Six-Count Jive launched in Whitstable


Whiskey in the Jar is still putting a sway into my step after Thursday evening’s launch at Harbour Books in Whitstable. It was the first time the shop had hosted musicians – Whitstable’s finest ukulele band, The Useless Pluckers – and it was magnificent. A spontaneous line-up of ‘Pluckettes’ formed as a backing group to Mustang Sally and the whole thing was the warmest, most memorable launch I’ve ever had. 


Heartfelt thanks to lovely Harbour Books for their hospitality and Prosecco, to the excellent Pluckers and to everyone who came and danced, laughed, sang, chatted, met old and new friends, and bought books. I intruded on the music briefly to introduce Six-Count Jive and will never forget the appreciative silence while I read from it.

Lapwing’s little volumes are hand bound and hand printed on high quality paper in Belfast, close to the Cave Hill. That’s Belfast for you, my home town; it can be an ugly place sometimes but there’s always beauty there too. 

At £10 each, they’re the same price as my first Lapwing book in 2010, even though printing costs have doubled since then, so they’re a wee bargain. They’ll be available through the Lapwing website soon – meanwhile I have a few copies to sell direct here, signed if you’d like, for £10 each including p&p. (They will not be available through amazon as its charges and discounts are punitive for small publishers.)  Six-Count Jive is dedicated to anyone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and everyone who loves them. Female and male. I hope this little book might help somebody realise they are not alone and can reach out for help.

Six-Count Jive has a cover

whit eveningThis is beginning to feel real. Lapwing Publications and I have finished our edits this week and below you can see the cover. The little footsteps are muddled dancing efforts by someone struggling with the worst of post-traumatic stress disorder. Well done, Dennis, of Lapwing, I love it!

It’s off to the printers soon and there should be copies available in around a month. I’ll be putting PayPal on here so that you can have personally signed copies, with special good wishes to anyone with PTSD or who is close to someone with that diagnosis.

it’s a beautiful, sunny day here with the best of spring doing its best to break through. I wish you all a wonderful day, wherever you are. IMG_5115

Oyster Seventeens and the Mary Evans Picture Library

I’m thrilled to see Oyster Seventeens on the Poems and Pictures blog of the Mary Evans Picture Library website today!

The Poems and Pictures blog is an absolute treat if you ever fancy exploring some contemporary poetry with the odd classic thrown in, each poem accompanied by something exquisite from the Picture Library’s collection. It’s one of my favourite sites for times when I have time on my hands and want to be transported somewhere thoughtful and beautiful. Congratulations and appreciation to its curator, Gill Stoker.

Low tide takes its muted leave –

soft pools

marooned while oytstercatchers play.


This fresh day. Let’s shuck it

open, feel

gusto pour between our fingers.


OYSTERS on the north Kent coast

by Rosie Johnston

Sapphires in a hurry-flutter:

two dozen starlings

rush to Sheppey.


Seaweed garlands roll on the high

tide, full

moon’s tangle of jet and jade.


The sea cradles me; my

best mother.

I roll and kick like a baby.


Ripples brush your naked shoulder,

a sibilance,

a sparrow’s whisper.


My skin, dulled under hospital lights,


in blustery sunshine.


Twilight wraps blankets of

crimson glory

around this evening’s shoulders.


Sky is honeyed mango slivers,

dark rum-soaked,

with pomegranate seeds.


Laughter waltzes with garlic prawns,

jives with olives,

pirouettes with wine.


Between the bowls and candlelight

stretch moments

of perfect contentment.


Low tide takes its muted leave –

soft pools

marooned while oystercatchers play.


Whitstable, harbour of tangible


peace glides into dock.


Where sea and sky merge in a

thousand pinks

aligns the mind’s horizon.


This fresh day. Let’s shuck it

open, feel

gusto pour between our fingers.


I read this in Harbour Books, Whitstable at our first Words on Waves event last month. It’s had such lovely feedback that it’s here for you to enjoy too.

We’re meeting again tonight at 6.45pm.

Happy writing!