Art performance at Goa Gajah – tomorrow

Here are some photos from the previousSharing Creating Offering Art’ event at Goa Gajah:

This one was held about 6 months ago on Tumpek Krulut – which means ‘Compassion Day’:

The 3rd ‘Sharing Creating Offering Art’ event is being held tomorrow Sat 29 Aug 2015 which is also Tumpek Krulut in the Balinese calendar.

Can you afford to miss it?

Each of these events have showcased art in different forms and I’ve been lucky to read a poem too.  And tomorrow I’ve got 10 mins to share some of my poems about Bali – at approx 4.15pm.

It starts from 11am at Goa Gajah temple and the opening will also include a new gamelan piece – the performances will go through until late afternoon (I think I will be reading at approx 4.15pm).

Whatsmore, 2 of Yaniq’s drawings will be on display, here is one of them:

'Meditating' by Yaniq

‘Meditating’ by Yaniq

Hope to see you there.


Cyberspace – poem

I was delighted that my poem, ‘Cyberspace’ was published in the ‘Communications’ edition of ‘Inspired Bali’ magazine – out this month:


Yes, its cool
to hang out
in cyberspace

From your chair
make friends
across the human race

Buy all you need
without leaving
your home base

The world’s small
through the lens
of this virtual place

You don’t need
any more

Don’t need
to step outside
the door

No reason
to wander
around the shop floor

Can just
be lazy
to your very core

How long
before you realise
something real is missing

Before facebook friends
are the only ones
you’re kissing

Til information overload
becomes more boring
than fishing

Until earth-filled
fingernails are what
you are wishing

Peaceful Warrior – unleashing tranquility

After reading a book about the Hindu epic, ‘Ramayana’ (a story which pre-dates the Mahabharata), I was moved to write this poem:

Peaceful warrior

The peaceful warrior went to war
carrying caskets of swirling mists
laden with gentle delights

sprays of restful comfort
gifts of golden joy
essence of benevolent laughter

fine shimmering dusts of compassion
and amulets that when looked at
released soothing tranquil music

The peaceful warrior won.

And now, for the first time in this blog, which has featured all my own original material, I’ve decided to share a post copied from elsewhere.

Why? Because it connects so well, because it made me laugh and because I hope the Buddhist’s aim, ‘to unleash tranquility on west’ succeeds.

Please feel free to share this too:,34623/

Nyepi poem

Nyepi is the Balinese New Year.

It is a silent day.  Full of introspection.

For 24 hours there can be no travelling, no electricity, no work and no entertainment.  The really strict will fast too.

Nyepi Day fell on 31 March 2014 – which is 1936 in the Balinese Saka calendar.

The airport closed, the streets were empty and even the TV stations shut down from 6 in the morning until 6am the following day.

I love Nyepi Day and it inspired this poem:

Nyepi Day

The water fountain
in my pond
stopped tinkling

on the ceiling
lost their way

Rock music
on my stereo
simply ran out of tune

Whistling kettles
stayed cool
for a whole day

The silence
sent me into

No laptop
meant I wasn’t
enticed to play

My thoughts invented stories
usually only found
on TV

No radio
gave silence space
to have it’s say

It’s true
Nyepi saves
gas and electricity

It’s true
Earth hour’s
also paving the way

But for me
Nyepi gives time
for life…

to be appreciated
that’s why I really love
Nyepi Day

To read more about the lead up to Nyepi (i.e. noisy day) click here.

A piece of cake or… a cake of peace

What a great way to teach values at a school.

Get the kids to make a paper cake, where each ingredients, such as the paper, tape, decorations and even the air inside and cherry on the top represents a value, such as respect, honesty, peace, compassion, love etc.

Cake of Peace

Cakes of Peace

These cakes were made by children at Karuna Bali, located at ‘Open Heart Space’, Campuhan College, Ubud.  Teachers in the western world, please take note.

Get far more than a piece of cake – get a cake of peace 🙂

I have a poem that fits with this idea… it’s called ‘Ingredients of Life’ and it starts like this:

Ingredients of Life

The most important ingredient
in our meal of many flavours
is love

The essential component
of our house built with strong hands
is heart

          and it ends like this:

The sole reason for our happiness
is the attitude we chose
to take

When we mix all the ingredients together
the word on the cake
of life says,

(if you want the whole poem, please email me and I will send it to you)

Musical poetry at Dragonfly Village

In the midst of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival I performed poetry, along with Yaniq who played guitar.  This was part of a ‘Spiritual Creative Writing Day’ held at the beautiful retreat, ‘Dragonfly Village’ out in the rice fields.

On arrival we walked past the swimming pool, where the golden flames of a giant bonfire were dancing against a moonlit sky.

Barefoot, we climbed the stairs into the natural bamboo and wood framed building and reclined on comfortable floor chairs (well, they were legless – and no, I don’t mean drunk, as this village is a health retreat and they don’t even serve beer!)

Yaniq singing 'Ticket to Paradise'

Yaniq singing ‘Ticket to Paradise’

Our host, Eagle, welcomed us next to the flower petal mandala she had made on the floor.   The pink, cerise and purple heart had Balinese offerings (canang) inside.

Next to the flower petal mandala

Singing next to the flower petal mandala

We chatted about Eagle’s successful day which had already featured talks, via skype on the big screen, from authors around the world – America, Canada, France, Thailand and then there was myself from England and Yaniq from Bali, Indonesia.

Her other guests for our evening session were Italian, German, English and American – a small, but multi-national, group.

I read poems that fitted with the spiritual theme… ‘Valley of Meditation’, ‘Stone Buddha’, ‘Alternatives’, Who Is It’, Living Consciously’ and ‘I am a Bridge’.

Are you ready for a poem?

