Category Archives: 2013

year of courage

2013 – I still remember its first day. Mister Robin was singing high just outside my peerie South African sister’s home in the Chilterns. The sun had engulfed late morning. She woke me so gently. I was just about to start what she aptly named “my year of courage” – the start of my brand new life.
Although the term “abandoned” does not feature among the list regarding marital status, you don’t wipe out 22 years of married life in a few days…
How right she was to name it this way.

20131231-020243.jpg I returned home to my 60N Latitude with a heart re-charged with courage and the will to harness my life.
I will not delve into details, but will celebrate its highlights.

With “From shore to Shoormal” on the way to my doorstep, I prepared the book’s homecoming on this side of the Atlantic in view to launch it in Lerwick at the local book festival. Although Donna, my co-author, thought of crossing, our publisher would turn her voice.

Two main projects – NTS Ignition and ArtiPeeps’ Transformations – would keep me occupied with verse & performance. Again, Tai knows my creative writing function as “rails” along the path.


Within the Westside Writers’ Group, friend & author, Marsali Taylor steered another publishing project – the group’s primal anthology – entitled “Wirds fae da Waastside”. She also penned a first review for “From Shore to Shoormal” for the local newspaper. She and Laureen Johnson, co-Editor of the New Shetlander were my top choices for such task, since both can read English & French, on top of Shetland dialect. How fortunate & privileged to have such reviewers. My gratitude to both, as BBC Radio Shetland broadcaster, Marie Blance, for a February interview for The Book Programme 🙂

As spring gave way to summertime, I discovered a new passion – sea rowing among a team of great friendly ladies, who welcomed me among their “clan”.
And reinforced creative bonds with neon artist, Lili Morgan, through a new collaboration entitled Music.
Yet I would also discover the joys of keeping up with home & grass (!) as well as sharing my homeworld with visitors from other parts of the planet – gosh, how many times have I cursed Odin & Thor for hiding islands in seafog!

My resilience & love for “my Treasure Islands” won every time.

Within those months, I learnt so many new skills – from replacing a door sealant to handling power tools of all kinds. Summer is a short window to prepare home for the winter. With help & advice from two great friends – Magnie & Richard – I don’t feel so cold inside storms.

I also learnt my own limits, notably with grass cutting… Though my love for “wild” in “wildlife”, I accepted tall grass can live among flowers, bugs and nettles. I swapped a streamer for a scythe. Maybe next year, I’ll do better.

With September came Mr Blades, my publisher from New Brunswick. The book would be launched at Wordplay on the first weekend without fault. Joe discovered Ninian sunset & northern lights on arrival. To our surprise, we read to a lovely full house and made that day memorable.

Friends & guest readers, Marsali Taylor & Christian Tait – shared their own work, smiles and talent. Together with Steve Davidson & Alan McKay, who provided magic music, Joe and I smiled. The room was graced with both famous & unknown faces, who delighted spirit & heart. My deepest thanks to all involved – friends & public who attended this first book launch. Donna’s spirit filled the moment.
I say “first” launch, although two days before, another book came into light – the Westside Writers’ Anthology… So “first” happened on a Thursday (!)

With October, came a new friend – kindred spirit – Stephanie Spindler for a month. We both marvelled at the grandeur of my homeworld when she notably drove us to that magic peninsula called Eshaness. It never fails in sheer blue light 🙂

With Tai’s & friends’ renewed encouragements, I faced winter with a strong heart. Whereas creative collaborations continued within ArtiPeeps, Ovid & a new experience would keep me occupied at night. As light vanished, I found my way amidst a mix of old & new friends from the Open Door Drama group led by fiend & Theatre Director Izzy Swanson. Pantomime would lead back to Lerwick’s Garrison Theatre till the winter solstice.


So, there we are. On the final day of 2013, I am looking to a new dawn. Tai’s in the bush with her loved ones. Joe’s deep in snow. Everyone’s love and words of encouragement – either as family or friends – carried me through this frantic year.
I am grateful to your kindness. 🙂

May 2014 bring new light, good health and joys to each of your days.

Happy New Year / Bonne année / Glückliches neues Jahr to you all 🙂
May you find peace & happiness inside your heart.


