Hekate my strength.

hekate 1

Mother Hekate,

Give me the strength I need.
Dark mother goddess of the underworld mountain wondering queen of witches.

Hekate frequenter of graveyards crossroads and liminal spaces keeper of the keys.

Psychopomp guide of souls take my loved ones hand.

Protect her with your hounds

Wrap your saffron cloak around her shelter her.

Goddess of the places betwixt and between places where I find comfort places I belong safe places.

Under the avenues of Yews I hear your voice in the breeze as I wonder amongst the solitude of the tombstones and the trees you are there beside me your saffron cloak billowing in the breeze.

Along narrow dirt paths of our beautiful mountain I see your beauty in trickling streams in budding shoots, rotting tree stumps decaying flesh picked by the crows and Ravens.

Reminders of the infinite circles of life and death.

I stand by your cross road next to the rushing terrifying power of the river I am reminded of a women’s strength.

Of the strength within me. Passion I bide my time and hold my words.

I am reminded that I am part of you and you of me.

I leave offerings of honey and eggs I light incense in your honour.

Thank you as always you are there when I need strength and wisdom.

I stand alone and watch the smoke trace its way above me above us towards the stars into the universe.

Essence of miracles home to the light divine, source of all.

I hold onto your mother as you lift high your torch unlock the mysteries that guide me through the shadows.

Back to myself the universe never ending unconditional love to you.

Mother you guide us all home.

Guide Donna hold her mother bless her

Bless me mother for I am your child.

Soul midwife problems.

As a soulmidwife (end of life care) part of my job is to support my friend (friend is used to refare to person I am working with never patient or client.) to think about and write end of life plan.

This is something that give back some control of a often difficult situation

I’ve been doing this for years we often start with a sort of bucket list.

Wish there anything that you haven’t done that you would like to do. This can be going somewhere, contacting estranged family members, writing letters, contacting or writing to children given up for adoption, writing to an abuser (trying the letter to a balloon.or burning it ) often helps and instils a sense of calm.

I’ve had a 72 year old lady who although quite frail wanted to ride a roller coaster we went to.ride speed a hair pin sort of ride at oakwood. I neednt of worried as she squeeled with absolute Glee and rode it another four times along with other rides.

We make memory boxes this helps tremendously. Thinks like photographs, letters birthday cards for the future. There are no rules

Practical things like where would you like to die?

Home, hospital, hospice?

Pain relief would you like to remain as lucid?

Obviously this is reviewed.

But first and foremost I am there for that person as much or as little as they choose.

To listen to hopes, fears, non judgemental confidential. Because often there are things that a person with an end of life diagnosis can’t tell loved ones. No mater how close

Blogging or a paper journal is something I suggest as I know I don’t have to convince you but writing things, thoughts, fears down helps.

We go shopping, I go to appointments and support friends to make informed decisions about their treatment. A few months ago I worked with an amazing lady who had a incurable brain tumor. She had been operated on and had numerous chemotherapy treatments all of which made her feel dreadful.

She decided that what time she had left she wanted to feel as well as possible. I went with her as she told her oncologist her decision. He was wonderful. As we left he asked her if she had any plans.

She smiled widely at him ‘im going to Cardiff with Joolz on the train, first class we will have lunch at the bay then buy shoes and handbags’ that’s exactly what we did

It’s an amazing job, I don’t get paid. I’d hate to think that if I charged that someone may need a soulmidwife and think that they can’t afford me.

I also have a holiday cottage on the banks of the tenant canal where end of life friends can have a long weekend or a week away from home with free therapies on hand.

Then there is the matter of a funeral plan.

Family often loose a loved one and suddenly realized that they have no idea on issues like burial or cremation, what cemetery, ashes scatted or not.

Religious or humanist service is a big one.

Families often believe that loved ones still hold same religion as they were christened.

After facing cancer or other end of life diagnosis people often start to explore what it is that they believe in. If anything.

I am spiritual but I completely respect any religious or non religious views or beliefs if I work with someone who is eg. Catholic and asks to be read the Bible or attend Mass to have me work with guided visualisation including Jesus or god. That’s exactly what we do.

Muslim, Jehovah witness pagan you get the picture.

I’m not always there at the end but if that is my friend’s request and I can be I am.

This can often include vigiling at home or hospital alone with my friend or with family

And again within the plan we have agreed on certain things. Often people want to know you are there beside them.

Gentle touch of hand massage, reiki healing, being there with a family member talking chatting reading.

Checking and reviewing pain levels.

Calling in family when requested and agreed.

Some people want just a chosen few around their bed. Others all the family.

After death I am often asked to brush hair sit and talk for awhile longer, opening the window coving a mirror stopping the clock.is a very old tradition alot of elderly people want upheld.

I often then have to hand over what that person wanted

For the most part families are respectful of their loved ones wishes and they are usually aware of my involvement.

Often I have managed to get them to address any difficult issues like organ donation (not cancer patients) or I’m.leaving all my money to the cats home.

The list of e.g where I will be taken.

Home or funeral director.

Embalmed or not.

Cardboard or wicker coffin

Natural burial site or Cemetery or cremation.

Life celebration in the community. No vicar, priest.

A humanist life celebration. With a chosen celebrant to deliver a service that we have already compiled . If this is the case just memories from family and friends are added afterwards.

This is often held in any non religious building eg. Community centre, public hall, garden or home. Or simply graveside.

A wake afterwards or a party.

Colours to be worn no suits or black.

A difficult on is is there anyone you do not wish to be there? In reality some people have a particular person that upest them.in life and they don’t want them at there funeral.

What clothes or shroud.

Open or closed coffin people to come and visit in funeral directors or at home or not.

I can also make finger print molds and craft silver jewelry for children or family members.

We write letters to children or family or short notes.

I worked with a lady who had two children. She ordered her own wicker coffin and used it as a blanket box until it was needed.

This showed the children it wasn’t a scary thing. When mum died and was placed in it at home the children sat with her write notes and tied them with ribbons to the casket placing favorite toys and photos with her.

This is a example of how death used to be.

Not clinical but part of life. People died at home in familiar surroundings not in white rooms surrounded by machines and healthcare staff who don’t have time to sit.

So to sum up it’s about giving back control and choice

Walking a sometimes scary path sharing tears and laughter memories and secrets that have sometimes never been shared.

It’s a privilege and a honour and when things go to plan I can sleep easy in my bed. Knowing that I’ve kept my promises

I was encouraged by an amazing friend of mine after I told her of a conversation that I’d had with a few of the people I work with.

They had asked if I would do their funeral or celebration as their celebrant. I didn’t feel qualified and so I decided to train as a celebrant I now am able to follow the journey just that bit further the service is often written together. Religious, humanist, spiritual. Again exactly what and how that person has requested. They have on final goodbye so I aim for it to be as perfect as possible. They often write most of the service with me video footage even let’s them take part in the service. Not for everyone but whatever is right for you.

As I said earlier I work with any faith or religion over the last eighteen months I’ve walked this journey with Donna my best friend. She has planned everything.

Believe me nothing left to chance. So not just as her soul midwife but her friend and confident I promised things would be exactly as she wanted.

It was nothing complicated compared with some plans that I have dealt with.

Number one was absolutely no religion. None! She asked me to conduct a spiritual end of life celebration.

NO church. No Hymns promise me she said don’t let my mother or anyone arrange anything.

I want a celebration in Port tenant community centre NO BLACK no formal Wear colours rainbows and pride flags

Will you be my celebrant she asked.

