Friday, 21 January 2022

Cap'n Bev Water Story 15th Jan 2022


Cap'n Bev's session today took inspiration from the wonderful and ever so droll Eckhart Tolle. We spent two magical hours together exploring the concepts of self identity and our journey in this world. We abandoned ourselves to maritime considerations of tide and knot and wind and trip... 
and look what marvelous writing ensued! 

Our first writing prompt was

moving through the water
and the writers were cast off with a Kay Ryan poem "We're building the ship as we sail it"

The second prompt was

who's listening? listening to whom?
This one was launched by Lucille Clifton's rousing poem "Won't you celebrate with me?"


Hiraeth  :  River Bridge Time 
That old stone bridge
over River Cairn  
stands firm; it’s arc
spans the centuries.

Undercurrents carried 
 small dream-thoughts of girl
become adult. Drifting, with
 twigs, branches                                                                   dis-connected

from root source of life;
 in their oak or ash
family tree.

At dusk, the bats will
 flit, like fleeting shards
of phantom memory.

In exile now, she
 has had no standing
 for years, on bridge-span -  

an unspeakable axe:
hurt, hacked, living sap 
again and again. Until snap! /                                             dis //                       connected.  
River and bridge                                                                                     
are not forgotten;            
with splash-past sounds             
by moonlight, sunshine through smirr…      

 They are still loved. 
They once were mine.  
                                                                                                           //Hiraeth: hear owl hoot
                                                                                                            haunt darkening Cairnglen//
                                                                                                             © Margaret Watson 2021

Moving through the water

A story of two Uncles
moving through the water
who thought and fought to save life
throughout the filthy slaughter
of a war.

Uncle Gerry, quiet Navy man
escorted Atlantic convoys
through the deadly cold grey waters,
past the bleak Norwegian shores; aiming to? -
bring aid, to a starving Russian people.
 Fascist ships, the vicious Tirpitz,
 submarines, and air bourne bombs
all aim to sink and kill him and his crew. 

Uncle Ted, quiet scientist,
 expert bomb disposal worker.
Until that Nazi bomb exploded
in his face. Permanently blinded…
Yet, moving through Lake waters
 by boat – with wise hands on oars
he would discern the direction, depths,
 winds, cross- currents – aiming so accurately.  
And navigated this six -year-old niece
up a reed-green beck tributary. 
Tell me now please, what is your aim, if any – 
moving through the water?                                                                ©Margaret Watson 2022  

Moving through the water
by Doreen Kelly

Have you any idea the effort it takes to appear competent in the water?
Most of the time I am frantically doggy paddling to keep up with the party boat, the "normal" people are on.
Oh the relief when the boat stops in a harbour. It is lifesaving because I can turn onto my back, float and conserve energy. The effort it would take to climb on board is not worth it. I will only fall overboard again when the boat leaves harbour. 
At least in the water I am supported and if I stay away from the boat I am less likely to be buffeted around too much.

Links that cropped up today
Doreen Kelly's book "Gems from a Creative Mind" (just search for that) is now available on ebay
Eckhart Tolle - many talks available on youtube
Angie's whisky competition expired on the 17th, sorry! But here's her
Forugh Farrokhzad - I discovered this Iranian poet on BBC this week and can honestly say I feel changed by it! Listen here


Session chat... in case you missed some comments.