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Filed under 2013, 60N, atlantic, celebration, colours, december, home, island, life, north, poet, review, shetland, spirit, winter, wishes, world, writing

from food 4 thoughts 2 food 4 taste buds

I love Twitter – that’s when you can communicate, share and catch up with what’s happening in your world.

And talking of catching up,

a Canadian born- Shetland based culinary poet was calling for some food challenge participation. Now, my love for food – in true Rabelais’ spirit – so, here is, following today’s earlier offering (as food for thoughts), a very first offering as food for taste buds. Please note they both satisfy pleasure 🙂

Here it comes, as an entry for the PASTA PLEASE call … Sorry, E, but, hey,am catching up at your evening’s tweet!
For Maya


Gratin de Macaroni aux Trois Fromages

Serves 4 / Preparation Time: 20-30min / Grill (Gratin) Time: 5-10 min (180C)


400 G Italian Macaroni

140 G Pancetta* (if you are not Vegetarian 🙂

Cheeses: Reblochon, Emmental & Gruyère, freshly grated

2 x garlic cloves, Herbes de Provence, coarse sea salt, pepper

For the Béchamel sauce: 50G flour, 50G butter, 5-600ML milk, grated nutmeg, salt, pepper,

Option(s): mixed wild mushroom/wild chanterelles (pack) / red onion


Plunge the dehydrated wild mushrooms into a small dish with water


1. Bring a large pan of water + dash of olive oil + coarse sea salt to the boil. Add the macaroni. Bring back to boil and simmer till al dente.

2. Drain and set aside.

Béchamel: (preparation Time: 10-15 min / cooking: c. 10 min)

1. In a (Le Creuset) large saucepan, melt the butter, add & brown the diced pancetta & thinly sliced garlic (with red onion/wild mushroom as an option)

2. Add grated nutmeg, pepper & Herbes de Provence & stir in the flour to make a roux. Add milk gradually whilst stirring at all times. You may decide the amount of milk according to sauce thickness preference. However, the Béchamel will be thickened by the cheese.

3. As the sauce begins to thicken, gradually add 1/2 the grated cheeses and continue stirring. Keep the other half for the gratin (dish top). Taste. Adjust seasoning according to taste. Set aside.

Preheat the grill oven to 180C


1. Grease a large rectangular earthware dish with butter.

2. Pour in the drained pasta and Béchamel sauce. Stir with care to ensure a balanced mélange (mix)

3. Sprinkle with the other half of freshly grated cheeses. Season, sprinkle with Herbes de Provence & pepper.

4. Grill for 5-10 min.

5. Serve immediately.

Serve with a side salad, and a chilled Chablis (wine)

Et voilà! Bon appétit 🙂



Filed under 2013, 60N, celebration, december, festival, island, life, north, project, shetland, spirit, winter, world, writing

Linguistic self-indulgence

Living on the edge of an island in the middle of an ocean feels very special, and allows you to look at the world from a different perspective.
Living with cultural dualities adds spice to one’s life journey 🙂
I sometimes dip in this “other” sphere. It’s both fun & exciting.
And just did that this morning.


Aux premières loges,
tel un dandy à
son balcon,
du vent; chaque
œil du ciel gonflé de pleurs –
chaque chimère

enfanté dans
aux ambitions dépressionnaires,
s’ébat dans l’éther
dérouler toute
sa verve –

des sifflements aux rires
moqueurs, il ne retient guère
ses griffes,
et se
sans rancœur
sur tous les toits, tuiles ou tonnelles
des maisons – gifle avec rage
le moindre petit carré
de verre,
anime et hante
les ruisseaux,
prend les tourbières
pour des buvards,
dessine toutes
les heures
de l’hiver.

chaque rideau gris
cache la rivière d’étoiles –

entre deux actes,

laisse entrevoir
toute la bonté et chaleur
de ce géant jaune hydrogène.

