Sunday, 28 June 2009

What shall we do without timber?

The Beech Cathedral at Blaise Castle Estate Bristol. Photo ©Shedman

Something Understood: Dark Sanctuary
Great programme by Fergal Keane on BBC Radio 4, exploring the physical and fairytale world created by the forest. He ends with 'Lights Out' by Edward Thomas - one of those Dymock poets:

Lights Out

I have come to the borders of sleep,
The unfathomable deep
Forest where all must lose
Their way, however straight,
Or winding, soon or late;
They cannot choose.

Many a road and track
That, since the dawn's first crack,
Up to the forest brink,
Deceived the travellers,
Suddenly now blurs,
And in they sink.

Here love ends,
Despair, ambition ends,
All pleasure and all trouble,
Although most sweet or bitter,
Here ends in sleep that is sweeter
Than tasks most noble.

There is not any book
Or face of dearest look
That I would not turn from now
To go into the unknown
I must enter and leave alone
I know not how.

The tall forest towers;
Its cloudy foliage lowers
Ahead, shelf above shelf;
Its silence I hear and obey
That I may lose my way
And myself.

(Also check out Analysis: Thought Experiments - Janet Radcliffe Richards looks at a fascinating range of new experiments shedding light on how humans make moral choices.)

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Ledbury, Poetry and Sheds

And as a prelude to Ledbury Poetry Festival, Shedman is closely reading The Dymock Poets, a fascinating study of the group of Georgian Poets who gathered in Dymock near Ledbury just before the First World War. The group included Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke and the American poet Robert Frost, as well as visitors such as Ivor Gurney and W.H. Davies.

Brian Patten recently featured W.H.Davies in a fascinating programme in the Radio 4, Lost Voices. Davies is famous for the lines:
'What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?'

Contrary to popular belief, Shedman (John Davies) isn't related to W.H.D., but their philosophy is pretty much the same.

Ledbury's poetry connections run much deeper though. It's been home to three famous poets William Langland, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and John Masefield. Masefield was born here, and W.H.Auden was married here. An interesting question is whether Wystan Hugh used his initials in emulation of W.H. (William Henry) Davies?

Shedman will be at Ledbury Poetry Festival over National Shed Week. His beautiful 8' x 6' shed, provided by NFP Ledbury, will be outside Ledbury's ancient Burgage Hall from Saturday July 4th to Sunday July 12th. The shed, worth £400, will be raffled to raise money for charity.

Shedworld recommends...

Some shed books to inspire , intrigue and inform. Thanks to Alistair for recommending Heidegger's Hut.

New Mexico Toilet

Samuel Hicks is a young photographer whose work has already appeared in Intersection, Wallpaper and The Sunday Times Magazine and has been selected for several awards notably The London Photographic Awards, Association of Photographers Awards and Creative Review Photography Annual. He has recently been selected by Archive Magazine as one of the Best 200 Advertising Photographers Worldwide, 2008.

On the Way, at the Crane Kalman Gallery in Brighton, is his first solo exhibition. The images 'are from three trips to the States over eighteen months, driving through Texas, New Mexico, California and Nevada. These trips were essentially quite loose; sometimes we knew we had to be at a specific place in a week's time, but how we got there and where we stopped was decided along the way, sometimes by looking at the map, or often asking someone what it was like there. I wanted to have a look around, see for myself...' Samuel Hicks, 2008

These words reminded Shedman of a passage in A Hut of One's Own by Ann Cline:
'The highway to Wim Wender's haunting, yet ever-so-familiar Paris, Texas is the road of modern longing: to be on some roads, but not on all roads. The pain we feel comes less from the choices we make than from those we cannot consummate, those we leave behind. Longing knows no privilege.' (Discuss!)

Samuel Hicks: On The Way runs from 4th June to 19th July 2009 at Crane Kalman Brighton, 38 Kensington Gardens, North Laine, Brighton BN1 4AL. For further information, please call 01273 697096 or visit

Saturday, 20 June 2009

He Mail: Send him a message

He’s in the shed
It’s just you and him.
What would you really like to say to him, one to one?

Following last years' very successful Best Mates workshop at Brighton Jubilee Library for Fathers' Day (Father's Day?), Shedman was asked back to run another this year.

People were invited to send a message to 'that man'. A text or a tweet ('140 characters in search of a dad'), a letter or a poem.

This year quite a few of the participants wrote a secret message to their special male parent and they're not available to share. But here are some that Shedman can share together with some from last year. If you're looking for some wonderful ways to write to 'that man' for Father's Day, look no further. But please credit the participants.

Many thanks to Blaise, Nina, Eve, Eilieh, Freya, Ana, Liam, Pippa, Piper, Lola, Paul, Celeste, Phoebe, Andrew and Daniel and all who attended and had fun with words - and to the library staff (especially Norah and Paola). Thanks to Brighton and Hove Council for the 'Men Behaving Dadly' bag and to Mrs Shedman for lunch and so much more.

Daddy, you're amazing,
Daddy you're the best!

Daddy I love you dearly,
Daddy you beat the rest!