Doreen: link to book (see note above) 
Mary: Hi everyone. can't get sound. Happy New Year
Aileen: Hi Mary if you try leaving the meeting and rejoining that might work
Catrice: Bev, when you have a chance would you mind sharing his name in an email or the link to his Ted Talk, please? I’d love to look him up and check out the Ted Talk! Sounds Amazing!  Thank you. 
Catrice: Great intro, Bev.  Thank you. πŸ’œ
Bev: Moving through the water
Jo: thanks all, bye all xx
Catrice: Take care Jo.  See you again soon.
Angie: Is it ok if I post the link of a poem that I was commissioned to write for The Loud Poets?  Its in the Standard Habbie form.
Aileen: I want to see it Angie
Bev: please Angie!
Bev: who's listening, listening to whom
Doreen Kelly: I would like to hear from the marginalised. Those thrown out of society. Perhaps those cold and hungry on the street. However I am a scaredy cat and would need to feel safe in order to hear. In e to hear the voice of My God and speak with their authority in order to be heard.
Angie: That was a fabulous session.  It has given me a lot to think about.  What a wonderfully, warm and encouraging crowd have attended today.  The poetry has been amazing.  xx
Doreen: Thank you everyone
Catrice: Thank you, Bev.  Truly incredible session.
Karen: Thankyou. I so needed that. Bless you allπŸ’•
Kath: Lovely to see all the cheerful familiar faces, and lovely introduction, Bev, but I am falling asleep here with temp at 34
so I'm sure I'm not going to manage to write. Wanted to get a taste of the sessions though, so hopefully will be back for more if temps begin to drop again. Thanks for the invite.

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

JanFeb 2022 Special Water Story sessions

Lapidus Scotland, in association with Scottish Book Trust, is delighted to offer 4 special Water Story sessions to tide us over to the spring. Sessions are free but filling fast; if you'd like to join us for any or all please contact Bev at

Saturday Zoom sessions 1000-1200 am

15th January ~ Cap’n Bev

29th January ~ Kenneth Steven

12th February ~ Lorna Hill

26th February ~ Noren Haq 

Cap'n Bev     15Jan
you know me... or you think you do... as my own guest I'll be sharing more than my epaulets in this session! Taking care of writers in Water Story sessions or passengers on Loch Lomond, even the Forth & Clyde Canal... it's all to do with story.

Kenneth Steven     29Jan
Kenneth Steven is first and foremost a poet, though also very much a Scottish novelist and children’s writer too. He’s worked as reader and writer in residence in Aberdeen where he was very much involved in supporting and encouraging budding authors. He held regular surgeries to offer feedback on creative work.

Lorna Hill     12Feb
Lorna Hill is a writer, researcher and project facilitator. She is particularly interested in creativity for health and well-being and runs shared reading and creative writing sessions to reduce social isolation and build confidence. She has a PhD in Creative Writing, a COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills, Diplomas in Life Coaching and Journal Therapy and CPD training with Luminate and Artful Minds (training in dementia-focused practice), Glasgow Women’s Library, Lapidus International and Scottish Women’s Aid. Lorna is also an Instructor in First Aid for Mental Health.

Noren Haq     26Feb
Noren Haq has an MA in English Literature and a PGDE in secondary education. She writes plays, short stories, flash fiction and poetry. 

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Scottish Book Trust,
Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Loch Lomond: 8th October 2021


Huge thanks to Cruise Loch Lomond for hosting our Water Story today. On a cruise between Tarbet and Inversnaid we invoked the area's inhabitants over a span of 5000 years and explored the fascinating geological implications of weather changes here at the Highland Boundary Fault Line over the past 15,000 years.

Oor Angie looking stunning!
Perfect writing cabin on the Lomond Princess
Cap'n Bev and Able Seadog Richie

The Arklet Falls at Inversnaid in full spate

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Glasgow to Kirkie on the Forth & Clyde Canal!

Take a trip on the Forth & Clyde... 

... click these thumbnails to watch videos

All thanks to Navvies' Barge - what a treat to be back on the canal (11th September) on the rumbling old barge but this time with Sean and Ania and the helm so I was, quite simply, a passenger! 

COVID challenges struck as 4 the carefully selected crew of just 10 Water Story veterans were tripped at the post with coughs, track-n-trace and one completely impossible journey from Inverness - so sorry your taxi didn't turn up May! But as seems to be the way of Water Story, the sun shone... here's Pat's account:

"To those who didn't make it, commiserations; we missed you all.  Unlike the forecast, the weather was fine and after a cloudy start the sun shone most of the time.  It was lovely to be back on Peccadillo (she will always be that to us) after a long absence, lovely to see the heron which joined us on various stages of the journey, the baby moor hens and all the cheery Glasgow folk waving from the tow path.  We noted that the canal needs something to sieve off the green weed that chokes the surface in places, and a visit from a big bottle-scooper; it seems the makers of Irn Bru and the monks of Buckfast Abbey have been having a bumper year. Maybe it will all be tidied up in time for the big climate gathering.