Sandwick, 29 Dec 2013 ——

And still smiling at Claude Roy’s thought – “poésie, ventilateur du dimanche”

Yes, it is Sunday 🙂
Have yet to think of an English-speaking mirror…

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Filed under 2013, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, celebration, earth, geopoetics, home, island, life, north, poet, poetry, poets, shetland, shore, spirit, verse, verse poetry, world, writing

histoire d’amour

20131227-135306.jpg I fell in love with theatre at the very tender age of 12, at a time of searching… Theatre is a fabulous discipline within the world of expressive, performing arts. It has the power to get you out of your shell (or carapace, according to armour thickness!) and it teaches you a myriad of life skills. It is a lifelong craft that each of us develop in our own ways. It has the magic of unveiling a kaleidoscope of emotions, which we learn to harness as we journey through life, the wider stage 🙂

Every experience records its catalogue of fond memories. From the primal steps – with Le Théâtre 80 d’Amiens under the joint direction of Françoise Longeard & M-L Debourle back in 1981 – to NTS’s Ignition, under the joint direction of Wils Wilson and John Haswell (2012-13).

And if 2013 began with unchartered territory, mobile theatre, thanks to friend & playwright Jacqui Clark, who invited me to take the extra mile with Ignition, the year ended with a very similar experience – pantomime, thanks to friend & Mrs Theatre in Shetland, Izzy Swanson.

Although I have spent over thirty years learning to tread the boards from both sides of La Manche & half my life bathing inside British culture (my teaching time at The BRIT School for the Performing Arts included) the tradition of panto was totally alien to me till last Yuletide, when my peerie South African sister took me to see one at The Swan Theatre in High Wycombe. The child within laughed & applauded so shamelessly & heartedly.
When Izzy tailored me a part for Aladdin, this year’s major Shetland production, I embraced this brand new adventure! I was warned of a huge commitment till the winter solstice, but what a voyage – fabulous human adventure! Hours of rehearsals, friendships woven from unknown threads, sealed both on and backstage. The joy to forget it all once we slip inside our characters… “Belonging to a Director on the pain of death”

Open Door Drama did not only welcome me with open arms, but allowed me to start flourishing among the group.
Hours, days, weeks of sheer toil, devotion, laughters, madness filled the latter part of autumn…

Pantomime is outrageous; it pushes you to (and beyond!) your (more or less) known limits. It is a form of theatre that incorporates music, a chorus line, under the joint musical direction of Jane McLaren & Norman Wilmore, into acting – it makes you do just about anything! It is fun above all 🙂
And when we stepped inside Lerwick’s Garrison Theatre, it took a whole new dimension. From the scheduled tech rehearsals in early December till the performance run (9-21/12) we invested the dressing rooms & metamorphosed for the audience’s pleasure, as well as our own as a troupe. 20131227-150020.jpg
And who did we turn into every night? Hmmm, here are some of us 🙂
20131227-150421.jpg our two heroes, Aladdin (left) & his brother, Wishy-Washy
20131227-150616.jpg their mother, Widow Twankey
20131227-151343.jpg their sweethearts, Princess Balabour & Lady-in-waiting, Sue-Shi

20131227-152010.jpg Balabour’s folks, the Empress Ming-In (left) the Emperor Ming (right) & his vocal servant (centre)
20131227-152255.jpg their own Imperial Standard, as The Lord High Chamberlain
20131227-152554.jpg the two rogues, Abanazer & his servant, Karjac (left)
20131227-152825.jpg Spirit of The Ring
20131227-153001.jpg Bish, Bash & Bosh (from right to left) the Imperial Guards
20131227-153616.jpg Genie (of the Lamp)
20131227-153857.jpg the joyous Chorus
20131227-154129.jpg our Three Geezers

20131227-154844.jpg the interpreter, pictured here with The Empress…

As part of the anecdote, have never ended up my final repartie with a raspberry to so many good folk in my life (before!) – but it was part of the panto, and what a scream!
Treasured memories forever tattooed in my heart. The afterwards’ party & Award Ceremony remain private among cast, supportive crew and Directors… Within the four walls of the Garrison Theatre, that is ;0)

Thank you, everyone – troupe & wonderful audience, you know who You are 🙂

Molière once shouted “vive le théâtre!”

May you all reign & shine for a thousand years

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Filed under 2013, 60N, celebration, december, home, images, island, lerwick, project, review, shetland, spirit, winter, writing, Yuletide

Happy Yuletide!

Our Nordic sun might have peaked at 6 and a bit degrees’ elevation on the day of the longest night, tis the season to be merry!