Of course again I promised and we set to work outlining her service her day f celebration Things she held dear issues that were important but mainly about her role as a Nan and a Mam

She wanted a burial, a cardboard coffin not to be embalmed. As I said nothing left to chance songs were chosen

Pink who knew..

Boy George star man

Gavin and Stacy islands in the stream

What could go wrong?

Well I’m sure there is a lesson here for me somewhere. But as yet I’m failing to see it.

My heart breaks at the thought that I’ve let her down.

I arranged with her sister to see the community centre to check the size.

Crossed wires meant I was sitting waiting outside the actual community centre Donna wanted.

Her sis was outside St Thomas church hall. In Swansea just around corner

Now from previous experience I’ve never come across a church hall being used. But the lass showing us around assued us that this was possible . That was okay it was a hall not a church. Bigger on the same estate.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing I wish I has spoken up and said actually we should stick to community centre that’s what she asked for.. but not wanting to upset anyone I didn’t .

The vicar Mr Steve bunting via the funeral directors then says actually no you can’t have it in hall.

But Donna can have everything she wanted EVERYTHING if you come into church.

It didn’t sit right with me she didn’t want a church but I was assured he was nice guy he would allow all the things she wanted .

Not so..

This bloody funeral he exclaimed at our first meeting. Unprofessional.

He then tells us he can’t have a Celebrant do a service in his church. Isn’t that part of what Donna wanted? Why didn’t he tell us that last week when he promised everything. We could have rearranged?

He now says he has to deliver 90% of the service.

The one that Donna and I wrote from our hearts.

He has made off the cuff comments about me re tarot cards and spirit boards before he had even met me.

I’m presuming he f.b me.

Judgemental preducice and rude.

What would it have mattered Mr bunting she didn’t want someone who didn’t know her someone she hadnt met talking about her

It broke my heart Donna of all people for things to go this wrong for. I promised I fulfill her plans

So my random girl, I’m beyond sorry. Really I am.

One funeral you get and I can’t fix it if I could I would.

I have booked you the best drag queen I could find you promised your friend Susan Cheryl and Wendy that when you felt better you would have a night out with cocktails and a drag queen.

You shall have it my friend.

My other promises I swear I will keep.

Our grand daughter Emillia I will love her enough for both of us. I will take her to all of your favorite places take her camping talk to her of magic and fairies.

I know that you are never very far away and I will talk to you often. That you know I have tried to give you all that you wanted

I love you my random friend come talk to me soon.

Here is a poem given to me after the first funeral I took. Encouraged by Donna.

My friend Ian was 49 amazing a man’s man had been a army man.

He would tease me that poetry was for girls .

Never catch him writing it.

After his funeral his sister thanked me gave me a check as a donation for my work and this poem.

I’m beyond proud to have know him

May he journey on safely. It’s called the Last Goodbye
Cancer was the catalyst that founded our friendship
Without it we wouldn’t have met.
A soul midwife I expected someone nursey maybe serious.
That Joolz is exactly what I didn’t get.
You came into my room like morning sunlight.
Bringing me life’s energy love and fun.
We made plans for things I’d like to do exactly my way.
Talked of my life and all that I’ve done.
I’ve shed a few tears, but we’ve laughed so much.
If it needs saying I know I can say anything to you.
Complete unconditional acceptance it’s not just a ‘job’ to you.
You’ve walked along a path I found scary
Gone before me with what to expect.
Taken worry from myself and my family.
Always treated us with love and respect.
You have a way of just fitting into families.
Into a Joolz shaped space we weren’t aware was there.
To make plans to reassure, take me to magical planes
I’d never even dreamt of before
Now when sleeping I dream of new adventures.
The wonderful places and things I haven’t yet seen.
You’ve given me the courage to go further explore without feeling frightened.
My eternal friend
Soul midwife Earth angel who needs no wings.
I know that as I leave you will be there waving and cheering me on to adventures new.
As you go on in life as a soul midwife to others know I’ll be around to cheer you on too.
Thank you.
Xx Ian.

.

The problem with grown up children.

Here I am lying in bed pondering a question only women of a certain age will think.
Do grown up children every completely move out?
You see I absolutely adore my children. They are my reason to breathe.. But…
Oh yes there is a but.
I live in a small two up two down stone cottage.
I say small it’s actually bloody tiny.
So after my youngest (he’s 27 not a teenager) moved in with his pregnant girl friend I imagined I’d have a spare bedroom and some wardrobe space.. a desk maybe with a lamp a space to write over looking the canal. Sigh.. (the photo is the view from my bed. (Yes really)
It doesn’t take a lot to please me.
Nor may I add do I have lots of clothes so small amount of wardrobe space will do fine! Some women have walk in wardrobes 10 hangers will be fine..
That was a year ago.
I have a beautiful new grand daughter I adore. And a daughter in love who I love like my own.
But probably even less space. Yes less…
My eldest granddaughter (12) has taken over my spare room proclaiming ‘Nanny it’s not spare it’s mine’ play stations and a avalance of Mac make up sets of books, hair extensions precariously balanced crockery towers. You get the picture.
My son has moved out but his girlfriends house is only two bedrooms so he can’t possibly take all his fishing gear, electric guitars (three of them) more shoes than emelda Marcos and a wardrobe full of clothes and numerous electrical appliances .oh and a bike. Because ‘ mam we have a baby do you know how much space their stuff takes?’

I refrain from answering unsure if it was a statement or a question. I’m looking for my phone as we are having this conversation.

Mam he laughs you can never find anything!
No son said item is probably buried under a mountain of fishing gear bike and shoes.
He smiles at me tells me I’m the best and what’s for tea tomorrow because they are calling over. Ring me I say with a smile. Who knows I may not have found my phone.
Pass the wine.

The wheel turns.

The wheel turns. Autumn equinox.

Persephone returns to Hades in the underworld.

The trees are showing just a hint of autumn colours. This is my favorite time of year.

A quiet ritual for me this year. Sunday afternoon roam.up the valley a quiet spot where I can call to my goddess Hekate of land sea and sky.

A beautiful liminal place. It’s been a hard month and today I was reminded how beautiful life is even at times when things are hard.

The sun shone as we walked through beautiful fields still graced with.wild flowers.

I never tier of living here in Wales and there is always something new to take my breath away.

Today it was the irredesent turquoise blues of a huge dragonfly colours that would make any marmaid envious.

I don’t believe there are many problems that a walk on a mountain can’t bring clarity too.

So as the nights begins to draw in.

Remember.

Nature shows us that balance is a transition point. It’s a tool. It’s a pathway to something else. It’s not the goal. If balance serves you, then wonderful.

It’s a pathway to something else. It’s not the goal.

But if balance doesn’t serve you, whether because you’re immersed in something that’s really fulfilling or because you’re stuck in something that isn’t, you don’t need feel like you have to criticize yourself.

The signs are all around. We can allow the leaves to fall, the plates to fall, and the learnings to nest as we enter a new season of growth.

May it be a season for practicing presence and discovering what balance means to you

Blessed be. ♥️

Glastonbury town. Connected, tribe

There are so many opinions on Glastonbury town

Isle of Avalon.

Disney for pagans .

Love it or hate it

It’s a bit like marmite.

Where do I stand?

I love it. It’s a truly beautiful place. Small town filed with spiritual people from all paths beliefs, hippys, Buddhist, witches, Christian.

It doesn’t matter. All drawn for different reasons.

