Friday, 21 May 2010

Poem wot I rote

I don't normally write poetry because I'm not very good at it, but this one just kinda came out today, so I thought I would share it with you.


Would you listen when I tell you
my worries
however small they seem to you
and not dismiss them?
Would you hold my hand
down the road
down the years?
Would you tell me when I have
spinach in my teeth
a twinkle in my eye
complained too much
and still be kind about it?
Would you understand when I cry out
that I’m not sixteen anymore
and rage against gravity
and time
and lose my hope?
Would you be patient when my world turns
blue, then grey
then black
and wait it out with me until
the sun shines again?
And at the end, would you switch the machine

Thursday, 20 May 2010


I had the most extraordinary experience yesterday.  It was a sunny morning, so I was sitting outside in the back yard, enjoying the unaccustomed warmth and listening to my iPod.  I've been feeling a bit grim lately, so I was listening to this harp concerto, which always picks me up. (I have a theory about music which I will share with you another day.)

There is a tall blossoming tree about fifteen yards up the track from our house.  You can't see it from the back yard, but it sticks out from the surrounding oaks and ash trees because at the moment its in full flower, a pillar of white pompoms.

As I was sitting there in the back yard, my harp music reached a beautiful, twinkling solo section.  The wind blew.  And suddenly the air was filled with whirling petals from the blossom tree, seeming to dance in time to my music.  I was instantly enveloped in snow-flurry of delight. It was utter magic.  How did the petals know what the beat of the harp music was?  I have no idea.  I'm just glad that they did.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Till Zen

I was at Tesco today.  Yes, I know.  But it was unavoidable.  Anyway, as usual, it was full of squalling kids.  One baby in particular, a little girl about 6 months old, was near the till when I came to pay.  She was getting herself in a right old lather.  Maybe she didn't like the little plastic seat on the trolley that she was in.  Mum didn't seem to be able to calm her down, no matter what she did; very embarrassing and stressful for a parent.  I really felt for her.

As I usually do, I made a quip about it to the cashier, just to lighten things up.  After all, its quite stressful to listen to a baby squawking like that, whether you are the mum or not.  It twangs the heartstrings of even the toughest child-free woman. The cashier, however, was not impressed.  What I got back, instead of pleasantries, was a tirade about how disgusting it was, and how the woman should take the baby out of the chair and out of the shop.  The cashier really was in a filthy mood.  And of course, filthy moods are like the plague.  Passed on easily.

When I got home, I realised I had spent the entire drive brooding over the cashier's rudeness, and what I should have said to her instead of just stomping out of the shop without another civil word.  I had wasted an entire thirty minutes of my life on this other woman's strop, when I didn't even know her.  Bad choice on my part.  But what I wanted to say to her was this:

'You must have to listen to that kind of thing all day.  It must be horrible.  And here you are sitting in a crap job, being paid crap money, and you can't get out of it.  I sympathise.  On the other hand, if you can't do anything about the screaming kids, why not just let it go, and use your energy on something you can do something about.  Something positive and worthwhile. Like having a cheerful little chat with the nice lady in front of you who only came in because she can't get frozen mango chunks for her breakfast smoothie anywhere else. Or think about something nice instead.   Don't waste your energy being angry about something you have to put up with anyway.  Use it for something better.  You'll be happier in the long run, and work won't seem so much like hard work.'

Saturday, 15 May 2010


Yesterday I drove over the West Norfolk to see my friend Yvonne, and have a day out with her.  Tough journey, but worth the effort.  We went to 'Sunny Hunny' for  walk on the beach, and watched a huge school party of kids picking their way amongst the rock pools, clearly having a wonderful time.  I really love the cliffs at Hunstanton.  They appeal to my inner 'O' Level Geology student, all those lovely strata.  Happy memories of a school trip to the Isle of Wight to explore the rock strata there came flooding back.  And of course, you know I am at my happiest on a beach...

Yvonne doesn't much like having her photo taken, but I always make her do one with me, the silly photo, we call it.  This one came out a bit blurry.

After a luscious lunch in a tea room, we stopped off at Norfolk Lavender, at Heacham.  Not much lavender blooming at this time of  year, but there was plenty of blossom to record, and the lovely mill house, which I think is one of the prettiest buildings in Norfolk.

And a view of the mill stream.  (There ducklings hiding in the reeds too, very cute, but you can't see them here.)

Exhausted, I drove back to collect Pat from work.  When we got home, we noticed movement in the grass by the car.  It was a weasel, struggling to carry its prey, a baby rabbit, into the bushes.  Nature red in tooth and claw.  It was amazing to see.

