the beautiful, manicured gardens — the Rose Garden, the Countess Garden, the Japanese Gardens — were lost under tons of soil and overrun by trees and plants.

At Lowther Castle Gardens

Lowther holds a special place in our family. Not only did my relatives live in the village — many of them were also in service at the Castle, across several generations. My great uncle Des worked in the Castle’s sawmill, and my great auntie Vi was the only person the Earl would trust to press his trousers! Further back, we’ve discovered that my great, great, great grandfather, Aaron Lloyd, worked as a joiner at the Castle… which means it’s very possible that he built/helped to build this little house!

At Lowther Castle Gardens

Happily, both the Castle (which has been without a proper roof for several years) and the grounds are now being slowly rebuilt as part of a huge renovation project. I was lucky enough to visit about two years ago, when they opened the place up for one day so people could go and get a “before picture” of the place. It was heartbreakingly desolate — the grounds were swampy and filled up with bracken and brambles. There were a lot of places you couldn’t get to. Mounds and bits of stone poked up here and there, so you could see that there used to be statues, summerhouses, etc — I couldn’t wait for the project to start.

At Lowther Castle Gardens

There’s still a lot to be done. Over the past two years the main work has been making the Castle safe, and opening up a visitor centre space and cafe in the outbuildings. In the grounds, the main work has been to clear the rangy conifers that covered so much of the ground, and to shift out the tons of soil that had covered up many of the landscaped gardens. Now, with only the original, mature trees remaining, it’s possible to see things starting to appear again.

At Lowther Castle Gardens

Above is what was the Japanese garden. When I visited before it was thick with conifers, very dark and without paths. Now, they’ve excavated out many of the old paths and they’ve found little stone shelters, stone seats, ponds, ornamental stream-beds and bridges.

At Lowther Castle Gardens

There are some amazing finds — people are free to wander anywhere on what is essentially an excavation site, so you come across all sorts of things. There are no ‘keep out’ signs or tapes… you can even go into the still-wrecked summerhouses (at your own risk)!

At Lowther Castle Gardens

The plan is for work to carry on over the next few years. I don’t know if the gardens will be fully restored to their incredible, highly manicured original state (you can see some photos of what the Castle and grounds used to look like — as well as a few interior shots of the Castle before its renovation — here).

At Lowther Castle Gardens

Personally, I kind of hope they won’t turn things back entirely. I really liked clambering around and discovering these half-wrecked, half-rescued secret gardens…

At Lowther Castle Gardens

THE OLD CINEMA LAUNDRETTE

So, the aforementioned poetry reading. It’s one to add to my list of Totally Weird-Ass Places I Have Read Poems. I’ve read poems in a medieval tower, in the Smoking Room of a gentleman’s club, in churches, in muddy fields… but this might be the weirdest venue ever. It was also possibly the all-time coolest: The Old Cinema Laundrette, Durham.

Old Cinema Laundrette, Durham

Once — you guessed it — an old cinema, the space is now a fully functioning laundrette (all of the washers are named after movie stars! We met Errol, Bette, Clark and Grace), a retro coffee shop, and a live events venue, hosting poetry and music nights. It’s run by the truly lovely Mr Wishy Washy, who made us very welcome and acted as an excellent compere for the proceedings.

Old Cinema Laundrette, Durham

Lovely Boyfriend and I were invited to read by the great Mr Kevin Cadwallender (who, by the way, is almost entirely responsible for the existence of The Mermaid and the Sailors), who, in collaboration with the aforementioned Mr Wishy Washy, had cooked up the idea of taking some Scottish poets over the border to read alongside some North East locals. Our reading-mates were Theresa Munoz, Jo Brooks, Colin Donati, James Oates, Aidan Halpin and the one and only Colin McGuire.

Lovely Boyfriend

The gig was amazing — and not just because I was reading, obv. The crowd was small but everyone there was a proper, die-hard poetry fan, and all the readers were on top of their game. Lovely Boyfriend read better than I have ever heard before, I think, with a set including his ‘Benghazi’ poem about the Arab Spring, his four-part poem about the 2011 London riots and his page 3 girl haiku. He finished the set with the now-quite-infamous “Prince Philip poem” which always has me weeping with laughter. I was a proud girlfriend, I must say.

Colin McGuire

My second-favourite reader of the night was — predictably — the great McGuire, for whom my fangirlishness is well known. I was extremely happy to hear him read a poem I’d never heard him perform before, from his self-published collection Riddled With Errors, as well as some old favourites (the “white” poem! I love that poem so much!). He was on last, and capped off a night that was truly brilliant — one of the best poetry nights I’ve been to in, possibly, years.

Old Cinema Laundrette, Durham

As for the venue — if you’re ever in Durham, please go and find the Old Cinema Laundrette (< -- like them on Facebook!) and support it. This is one of those niche small businesses that you just desperately want to survive and thrive. I liked it so much that I'd be tempted to get on the train with my duvets piled around me just to get them cleaned by Mr Wishy Washy! I mean, look at this place. You just have to love it!

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:
My book is well and truly into its second printing and now available for purchase — here or here. It’s the equivalent of buying me a pint! // The Wetheral Animal Refuge. Whenever I visit Cumbria I visit this place. You can wander around, say hello to cute kitties, scratch a pony’s nose and feel horribly sad about the fact that you cannot adopt any of the adorable dogs because you’re always at work and anyway your flat is totally unsuitable, dammit. // Freecycle. The greatest thing ever, officially. I got a new hula hoop from a lady up the road and it’s so perfect for tricks! // The Baked Potato Shop. Edinburgh’s greatest eatery, bar none. Curry rice + baked beans (no, really) = the win.

What are you loving this week?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!