Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer


  • Living la Vida Lockdown-Here Comes the Sun

    crimson peony against green leaves

    It’s the warmest day so far, and the garden is looking quite pretty. I’m not the only one taking photos today – my daughter has caught me in the act of actual gardening, harvesting thyme.

    me, harvesting thyme

    I have moved on to the planting out stage, the tomatoes are in the greenhouse border, and the aubergines are in bigger pots. There are planters full of ammi majus, lupins and cerinthe, and fennel and agastache are in the borders. There are helichrysum, mollucella and nicandra which I will dry for winter flower arrangements, and annual seeds in the gaps left by the bulbs which have gone over. My initial optimism about the germination of said seeds has since been damped by the realisation that a lot of the green shoots have turned out to be hairy bittercress and willow herb, but you never know. The recent rain has done wonders for everything!

    Mostly I include rather pleasnat pictures of my activities, but you’ll be glad to know there are no photos of the comfrey liquid I’ve just strained and stored in old milk cartons. It smells particularly vile, but it is rich in potassium and the tomatoes and fruit bushes will be getting a very healty watering of this stuff over the next few months. More photogenically, I have started to harvest my herbs, first making a dandelion muscle rub for aches and tightness, and a violet leaf oil for skin sensitivity, and now drying thyme on a rack I made years ago from a muslin nappy tacked to a frame of leftover 2×2 struts.

    thyme leaves and flowers on a drying rack.

    I’m also making chive flower vinegar, which is coloured implausibly pink, and has a faint onion taste in salad dressings

    Poetry is harder to come by. You might like to see, among many other good things, a poem I have in the latest edition of Stravaig, but there is very little new work of my own happening just now. However, I have started work on a new Red Squirrel Press pamphlet to be published in October, so I haven’t lost all my poetry muscles!

    In Scotland we hope to hear more about the roadmap for coming out of lockdown tomorrow. It has been an anxious time, but one that has brought out both the best in our communities, and the strange and dangerous gaps in our politics economy and social and environmental thinking. I’m sure many people have been thinking how we can implement the lessons we have learned!

  • Dark Mountain Writing

    Last weekend I was at the Dark Mountain Wriiting Weekend at Wiston Lodge, organised by Susan Richardson and Em Strang. Sue was someone I’d got to know via the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, and you can read some of her poetry in the new issue of Stravaig, and I’d come across Em’s work in Earthlines so that was encouraging. Then the good people of Wiston Lodge coped easily with my awkward dietary requirements, so it was aways likely to be a good experience. It was better than that, however. The peace and the structure that was set up gave me a chance to forget all the stuff happening at home, and just write; the workshops and the conversations they generated were inspiring, and I met some wonderful writers and made some excellent friends. What more could a person ask?

    This is the campfire we had on the Saturday (that’s Sue in the photo). Some very exciting ideas were hatched and there will be more about them over the next few weeks and months. Several of us have blogs, and I’ll put links to them in the sidebar.

    But now I’m home, and busily catching up on the garden work, the housework and all the dealings with medical services which are making up a large part of life just now. But at least spring has happened. Every day there is a new flower, a new bird (swallows arrived on Wednesday!) or new leaves of another tree. Even the hail this afternoon doesn’t seem to have stopped it. These are the latest – cowslips in my tiny woodland garden.

    And I have finally achieved a long-standing ambition. I’ve baked our own bread since I was married, but sourdough has eluded me. This is my first edible sourdough loaf, and it was lovely. There are so many recipes I’m going to try now!

  • Rain!

    Most of the garden seems to have been in suspended animation lately.I’ve been looking at the rhubarb for a month, saying “Another week will do it!” with no result. On the other hand, the primroses are thickening up nicely,

    and the whole spring border seems to have made a step forward.But everything was getting very dry – an odd thing, after all the rain last year – and despite the gathering cloud, the dropping pressure and the humidity, it never rained. The wind remained in the east, and it was cold.

    This morning, though the wind remains easterly, it has rained – half-hearted drizzly mist at first, but now genuinely wet stuff. I’ve just been out to water the greenhouse, and it smells wonderful!

    There’s been very little gardening lately, what with the frost, my arthritis and my daughter’s illness, but I’ve been keeping up with NaPoWriMo – more or less, and so far I’ve written:

    • Nettle Shirt
    • Dum Y At(haiku)
    • Ruined Abbey
    • MurmurationHaiku)>
    • Opening Autumn
    • You Will Get Lost(from a prompt from Jo Bell)
    • Primroses(haiku)
    • Chant for SpringPrompted by Jo Bell, again

    And the new issue of Stravaig is now online. I don’t have any poetry in it, but there’s an essay about my territory, and a review of last year’s Dark Mountain anthology – a beautiful book, with an awful lot to say.

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