Writing by the Rochdale Canal

I’m writing this in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, in the last in the row of mill worker’s cottages between the river Calder and the Rochdale canal. It’s a cottage that floods regularly, sandwiched in by water. It backs onto the canal tow path and the living room, which is subterranean, is a great way to people watch. Only a ratter-type dog has spotted us down here so far. The canal’s still and ominous now in the dark. On one side of the road Scout Rock looms and on the other there’s a high clough. There’s an old pack horse bridge and the moon’s directly above it.

The walk into Hebden Bridge today was warm and the canal path was crowded. There seemed to be lots of creativity going on and I saw people drawing, the man who makes the chairs fiercely sawing wood on his boat and a huge tom cat catching mice in the reclamation yard. I wrote a little bit over 2 pints in the pub and then walked back at slept until nearly 9pm! I’m totally exhausted by work – both the nursing side and also doing up the house to rent. It was a long journey here yesterday via Bishop Auckland and I felt so disappointed in myself that I couldn’t even keep my eyes open to read, never mind write. When I go back in a week I’ll be part-time for the first time in years. Time is worth more than take-away pizzas and meals out. I’m quite looking forward to soup and toast for tea.

I’ve written another review for Mslexia on Sheila Hamilton’s The Spirit Vaults. I thought the title poem was excellent. I actually enjoy writing reviews and look forward to getting the books through the post to read. I’m wasting so much time not having mental or physical energy to write. I have finished a few things and have a lot of ideas for new poems. The poet, Em Strang, is running a new course in Edinborough called the Embodied Poetry Workshop which sounds excellent. Contact emcstrang@gmail.com.

Pepper the feral cat is still wild and bringing in lots of spiders and moths, which she eats on the rug! She’s tried hunting a seagull and is getting a bit above herself already. She’s good entertainment in the evenings.

I’ve had that autumn feeling for the first time this week. It’s an involuntary shift of something inside that happens every year as nights become shorter. It’s also nearly my dad’s anniversary (on 4th September) so that’s always lingering in my thoughts, even if I’m not aware of it. The new plaque has come and the plan is to put it up next week where we scattered his ashes on Haworth moor.

I feel lucky to be in this cottage tonight with its uneven stairs and atmospheric surroundings. I’m hoping to borrow a bit of inspiration from it.

Author: kittydonnellypoet

Kitty Donnelly was born in Oxford in 1979. Her mother was born in Cumbria, of Irish origin, and her father was born in Newry, Northern Ireland. She has lived in London, Cumbria, Swansea and Chichester. She had poems published in Acumen in 2005, as well as being long and short-listed for several poetry competitions. She was also published in The Samaritan's Anthology and by The Forward Press. In 2007, she took a long break from submitting poems after having her daughter. In 2016, she has been Commended in the Southport Writer's Circle Poetry Competition, long-listed for the Canterbury University Poet of the Year 2016 and has had work accepted for publication in The Dawntreader. She currently lives in Cumbria where she works as a psychiatric nurse.

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