Sunday 28 September 2014


Dank misty morn

swaddling shroud

giant gossamer cobwebs

desiccate into unobserved obscurity.


Dew drops

line up along the window ledge

each upturned meniscus

taut with expectation of dawning liquidity.


Daydreaming disrupted

by perimeter movements

Fall-yellow ticker tape

flows down the breeze.


Deserted suburbs

disturbed rustling

the battalion of the leaf apocalypse

scurries after me along the road

chasing me home.


© Sheila Ash, 2014

Saturday 27 September 2014

Only 3 more to go

It's the final stretch - Only 3 more donations to go before its ends on September 30, 2014 until 23:59 hrs EDT. Please support the Indian NGO I was with for 2 years when I wrote so much of this ashramblings blog.

Friday 26 September 2014


Our theme for this term’s Creative Writing Group is Light and Dark. Last week our tutor read the following line from The Prophet by Kahil Gibran.

“The owl whose night bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light”

Then he asked us to write no more than 14 lines inspired by this. I wrote


Unheard, unfelt

apparitions flit

from cavernous recesses

dark and deep.

Wonders unbeknown

star burst horizons,

confusing coronas

blast our rods and cons

exploding myths

as Tam O’Shanter tales

run riot in a chemical deception.

Thursday 18 September 2014

Ashburton Cookery School

I spent 5 days this month at Ashburton Cookery School attending their Intermediate Course.  A real treat to myself after the house moves, building work etc of the past months since returning home.  I picked this school because it wasn’t fronted by some big name chef but came well recommended in various blog posts I read and had won accolades as such Best Cookery School in 2012 and 2013. I was not disappointed. We spent one day on poultry, one on pork, one on lamb, one on beef and one on fish. All the staff were enthusiastic and friendly from reception staff to the caretaker, from the chef tutor’s to kitchen helpers. The kitchen we used for the 10 people on the course was fitted with an overhead mirror situated above the tutors stove top and work surface. Here Rob, our chef tutor for the first 3 days, and Tom, our chef tutor for the final 2 days, demoed various skills and techniques before we went to our workstations and begun cooking ourselves and in pairs. Everything we made we ate. The ratio between theory, demo and doing was great with us doing about 90% of the dishes.  Other than the skills and recipes it was the little titbits of tips that were brilliant to get from the experts. The tutors were great, Tom was particularly good re explaining the science of food, Tom was quite simply one of the best tutors for any subject I have ever encountered or worked with.  In summary I am really glad I went and would consider doing another course, perhaps their 2 day Thai Plus or Fish & Seafood Plus course. If you know an enthusiastic home cook who needs a treat of a present this is a good idea.

Created with flickr slideshow.




that stillness of perpetual motion.

Sensuous curves slumber on

the clearest blue pillows

snuggling amidst a richly textured, glorious orange and red duvet.


Heat sapped

dolefully resting listlessly

as my see-saw rock-rock motion monotonously paces forwards.

An illusory lack of smells, of sounds

encompasses my insignificant speck of fusty sweat,

saddle creak and breeze bronzed face.


Beauty and toil compete relentlessly for my mind

as the madness of the journey invades my solitude

and my ship of the desert strides ever onwards across the vastness.

Forgotten Writings (2): Homage to Homs

Homage to Homs

The city walls will not forget

the long fought, weary, fighters as they left

Who’d stood so Homs would never fall

through bombs and blasting one and all

Till surrounded, starved, deprived of aid

their exit finally was made.

Forgotten writings (1) The Border’s Gate

I forget to post two pieces of writing I did early this summer, here’s the first.


The Border’s Gate

False boundaries put in place

by faceless men with pen and ink.

Straight lines dividing this and that

where in reality grey shades the white and black.


Families separated, torn apart,

Religion ravishing a lover’s heart.

Hold sway the multitude of hate

that beckons at the border’s gate.


The enemy beyond, unheard

sows seeds of fear in every bed/head

The outside world looks on reviled

by every killing of another child.


Step by step revenge is paired

One man here, another there.

Endless cycles of martyr making

The fragile peace once more is shaking.


They come from north and east and west

They come from the south to do their best

to styme the tide and halt the push

as at the border gate they push.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Return to Creative Writing Group

This week saw the restart of our Creative Writing Group. The tutor had us each write down on a slip of paper 5 characteristics of ourselves, excluding physical and other obviously identifiable ones. Shuffling the papers around we each then ended up with a set of characteristics which were not our own. We were then asked to write something using all 5 aspects: this was not to be about our fellow writer. The characteristics I received were Weird, Happy, Sad, Loyal, Intense. From these I wrote the following


The spidery finger stretches forth

across the firmament.

First contact

Wonder fill the boy’s eyes and heart

Friendship visualised.


Tears of sadness, tears of joy

Thoughts of homes far apart

The secret sour taste of parting

The ultimate sacrifice of letting go

a friend never forgotten.

© Sheila Ash, 2014


And in case you wonder what these words made me think of…..


Tuesday 16 September 2014

Update: Sept 30th deadline for educational appeal by Shakti Organisation, the Indian NGO where I did my VSO placement

This project, from the NGO I worked with in India, has to raise $5,000 from 40 donors by September 30, 11:59 PM EDT to earn a permanent spot on GlobalGiving. So far it has 9 donors and has raised $3713: only $1287 to go for their first attempt at raising money in this way . Please support if you can even by a little, and share onto others who may be interested and appreciate their work.

You can read more about the school from a blog post I wrote while I was there

Monday 8 September 2014

Support the NGO I was with in India

The NGO I was with in India are looking to raise funding to continue their excellent education program for slum children. It would be marvellous if some of you could donate to this hardworking NGO and support their worthwhile project with these kids. Thank you.