I thought that I was taking a break from song-writing, but when I sat down to play a bit on the piano on Saturday, a new tune, albeit simple, took form. I also used to think that I was unable to write songs that use only three chords (tonic, subdominant and dominant, eg C, F and G, aka I IV V) or four chords (the extra being iv, A minor in the key of C), as well as the extremely weak movement of I -> iv (a major chord to its relative minor), but I was wrong on both accounts. This new song (in the key of F, but no Bb, so still only white notes) starts I iv I iv before moving to V and thence to IV. The V chord doesn't sound like a dominant and there's no major cadence, thus the song sounds somewhat modal.
After playing this a few times on the piano then recording it onto my mobile phone, I sequenced the tune on the computer. From the beginning I envisaged a minimal arrangement; it started off with a harpsichord playing arpeggios with a piano joining in on the second verse, but after a day or two, I decided to remove the piano, move the harpsichord to the second verse and have an atmospheric pad play the whole way through (all of two minutes). A piccolo plays the instrumental lines; I think that I must have pitched this an octave lower than what a piccolo usually plays as the sound is 'thicker' than I would have expected. There was a very simple bass part but I replaced that yesterday evening with a walking bass line. No drums; I have often wanted to record simple songs in the style of The Blue Nile, but their drum machine often annoys me. This arrangement doesn't require any percussion (aural punctuation).
And words! Listening to the arrangement at one stage, some words floated into my head - "There she goes, with a ribbon in her hair". The ribbon was later transformed into a feather, and then I started looking for a rhyme for 'hair'. It turns out that there are many rhymes for 'hair'; in the end, all twelve lines of the lyric use the same rhyming sound - hair, care, where, dare, tear (as in clothing, not eyes), share, pair, rare, air, fair, mare and spare. This was a serendipitous bonus.
Now all I need is a little time to record the vocals.