Posted on 30th September, 2016



Welcome to the Livewires Blog for the month of October 2016


We'd like to introduce you to our Artist in Residence, Elizabeth Waugh,

who at 87+ is still creating sculpture, watercolours, pastels and work on her iPad



and our Nature Diarist, Fiona Russell, who will report in words and images

from her walks in the hills above Langholm



and our photographer, especially of birdlife, Tom Langlands,whose work in exhibited nationwide,




Our themes for this year are any aspect of birdlife - do you dream of flying ? -

and personal epiphanies, the moments, music,

films or books that changed your mind and your life.

There will be daily creative prompts on the Southlight Facebook page for you to respond to








Morning Glory


Against a pewter grey sky gulls rise and fall

white flash on the upstroke,

dark on the downbeat,

elegant patterns in a free-wheeling mobile.


An upland pasture—there they are again

soaring in a motley crowd

with two red kites whistling like shepherds,

a mewling buzzard and a speechless raven.


From out of nowhere

two mute swans fly overhead, barely clearing the dyke.

They power uphill then pass out of sight.

I’m left on the road with the sound of singing wings

above the sweet-sharp whiff of a poultry shed.


Leonie Ewing


(First published in The Dawntreader27,







And still they come!


You imagine, as you grow older, and presume to grow wiser as a consequence, that the epiphanies will reduce in number, and in frequency.   They do.  Which is why, when they come, they are surprising.


Take the other day.  Eating supper quietly before an Edinburgh Festival performance - the Official Festival mind - and feeling age-relieved to find a) supper and b) a table and seats.  A changing cast of diners and pre-show drinkers around us, the young curiously drably dressed, their elders more exotic and to my eyes more stylish.  Well-shaped coats and tops, hiding bulges and turning them to advantage, expensively flattering haircuts, designer spectacles - the well-heeled at play.  In contrast to the refugee woman who had begged at our table, only to be hustled away by the maitre d' with many apologies.  She belonged firmly outside the bubble we sat in, watching the world go by.


And then, alone for a minute to pay the bill, the epiphany.  Envy, deep envy.  I still can feel it.


As a child it was ever-present.  At the end of the party, when parents collected children.  At sports days, when parents handed out low-key praise of cups won, ribbons broken, distances measured, and the recipient looked as modestly bursting with pride as they could manage.  On holiday, when everyone knew how to play it, except me.  Duffer, said kindly, summed it up.  One vowel away from truth - differ, and ye transgress the childhood rules of conformity.   And while the rule about parallel lines joining at the approach to infinity applies in drawings, it doesn't in life.  In life, the lines continue, apart.


It was a couple seating themselves further along, but in my sightline.  He tall, tailored and assured; she small, dark hair long over her shoulders, and holding his hand.   Drinks provided, they talked.


Which is when the epiphany hit.  How much I would have enjoyed that.  And how completely impossible. 


Father and daughter.








Divers, skull capped and goggled

Teetered on the brink, poised

To dive headlong into the mill race

And swim for dear life past the heron

Poised also awaiting a tell tale splash

Gale force winds, whipped to fury

As the gathering storm, brought rain


The divers, teeth gritted, eyes goggled 

Strapped their helmets tighter

And tensed, each muscle etched

In sinews of cast resin weathered

By the seasons that had passed 

Until finally the storm broke, wind

Unbalanced their diving platform

Into peat darkened water

They pirouetted as graceful as dancers

Slender diving birds in a wide ocean


Helmeted against waters force

To the stream bed past shoals of fish

Through eels still singing Sargasso songs


Heading always estuarywards to Solway

Victims of storm and flood heading 

To get to the bottom of mystery

As climates change, rivers re-arrange

Their flows wild wind blows and blows


Geoff Smith




'I'm very interested in birds too.......'



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