My hubby Jeff loves it. He often says if a space ship lands in the high Street and it’s crew where to go shopping. Absolutely no one would blink an eye lid.

Acceptance that’s it .

Glastonbury magic we are all like a huge collection of old pieces from random jig saws but we fit.

Different religions sitting together with out feet dangling in the chalice well.

Singing and meditation in the white spring.

Walking the sacred labarynth in the church yard.

No one questioning out intentions our spirituality our love.

Knowing that we Are all from the same source of all.

Different ways of walking the path

Cosmic journey we are all connected

All on our way home.

Circle of Women

Women are from Venus Men are from Mars.

I get that.

There really is nothing more powerful than a circle of women .

Strong, unbreakable, inspiring and much more

Women’s best friends are stronger often than blood.

Or at least that’s my experience.

Women’s friends often know them better than their partners .

They are the duct tape that hold each other’s lives together.

How do men manage without that?

I have a few close women friends and I know without doubt they have my back and I have theirs

Free thinkers, poets, dreamers, rebels, square pegs hippys women who walk barefoot and arnt afraid to be exactly who they are.

Make no excuses take no prisoners. Who dance in the rain.

Honest funny, loving. Passionate

My tribe.

Chosen sisters

I love you

I am truly blessed.

Knight in a v.w van.

Save me from the mundane

Pull me back into your world.

Make me feel alive again.

Remind me that I’m your girl.

Burst my irredesent bubble of invisibility.

Wake the passion within me.

Tell me that you still see.

The wild and untamed rebel

The one who stole your heart.

She calls to the world from deep within me.

Finding it hard to play her part.

I know that I have wondered

Far away from your side..

I’ve been lost in barren places

Where my past and demons hide.

Many times you’ve come to my rescue.

Carried my soul back to our door.

Wrapped me in a cocoon of unconditional love

Keet my monsters behind a steel door.

The wrong side of town.

I was ten years old when Dad said we were moving house.

Tea time were sitting at the kitchen table eating bacon and potatoes when it was first mentioned. ‘What do you think then would you like to move house?’

‘We’d be living near your nanny, and there is a school right across the road from the house!’

‘My school is across from this house’ I reply.

I carried on pushing my bacon round my plate, without speaking, there’s a family that I know they want a house swap with us but if you don’t want to go we won’t go’

Yeah right i thought. ‘But my school is across the road here Dad’ I say again.

I like my school, and our Pam and the kids live here’

‘Well it’s only a bus ride away.

They can sleep over.’

What he forgot to mention is it was across the road from the labor club he drank in.

I put my fork down and stood up. ‘Come here and give your Dad a love.’

He held his arms out and pulled me onto his knee ‘Come on smile for your Dad’. I smiled weakly and so it was we were moving away from everything I knew.

On the day of the move Mam was still packing boxes old tea chests with sharp metal edges I sat in the back garden with my dog lady listening to Dad and his brother Frank laughing in the kitchen. I don’t remember a van there but must have been one.

I remember uncle Frank’s Mk 1 pale blue scruffy escort stuffed with bags the bird’s cage on the back seat with all the old cushions of the sofa. The yellow topped Formica kitchen table tied upside down on top of the roof rack. I remember staring at the paint stained legs of the table as the rain started to fall.

We must have looked a sight! Nesbits bloody flitting my Dad said laughing his booming laugh as he stood at the front door drinking his last pint in our lovely old house.
Then after our dinner of spam and piccalilli butties Mam hurried my dog lady and me into the back of the car with the last of our belongings. uncle Frank was always running out of petrol and prayed he would run out today but sods law he wouldn’t. I held onto Lady she shook and shivered she hated being in a car I talked softly to her promising her we would be alright but from the moment I stepped out of the car I knew I was wrong.
Everywhere looked dull and grey.
Our old house was across from the woods, ponds with tadpole’s.

Fields with horses and the pig farm and apple orchards everywhere there was green.

I couldn’t believe the difference.

We were just behind the main road on what I was soon to find out was the rough side of town. Industrial, grey and bleak.
The house was at the very end of the terraced street on the edge of a huge council estate.
Greyhound track on the gable end of the house, school field in front leading to canal at the side of a massive ugly gas meter. From the back door was the busy main road I stood in the rain and cried.
‘Dad I want to go home’.

’Don’t be so bloody daft we are home’ he said taking my dog from me.

She pulled on the lead and looked back at me she wanted to go home too I knew it.
Then with a slam of the door he locked her in the outside brick shed!

I screamed I was near hysterical ‘Please Dad please don’t lock lady in there she’ll be scared.’ I pulled at his jacket but he pushed me off and snapped the lock shut on the bolt! I could heat lady scratching to get out and she start to whine. I hung onto his coat.’I’ll look after her Dad’ I continued to plead ‘She doesn’t know were she is!’ He grabbed my arm.

‘STOP IT NOW! he road back handing me with a slap knocking me onto the wet soggy grass.

‘She’s bloody staying in there until I get back all the doors are open in the house and your Mam is sorting out she’ll get out and run off.

‘Now go help your mammy unpack and I’ll let her out when I get back from the club. I’m going for a pint with our Frank.’

That’s when I realized why we’d moved. The labor club were Mam and Dad drank was across the main road. I could see it from the back door. I sat against the shed door sobbing in the rain watched him walk away over the club to get drunk again.

Lady cried inside and I cried outside. Mam opened the back door ‘Get in here and help me unpack.’

‘No!’ I screamed I’m staying out here! Until Dad comes back.’

‘Well bloody stay there’ she muttered.
I lay against the door pushing my fingers underneath to feel lady’s wet nose.
It was freezing lying on the flags but I couldn’t leave her there she was scared. Itwent dark and Dad still wasn’t back. Still I didn’t move.
I hated him now.
Mam was shouting at me to come inside, ‘Get in now or I’ll bloody belt you look at the bloody state of you,’
‘No! I’m not leaving lady!’
‘The next thing I know Mam’s dragging me kicking and screaming through the back door. ‘Get up the stairs now and into bed!’
‘I hate you I hate you both I shout.
I hated her, hated Dad!

But most of all I hated this house. I stood at the window looking over at the club all lit up by spot lights around the car park.

I stand staring at the big blue door. People go in different people come out.
Accept Dad!
I lie on the bed determined not to sleep.
But eventually I do.

Daylight comes through the window and I jump up still wearing damp clothes from the day before looked out of my window to the back garden, the shed door swinging to and fro in the wind. I run downstairs Mam stands stiring tea in the tiny kitchen.

’Where’s lady?’

’Ask your bloody Dad!’

I run into the living room were he is lying on the sofa propped up from the night before. ‘Well tell her then!’ says Mam from the kitchen.

I feel suddenly sick.

And I want to cry.
‘Dads were is she?’
’She’ll be back’ he said with a false smile and a tear spilled from my eye. ‘Where?’

I asked again

‘He let her out last night pissed bastard, and she ran off.’

I’m sobbing now. ‘Lets go find her now!

She might get run over on that big road,’

‘Dad please, please get up she doesn’t know were she is!’

‘I’ve looked’ he is saying. But he’s lying he is still drunk.

I pulled on my shoes and run out of the house. I’m crying so hard I can’t see.

For hours I call her name, walked up and down the big main road, over to Nanny goat park then up and down the back streets every corner I turned I expected to see her. She isn’t just my dog shes my best friend

The lady from the flying horse pub comes out and asks if I’m okay?

‘Have you seen my dog her name is Lady she’s a whippet, we just moved here she doesn’t know her way home, my Dad let her out last night and I cant find her’ I looked up at her still sobbing.

