Sunday, 26 August 2012

Tiny weenie snail

As a contrast to yesterday's beast of an obese slug, today I offer you a very small and oh so cute snail. Why is it that snails are cute, even the slimy bits, simply because they sport their own mobile home on their backs?

I've always had a soft spot for snails. There was always an abundance of them round and about my Taid's (Grandfather's) cottage where we used to stay in summer holidays as kids. I'm not a supporter of horse racing or any other sports involving animals, but snail racing still seems to be a fairly innocent childhood activity. As long as they're returned safely to the undergrowth afterwards. Maybe the snails don't agree. Anyway, here's today's mini-beast with obligatory 50 pence piece for scale.

    Jon, I got my crocs into shot especially for you! xx

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The biggest slug I have ever seen in my world record.

It's been a bumper year for slugs what with the rain, the rain and the additional rain, and today I saw what I do believe to be the biggest slug I have ever seen (in my life so far). 

FYI that is a size 7 croc.

I also tried measuring it but it deliberately went all short and fat. 
The '50p for scale' trick didn't really give the desired effect of scale either, but I think you get the gist. 

I do think that this slug has even surpassed the big black slug referred to in the blog post below.
I reckon it was at least 6 - 7 inches depending on how much squidging it was doing.


Myspace blogpost from August 2007

The other morning, I looked out of the window and saw, on the lawn, what I later realised was the biggest slug I have ever seen in my life. It was humungous. When I first spotted it, I momentarily thought that it was a piece of hedgehog poo.

I  soon realised that it wasn't hedgehog poo as it was moving. It was also far too large to be hedgehog poo, well, not unless there's a big bruiser of a hedgehog out there that spends its night times denting bull bars on SUVs for fun whilst crossing the road eating kebabs. Otherwise, hedgehog poo of that magnitude would have to be the product of some poor, deflated balloon of a hedgehog that had just done the turd of its life.

I still wasn't entirely sure what the thing was, so I rushed outside to have a closer look. It was definitely a slug. I happened to have a Body Shop emery board in my hand at the time, so I used it to measure the slug. You're probably not aware that Body Shop emery boards are the standard unit of measurement in these parts because we're opposed to Europe. The slug came out at two thirds of the length of a Body Shop emery board, which is about 5 inches or approx 13cm to normal people. I don't really like slugs, but I had to admire this one glistening like liquorice in the morning dew; gliding leisurely through the grass with the ease and grace of a tall ship on a benevolent sea. It was quite serene. I mentioned it to someone later that day and they said, "Did you salt it?" The answer was, "No."

I couldn't bring myself to kill something that had managed to avoid predation long enough to grow to two thirds of the length of a Body Shop emery board. It was magnificent. Even the blackbirds were giving it a wide berth. So, I left it grazing on the lawn like a small, deformed, slippery horse even though it was probably on its way to decimate the hostas.

Here's a poem that I wrote some years ago as you can probably tell by the film star references:

Slug Poem
I'm a slug and I'm all right,
Because I'm an hermaphrodite,
I'm lots of fun, at both ends,
So it doesn't matter if I've got no friends,
But I have!
Coz I'm gorgeous; I'm the slug Raquel Welch,
And all the other slugs' little horny bits
Go wild when I go 'squelch',
But please don't pour salt on me
Because I will go 'POP',
And if you pour salt when I'm with my friends,
We'll end up as a POP group,
At the end of my life's silvery road,
Sodium chloride meets slug,
I implode.

P.S. Did I ever tell you about the time I nearly cooked a slug in a pan of pasta? Maybe some other time then.