But then I got up this morning and found that Nature had been busy in my garden.  The moles are back, and the rabbits had not only been Digging for Victory, but had eaten my favourite geranium.  Strategies for Blitzkrieg are now being formulated.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

ME Awareness Day

Its ME Awareness Day today.  Please spare a thought for those of us who struggle to live a normal life, and deal with many symptoms, including these.  Please remember that people die of this disease.  It's not a self-indulgence, though I am sure most people don't think that these days.  Pretty much everyone I mention it to, strangers and friends alike, knows at least one person who is a sufferer, and many know several.  You might like to think about the following:

  • Next time you brush your teeth, stop and think about how it would feel not to have the strength to hold the toothbrush against your teeth and move it backwards and forwards.
  • Sit in a chair and rest your feet flat on the floor.  Someone with ME may experience piercing pain or burning sensations in their feet and legs, just from doing this.
  • Fixing your hair?  How about if you didn't have the strength to hold the hairdryer up  for long enough to dry each brushful.
  • Chatting on the phone?  Think how inconvenient it would be to have to lie down for an hour after each casual phone conversation.
  • That shower you took this morning?  Imagine that meant you'd have to lie down for the rest of the day because you'd used up all your energy doing it.
  • Trotting up a flight of stairs?  Nope, can't do that.  How would you organise your life if you couldn't climb up stairs.  Imagine trying to go shopping with just that constraint alone.
Its the simple little things that become damn near impossible. As you go through your day today, be mindful of how much strength you are using to do those things you take for granted, like lifting that cup of tea to your lips, walking to the loo, standing up in front of the sink to do the dishes, or even simply sitting upright.  By just sparing us your thoughts, you are helping the world understand just a tiny but more.

Thank you.

Saturday, 8 May 2010


This week has felt so incredibly full.  I've been off to vote in the general election.  Here's the evidence to prove it!  When we were getting out of the car at thee polling station, another car arrived and out got four nuns from the convent up the road.  They joined the queue behind us.  That felt weird.  I don't know why it never occurred to me that nuns get to vote, just like everyone else.  Maybe if there were enough nuns voting, we'd get a caring government!  Not holding out too much hope for that right now - all the pundits are saying there will be a minority Tory government that will quickly collapse, and we'll be voting again in October!

In other news, as you can see from the above, the wildlife problems go on. The peacock assault course is now up and running.  The sticks inserted into the lawn are intended to stop the peacock having enough space to deploy his tail and display, so he'll have to go somewhere else to do it.   Yesterday at 6am, I caught him sitting on the fence, casting an eye over the ramparts, and chased him off.  I don't think he's been back since.  It's certainly been a lot quieter.  Only trouble is, I'm not sure how I'm going to mow the lawn now.

Unfortunately, having got rid of the peacocks and the moles, we now have rabbits.  What a mess!  I planted seeds in this bed, but they won't be coming up now!

So after all this, I am now lying in bed, nursing stomach cramps (v. painful) and soaking up some positivity from my favourite blogs.  I'm planning an art day today.  I have to finish the next load of cartoons for Amy's blog, and I am really enjoying my new copy of Diana Trout's 'Journal Spilling', so I'm going to be doing some exercises from that.  And maybe getting a bit of writing done too, if I'm lucky.  Hope you have a mellow weekend.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


(You'll know when I'm in a filthy temper, even if I'm smiling, because I'll be wearing black.  It's my angry colour.)

Evisceration.  Good word, huh?  That's what today has felt like.  Its been a whole pile of shit.  One darn thing after another.  From the bloody peacock screaming under the window at 6.30am, and the roadmenders starting on the track outside the house at 8am, right the way through a whole bunch of upsets, disappointments, annoyances and bothers, to finding the mushrooms that I meant to cook for tea had gone rotten and smelled the whole fridge out, and via a whole load of bollocks in between.  I feel completely cleaned out.  Eviscerated.

But you know what?  I learnt a lot about myself today.  I learnt that its okay to be angry.  That I'm a pretty good shot with a water pistol when I am motivated!  That Wikipedia has proved pretty damned useful to my emotional healing.  (You really want to know how that happened, don't you?  Maybe one day I'll write that self-help book and tell you!) That I am who I am, and life is what it is. That it is important to have boundaries.  And that you can do amazing things with a bit of salmon, some soy sauce and a lime!

So actually, getting to the end of it and sitting down with my journal to write it all out of myself, I find I am feeling better.  We all have days like this, but sometimes it takes a bit of effort to dig out the silver lining.  Occasionally, when something really appalling happens, there just isn't one.  But I reckon about 90% of the time there is one, and that's the lesson.  It is in the looking for it that we become strong.

*Pat just came up behind me, saw the title, and laughed.  'Is this how you are feeling, by any chance?'  I think he thought it referred to what I meant to do to the peacock, which is still screeching outside now, at 9.10pm.  Solutions to the peacock problem on a postcard, please....

Monday, 3 May 2010

Exciting News!

My pal Amy has launched her great new blog, How To Marry a Man in 11 Easy Recipes.  You can click on the link and enjoy her funny, thought-provoking, and occasionally squirm-inducing (!) posts on the conundrums of being a cooking singleton.  The recipes are mouth-watering, believe me.  AND, you get to enjoy my cartoons!  She'll be posting twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays, so you know when to tune in for the next installment. Happy reading!