A Christmas Poem

Christmas Coals, by Danielle Wootton.

As days lose their shine, people snuggle tight, sitting around fires absorbing warmth through bright lights,
Pets rolling and sleeping in front of coals dotted with blue sapphire sparks, 
Feet warming, faces glowing in front of a fire with everyone’s secrets. Past Christmas’s appear in one’s mind as mini-stories amongst the fire coals.
Everyone has a story whether joyful or sad, or affected by illness. All of us not left untouched by the power of Christmas past or present. Just stare into the coals for one’s fortune to be told. The coals drop suddenly through the grate, the burner blows and gasps as the wind whips down.
No one stirs while the fire bows and puffs,
The cat yawns, stretches out just a few minutes more before moving,
More coal is poured onto the fire, now it is too much for the black cat with emerald eyes, though he remembers a time when there was no place at the fire for him as he had no home, the  long-haired cat rescued from the garden now loved like a prince remembers his lonely Christmas story living amongst the Badgers and pines,
He looks with love in eyes at his rescuer who is lost in the coals not well lacking energy for spirited festivities,
Nothing is perfect as Christmas always demands, but kindness over-rides real life imperfections damping Christmas.
Warmth and love is in the room not just from the coals.

black cat and Christmas decorations

King Alfred

The statue of King Alfred in Winchester

UPDATE: THE BOOK, KING ALFRED: A MAN ON THE MOVE is now published and is available through bookshops and Amazon, through the link here

My name is Dr Paul Kelly and I am writing a book on King Alfred the Great. The adventure started when I accompanied my partner to Winchester and found myself at the former site of Hyde Abbey, the last known location of King Alfred’s remains. I was struck by the absence of visitors. I have since been back a few times and it has been the same (except a few local residents, joggers and dog walkers). I am also a repeat visitor to Athelney, on the Somerset Levels, perhaps one of the most significant sites in English history. It is where King Alfred set up camp as a first step in wresting back his kingdom of Wessex from the Vikings. Usually it is just me and some sheep. So I started to develop an idea about a book that would raise the profile of these places and inspire people to visit and appreciate them. It soon started to grow into something bigger as I realised how much there was to learn and pass on. Despite trying to focus down on what really happened, I also came across numerous legends and mysteries surrounding King Alfred’s life and I decided to include these as well. There are quite a few books on King Alfred, but I feel that I have created something original. There will be a few ideas that are not particularly main stream, but I have followed the evidence, such as it is. The book is aimed at a general readership andI hope that it will be read by all those with an interest in King Alfred, the Anglo-Saxons, and English history in general. I have been writing a blog on King Alfred, which has much more information, and there is also a website for the book. There is even a Youtube channel!