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Pitch and Putt Poetry

Pitch and Putt Poetry

On Wednesday I travelled, unaccompanied, to London Paddington station ready for my poetry reading with Emma Simon at Putney Library. The train left Newport station at 11:08am and within 10 minutes the ticket inspector was at my seat, checking my ticket and letting me know that he'd be walking through the train frequently and did I want anything from the buffet car. That is the first time on an Intercity train with buffet car that the ticket inspector has offered to do that for me — I was très impressed!

The train arrived pretty much on time and my friend Fliss was there to meet me at the carriage door. The station assistance person would have walked me along the platform, but I thought it'd be best to introduce Fliss to being my sighted guide right from the get-go.

Sighted Guide

I'm comfortable with most variants of sighted guide. The correct one is where the sighted person stands on my left so I can lightly hold their right elbow with my left hand, leaving me still able to swing my cane with my right hand. That way they are leading me. Most people haven't done sighted guide before and tend to start by steering me, also known as linking. In that method my left arm is at my side and they hold it and pull me in whatever direction we're going.

Teeing Up

We quenched our thirst at The Italian Boys cafe / bistro around the corner from Putney Library. Decaf cappuccino for me and Peroni for Fliss and two more audience members we already knew were meeting us there. We bid ta-ra to the Italians at about 6:15pm and stepped into the library.

Poets in Putney

Emma and I had agreed amongst ourselves that Emma would read first and I would read second. Two local Putney poets who were in attendance asked if they might read a poem each in the interval, and we were cool with that. Emma started her set with a very appropriate poem titled The Dissolution of the Libraries, and that link will take you to it being performed by a member of the Live Canon poetry group when it was shortlisted in their annual poetry competition.

Here's a photo of me taken by a friend of mine called Naomi, who was at high school with me and who I haven't seen for many years.

Poet Giles L. Turnbull standing to perform his poems.

Listen to the Band

I recorded both sets using a nifty little recording thumb drive device and am delighted to share one poem from me and one from Emma. I know I've already linked you to one of Emma's poems, but that one wasn't read by her and, because I don't seem to have a photo of her reading, it's only fair that I share a second poem with you :) ... Given my pamphlet's title of Dressing Up, Emma's poem would have been a perfect fit in it! :)

Emma Simon reads How to Bake a Gingerbread Girl

Giles L. Turnbull reads Alarm

The Elevator Pitch

What's the best way to spend the day after a poetry reading? My train ticket back from Paddington to Newport was for the 3:15pm service so we had chance to do something else exciting in London. We went to The poetry Library in the South Bank Centre.

I mentioned the Poetry Library in my post Poets in the Library two weeks ago, so you can check that post if you don't know what the Poetry Library is. However I've never visited it myself before.

The Poetry Library is a lovely place! Just like a library should be — totally quiet and with lots of books and CDs and DVDs and old cassette recordings of poets performing their work (all of which you can listen to with headphones), plus computers for searching articles on poetry.

My main reason for going was to see if they'd take a copy of my pamphlet to have on their shelves. I told the lady on the desk, Saradha, that I was a member and receive their CDs, so she asked my name and said that we'd emailed before. I asked if they'd like my pamphlet and got one out of my bag, and Saradha said she was sure she'd seen a copy of that already! She looked on the computer and yes, it was in their reference section! Writers often post on FB about being delighted to walk into a bookshop and see their book on the shelves ... well this was my one of those moments! :) I asked if they'd like a copy that people could actually borrow, and she said yes and I left a copy with them :)

Also at the desk was a guy who also said we'd emailed, and I asked him if he was Will, and it was! I'd been talking to him about maybe adding the track listings for all their audio CDs to the website, which would make my life much easier when I receive their monthly CDs but can't read the track listing. So they were delighted I'd called in and I was delighted to meet them :)

We'd arranged that Naomi would meet us at the Poetry Library for lunch, and she arrived and we moved down a floor in the lift to the cafe.

Let me tell you about the lift! It's The Singing Lift! It has opera voices singing as you go up and down! Watch it on YouTube going up and going down. :) Every lift should be a singing lift and, if you've never been in one, you need to get yourself to the Poetry Library ASAP!

#PutneyLibrary #PoetryLibrary #EmmaSimon #GilesLTurnbull @wandsworthlibs @SimpleSimonEmma @CinnamonJan

Published inblindnessPoetry


  1. Fran Fran

    Poetry library sounds like a fabulous place, especially the singing lift. Must check it out one day. Glad you enjoyed your trip to London & kudos to ticket inspector on train.

    • Giles Giles

      it was a good job I didn’t try and listen to any of the poetry library casettes though else I’d have missed either my lunch or the train home, and probably both!! I heartily recommend the focaccia with mushroom and onion which was very very scrummy 🙂

  2. Sounds a great trip and delighted all went well.

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