Bev, usually at the wheel, was able to join in, as Ania and Sean drove the barge, which was a bonus for us all. We did a fair amount of writing, but for the final hour just sat in the prow chatting and taking in the rays and relaxing.  Thanks to Bev for organising the trip, and here's hoping we can all meet again soon.

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Loch Lomond with Kenneth Steven on 6th June 2021

This day exceeded all our expectations there's nothing more to be said but just shown

STORIES of the day:

This New World We Find Ourselves In
by Aileen Paterson

Light and shadow on the hills, the trees green and abundant. The water lapping the boat as we course through it, making our way out into the world once more with all the burden of the last year still to shed. It has entered our bones. It has tethered us to spaces that are too small to contain us. Spaces we have had to shrink to fit, to rein in our dreams and our longings.
Now released, my dreams expand to fill the sky. They permeate the deep water of the loch, stretch ahead of me to Inversnaid. They fly over the tops of the mountains. They run with the deer, and climb over stony paths with the goats.
The boat carries us away from the hard edges of our shrunken world, the solitude that has crushed us. Away from a world where we dare not even voice our longings. Dark clouds chase us, but ahead there is blue sky and hope. The flow of water over stones, the rush of the waterfall. Damp moss and small leaves growing from the bark of the tree leaning over the water. Rhododendrons pink and purple and ferns growing from rocks. White froth and bubbles on the river, the touch of bark under my fingers, connecting me to the earth, the rocks, the sky.
The engine stops and we drift for a while, sunlight glinting off the water. Gentle ripples against the boat, a soft breeze as the sun comes out. The distant hum of traffic. I want to stay here, with the water protecting me from the harshness of the outside world, from too much control. What shards of longing might we reclaim as we embark on the rest of our lives? The sun on my face and somewhere the birds are singing. What new roads are forming beneath our feet?
Here, there’s an endless conversation between hills and sky, the eagles circling above, finding gaps in the clouds to make dark shapes against the bluest sky.
Sunlight and shadows moving on the hills. Lines etched in the rocks like an ancient language I am yet to learn, but felt when I pressed my hand against the mossy bark of the tree, when I listened to the river. The land telling its story The flow of life unsuppressed by any lockdown. Stories flow through me too, demand to be told. They emerge as marks on a page, words that form on my lips. Life exerting itself, creating spells to shape this new world we find ourselves in.

Some Haikus
by Debbie Macrae

golden eagles soar
sky dancing above the Loch
bluebells on the brae

submerged in nature
drenched in words: Waterstory
takes us to the Loch

The dark, deep, dangerous  loch
by John Young

The dark, deep, dangerous  loch; what lives beneath your glassy calm veneer?

Diving into your cold water and screaming in ecstatic shock ;feeling alive at last.
Tethered to our home harbours for what seems like an eternity, to visualise  the broccoli   dark clumps of trees.

Gliding effortlessly on our water carriage of words,
The silence  only broken by birds chirping and motorcycles  booming. 

Pylons blight the
Postcard, picture, perfect scene; the eagle soaring over ben lomond majestic, outdoors again;  zoom is a fading dream.

The trees swirl effortlessly in the cool summer simmering Scotchweegia sun.

Still the Engines
by Cap'n Bev

I cut the engine.
Silence enfolds our raft of writers 
in a cocoon of other worldliness. 
Even the hum of traffic on a distant road 
serves only to turn us slow on our spindle of still 
between the high banks of the loch. 

Like my writers I blink long and slow under tilted lids,
one ear cocked skyward for the same sounds heard by 
highlander and Hopkins, Wordsworth and Scott… Inversnaid. 