‘No my darling were do you live?’

And I realized I dont even know my address.
‘Does your mammy know your out, where’s your coat?’

I cant answer her.

‘Poor doll’ I hear her say as I walked away. Eventually it goes dark and I walk back to see if she has found her way to the house. She hasn’t.

Every day for a week I refuse to eat or go to look at my new school I want lady back and I wanted to go home.

Everyone else carry’s on as normal.
Then one afternoon Dad comes in with a letter he sits me on the stairs and gives it to me to read he tells me it is from the vet.
I can’t see to read it through my tears he said lady had been knocked down on the main road, they had operated on her leg but she had died. I cried so much my whole body hurt. I hate you I managed to sob as I slammed the bedroom door behind me.
I wished it wad been him instead of lady it was his fault. I loved her more than anything, she’d been with me since I was born she slept by my bed.
All the times I had been hurt, or woke in the night when the monster came it was her that calmed me.
Sneaking into my bedroom to lick away my tears.
Who would look after me now?

Years later in one of their many arguments Mam shouted out that Dad had some girl from the labor club type that vets letter out to stop me from looking for her.

The night of the move Dad had come back drunk he’d opened the door of the shed lady had run from him and in front of a car on the main road. She hadn’t been killed

with no money for a vet he had taken her to his brothers then the next day whilst I was out looking for her he had shot her and buried her at the dam by our old house in the fields id loved to play in.
He’d let me walk the streets calling her for a week Always hoping someone had found her and was looking after her.
Not only was he a drunk he was a liar as well. Oh how I hated him.

Social Media

I’m toying with removing myself from all social media.

Yes all of it.

The distraction addiction

I love technology I love the ease of writing on a laptop.

Old enough as I am to remember typing lessons at school. On ancient type writers

Ribbons of ink.

Stiff keys

Snarling teachers with knuckle rapping rulers.

Office studies.

Now touch screen I pads

The digital age.

Kids stare at screens to talk to friends

Skype, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat.

But where will it end

Ways to connect ..

Then physically disconnect.

Real people trapped in a cyber prison.

Eyes looking at a screen.

Google maps,

Maps where we have been.

Google history logs all we have seen.

Inbox messages

Birthday reminders,

Millions reasons to stay

Trapped in the cell of our own making.

Forgetting where we we’re heading.

Forgetting where we have been.

Phone in our hand

Ever glancing.

Status writing,

Liking, loving, sad face, angry.

Emotional tiny faces express themselves so we don’t have too.

Photos of holiday, views from around the world

Addictive disconnection

A fear of being alone.

Unsocial Social media.

Little blue button you have been removed from my phone.

No more chain messages

Or threats of being cloned!

Stop the world

Sunday morning I rushed over to your house.

Let myself in hurry upstairs to your bedroom.

You lay there opened your eyes and smiled.

And I knew.

I came and lay beside you.

‘Come here let me hold you’

You struggled to turn onto your side to face me.

Strength you once had slowly ebbing away.

I held you gently stroking your hair.

‘ it’s okay I’ve got you.’

Breathing in the smell of your hair.

Closing my eyes capturing ‘this’

Knowing this was the last time we would ever lie together alone.

Any pain?

‘No I’m fine’ you whisper

I wish that were true.

Your window is open and the sound of the city drifts in to remind us that the world still turns.

I wish that it would stop.

Just give us a little more time.

To talk, laugh to just be us.

I’ve known for eighteen months

I’ve walked beside you on this journey.

Even though I know that it’s time

That your too tired to stay.

I wasn’t ready to let you go.

I know that you will always be around

That this isn’t the end.

This is the next part of your cosmic adventure

But as I held you as you left us

I felt the universe rip a hole in my heart

Donna


Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I’ve missed you
Yes, I’ve been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, even if I say
Bye bye, leave me now or never
mamma mia, it’s a game we play
Bye bye doesn’t mean forever

Yesterday I lost my best friend and confidant Donna after a eighteen months battle with cancer. My heart is breaking. To say she was a warrior just doesn’t cut it.. although it’s killing me to write if anything is worth blogging about it’s her. So here is our story.

Donna I met you twelve years ago when I started a new job. You were sat feet up on a sofa doing some paperwork long black hair big btown eyes you glanced at me then back at the paperwork and I thought snotty cow!

That only lasted days before we were laughing and chatting together over coffee then over vodka and cokes on our many nights out.

You had two fab kids Sarah and Richard who were your life our families seemed to slot together. Our friends became joint friends we went on girlie holidays, turkey, Spain, Rhodes, Corfu,

We both loved pink and saw her twice causing chaos in Birmingham and Manchester. You bloody fainted right at the end of first concert so we had to go again.. good excuse

Do you remember the Christmas we stayed in the radion Blu in Cardiff? I’d nipped out to catch the shops for a last min prezzie for you whilst you got ready to go out..crossing the road by John Lewis in the snow I looked up to our third floor room to see you there blinds open wearing only black big knickers ffs how no one crashed I’ll never know..

We had weekends in Manchester you loved Aflex palace and the random shops.

You just loved randomness! I loved the crazy texts and questions you’d send often about penguins bees or some crazy fact. Funny girls in Blackpool oakwood with the kids. Folly farm because you loved the penguins

When we were going out you would take forever strieghtening your hair doing make up . I’d ring and ask are you nearly ready or are you sat on the bed in your towel looking at the wall. ?

You’d call me a knob.. but I was right..

You loved cocktails particularly nutty Russians a dreadful combination of vodka, Tia Maria, amaretto and coke served in the cross keys two for seven pounds. Okay if you needed paint stripper but you loved them after a few you’d sing and dance there was no sitting you down.

We would go to the exchange the D.j knew you so well you would walk in and the next song to play would be Beyonce and shekira beautiful lier and you would grab my hand and we would dance.

I can’t believe that I’ll never dance like that with you again.

So many amazing memories we made you loved boats ‘with sticks’ we would spend our holidays sunbathing on decks of sail boats breeze in our hair, your head on my shoulder I remember black and gold playing on the radio and you looking so very happy your eyes always told the story.

Your favorite book was my family and other animals written in Corfu. From that you loved the Durrels T.V show

Favorite film was Shirley Valentine there was a theme here after a stressful day in work you’d say you were running away to Greece to sit on the beach and talk to a rock!

We had known each other two years when you found your first lump in your breast. You had it removed on my birthday i ever left you after the operation you insisted we go for a Chinese meal we got a take away and sat in Singleton park over the years two more lumps were removed all benign. You never worried about it despite your mother having breast cancer

Then eighteen months ago after prolonged back pain you were admitted with high temperature and infection.

You looked at me scared and asked what if it’s cancer? We reassured you but your gut feeling was right.

I promised you I’d walk beside you and from the day you left hospital you resolved it wasn’t going to beat you.

Any meltdowns you had were few and when no one else was there.

You really were brave amazing and inspiring.

We arranged to meet up with my son and your daughter hoping now grown up they would get along we had always thought they would make a stunning couple.

We we’re right and to our joint delight a year ago they announced they we’re expecting a baby.

Your eyes shone with happiness I was flying out to America that night so we video chatted about baby clothes and prams we we’re going to be nannies together!

First scan confirmed it was a girl and you had a new reason to fight.

Sarah went into labor in June and of course we we’re by their sides and when baby emillia was born we both promised her the world me you Donna and your sister Erica her third Nanny life was good. Emilla was sent for a reason you adore her and are so proud of what an amazing mam and dad Sarah and Mike are. Seeing them as a family made you so happy.

