The end of half-term, Halloween and holidaying. As we’re just back from the gorgeous countryside in Cumbria, I’m saving most of the poetry stuff until next week in favour of a minimal word, more pix whizz around the scenery.

I seem to have been not so much chasing as riding/driving through rainbows the past few weeks. Our long M6 drive north beautifully omened by one spanning the motorway on Tuesday. Another one greeted our arrival at Hirst Lodge, where we were staying with relatives in the grounds of Muncaster Castle, near Ravenglass.

The view from the lodge, and indeed the bedroom window, was stunning. I love the light and colours in early autumn. The red in the leaves, and the fact that sunset and sunrise are at reasonable times of the day!

The whole area is beautiful, in terms of scenery and the lighting and shadows caused by the mountainous terrain. But we weren’t just there for the scenery, we were also there to be outdoors, exercising and having fun. Unfortunately, my hopes of kite-buggying were thwarted at the first hurdle, namely my inability to control even the simplest power kite enough, though the winds at Drigg when we tried were particularly challenging (strong!). Even this experience, which included being dragged a little along the sand by the kite, was absolutely exhilarating.

Then there was ice-cream, natural light effects and another practically deserted beachscape at Seascale.

While we were in the area, we also enjoyed a quick trip on a ‘Ratty Railway’ steam train, as well as the Halloween fun at Muncaster.

As well as the stunning views from the castle, walking the gardens and delicious food; the magician, fire juggler and actors conducting the ‘Scary Maze’ were excellent. Best of all, for me, though was the fabulous evening lighting and show projecting images on the side of the castle.

Besides chat, mulled wine and playing with the dog (the trip highlight for my boys!), we also managed to squeeze in a leisurely walk down to Ravenglass village, just to look – and wonder!

Back in the Midlands now, just briefly to add that I’m looking forward to reading from Be[yond] in Coventry on Tuesday night, when I head over to the Nightblue Fruit evening headlined by the Irish poets from the Coventry- Cork twin city poets exchange. This atmospheric, friendly and enjoyable open mic night is at Playwrights cafe-bar and bistro (4-6 Hay Lane,Cathedral Quarter, Coventry, CV1 5RF, GB). Admission is free, the poetry starts at 7.30pm and, judging from both the venue’s usual great standard and variety, and the poetry talent over from Ireland, it should be a cracking evening!