Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One Hundred Words About New Malden

The soul of my New Malden cannot be seen from the high street.

But New Malden’s face is the high street. Its late Victorian backdrop of shops, red London brick, with sand stone arches, covered with plastic laminated shop fa├žades. Nothing special. The usual chain of names, like Boots, Woolworth and Waitrose and then the occasional independent shop like Tarmal’s – ironmonger, Pengilies – cobbler and Tudor Williams – a family department store. Recently Korean shops have sprung up, a travel agents, supermarkets and restaurants. And charity shops have filled the gaps where small businesses have failed.

Trees line the renovated high street.

One Hundred Words About Oxted, Surrey

We visited friends in Oxted yesterday. We had lunch and then walked down to the green. At one end a cricket pavilion and ground. At another corner a section fenced off – a playground, “for the enjoyment of all.”

On all sides of the green, the small town seemed to radiate out. On the playground side, the ninth century church with a clock tower that tolled the hours. At another corner the high street filled with small independent shops, a cinema and theatre.

Hills rise up on each side of the town.

I can see why they came here to live.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

One Hundred Words About Joy And Fear

It still does not feel like our home.

Sometimes when the children are busy in the garden or in their rooms, and Katy is in the study, and I’m reading in the sitting room, I become aware of the wonder of our home. And I am filled with a sudden joy, a tingling excitement.

At the same time, falling like a shadow in happiness’s wake is dread. The family scattered through the house appears like a beautiful dream that is out of our grasp. It fades as fear begins to spiral into panic. I have to keep myself in check.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

One Hundred Words About Holiday's

Being busy is easy.

I don’t have to think. Life has meaning.

Twenty students in a class, sixty in a workshop, students calling from the team room door, colleagues wanting to talk, emails and memos, lessons to prepare, work to mark, lessons to teach, meetings to attend, paper work in order.

On holiday time works differently.

The first day is always busy with urgent or left over jobs. But then the gaps start appearing. And all those buried thoughts and fears I didn’t have time for rise up.

It’s the sudden silences and the empty days that feel so difficult.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

One Hundred Words About Silence

I am making peace with silence again.

It is never easy. At first I have to convince myself that silence is precious. I sit impatiently, looking for a distraction like the television, the phone, radio and the CD player. I can feel my computer calling me.

Mostly I give in.The house is a trap of sound. In every room it waits for me, I struggle against it.

But sometimes silence becomes a gift.

I become still and just focus on the moment. I become aware of a great thirst, hidden by all the noises.

Only silence can quench it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

One Hundred Words About Tiredness

It feels as if I have lead weights in my pockets that tempt me off balance. I feel like a tent straining against guy ropes, pegs and poles and long to collapse in a heap. I stumble through the day tripping up over my words and sway as I walk. I stand in the classrooms and avoid the chairs. I drank two cups of strong coffee today. I cannot concentrate my thoughts keep drifting in a mental blur. When I lay down I cannot lie still, in the distance I hear the television and there are things still to do.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

One Hundred Words About A Busy Term

The mock exams for my six A level classes have been marked and handed back to the students. Feedback lessons on each question they answered have also been done. Timed essays have been marked and handed back with extensive feedback lessons. A Hamlet revision workshop on Hamlet’s soliloquies was prepared and delivered to over fifty students. Revision lessons have been given on Hamlet, Frankenstein, American Poetry, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Spoken Word. I’ve co judged a creative writing competition and co hosted the prize giving.

I have three classes of communications portfolios still to compile, manage and assess.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Three Haikus With Knots

Here are three Haiku's inspired by the comments on One Hundred Words About Knots.


almost asleep
the smooth thread of your body
twisted into mine


harbour rope holds
the stinging smell of the sea
wind bitten splices


on the granite cross
ancient double stranded plaits
woven into worn stone

(c) David Loffman

Friday, May 12, 2006

One Hundred Words About The One Hundred Words

Welcome to 100 Words

I’ve been reading through the One Hundred Word project entries recently.

I started the project almost a year ago inspired by a website – one hundred words.

It has been quite an amazing year for the family and my one hundred words chronicle some of the dramatic events of the year.

But the entries are more than a diary for me.

I’ve tried to use the entries as notes for new poems.

Only a handful of entries have become poems and some of those poems have become one hundred word entries themselves.

It is often good to put feelings into words.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

One Hundred Words About Knots

Barbican - LSO Chamber Ensemble

The first knot were the essays I had to mark this morning a knot of ink and thought and paper.

The second was an argument that flared up just before I left the house and gradually frayed out to a fragile peace as I left.

The third, were the long and tangled roads of the city that eventually drew me to The Barbican.

Then finally a fourth knot, a constant unravelling of sound that untangled all the other knots in my head. Different strands, overlapping, sometimes running, or plunging, was pulling towards or against each other out into the night.

Monday, May 01, 2006

One Hundred Words About A Party

Until early Saturday morning our party only partly existed in Katy’s mind and partly in mine. It also existed in all the people’s minds that were going to come, but nowhere else. We had not made any plans or preparations.

At eight we had a plan. In a hectic whirl we did supermarkets, prepared food and organized the house.

By six o’clock I was shattered. Then the first guest arrived.

It was a great evening. I welcomed people while Katy disappeared into the kitchen.

At one o’clock I sat on a sofa with Katy and my second glass of wine.