Midlands Menagerie – Rosy the Rescuer!

If you think I’M animal crazy, have a look at this lot!
This is my cousin Rosy’s animal family.

Tigger (r.i.p.) 
A Mollie (r.i.p.) 
Dan (r.i.p.)

Billie ( a very timid rescued puss who would not be petted until she was 12)

Mickey ( a three-legged amputee who had been struck by a car)

Eric ( Mollie’s Brother)

Paddy (adopted from folks who were emigrating) 
Seamus ( a lucky stray who followed my cousin’s grand-daughter home)  

He’s a gorgeous Russian Blue by the looks of him!

Bertie ( a cancer survivor ) 
Bonnie ( was found lying in the gutter with 13 stab wounds – my cousin and 
her family nursed her back to health)

Happy Days! ( Bertie and Bonnie on their hols!) 
Dan, Bertie, Lucy and Gemma  (only Bertie is left)

I am confident in saying that love of all animals is an element of my family’s blood!  Here’s a photo of my grandmother, MaryAnn Polland when she was a young woman, with one of her dogs. 


Word of Eye: Gifts from the soul of Martin Hodges


hodge 004 

You may already be familiar with the Square Sunshine blog where Martin Hodges shares his thoughts and memories and especially, his poems.  You may be completely new to the name Martin Hodges.  Either way, I encourage you to get to know him—through his blog, yes, but also in this book that he published in 2010 through Blurb.

Word of Eye is a journey of sorts—a journey of the mind and the senses.  It incorporates expertly selected and framed photographs of locations and details of the countryside  in England, where Martin not merely lives, but notices his surroundings and captures them for us to share.

More than this however, Martin translates these images into classical expression that draws the reader into the landscape and the experience with him.

One of my favourites of his four-line verses is a reflection on the spiritual men who once inhabited an ancient abbey. His lyric evokes their ghosts and they materialize as if by magic:

“Hushed conversations held in every brick and stone …

Of those locked in another world, their chapters read alone …”

From “Abbey Ruins”


Martin has the ability to look at a land or seascape and secure it at a specific time of day to enjoy whenever we wish:


From “Day-break”

“Where points of starlight wait to rise …

From flying foam to empty skies…


I think, for me, Martin’s work evokes the Romantic poets.  Wordsworth’s affinity with nature and the natural world comes to mind, drawing sympathy from me.  This is rare in poetry today—so many modern poets seem to think it almost a weakness to acknowledge the beauty of something seemingly insignificant, like a shell for example.  Martin is not afraid to express his admiration for the beauty of things.  Neither is he afraid to use rhyme.  This is why I wanted this book.

I hadn’t the financial resources to buy Martin’s book when it first came out, but I intended all along to acquire it.  At Christmas, I was able to order a soft cover copy through the website and I encourage you all to do the same.  This is a beautiful book with beautiful words and Martin Hodges’s love of his country and his world shines through.   Join him on his journey. You will be happy that you did.

You can click THIS LINK to purchase.


“shadowstalking” in Fields of Gold in South Hampshire, England

Good blog-friend to Kat and “shadowstalking”, Martin Hodges of the very fine, Square Sunshine blog where he shares poetry, photographs and interesting thoughts, has just received his copy of the book at long last.  We were quite fearful for a while there that the word “surface” when it came to post office matters might actually be encompassing the “surface” of the MOON!

We are greatly relieved (on both sides of the Atlantic) to learn that the book has indeed made it to its destination and in fact, Martin now has TWO copies, since we sent one last week as a backup.

In any case, the book is now safe in the hands of the Hodges family and we are most gratified to give this tale a happy ending. Mind you, it looks from the photo above, as if the book has a mind of its own and has gone “walkabout”. (No wait, that’s Australia, isn’t it?)

If you’d like to order a signed copy of “shadowstalking” and see what wonderful journey it goes on (to the moon, or wherever, )  e-mail me at poetikat46@yahoo.ca and we’ll set it up.  Otherwise, click on the image of the book in my sidebar and order through Volumes Publishing Ltd.



P.S. Check my bottom right sidebar for a quick link to pick up Martin’s poetry and photo book, “Word of Eye” which is on my Christmas list right now, since all our money is tied up in selling and moving house.  I haven’t forgotten Martin!

Sepia Saturday #23 – The Sorority



These are my dad’s five sisters.  I am fortunate to have met every one of them and to have even spent real quality time with two of them.  (At this point, I refer to my family tree on Ancestry.ca….being very careful not to get caught up in what’s new on my home page or else this post will never get done!)

I can see a little of myself in all five of these women.


The back of the photo has an inscription that reads:

“In case we have all changed beyond recognition the order is as follows:-

Top from left – Jane (Girlie), Rona   Bottom from left – Betty, Mary, Jo

Mary (b. 1919 is still alive, but sadly has dementia.  She is the only one who remained in Belfast, Ireland).

Rona (Veronica, b. 1921, died in Essex, England in 2002)

Betty (Elizabeth, b. 1923, is alive and living on the Isle of Wight with my cousin, Jerome)

Jo (Josephine, b. 1926, is alive, but afflicted with Alzheimer’s. She is in care in Portsmouth, England).

Jane (b. 1930, is alive and retired to the coast of Spain.  She lived most of her adult life with her husband Ernest, in Surrey, and then Devon, England.)