We had booked a holiday you were now on oral chemo going well and off we flew to Corfu.

It was bliss we swam had a few cocktails saw the sights and of course lay on a boat listening to black and gold.

We danced sat up at night and talked lots.

You had been told your scan results were good and maybe we could go to six months

But you had a slight pain in your side and I hated my gut feeling that the liver cancer was spreading.

It was. And so my friend the last few weeks have been hard you continued to fight but I’m sitting here writing your celebration service as I helped you write your end of life plan. You left nothing to chance.

You rang me to tell me that you’d bought us tickets for Mama Mia here I go again I groaned but laughed and I knew it would cheer you up a bit of Abba worked wonders.

But (spoiler alert) the main character Donna wasn’t in it!

First ten mins of film sat in the Vue you asked..

Where’s Donna? They can’t have a Abba film without her? Has she died? Then the story fell into place and eventually at the end of the film Donna appears smiling happy and dancing in spirit. She’s there watching her daughter, her partner and her grand child .

Your eyes shone and you squeezed my hand. Energy never dies I managed to say.

I know you answered . Tell Sarah and Richard to watch this again .. I will I promised. So there was the theme for your celebration of life..

It’s going to be amazing a reflection of you Donna. Funny, happy, positive and different.

I promised you I’d be your celebrant it was down to you I did the course but you said it would go with my soul midwife training and therapies.

You believed in me encouraged me. Knew me better than I know myself.

Donna you bought me a necklace with my favorite quote from my favorite childhood book Peter pan.

Do you know that place between sleep and awake the place where you can remember dreaming. That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I will be waiting.

How I miss you already I will look after your children and will love our grand daughter enough for the both of us. I will talk about you and tell her of all our adventures

I promise

In return come see me Donna in that place between sleep and dreaming bring a sail boat and dance with me again.

You were right how can I have a life without Donna in it.
Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I’ve missed you
Yes, I’ve been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, even if I say
Bye bye, leave me now or never
mamma mia, it’s a game we play
Bye bye doesn’t mean forever

Love you always Joolz ♥️

Old trees and water.

With a history spanning a centuary Carr Mill dam has hardly changed at all.
It offered the residents of the estates surrounding it a consistent link generation to generation .
There were of course natural changes. Trees had matured, dirt paths had worn around the edge of the water and been made safe shored up and covered in chippings.

The block of shops and minature railway line built in early 1960s has long since disappeared in it’s place the back of a hotel famous for cheap beer and Sunday lunches.

The boating club and beautiful ninteen arches bridge still stand proudly. Speed boat races on a sunday the familiar wizzing noise of the boats could be heard from my bedroom window Generations of ducks.like generations of the same families breed there and never leave.

But for the most part the Dams gentle evolution had gone unnoticed.
In a sheltered spot on the far end of the Dam where most walkers tend not to bother walking the passage of time has been noticed the least. It’s here should you look you would find an old oak tree growing between a steep enbankment and the Waters edge.
The bottom of this huge tree is hollow an arched almost door shape big enough if you should want to you would fit. Why? It’s a fab place to sit to think, hide or read.. It was a huge tree then when I sat there wondering it’s age as a child and my children sat there too whilst I sat on the bank wondering what it was about this place that seemed to pull me back to visit.

That huge old tree I knew each curve and knot as my children climbed and hid around it I remembered sunny days spent here with a favorite book or sneeking into the farm in the next field to.stroke the old black mare. It was quite a magical place. It was my go to place for decisions I was there the night I decided to move to Wales I haven’t been back there for over seven years now but I’m pretty sure nothing has changed since I lived opposite.

The road down to the the dam is full of pot holes not unlike the canal path I now live on in wales
I’ve always lived by water and woodland and I’m sure it was Carr Mill dam that sparked my passion and love for solitude and nature. My go to tree is now on a canal bank.
One day maybe I’ll go back to the estate and the Dam
If you ever find yourself there before me go sit by the oak tree. Take in the view and the quiet.
sit on the moss by the water you may see a dragonfly or two. Say hi from me

Make the change. Any change.

I hate cancer with a passion . Anyone who moans and complains about mundane worldly things drag yourself away from their phone and should go and take themselves to sit in a chemotherapy waiting room for a hour.
Don’t get me wrong spotted soon enough before and mets chemotherapy works pretty well although going through it sickness, hair loss, wearing a cold cap to prevent hair loss, itching insomnia the list goes on, is something no one should endure.
How haven’t we found a cure yet?
Wasting money on weapons and wars. But I guess that the money drug companies make from cancer it isn’t worth their while to find a cure.
I’ve worked as a soul midwife (end of life care) for quite some years and initially I would see different illnesses but now I’d say 95% is cancer.
It’s like a mass clearing of humanity and it breaks my heart.
So much has changed over the last twenty five years. Technology mobile phones, computers, microwaves, sugar is in everything, processed foods. Consumption of meat coming from animals injected with chemicals Something has to change. Spiritually people are starting to.awaken but not enough this world is without doubt addicted to distraction. People are becoming less and less connected with each other.
Look up from your screens and start to question the world we live in.
Start small. Start with yourself

Mam. Market stalls and Pippa

 

 

market

pippa

1973. Age 8

Although Mam is ill she works cleaning three mornings a week for Mrs Cook. She says she has ‘No bloody choice if we want food in the cupboards as well as home brew she has to clean’

She has done this for as long as I can remember.

Mrs cook and her husband Norman live in a big posh house on Rain Rd facing the crematorium. Its two bus rides to get there and its like another world.

A huge semi detached house with a double garage bigger than our house. I love the smell when we walk through the front door Mam says its clean washing smell but i think it smells of happiness because that’s what Mrs cook is happy. She is a big lady she is always pleased to see me. Everything about her is just lovely.

We stand together in the huge leaaded bay window polishing brass ornaments watching the big black cars go down the long driveway to the crem sometimes we see smoke coming from the chimney. There goes another one she laughs. When it’s my turn they won’t need a car they can carry me across the road! I wish she wouldn’t say that I dont ever want her to die.

She and her husband own a string of butcher’s shops and a factory across town they have posh cars an E type jaguar I love and they had motorbikes huge ones that their son rode at the Isle of Man T.T. races when we polish the brass we polish the cups that he has won. But for all the money and money they are as down to earth as anyone.

Mam would go to do her weekly shop in the market she trapses across town for the cheapest of everything. Lennon’s supermarket then to Mrs cooks butchers Next door to the butcher is Jim Chorley’s toy shop.

It is packed with every toy imaginable. So whilst Mam stands at the counter getting her half a pound order. Half pound of stew, half pound bacon, half pound braising steak. I press my nose on the window of the toy stall working my way around the stall making a list in my head of all the things I’d like bikes and prams hanging from the ceiling. Action man, pop and spud guns, spinning tops, hoopla hoops, Spiro graphs, Lego, mechano.

I love this stall and stand there as long as possible picking what I want for Christmas or birthday or whatever is next. Then I see it, a Pippa doll, everyone in school has them apart from me and Wendy, they are on the telly I stand there singing the advert from telly in my head where ever you go Pippa goes too!

I don’t ask for it because I know what the answer will be. I am jolted back to the real world by Mrs Cook’s arms around me from behind. Hugging me smelling of clean cotton overall and fresh meat.

’Now then my little shy girl she smiles what you looking at?’ I smile and pointed through the glass at the Pippa doll.

