Finding Huddersfield Blog 1

The Finding Huddersfield Blog part 1 – Huddersfield Sounds

One of my poetry/art friends (Hannah Boyd) challenged me to be part of a project where you wrote your aims for the next year on a plate and I am reporting back on the plate I wrote on this time last year.

My aim was to make Huddersfield our new home.

Spoken Word?

I have enjoyed nights at The Sair, Albert Poets, Queenies and Slawit Gallery. I am guest at Albert Poets in July and looking forward to going back. It was lovely to see friends Winston Plowes, Gaia Holmes and Ian Harker read there.  I have shown Louise Fazackerley and Harry Gallagher some of the local places I love. I have still not made it to Marsden Write out Loud yet. But I have set up a new writing session at The New Inn in Marsden (which usually runs on term time Mondays) £5 a head (£2.50 for your first session).

Marsden Poetry Village: I was poet in residence for National Poetry Day and I read some poems and encouraged people to write poems incorporating a few words. I was one of the guest readers, along with Hannah Stone and Jo Haslam at the opening of Marsden Poetry Village soon after moving here. 

My first book was also taken up by Yorkshire Half Moon Press after I moved across the Pennines. This was launched in November 2017 and I have read poems from it in Leeds, York, Sheffield, Slawit, Marsden, Huddersfield, Linthwaite, Haworth, Wakefield and many places outside Yorkshire. My next guest spot in Yorkshire will be 11th June at The Square Chapel, Halifax.

https://thepoetryvillage.com/2018/03/22/sarah-dixon/

Tramping feet and The Colne River?

I have been loving the different moods of a valley. Been enjoying the mist, the snow, the sun and the fact the towpath and river are only a ten minute walk from our house.

In the first few months of being here I was determined to find out what was over every hill. I lot of locals said I have been to places they have never visited. Highlights are Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, Golcar Lily Day, Longwood View, Castle Hill, Imbolc Festival, Cuckoo Festival and lots of traipses down the towpath and getting lost. I also learnt I can’t rely on a wifi map signal to help me find the way back in time for school run so a few panicked scrambles back to the school gate but not actually been too late (yet).


Local Trains? 

Definitely. Trains pass through the valley and we can see them from our kitchen window, my bedroom window seat and the attic velux. I don’t catch them to local areas very often as the bus stop is opposite out house and is direct to Huddersfield and Marsden every 20 minutes. We can catch the slow bus to Manchester which takes 93 minutes on a good day. This takes us through Slaithwaite and Marsden, across the moors and to Diggle, Uppermill, Oldham and eventually Manchester. The views are spectacular and it only costs a five for a day ticket. This is if you don’t mind bum ache and you are setting back from Manchester by 17.20 (last bus home).

Unexpected sounds

I made new friends after volunteering to steward the Christmas light switch-on. Pretty sure they waited another ten seconds before turning on the section I had helped replace the bulbs in to wind me up. We went to The Railway for some drinks after the switch on event was completed. I learnt you do not have one pint with morris-dancers and you better know the time of your last bus home!

I wrote a poem on demand for the Thieving Magpie and Oakenhoof Troupes. This poem was added to a Marsden Poetry Trail here:

https://halfwayhike.com/marsden-poetry-trail/

I read some poems on the Imbolc Story walk and enjoyed the story-telling magpies.  At Cuckoo Day I also met the Frumptarn Guggenband who were a lot of fun. The Imbolc Fire Festival in Marsden is in the top ten fire festivals in the world and was spectacular.



What’s next?

Next local events are:

Wordplay – Halifax Square Chapel: Monday 11th June 2018 7.45-10pm – £5 on the door.

Albert Poets – The Albert, Huddersfield – Thursday 12th July 2018 8-10.30pm – Free entry.

Next local festival is The Leadboilers Festival up on the green near The Sair, Linthwaite:


A Chalk Zoo

I draw a pig, a bird, a cat.
He sketches an aardvark,
a dinosaur, a platypus.

You clap, leap, dance on these
at our instruction.
When we obey your tasks
you complain
when we dance quietly,
want our bodies to shout
like yours.

You have given it all
and with dusk fall
your retreat for a bath
and tale about Mama Bear.

I visualise the paving
filled with purple giraffes,
orange penguins
and turquoise moles.

I cancel plans, to sketch a zoo,
on our suburban avenue.

I sear Saharan camels on to
this Chorlton pavement
savannahs and jungles
grow from my chalked movements.
I bask green in rainforests
and snorkel in the only Coral Reef
in South Manchester.

A murmuration of starlings,
a wilderness of monkeys,
a sounder of wild boar,
a parliament of owls.

All intricate in imagination
ready to be realised

When I shake the packet
one small stub of white chalk
bowls forth.

I had grand plans.
Instead I draw you a smile,
a kiss,
a daffodil you dismiss
as messy,
and a shrew holding a heart
holding your name.

You are delighted
as if the road
was filled with feathers and snouts,
with talons, scales, dinosaur’s jaws
and the scent of evolution.