I am a frustrated fiction writer. Not very unusual, most of us feel we have a book inside us. My problem is I know I can write, I just lack “oomph” to sit down and put my ideas on paper.

Way back in the 1970’s, I won a short story competition run by the local paper. My story was published, Mum cut it out and would show anyone who stood still long enough for her to delve into her cavernous handbag (one of those “organiser” types, with multiple pockets and compartments), she could never find anything in a hurry! …


One of my favourite ways to spend a day off when we’re in Cumbria is wandering along Cockermouth Main St (in fact I often give myself a couple of hours off at lunch time, just to wander, enjoy a decent coffee and peruse the books in the New Bookshop). This is how I found myself sitting in the bookshop cafe on New Years Eve reading page after page of Karen Lloyd’s new book The Blackbird Diaries. …


Nature Nurtures Me

Nature Nurtures Me

When I was a child, my dad would often disappear for walks. occasionally he’d take us with him, point out grebes swimming on the river, name the trees and the wild flowers or explain why we shouldn’t pick the hogweed*. Mostly he walked in silence, and it’s only now I’m a grown up that I understand his need to be outdoors.

You see, nature nurtures us. In the late 1980’s, I worked in a school in the suburbs of Manchester, it had a stream running through the grounds and some of our more enlightened staff knew that…


The Undersong

Lost, forgotten words fascinate me. At university I took a course in dialect maps, tracing the origin and spread of local words around the counties of England. I had mentally collected lists of local words for wild flowers for years as we moved around the country and later I collected words about the landscape and nature. My childhood fascination with collective nouns grew into a love of words that describe the landscape and it was at university that I first heard the word “murmuration”, it remains one of my favourite words. After my last post about the things we don’t…


How often do you stop and look up at the sky? While I was hanging out the washing today, I looked up and saw a perfect blue sky. Such a beautiful sight, but so often overlooked as we walk about, head down or looking at the road ahead. It seemed to be such a perfect moment, the farmer was busy ploughing the field that backs onto our garden, being followed by a flock of black headed gulls, swooping and calling as he turned over the earth. …


Too much of something can be beautiful

There are some things you can never have too much of and in a world where I’m trying to live with less, today I’m celebrating abundance. In my world there can never be enough friendship, love or creativity, but I feel oppressed when I’m surrounded by too much unnecessary “stuff”. I try to see having too much as a welcome opportunity to share, celebrate and find joy in excess.

My garden is a perfect example right now. After two weeks of neglect while we were on holiday, there is plenty of everything (especially weeds and long grass, but I’m calling…


Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and get in touch after my last post — blimey what a confused lot we are! Thanks also to the kind friend who reminded me that we can never please all of the people all of the times — and that no-one can do everything. The task of living a “good life” becomes overwhelming. It’s much easier to break down our intentions into steps (big and small) and recognise successes and failures as part of the journey. …

Tracey Todhunter

Freelance writer (green living /craft) Author: "Crochet: Learn It, Love It." Co-Author: "Engaging the Public with Climate Change" & "Handmade".

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