Daddy your are fantastic,
So full of life and fun!

Daddy I love you greatly,
Daddy you are my... SUN!

By Lola

* * * * * * * * * *

Daddy is a star
He likes to dive in the sea
Oh, Father's Day
Oh, Father's Day
What will you give to him and me?
Oh, Daddy I love you so
You're a star in my heart
the wind in my soul
You're the colour in my cheeks
and the curls in my hair
Oh, Daddy I love you so.
Love you, love you, love you...

By Pippa

* * * * * * * * * *

Hello Dobs,
I love you very much!
You make me laugh with your bad jokes.
You always try to be cool
saying all the slang words
but it just makes us laugh.
Today we won't tease you
about all the silly things
because it's your day
when you can do whatever you like!
I like going out with you
as you buy me loads of things
and we have special times.

Love you.
Lots of love (especially on Father's Day) from the best daughter EVER!

Roses are red
violets are blue.
I love my daddy
he is cool.

By Celeste

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Dad
I am so glad you are still
here. It has been a strange development
in our relationship when you were so ill
back in the winter but although it
was stressful I think we connected in
a way we have never done.

My father is alive and well
My father is dead
My father is alive
Inside my head

It doesn't matter now,
all those distances are irrelevant now
and what is left is all there is
and that's fine

Hope you continue to stay well and enjoy
the remaining years. See you soon.


(PW who is now a Dad himself said he wrote the middle four lines when he was a teenager and going through a very tough time with his dad.)

* * * * * * * * * *

Best Mates 2008
The theme last year was 'What's he like...?' and workshop participants answered a questionnaire that they then turned into a poem...

He’s as blue as the ocean,
He’s as tall as a fir tree,
He’s as sweet as a lavender,
He’s as funny as a daddy long legs,
He’s as cuddly as a bear
He swoops so high as a Pterodactyl in the sky
He speeds as fast as a Jaguar
He’s as gentle as a Labrador
He’s as tall as the mountains in Switzerland.

* * * * * * * * * *

My dad is a warm yellow, as bright as the sun,
If he were a tree he would be a soft willow hidden in an enchanted forest,
As a flower he would be a deep red rose with the softest petals ever,
He’s a stick insect, plain but lovely,
He’s an elephant, calm and beautiful,
He’s an albatross ready to spread his wings,
He’s a vintage mini, cranky but kind,
He’s a cuddly little scottie dog, happy and charming,
He’s India, full of cultures and different civilisations,
Everything that he’s ever done has been the BEST!

Kate Flood

* * * * * * * * * *

His snot must have been green - but
He was sweet as an edible chestnut
And when he danced he was gazelle-like
Toiling like a worker bee on his bike
Soaring high like an osprey
Roaring down hills like an E type Jag
On his skateboard dodging lurchers and fangs
Thinking of hols in the Isle of Scilly
And muhery breakfast in bed with aprons that were frilly.

Oscar B

* * * * * * * * * *

My dad twists like a green gnarled oak
Rooted at the centre of a dark wood.
Briar roses twist around his trunk,
Black beetles gleam on his bark.
A hood-eyed old owl sits in his shade,
Dreaming of past lives spent sleeping
In slothful baryons. In the distance
A wolfhound barks, an old car
sits half timbered at the edge
Of a country lane. He is an Ireland
Of deep red autumns. Now we wade
For hours through his crisp curled leaves.


* * * * * * * * * *

He’s as blue as ice
As red as a red, red rose
As wide as a hedge
As thorny as a red, red rose
As horny as a stag beetle
As grumpy as a pig
Pompous as a pigeon
As fast as a Ford Zodiac
Friendly as a St Bernard
As independent as Switzerland
Thank heavens he married my mum!


* * * * * * * * * *

He’s as blue as the sky,
As tall as a pine tree,
As sweet as an elderflower,
As strange as a daddy long legs,
As mad as an ostrich
As cool as an eagle
As sporty as a merc,
As jolly as a husky,
As grey as Russia,
It was funny when we were skiing in Italy
and you fell on top of that small child.


* * * * * * * * * *

He’s as blue as the sky
As sweet as an apple
As neat as a Primrose
As happy as a cricket
As growly as a tiger
As good as gold as a golden eagle
As white as Herbie
As hairy as a shaggy dog
As sandy as Egypt
And he took me to the pier!


* * * * * * * * * *

As tall as a climbing vine.
He’s always funny,
And always kind.
His jokes are as annoying as a biting flea...
But make me laugh,
And entertain me.
He’s as bold as an ogre in the jungle,
But soft inside like a cork-tree’s bark,
If you put the cheese in between toes...
In a pot it would damage your nose,
His brain works as slow as a sloth
But he makes me feel better when I have a cold
It’s Louis Borening
My Dad

* * * * * * * * * *

He’s the greenest fella that I know
A big strong oak, that’s how he grows
A rose that’s always very sweet
And smells as nice (apart from his feet)
A moth that flutters on the air
We love his laugh and badger hair
An elegant peacock
As fast as a Porsche
And he’s cuddly like the Dulux dog, of course
He’d be Australia, Loves the beach quite a lot
And smiles likes the weather, sunny and hot
But best of all, I just love the way
He’s the first to ask in the house
If I’ve had a nice day!