Yule, also known as Midwinter, Mother’s Night or Winter Rite, is that moment of blackness, crowned by candles & cinnamon scents around many homes, including my own 🙂

Tis also the moment to exchange a present, as well as to embrace the hope for the return of the sun.
Since my South African gang is reunited with Austral summer, I opened my peerie sister’s gift today, knowing she opened hers before she flew off to Gauteng. We are bound by love & spirit.

a peerie string of micropoetry for your pleasure 🙂

60N Yule

When sky awakes,
smell green of pine, cinnamon night,
Yule has its ghouls,
gales and gold
#micropoetry fae #60N


Mother’s Night –
dreamer of
clad inside lace,
whatever crescent of the moon.



Oh, and the rainbow flag will fly on 25 December fae Shetland, since have just been invited to spend the day with my South African friend Paula & Magnie at Girlsta 🙂

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Filed under 2013, 60N, Arcania, celebration, colours, december, earth, fire, geopoetics, haiku, images, island, life, north, poet, poetry, shetland, shore, spirit, verse, verse poetry, winter, wishes, world, writing, Yuletide

‘Depths and Surfaces’ Glance 2/3: Transformations Poems (Book 10)

Collaborative project c/o ArtiPeeps #Transformations after Ovid’s Metamorphoses – Book 11 deadline after Yule 🙂



George Braque Metamorphoses

February 2013-March 2014

17 poets, 15 months, creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page for more details or the ‘Present Collaborations’ Tab


Poems Inspired by Book 10


Nat Hall and Richard Biddle


Wild Vows

by Nat Hall

You don’t want to hurt me,
but see deep how the bullet lies*


Before lone gods,
mice and strange priests,
we hunted down our wildest
I, da daughter of
the stringman
in love with chords…
But as we put words in a cage,
they grew feathers, talons and taste for
blood and flesh.
I carried mine on nameless hills,
through sly mires,
peat bogs,
cold swamps;
you long drowned yours
inside poison you always took for
night’s nectar, and
walked away,
………….walked away,
………………….. walked away.

No need to throw stones in the wind,
I walk though life…

View original post 147 more words

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Filed under 2013, december, earth, geopoetics, home, life, poet, poetry, poets, project, shetland, spirit, verse, world, writing

First review

The madness of Aladdin has kicked off with flair, bangs and style at Lerwick’s Garrison Theatre.
Already, Shetland News was seduced by the show.
Here, its very first review. Enjoy 🙂

Shetland News Review

We shall aim to flare up & fuel the tale till 21 December. Fabulous fun.
A full blog entry with insight photos will follow. Meantime, I must get ready for tonight’s performance 😉

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Filed under 2013, 60N, celebration, december, home, island, lerwick, north, project, review, shetland, world, writing, Yuletide

Ice Age


Ice Age

in absence of your human warmth,
I feel heart from wandering
wolf that
trudges through
silent snowflakes, still
framed icicles from a sky,
once forgotten
as they
touch down.
never makes 2.
Will be looking for
long shadows, howling echoes
around Yule, since you ran
away from the

Sandwick, 8 Dec 2013

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December 8, 2013 · 3:42 am

Madiba Forever


Madiba Forever

Nelson Mandela,

One smile,
one will, rainbow nation –
behind the blue, black, red & white,
African man had a vision,
strength in his heart,
in green & gold,
to hack hatred
without fire,
home to
every man
and seek courage
instead of

Now you
can sleep inside
this great African sky,

where we shall look out for
your star.

You are the master of your
you are the captain of
your soul.

© Nat Hall 2013

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Filed under 2013, colours, december, earth, geopoetics, poetry, spirit, world, writing


panto poster Weeks of hard work, madness, laughters and devotion to theatre, with a different twist yet again since Ignition with NTS, are gradually making their way towards the lights of the Garrison Theatre in Lerwick for the purpose of solid entertainment. Since I am bound by secrecy, I shall simply add, this is  total madness! A great classic revamped with a plethora of hilarious moments, blended by The Open Door Drama group, written and directed by wir Izzy Swanson. It is now coming to fruition and let’s hope Shetland  comes to laugh with us, as the festive season gets under way.

It has been a fabulous adventure so far.  Time to break a leg 🙂

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Filed under 2013, 60N, celebration, december, home, island, lerwick, project, shetland, winter, Yuletide