Thursday, 17 May 2018


Wains Hotel. Taken from out of the bus window yesterday. 

Lately I have been enjoying life more than I have for a long time. If you want a bit more more elaboration as to the whys and wherefores, go HERE

One of my husband's favourite songs is 'Freedom' as sung by Richie Havens on the Woodstock album.

These days I can hear that song ringing out in my inner ear.

Freedom to take a bus or walk.
Freedom of choice.
Freedom to believe in something, or not to believe.
Freedom to speak your mind.
Freedom to be a good person.

It's all something I do not take for granted. Ever.

Freedom to imagine God not as a puppet master, but a parent.
Freedom to believe there is no God, no heaven.
Freedom to believe the opposite is true.
Freedom to imagine.
Freedom to be a realist.
Freedom to be yourself, true to your own nature, leanings, personality, temperament.

My very Scottish city, Dunedin. This photo was taken in the Octagon (the eight-sided middle of the shopping centre). In the background, the Town Hall and in the foreground, a statue of the Scottish bard, Robbie Burns.  
If you look closely you'll see that yesterday Robbie was holding a joint / smoke ... No doubt placed by some joker, or protestor, and no doubt it will have been removed by Council workers by now. Not a good look for tourists. I found it rather amusing, however. I liked the idea of Rab chilling out, having a toke while the ever-present, opportunistic seagull took a rest on his curly locks.

Dunedin (the old name for Edinburgh) was settled by Presbyterian Scots, one of whom was Robbie Burns' uncles (or was he the nephew? Nae matter). Some would say that a remnant of that conservative Scottish influence can still be found in this rather reserved city. There are families living here who can trace their ancestors back to the first settlers who arrived by ship from Scotland in the 1860"s. However, Dunedin is growing more and more cosmopolitan, and I for one love to see that. Different cultures and languages and customs, add welcome variety and diversity. It's what makes the world go round. Its where progress exists.

As well, Dunedin prides itself on being a UNESCO City of Literature. However, in my experience, so far it is failing to fully employ, or utilise, this status. The city is not very good at supporting the people who supply the literature. Not on an equal basis, anyway. It needs to embrace more innovative means of supporting the many writers and artists who live in Dunedin.

I am pleased to have been included a little in the Dunedin lit. scene, with a poem of mine being printed on a wooden seat in a part of town that is being refurbished to enhance the historical aspect of what was once the city's wharf area; now quickly becoming a place for cafes and artisan studios and businesses.

Another Dunedin icon - a rather more modern one than the Burns statue. A wind sculpture positioned outside the city's library. I'm rather fond of it. It has a very eighties vibe. I have no idea of its official title, but I quite like the idea of dubbing it the Twirlyjig.

Ah, the freedom to give a sculpture a nickname, to blow with the wind; or not. At present I am in the mood for leaning towards following whims and where the wind takes me. Let's hope it doesn't twirl me dizzy, or simply lead me back to where I started from.


Avus said...

Your post (and the link) reflect the serenity which comes with "maturity" (I eschew "age"!)

You seem to be enjoying a new, relaxed way of life, Kay.

kj said...

kay! what a joy to read all this and to see your surroundings inside and out. Congratulations on a life I too understand. You've earned the means to do whatever you wish.

Your quote on the bench is very very cool! I smiled looking at it.

If you ever come to the east coast of America, you know I would love to see you. No doubt we're already buds.


Kay Cooke said...

Avus - Maturity - I can only hope that does indeed come with age!

Kay Cooke said...

KJ - Hello there dear friend - Great to see you here again. Yes. It's a great feeling that feeling of reward and freedom.

Of course I would visit if ever in your corner - we'll just pick up from where we were last talking Im sure. :)

Roderick Robinson said...

No more imperatives (ie, to write). Hmm.

The liberating sense of not being read. Hmm.

Leaving the writer-rat-race. Hmm.

But how about writing better? The urge to find out how something, recently started, ends up? To write a short story about something you don't like just to see if it's possible? To convert one enthusiasm (learning to sing at a great age) into another (verse dabbling):

Like some unwanted old bassoon,
Sad comic of the orchestra,
Conduit of mistaken farts and groans,
Now left to gather attic dust,
Reeds split, keypads unstuck, the case
A velvet nest for mice and memories
Of Bartok and a starring Mozart role,

To maintain that strange urge that began, aged 10? 12? sitting at my mother's double-keyboard typewriter (It pre-dated the shift key.) to write a story about boxing of which I wot not anything? To say Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! - I could, I must write about that? To change styles and create a conceit? To conceive of experience as a great dam gradually filling up and which may usefully be tapped.

I retired from 44 years in journalism in 1995, fiddled for a couple of years doing freelance, moved to rural Herefordshire in 1998, travelled (three times to NZ), started a blog 1416 posts ago and issued a zillion comments, re-comments and re-re-comments. Since 2008 I have completed four novels and 30,000 words of a fifth. About forty Shakespearean format sonnets, forty short stories. Started learning to sing two-and-a-bit years ago and wrote a book about that. And here I am writing yet another long, probably boastful certainly patronising, typical Brit type comment about the madness that is writing.

I must confess that singing is a serious challenge to writing. You talk about freedom and the awful temptation about music (from the inside, not just listening) is that it frees you from words as you gradually become fluent in another - superior? - language. You reach Frost's road not taken and you take it, risking everything. But then I can't sing to you about all this, words must suffice, and I'm doing my best with them.

Kay Cooke said...

Going to have to think about all this! Thank you for food for thought - meat - a good steak - appreciated. I am still reeling from the delight of release. I think there is power in letting go. That is basically what I’ve done. I am intrigued to see what ‘comes back’ or what is generated from this new phase. So far what is happening is only positive. The world has opened up and lo and behold, it is an oyster! I am loving this freedom of choice. Frost’s two roads lie before me? maybe? I don’t know. But one thing for sure - I will keep you (and anyone else interested) posted.

Kay Cooke said...

Above comment for you Roderick Robinson. ( Such a great name!)

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...