* * * * * * * * * *

As blue as the sky above,
As sweet as a blue bell,
As still as a stick insect,
As bouncy as a kangaroo,
As sporty as a flashy MG.
As Big as barking German Shepherd.
And as far away as Germany
But the best thing of all...
He’s the best dad ever


* * * * * * * * * *

His foot is as purple as a bruise,
His head is like an oak tree,
In the morning his hair is like a daisy!
He runs up the stairs like a scorpion,
When he’s angry he’s like a terrifying bear.
He wears black clothes like a black bird!
He’s kind of like a B.M.W,
He’s a scary pit bull,
He likes England too!
It was funny when he fell over on a flower press and it hurt so much he fell on my bed!

Will Scott

* * * * * * * * * *

His ruby red glow as he sits by the fire
He reminds me of a sycamore in deep scarlet sky
Tall and proud like a poppy in a field,
But he’s armoured and pincered, a beastly stag beetle
A charging roar, the rhinoceros lumbers.
He’s noble and proud, but he’s still a bald eagle
Reliable, useful, back bone of industry, he’s the
Angry white van man, the Ford Transit man.
White hair that’s still there, an existable
Jolly wild English shepherd.
Like the wild Welsh countryside, he’s craggy, majestic and glorious.


* * * * * * * * * *

He’s as fit as West Ham
As strong as an oak tree
As bright as a Daffodil
As small as an ant
As hairy as a monkey
You’re as old as a dodo
As slick as a Bugati
As annoying as a Chihuahua
As good as the Czech Republic
And the best thing you’ve ever done is make me!


* * * * * * * * * *

My dad’s like the night,
Scary and full of might.
I’d say he was black, and definitely not
Yellow, thats on account of him not being mellow.
Like an eagle he soars,
but he’s still a bit of a bore
My Dad’s the greatest
Number 1 and the king,
Let’s just hope he doesn’t break out and sing.


* * * * * * * * * *

He is as blue as well worn denim,
As ancient as an oak
With the sparkle of a marigold in the evening light
As small as a ladybird
With the mischief of a squirrel
He sings like a blackbird in the
Highest tree.
He is as comfortable and safe like the
Sturdy Volvo, but with the bounce
Of a spaniel with an urge to play
As warm as Italy with memories
Of days past and places revisited
He is my Dad and I love him

* * * * * * * * * *

He is as blue as the sea,
He is like a palm in
A beach and beautiful
Like an orchid.
He is quick like a fly
And patient like an elephant.
He would be a “perdui” or
A bird and Mercedes as a car.
He is lovely like a dalmata
And wonderful and extraordinary
Like like Catalunya, our home land.
He did a wonderful thing he made me.


* * * * * * * * * *

He’s as green as a MAN can get
He’s as nice and strong as an OAK
He’s definitely not a flower
He’s as community minded as an ANT
He’s as stubborn as a BISON
He’s as swift as an EAGLE
He doesn’t drive, it’s not very GREEN
IF he were a dog, he would be a Labrador
Because he’s really friendly
His idea of hell would be to live in Finland
Coz there would be hundreds of me’s to play with


* * * * * * * * * *

He dreams of flying high.
And touching the blue sky
As wide as hedge
Afraid of the cage
He is as red as a rose
Brave behind the shows
Likes the shape of triangles
His voice the same as a nightingale
Sings on the tallest tree
Thinks he is free
He’s as stylish as a Honda
Loves every drop of Coca-Cola
He is as cute as a rabbit
Always loves doing his habit.
He is as warm as Italy with memories
Of past and present revisited.
Standing side by side with me.
Even if the wave came and took me with the sea
I love my dad and that will never change.


* * * * * * * * * *

He’s as obvious as pink
He’s as smooth as silver birch
He’s as stubborn as a chameleon
He’s as stocky as a beetle
He’s as graceful as a seal
He’s as loud as a rooster
He’s as average as a Saab
He’s as short as a bulldog
He’s as proud as Britain
Despite his flaws he made me


* * * * * * * * * *

His eyes were as blue as lake Donegal
I played in the apple trees,
Where he used to play
Every time I see a four leafed clover
It’s him I recall
His animal was a dog all bark,
And sometimes bite
At other times especially later
He retired shyly, as a bird
One of my earliest memories;
His Vauxhall Cavalier
Thank the universe he wasn’t a dog,
He’d of missed his pint
His Country, most passionately
Was the Eire he grew up.


* * * * * * * * * *

He’s as bright as white
He’s as beautiful as as blossom
He’s as shiny as a daisy
He’s as colourful as a butterfly
He’s as brave as a lion
He’s as strong as an eagle
He does not drive a car
Because we haven’t got a car
He’s as cuddly as a Labrador
He grew up in Shooters Hill
The best thing about my DAD
Is he always makes me LAUGH!