My late friend Catriona loved our cottage by the sea in West Wales. She used to go there for spells to recover from chemotherapy. There’s a garden chair at the highest point of the property, nestled into the divided trunk of a tree and set to take in the best view over the beach to the sea. This is where I’d find her in the evenings, sneaking an illicit cigarette while watching the bats flitting. After her death the vegetation crept up on the chair, and the last time I looked it had almost vanished, held askew in a tight embrace of guelder rose and fern.

I loved your poem Dave. It set me to thinking about Catriona’s chair. We don’t look after that garden as well as we did when she was there to scold us. But like Laura, I have a melancholic liking for the ruined, and your poem captures encroachment beautifully. There’s great delicacy in;

‘before a deer discovers them & has them
for breakfast, spines & all, threading
her hooves through the rusty coils
& the jumble of squarish stones
where walls once rested.’

‘threading her hooves’, Perfect. Well done.