Are you ready for another poem?

Yaniq then joined me for musical poetry that we performed together called, ‘TMTTT’ (Meditating), and then he continued to play and sing for us with his own new material, ‘Smile’, ‘Ticket to Paradise’, ‘Lost in a Hammock’, ‘B’cos of You’ and more.

It was a lovely evening and I was pleased that my friends, Sandeh and Ulrika had joined us as well as Karen, who works for the British Embassy in Jakarta.

Karen was here to promote a campaign called, ‘Great’ (putting the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain).  It’s about encouraging people from Indonesia to study the creative arts and do business in Great Britain.  I couldn’t help suggesting that a reciprocal link would be a good idea too – i.e. get people from the UK to visit Indonesia, and Bali in particular, in order to study the incredible range of arts and culture here, and bring some much needed funds into Indonesia!

Anyway, we gave away free smiles 🙂 during the evening, – if you would like one, just click here.

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2013

The 10th anniversary of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival has arrived.

My festival programme is well worn, from excited fingers flitting from page to page… ticking book launches, circling workshops, underlining artistic events and highlighting readings for the five, thought-provoking, days (11-15 Oct 2013).

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival - programme and ticket

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival – programme and ticket

This year’s theme ‘Through Darkness to Light’ is delivering a wealth of goodies to tantalizing my literary tastebuds – it’s enough to make me dizzy.

I can listen to best selling authors giving tons of tips and sharing slices of their latest blockbusters.

Shall I learn about travel writing or mastering storytelling?  What about a workshop to enchance my poetry presentations or maybe one about comedy or self-publishing!

How about watching some of the films that have just been premiered at the Balinale Film Festival (which I attended the other night!) and of course I’ll be at some of the free evening events too – last night’s street party was such good fun, and then there was ‘Jalan Monster’ – where contemporary artists transformed the street into an exhibition area.

So many choices, over 200 authors from 30+ countries will be speaking in 50 venues across Ubud – looking forward to more days of fun!

What have bean bags and hammocks got in common?

This giant beanbag was in the foyer area on the other side of Gaya Fusion Art Space, in Sayan.  A cool place to chill…

Me on a bean bag

Me on a bean bag

with a nice cold beer… or three.

Now that's what I call a bean bag

Now that’s what I call a bean bag

Did you know that ‘Soccos’ was the name of the first beanbag chairs ever made, way back in 1969.  They were leather bags filled with styrofoam beans and they are still made today apparently.

I really like laying on a bean bag, but it’s not so easy to get up from it – or maybe that’s because of all those beers?!?

I also like hammocks – they’re also great to lay in, yet can be tricky to get out of as well.

My new hammock

My new hammock

I just bought one, so this picture is hot off the press because, as you can see, we haven’t put it up yet.

Talking of hammocks… Yaniq made my poem, ‘Lost in a Hammock’ into a great song by the same name.

Dream of me
Dream of you
In a hammock made for two
…Lost in a hammock

Kitten – poem

The famous bridges restaurant in Ubud have invited me to read poetry on Sunday, 12 May – which apparently is Mother’s Day here in Bali… (that’s interesting, as Mother’s Day is always celebrated in March in England).

I’ve got a number of poems up my sleeve for this special occasion and I want to share one of them with you and, of course, with my own mother – hello Mum!

It’s a short poem called ‘Kitten’ and it is dedicated to Villa Kitty – for all they do to help cats and kittens (that’s where I got my two kittens, Jojo and JJ, from).

Every mother loves a kitten, don’t they?

A cuteness that can't be denied

A cuteness that can’t be denied


Small parcel of joy
wrapped in a Mother’s Day surprise
tied to your heart by a rainbow
scampering before your eyes

Furry to the touch
ears up high and alert
meowing with a sweet delight
running rings around your skirt

Ever loving and playful
a cuteness that can’t be denied

this kitten’s always purring
show your friends with smiles and pride

Bridges restaurant will also have classical music accompanying their special Mother’s Day brunch… yum, I can’t wait!

This elegant restaurant, perched on the side of Campuhan Bridge, will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to ‘Yayasan Bumi Sehat’, a foundation which helps Balinese women with childbirth – very fitting for Mothers Day, don’t you think?

Hope to see you there!

Tropical flowers… well it is Mothers Day!

Here’s an updated post showing wonderful flowers.  I’ve made the pictures BIGGER so you can fully enjoy these lovely plants from the tropics – well, from Ubud, Bali.

Indescribable flower

Indescribable flower

This post is for my Mum…  hello Mum 🙂  who loves flowers so much she even wanted to be named Ivy.

Happy Mothers Day Mum x



I want a dress in this colour

I want a dress in this colour

Frangipanis are called Jepun in Indonesia and my house is called Rumah Jepun.

Frangipani flowers - often found behind Balinese men's ears

Flame red flower, so bright…

Hibiscus - this flower makes a great tea!

Hibiscus – this flower makes a great tea!

Thanks to the moon in the sky
I have enough light to illuminate the way
and thanks to the flowers in the trees
I have so many blossoms to brighten my day…


Trumpet flowers

Flowers like velvet

Flowers like velvet

What is prettier the butterfly or the flowers? - answer... both
What is prettier the butterfly or the flowers? – answer… both
3 colour Bourgenvilla on my balcony

3 colour Bourgenvilla on my balcony

Breakfast on the terrace
surrounded by flowers

breeze in the air
perfumed and sweet

view of the trees
green and waving

distant chanting
in the mid morning heat

Frangipani tree shaking hands with the sky

Frangipani tree shaking hands with the sky


I have many more glorious pictures of flowers but think I will save them for another post…  Well, here is just one more to keep you on your toes…


Spikey! – and I don’t mean my toes

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