‘What’s her name?’ I feel my face flush. ‘Come on tell Dolly! Whisper in my ear no one will hear.’ She bends down next to me. ‘Pippa’ I whispered. I hear Mam sigh behind me ‘she doesn’t need it don’t be bloody cheeky you!’ shes saying. I look down at the floor. ‘She’s never cheeky are you my doll,’ Cupping my face in her hands I love her smile and twinkling blue eyes.

‘Come on then!’ She says taking me by the hand. I look back at Mam shaking her head as we disappear into the Aladdin’s cave of Jim Corley’s toy stall.

Mrs. Cook asks the lady for the Pippa doll. ‘And some clothes,’ wow clothes as well.

She passes me the little doll it will fit in my pocket, and then she asks me which of the two sets of clothes I want. A pink suit or a red dress and boots I stand there staring! ‘Oh we’ll have them both!’ Says Mrs Cook

She pulls some money from her overall pocket pays the lady and passed the clothes to me. ‘Thank you’ I whispered, she wrapped me in a huge hug ‘your welcome doll,’ and she kisses me on the cheek.

And with a cheery wave she goes back on the stall to cheerfully banter with another customer. Me and Mam walk out of the market towards the bus stop Mam giving me a telling off telling me she’d told me before about asking for stuff when Mrs Cook was about.

I dont answer i’m too busy pulling Pippa out of her box! We sit on the back of the fifty five bus Mam chats to a lady from the top shops and I singing to myself dressing Pippa in her new red dress and boots. Before I know it Mam is ringing the bell and steering me down the bus with my hood its zip pinching into my neck. ‘Ouch Mam’

I hold onto the bars with one hand and hold Pippa with the other. The bus stops at the end of the street as we walked down I can see our next door neighbor Mrs Lewis is brushing the pavement outside our house.

I run down to show her my new doll. I sit on her step as she sweeps the pavement. She leans on the brush smiling at me.

‘What have you got there then chick’ she asks in her lovely cockney accent.

I hold out Pippa. She takes her from me stroking her hair; ‘well she’s almost as pretty as you!’

I smiled up at her. Mam catches me up wheezing and puffing on her inhaler. Shes always had a ‘bad chest but I look after her when shes not well.

‘Do you want to come and help me later when our Fred gets home?’ I’ll give you a shout and we can go clean his coach.’ Fred drives coaches taking people on holidays when he is home the coach would be parked across the street.

I looked at Mam ‘don’t you look at me she says back ask your bloody Dad!’

’Wont he be in the pub?’ Mrs. Lewis laughs. Mam scowls.

‘You know one day your going to answer me with your mouth instead of those big brown eyes! Fred will give you a knock soon.

True to her word after tea there was a knock at the door its Fred.

‘Come on then I hear you’re the new coach cleaner!’

‘ Go on then’ laughs Mam.

Fred holds my hand and we cross the road to his big blue coach. Pippa is safely sitting in my pocket. We clamber up the steps onto the coach Mrs. Lewis is at the back picking up pop cans and sweet papers loudly cursing school kids.

‘Come on then don’t just stand there! You can fit under these seats much easier than me.’‘ She hasn’t got a fat arse like you’ Fred laughs. Handing me a plastic bag. I crawl in and out of the seats picking up papers, cans and a couple of magazines. Fred follows me with a brush and a mop

By the time I get to the front of the coach I’m covered in dust and my knees are black! I sit in the driver’s seat putting my new doll Pippa by the windscreen swinging my legs pretending to drive. Across the street the front door bangs and Dad here striding down the path rollie in his hand smart jacket on. I watch him walk towards the coach.

He strides over stands by the door, ‘Look at me Dad I’m driving,’

‘Driving be buggered your bloody rotten dirty!’

‘ Sorry. Have you seen my new doll Pippa like my friends in school!’

‘ Yes! I’ve seen her. Bloody ruined you are.’

’She’s a good little help’ said Fred carrying the rubbish bags off the coach.

‘Going down the club Jimmy?’

‘ Aye for an hour you watch yourself crossing the bloody road and behave yourself for your mammy!’

‘ I’ll walk her over now’ says Mrs Lewis wiping her hands on her apron then taking my hand and helping me down the steps. Dad bends down for a kiss. ‘See you later think on now be a good girl.’ I will Dad I promise.

‘See you in the morning cock. Remember he winks!’ he squeezes my hand three times. I squeezed him back. That is his secret. Three times means I love you. See you later he says. I feel sick I hope not.

He stands finishing his cig while Fred locks up the bus. As we walked over to our house Mrs. Lewis mutters about men i don’t think she likes my Dad much.

‘ Ale and bloody fags!’ She stands at the gate while I knock on the door. Mam opens it ‘Look at the bloody state of you lady!’ ‘Sorry’ I hear Mrs. Lewis say behind me. she pushed a twenty pence into my hand. ‘ Go get in the bloody bath its run for you.’ I run upstairs into the bathroom undressed and jump into the warm water. The landing window is open and I can hear Mam still talking to Mrs. Lewis. I wash quickly then lay back and put my head under the water I can hear my heart beating. Its the school holidays now maybe Mam will let me sit up later? I pull the plug and wrap myself in the towel. Mam has left on the sink. My hair is all wet but I pull on my red slacks blue night dress and socks. Jump down each stair. Mam is sitting in the living room watching TV and knitting. ‘Where’s Dad gone Mam?’ ‘Now where do you bloody think? Down the bloody pub! He’ll be back when he’s run out of money. Drunken pig! He should bloody move in there!’

‘ What you knitting Mam?

A cardigan. For you!’

‘Can you teach me to knit?’

‘ Your bloody kitty pawed! I cant teach you’.

‘My sister was left handed and she can’t knit either!’ she continued.

‘ Can I stay up with you Mam there’s no school in the morning?’

Mam looked up from her knitting. ‘What the bloody hell have you got on? Get them bloody slacks off!’

‘ But I like wearing pants in bed Mam!’ then if the monster comes I can run fast and Its cold in my room!’ ‘You look a bloody state no more talk of monsters and its summer’

I sit on the sofa cross my legs under me and put a cushion over my trousers.

Lady jumps up beside me.

‘Get that bloody dog down.’

Lady pushs against me and we sit there together united!

‘I bloody give up!’

‘There is something bloody wrong with you.’

‘You can take them off before you get in the bed.’

’Go make me a cup of tea and you can stay down for a bit.’

I jump up running into the kitchen lady close at my heels.

Pull out the big box of matches and lite the kettle.

Wash Mam’s cup and put tea in the pot.

I quickly made a cup of tea and pour some milk into a cup for me, pouring some into a little into a dish for lady.

.’Shhh! Don’t tell Mam’

She looks up at me lapping the milk and I’m sure she knows what I say to her.

I carry Mam’s tea in put it next to her on the Cornish sit down with my milk.

Lady pushs the door and jumped back up beside me.

I lean over the sofa and picked up my book. Then snuggle down with lady. I turned the page and before long I;m lost with Peter Pan and Wendy.

Mam sips the hot tea looks over at us and shakes her head. she shakes her head a lot.

‘Okay you lie on there and read .Let me watch are you being served.’

Mam sits knitting I drink my milk and lie on the sofa with lady. I fall fast asleep with my book Mam shakes me telling me its time for bed.

‘ Come on get up. Your Dad will be in soon.’

‘Come on up the bloody dancers.’

I get up and sit on the stairs waiting for Mam to let lady back in.