I believe, judging by the clothing, that this photo was taken in the 1960s. I love this picture because they all look to be having a grand old time, don’t they?  My Auntie Betty, particularly is laughing in her characteristically hearty manner and Josie, well, doesn’t she look just so sophisticated with the angle of her head and the way she holds her cigarette?  I like that Jane has her hands on Betty’s shoulders and Rona has hers on Josie’s in a comfortable and relaxed manner. They do like sisters.

I never really got to know my oldest Irish aunt, Mary.  We met once when I was 16, but unfortunately, I didn’t come off too well in her books because I wasn’t anxious to share a twin bed with someone at my aunt’s house. Oh well. I recall her being a rather hot-headed woman with a heck of a northern Irish accent. She and my dad were never really close (at least they weren’t after that visit).

My aunt, Josie is the wonderful person who sent my lovely orange and white teddy bear when I was 6 months old and I’ll be forever grateful for that gift.  When I was in Portsmouth back in the early 90s, I encouraged a reconciliation between my aunts, Betty and Josie, who were living only a few moments away from each other, but for some reason, hadn’t spoken in years.  I made my aunt Betty come with me to visit Josie, and they got over their differences.  In her later years, Josie seemed a charming and friendly lady – rather like Emily Bishop on Coronation Street

Aunt Rona always struck me as rather exotic in a Sarah Bernhardt kind of way.  When I met her in 1977, she wore rather Bohemian outfits and scarves which I thought were fabulous.  I’m pleased that I had a chance to visit with her back in the 90s at my aunt Jane’s house, in Devon, before she passed away.  She was a fun and vibrant woman.

Speaking of Jane, she and her husband, Ernest were so good to me when I visited them.  They not only fed me and took me to pubs and local inns and such, they took me on a wonderful car-trip to Cornwall where we stayed in lovely B&Bs and took in all the sights.  It was a trip I shall always remember. Jane is a mean cook and she loves to laugh. Those are just a couple of things I love about her.

My auntie Betty, as you can see in the photo, is someone with a good heart and a grand sense of humour.  I recall staying at her row-house in Portsmouth and having the best time – playing Trivial Pursuit, dancing and singing in the front room and eating take-away curry and chips! What could be better? My auntie Betty is the soul of generosity and she has a faith that will surely take her to heaven.

Now that my dad is gone, and some of my aunts are deceased, ill or getting elderly, I know it is doubtful I will see them again.  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet them all and spend some precious time with them. I hope they felt the same way.


OOPS! Almost forgot – Hie thee yonder to ye old Sepia Saturday where you’ll find others who are celebrating their families in fotos.  You just might want to jump on board.

Sepia Saturday #13: The Road to Singapore

(“Aboard the USS St. Paul (a cruiser) in Singapore harbour with my US Navy host.”)

On October 7, 1942, at the age of 15 1/2, my father William Henry (Harry) Davison, who was born in the Whiterock area of Belfast in Ireland, enlisted in the British Army to escape what he called “a dead-end job” at the linen mill back home.
He was assigned for the first 3 years to the Southernmost part of England in Berkshire, Hampshire and Kent.
Many years later, in a letter to a family member, he wrote, “In Hampshire, I saw all the goings-on for D-Day, but was not involved in that, as I was too young.  I spent the years from 1947 to 1949 in Germany, from 1949 to 1952 in Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong and the final year of my Army service, in Hampshire until discharge from the Army in May 1953.

(As written on back: Port of Singapore waterfront.  November 1949.)
“Discharged on 4th May, I didn’t even go back to Belfast, but did visit my Mother, who lived then with an invalid brother, Patrick, in Portsmouth.  The 16th May was the day on which I departed by ship for Canada.”
My father often talked of Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaya with great fondness.  He was the sort of man who, if he saw someone who even looked remotely Asian, would make his way up to them and strike up a conversation.  It gave him great pleasure to spout a few (albeit broken) words of Chinese or talk of particular districts in the cities he remembered so well.  My dad loved to interact with people of all kinds—he was a man who would literally give you the shirt off his back. 
My mother tells me of a cold day when he came home from work  in the downtown core of Toronto without the big wool sweater his own mother had knitted for him and sent overseas. When my Mom asked him where the sweater was, he responded, “I saw this fella who looked really cold…”
I think his Army days and experience with people from all walks of life all over Europe and Asia gave him a real feel for his fell0w-man.  He loved everybody.

“Taken in Singapore on the US cruiser St. Paul in the year of 1950 if my memory serves me properly.”

Oops! Almost forgot, if you’d like to see more great photographs, visit the Sepia Saturday blog where you’ll find links to everyone who’s playing along.  Feel free to join in!

Magpie Tales: The Pewter Angle



The Hollow-ware Men


The Hollow-ware Men were employed

in Worshipful Company

Oh yes! They moulded slowly

in a melting pot, where tin would not

crack and antimony made malleable

the metal under the hammer’s beat.

Rippled men in roaring heat

stretched and shaped liquid ore.

Their aprons black—

sweat on their foreheads,

red-faced men delivered  their rotund,

fire-wrought progeny.


The Hollow-ware Men—not alloyed

with the Triflers and the Sad.

Oh no!  For they cast  in bismuth

and copper, their vessels

to be filled with cream, churned

by country, rose-lipped youth.

Men of valour in velvet

and ladies in satin and silk

clouded tea with cream and milk

in the jugs of the Hollow-ware Men.


Kat Mortensen©2010 
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Visit Willow’s Magpie Tales blog to read other responses to the prompt of the pewter jug.