Friday, 13 July 2012

330 Words Blog

I stumbled across this blog whereby you have to take a photo then use it as a stimulus to write a very short story. I had a go myself and the result is here:

I don't really write stories and prose much even though I've been asked to judge other people's short stories, and have touched on short story writing in some Year 6 workshops that I've delivered in the past. So, it only seems fitting that I have a go myself from time to time! I quite liked this 330 words idea as a simple writing exercise. The blog is open to anyone to submit so it's worth giving it a whirl.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Story of the Hobnail Boot Planter

The boot in this picture is cast from a genuine size 11 miner's boot (right foot), made by my partner, Owen, from waterproof plaster polymer. 
The miner in question was my Taid (pronounced ‘Tide’) which is Welsh for ‘Grandfather’. His name was Thomas Glyn Jones and he was born in 1909. At the age of 14 he went to work at Point of Ayr Colliery in North Wales. He worked there for fifty years until his retirement in 1973.

Taid’s original boot has now been used to create this garden planter.


My Taid was passionate about gardening. When he’d finally done his time mining coal underneath the earth (well technically he was under the sea as Point of Ayr was beneath the Dee Estuary; the coal field extended northward out under the Irish Sea) he spent his later years planting stuff in the earth: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, vegetables and flowers, you name it. I wonder what he would have made of this. He probably would have laughed and said something in Welsh ridiculing the idea of having an old, workman’s boot as a garden decoration.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Nowhere's Ark # 1 & # 2

This poem is ancient - probably approaching 20 years old - but I found the picture of a fat man in a boat and thought it was perfect for this. I'm also trying to cash in on the Titanic anniversary...

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Pouff and Helên Thomas - Junk Motor

I recently collaborated with US based electronic musician Pouff on the track below. I provided lyrics and vocals after hearing a snippet of a track that Pouff was working on. Pouff only had the words 'junk to junk' and 'funk the funk' in mind and then threw it over to me. So, prior to this completed track appearing on soundcloud, the beats and the words had traversed The Atlantic a couple of times, something that I still find mind boggling. The internet is ACE isn't it? Hello, anyone there...  You can hear the track via the soundcloud embed and read the lyrics below. As always happens with collabs, it's quite different to something I'd have come up with on my own - that's something I always enjoy about working with other people. Hope you like it anyway.

Junk Motor

Funk the junk spark up the motor
Major Tom’s gone to North Dakota
I know you lost the note I wrote… yer.
couldn’t give a damn, a dime or iota.
guzzling’s a gas on a wild road trip
gulp it down, never sip
grit in your eye and bee stung lip
told like it is; shot from the hip
tin can alley cats dance and spit
bott’s dots lie aligned and lit
flame quick felines living on wit
claim the fast lane from cockpit
Junk the hunk, that dead bit of wood
no moving parts under the hood
ditch the schmuck stick in the mud
roadkill lizard with stone cold blood
roll with the lows and glide on the highs
who knows, I suppose what might arise
a leaner demeaner’s a keen disguise
I’ll surprise the guys with my demise
fortune smiles on those who try
you need to believe if you want to fly
sly way the high way, ice and dry
never did get to say goodbye
Funk the funk, junk to junk
You don’t need to know what’s in my trunk
Dump the drunk, click the klunk
Lifestyle a haircut monk to punk

CREATIVE WRITING COMPETITION to raise funds for The Well Warrington Network. CLOSING DATE 18th MAY. Get scribbling!

I've been asked to judge a creative writing competition for a local not for profit organisation. Here's the official blurb. There will also be a junior competition; details to follow. 

The Well Warrington Network, (a not for profit organisation that helps chronically ill people in Warrington) is running a Creative Writing Competition to raise funds for the organisation. The competition is being judged by Helên Thomas, prize winning performance poet. Writers are asked to pen up to 1,000 word short stories and up to 32 lines of poetry on the theme of Health, Wealth and Happiness for the entry fee of £3.

The prizes are:1st prize £60
2nd prize £30
3rd prize £20

The closing date is 18th May 2012 and entry forms and rules can be downloaded from

Thursday, 12 January 2012

I'm Featured Poet on The Poetry Kit's 'Caught In The Net' #97

I was very pleased to be invited to submit ten poems to feature on The Poetry Kit website as part of their 'Caught In The Net' series which features different poets each month. Click on the link below for poems as well as links to audio and video examples of my poetry. Thanks.