Yet my calm is short lived.
The captain who cuts engines mid-loch ever frets 
that the reassuring thump 
may never start up again.

Thanks to you all ...

... for your heartening feedback as always!

Sally: A wonderful day, thank you, thank you. Ruth and I so enjoyed it. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty,  my pulsing brain could not put pen to paper, but the beauty, Bev, was breathtaking, along with remeeting Kenneth.
Di: Thanks for a great day.
Debbie: Waterstory on Loch Lomond simply offers an entirely different dimension, surrounded by stunning inspirational scenery, encouraged by a wonderful guest writer in Kenneth Steven.
Thank you so much Bev. Kenneth was delightful and insightful!
Caroline: Thank you so much... I absolutely loved the experience. There was so much to see, hear and feel before during and after the sail.  Senses were alight which transferred onto the page. Your knowledge and sharing of both the environment and history were second to none.
Aileen: Thank you Captain Bev and all who made this amazing trip possible. After being stuck in a small flat with no outdoor space for most of the last year and a bit, I desperately needed this trip, Kenneth Steven was inspiring and nurturing and we were very well looked after by all the crew. I really hope more trips will be possible as we all try and recover our physical and mental wellbeing, this is so needed.
Mary: Thank you so much for yet another wonderful day out... It was lovely to see everyone again.

Diana Davies painted this from Sheila's photo - fabulous!

This was the planning part>>>>

At last Water Story writers we are getting back out on the boats! With Glasgow shifting to a Tier 2 on Saturday 6th June we're hoping all will feel comfortable coming out. Careful Covid guidelines will still be in place and careful cognisance of government guidelines will always be applied to Water Story events. Here are some helpful links with personal testing advice and rules for "therapeutic" groups that have been followed during the planning this particular event.

Cruise Loch Lomond are extending a warm welcome to Water Story - please be reassured that they have always implemented rigorous sanitisation procedures (we will go through this on the pier) and careful track and trace but have not, as yet, had to implement isolation via track and trace.

We are delighted to welcome

Kenneth Steven

as our guest author for the day (thanks to Lapidus Scotland)
I've asked him to bring some copies of his second edition of "Iona" just out - bring your purse if you'd like your very own signed copy

Schedule for the Day

1000 Gather on Tarbet pier (G83 7DE); arm yourself with an outstanding coffee from the bothy

1015 board our vessel and meet Kenneth Steven for your first reading and introduction

1045 set sail for Inversnaid with safety talk from Cap'n Bev

1100 reading and prompt from Kenneth en route

1115 arrive Inversnaid and disembark for short walk - 30 minutes

1145 back on board for more from Kenneth and a gentle tour of the north of the loch

1230 moor up at Tarbet and share writing

1315 farewell and finish

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Avast 2021!


Make no resolutions.
Do not even make the resolution 
to make no resolutions.

Step into each minute wet, naked, newborn
stripped of expectation
empty of judgement.

Place a wobbling foot forward
and simply explore
  the weight of your body
on that foot
in that moment
among this world.

Then, once the wind and light
have woven this world
about your existence,

have made a you-shaped space
in which to be,
spare a prayer for when 

you’ll not be here; for all the other 
hearts that did beat,
but then became thin air.

Breathe in. Let time slide through you 
like a wind through a wood.
Feel it. Be tree and breeze.

Sway till you still. And then, 
only then,
take another step.
                                                                            BS 1 January 2016 

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Solstice 2020

The pen rests horizontal on the desk 
while thoughts fly, 
defy capture among page lines. 
Ill-defined intention washes over 
my lightening happy heart, 
flooded at last with hopeful inspiration. 

Oyez oyez hear ye
the young ones yet might save the way 
we live and love our world but, 
before we curl to sleep away 
in abject irresponsibility, 
let’s grasp their giggling shoulders, 
turn towards today’s astonishing star, 
sing hurrah! 
How wondrous we are!
The world and our hope, a loving song goes on… 

… if only we pick up the pen dear friends, 
that I nearly left lying today.