Its raining she comes back shaking herself and runs upstairs before me. I shut the bedroom door, as Mam shouts ‘Don’t let that bloody dog on the bed!’ ‘I wont! Night Mam.’

‘ And take them bloody slacks off!’

‘ I have Mam’

I lie sliding into bed. Lady jumps up and settles by my belly.

As soon as she lies beside me I fell warm and safe. Me lady and Pippa.

If any monsters come Lady wont let them in she will bark and growl and wake Mammy up.

The last goodbye

It was a Monday morning, I’m standing outside the village post office there is a middle-aged woman in front of me, in front of her, an old man smoking a roll up cig. The doors open and the queue slowly move’s inside.

The old man leans on the window ledge as he waits his turn. He is wearing old blue jeans, and jacket, and a denim hat. Not your typical pensioner outfit.

The lines and scares on his face tell a million stories. Stories of a hard man a fighter in his time

Stories of horror, sadness, hard times, joy and laughter.

I try to concentrate on the posters on the wall. Television licence. First class stamps. Car tax. Premium bonds.

I focus on very brightly coloured poster.

St Hayden school Jumble Sale this Saturday 1.PM.

But still my eyes are drawn to him.

Half of me would like him to see me.

Half of me would like to run.

He’s holding what’s left of a roll up fag he was smoking outside. Staring ahead of him, brown eyes the same as mine milky now with age.

Wisps of silver grey hair peep from under his denim cap. Tattoos on his knuckle’s scar on his face.

He’s standing at the counter now, next to me I can smell that familiar smell of old Holborn.

I hand the woman my family allowance book, she’s smiling and saying something about the weather. I wish she would shut up as I’m straining to hear his voice.

Deep and rasping, so familiar, yet he’s become a stranger to me.

His own doing, he doesn’t know me. He never really did.not the real me.

My chest tightens, I feel my eyes prick with tears, but I won’t let them come.

Something inside of me still desperately wants him to know me.

What I’ve achieved and who I am.

He doesn’t know what I like if I take milk in my tea, what makes me happy or sad.

What issues I feel passionately about.

That despite everything I’m a good Mam.

He used to tell me I’d amount to nothing.

Nothing more than a whore.

Those words are etched into my soul.

That is how I always felt insignificant, ugly, worthless, nothing.

You’ve probably guessed by now the old man in front of me is my Dad.

The same old man who still walks in my dreams.

The man who struck terror into the heart of a small child.

Oh Dad I so desperately wanted to please you.

I wanted you to like me.

Sadly I still do.

I find myself fighting to suppress the pity I find myself feeling for him.

My heart beating in my head reminding myself of the holocaust he made my life.

There is a tiny piece of him I loved and adored the sober piece I always will.

That big man that carried me on his shoulders. Held my hand and walked me to school. Held my bike seat and smiled from ear to ear cheering his little girl as I peddled off on my own.

He taught me to play cards, draughts, let me help him when he’d wallpaper.

Gave me my love for books and the outdoors, taught me to write my name then later shared with me his talent for writing poetry.

He taught me to love nature and the countryside.

As I watched in awe as he’d whispered to horses.

Rescued a blackbird from a hawthorn bush.

Talked of make-believe, fairies and magic castles.

Oh how I loved that tiny piece of him, I still do,

I always will.

I desperately wanted then and now for that piece of him to become his whole.

For god the universe or some miracle to take away the bad piece. I want him to turn my way look at me and tell me he’s sorry.

I want him to hold me tell me everything’s going to be okay.

I want a family.

I want my children to have him as their granddad.

I want them to be safe.

He’s walking out of the door now.

I walk out behind him all of these thoughts buzzing in my head.

I get in my car sit in silence and watch him walk out of the post office and away and then the tears start to fall.

For the life I can’t have, and the wishes I can’t make come true.

I know I can’t change him from who he is.

To whom I would desperately like him to be.

But I’ll never stop wanting and wishing.

That day in the post office was the very last time I saw him.

Goodbye Dad.

He died a few years later. I didn’t get a sorry.

I didn’t go to his funeral.

Now I’m allowed to break our silence.sadness, hard times, joy and laughter.

I try to concentrate on the posters on the wall. Television licence. First class stamps. Car tax. Premium bonds.

I focus on very brightly coloured poster.

St Hayden school Jumble Sale this Saturday 1.PM.

But still my eyes are drawn to him.

Half of me would like him to see me.

Half of me would like to run.

He’s holding what’s left of a roll up fag he was smoking outside. Staring ahead of him, brown eyes the same as mine milky now with age.

Wisps of silver grey hair peep from under his denim cap.

He’s standing at the counter now, next to me I can smell that familiar smell of old Holborn.

I hand the woman my family allowance book, she’s smiling and saying something about the weather.

But I’m straining to hear his voice.

Deep and rasping, so familiar, yet he’s become a stranger to me.

His own doing, he doesn’t know me. He never really did.

My chest tightens, I feel my eyes prick with tears, but I won’t let them come.

Something inside of me desperately wants him to know me.

What Iv’e achieved and who I am.

He doesn’t know what I like, what makes me happy or sad.

What issues I feel passionately about.

That. despite everything I’m a good Mam.

He used to tell me I’d amount to nothing.

Nothing. More than a whore.

Those words are etched into my soul.

That is how I always felt insignificant, ugly, worthless, nothing.

You’ve probably guessed by now the old man in front of me is my Dad.

The same old man who still walks in my dreams.

The man who struck blind terror into the heart of a small child.

Oh Dad I so desperately wanted to please you.

I wanted you to like me.

Sadly I still do.

I find myself fighting to suppress the pity I find myself feeling for him.

My heart beating in my head reminding myself of the holocaust he made my life.

There was a tiny piece of him I loved and adored the sober piece. I always will.

That big man that carried me on his shoulders. Held my hand and walked me to school. Held my bike seat and smiled from ear to ear cheering his little girl as I peddled off on my own.

He taught me to play cards, draughts, let me help him when he’d wallpaper.

Gave me my love for books and the outdoors, taught me to write my name then later shared with me his talent for writing poetry.

He taught me to love nature and the countryside.

As I watched in awe as he’d whispered to horses.

Rescued a blackbird from a hawthorn bush.

Talked of make-believe, fairies and magic castles.

Oh how I loved that tiny piece of him, I still do,

I always will.

I desperately wanted then and now for that piece of him to become his whole.

For god the universe or some miracle to take away the bad piece. I want him to turn my way look at me and tell me he’s sorry.

I want him to hold me tell me everything’s going to be okay.

I want a family.

I want my children to have him as their granddad.

I want them to be safe.

He’s walking out of the door now.

I walk out behind him all of these thoughts buzzing in my head.

I get in my car sit in silence and watch him walk away, and then the tears start to fall.

For the life I can’t have, and the wishes I can’t make come true.

I know I can’t change him from who he is.

To whom I would desperately like him to be.

But I’ll never stop wanting and wishing.

That day in the post office was the very last time I saw him.

Goodbye Dad.

He died a few years later. I didn’t get a sorry..

I didn’t go to his funeral.

Now I’m allowed to break our silence.Monday morning, I’m standing outside the village post office. There’s a middle-aged woman in front of me, in front of her, an old man smoking a rolly. The doors open and the queue move’s inside.

The old man leans on the window ledge as he waits in the Que., he is wearing old blue jeans, and jacket, and a jeans hat.

The lines and scares on his face tell a million stories. Stories of a hard man,, a fighter in his time. Stories of horror,, sadness, hard times, joy and laughter.

