The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

So long, and thanks for all the fish

A bloodstain is always a disturbing thing, but particularly so when you find it on the underside of a mattress you’ve been sleeping on for weeks. Shortly after buying the boat, I turned the mattress and found a huge patch of someone else’s vital fluids. No amount of bedlinen could remove it from my mind. So imagine my joy now that Roger and Yvonne of Crown Narrowboats are building me a new bedroom, complete with spiffy new mattress. Roger and Yvonne sorted out my central heating last year and gave me my first warm winter on Tinker; so I’ve called in the A-team again to sort out the cabin. Roger assures me it will have a long and sturdy bed ‘which will stand up to a good session.’ Comforting, if not immediately relevant. 


I so often work alone as a travelling poetry evangelist, that I forget how exciting it is to exchange thoughts with another creative brain. My mate Hannah Fox and I are part of Living Derby, a decade-long programme of creative and social projects in the city. Our scheme to put art and words into the new City Hospital is under way, so we bounced ideas around and now have far too many to work with. Now to reduce them to one or two, and channel them into something productive. I’m raring to go… 


For friend Heather’s birthday on Friday, a bunch of us went out for sushi. Heather’s husband Angus and I took the experimental approach, and got what we deserved; strangely scrotal raw squid, and fermented beans which smelt and tasted of foot cheese. I’ll eat most things – indeed my flatmates once went on an offal strike because I kept feeding them the organs that other people throw away – but the raw squid was a dangly wet thing too far. We stuck to the lovely platter of jewel-like sushi and have learnt our lesson.


Now here’s a sentence you won’t read on this blog very often. On Monday I did an event with children. The wily Julie Young of Macclesfield Library persuaded me that an hour with children would be painless and quite possibly good for me. It certainly didn’t hurt me, but I can’t vouch for the kids. I realised halfway through that I had selected a string of poems about children being eaten by lions, devoured by Jabberwocks and burnt to death for telling lies. Hey ho.


It’s an interesting job, mine. Friday afternoon saw me dressed as St George, complete with tabard and chainmail, in Macclesfield market square. Adam Evanson and I were doing a photo shoot for our St George’s Day event. I’m still disappointed that Adam didn’t dress as a dragon but he did put a silly chef’s hat on. Three cheers to Donna and Barbara at Spivey’s Web for the costume… will post a photo here when I have it!




This entry was posted on April 13, 2008 by in Boating life and tagged , , .
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