I try to concentrate on the posters on the wall. Television licence. First class stamps. Car tax. Premium bonds.

I focus on very brightly coloured poster.

St Hayden school Jumble Sale this Saturday 1.PM.

But still my eyes are drawn to him.

Half of me would like him to see me.

Half of me would like to run.

He’s holding what’s left of a roll up fag he was smoking outside. Staring ahead of him, brown eyes the same as mine milky now with age.

Wisps of silver grey hair peep from under his denim cap.

He’s standing at the counter now, next to me I can smell that familiar smell of old Holborn.

I hand the woman my family allowance book, she’s smiling and saying something about the weather.

But I’m straining to hear his voice.

Deep and rasping, so familiar, yet he’s become a stranger to me.

His own doing, he doesn’t know me. He never really did.

My chest tightens, I feel my eyes prick with tears, but I won’t let them come.

Something inside of me desperately wants him to know me.

What Iv’e achieved and who I am.

He doesn’t know what I like, what makes me happy or sad.

What issues I feel passionately about.

That. despite everything I’m a good Mam.

He used to tell me I’d amount to nothing.

Nothing. More than a whore.

Those words are etched into my soul.

That is how I always felt insignificant, ugly, worthless, nothing.

You’ve probably guessed by now the old man in front of me is my Dad.

The same old man who still walks in my dreams.

The man who struck blind terror into the heart of a small child.

Oh Dad I so desperately wanted to please you.

I wanted you to like me.

Sadly I still do.

I find myself fighting to suppress the pity I find myself feeling for him.

My heart beating in my head reminding myself of the holocaust he made my life.

There was a tiny piece of him I loved and adored the sober piece. I always will.

That big man that carried me on his shoulders. Held my hand and walked me to school. Held my bike seat and smiled from ear to ear cheering his little girl as I peddled off on my own.

He taught me to play cards, draughts, let me help him when he’d wallpaper.

Gave me my love for books and the outdoors, taught me to write my name then later shared with me his talent for writing poetry.

He taught me to love nature and the countryside.

As I watched in awe as he’d whispered to horses.

Rescued a blackbird from a hawthorn bush.

Talked of make-believe, fairies and magic castles.

Oh how I loved that tiny piece of him, I still do,

I always will.

I desperately wanted then and now for that piece of him to become his whole.

For god the universe or some miracle to take away the bad piece. I want him to turn my way look at me and tell me he’s sorry.

I want him to hold me tell me everything’s going to be okay.

I want a family.

I want my children to have him as their granddad.

I want them to be safe.

He’s walking out of the door now.

I walk out behind him all of these thoughts buzzing in my head.

I get in my car sit in silence and watch him walk away, and then the tears start to fall.

For the life I can’t have, and the wishes I can’t make come true.

I know I can’t change him from who he is.

To whom I would desperately like him to be.

But I’ll never stop wanting and wishing.

That day in the post office was the very last time I saw him.

Goodbye Dad.

He died a few years later. I didn’t get a sorry..

I didn’t go to his funeral.

Now I’m allowed to break our silence.Monday morning, I’m standing outside the village post office. There’s a middle-aged woman in front of me, in front of her, an old man smoking a rolly. The doors open and the queue move’s inside.

The old man leans on the window ledge as he waits in the Que., he is wearing old blue jeans, and jacket, and a jeans hat.

The lines and scares on his face tell a million stories. Stories of a hard man,, a fighter in his time. Stories of horror,, sadness, hard times, joy and laughter.

I try to concentrate on the posters on the wall. Television licence. First class stamps. Car tax. Premium bonds.

I focus on very brightly coloured poster.

St Hayden school Jumble Sale this Saturday 1.PM.

But still my eyes are drawn to him.

Half of me would like him to see me.

Half of me would like to run.

He’s holding what’s left of a roll up fag he was smoking outside. Staring ahead of him, brown eyes the same as mine milky now with age.

Wisps of silver grey hair peep from under his denim cap.

He’s standing at the counter now, next to me I can smell that familiar smell of old Holborn.

I hand the woman my family allowance book, she’s smiling and saying something about the weather.

But I’m straining to hear his voice.

Deep and rasping, so familiar, yet he’s become a stranger to me.

His own doing, he doesn’t know me. He never really did.

My chest tightens, I feel my eyes prick with tears, but I won’t let them come.

Something inside of me desperately wants him to know me.

What Iv’e achieved and who I am.

He doesn’t know what I like, what makes me happy or sad.

What issues I feel passionately about.

That. despite everything I’m a good Mam.

He used to tell me I’d amount to nothing.

Nothing. More than a whore.

Those words are etched into my soul.

That is how I always felt insignificant, ugly, worthless, nothing.

You’ve probably guessed by now the old man in front of me is my Dad.

The same old man who still walks in my dreams.

The man who struck blind terror into the heart of a small child.

Oh Dad I so desperately wanted to please you.

I wanted you to like me.

Sadly I still do.

I find myself fighting to suppress the pity I find myself feeling for him.

My heart beating in my head reminding myself of the holocaust he made my life.

There was a tiny piece of him I loved and adored the sober piece. I always will.

That big man that carried me on his shoulders. Held my hand and walked me to school. Held my bike seat and smiled from ear to ear cheering his little girl as I peddled off on my own.

He taught me to play cards, draughts, let me help him when he’d wallpaper.

Gave me my love for books and the outdoors, taught me to write my name then later shared with me his talent for writing poetry.

He taught me to love nature and the countryside.

As I watched in awe as he’d whispered to horses.

Rescued a blackbird from a hawthorn bush.

Talked of make-believe, fairies and magic castles.

Oh how I loved that tiny piece of him, I still do,

I always will.

I desperately wanted then and now for that piece of him to become his whole.

For god the universe or some miracle to take away the bad piece. I want him to turn my way look at me and tell me he’s sorry.

I want him to hold me tell me everything’s going to be okay.

I want a family.

I want my children to have him as their granddad.

I want them to be safe.

He’s walking out of the door now.

I walk out behind him all of these thoughts buzzing in my head.

I get in my car sit in silence and watch him walk away, and then the tears start to fall.

For the life I can’t have, and the wishes I can’t make come true.

I know I can’t change him from who he is.

To whom I would desperately like him to be.

But I’ll never stop wanting and wishing.

That day in the post office was the very last time I saw him.

Goodbye Dad.

He died a few years after this diary entry was written.

Unexpected mam & Dad

It’s six am I’ve done three loads of washing, emptied the dishwasher fed the cats and the geese put washing on the line lost my cup of tea twice

The September sun is shinning it’s a beautiful day.

I’m picking up my mother and father in law at nine taking them to hospital father in law is being admitted nothing serious.
Normal?
No.
Wonderful yes.
You see I joke with my hubby I tell him he got me to come back to Wales under false pretenses.
He promised me a family a Mam and Dad .
That was fourteen years ago.
His mother is four foot f@@k all and scared the shit out of me.
No one was good enough for her boys. Typically Welsh mammy.

They should write mammy on the police cars in Wales there would be no trouble!
So back to my story some English woman was never going to cut it for Nancy’s boy.

I tried everything. But she was vile she was cutting critical so I left her to it.
Always encouraged my hubby to call.
Then nine months ago his father became I’ll and suddenly she changed!
She refares to me as her daughter. I was slightly scared wondering how long it would last.
But here we are.
The universe listens

So Nancy is alot older so am I .
But we are family
I’m taking Mam and Dad to hospital.
Saying something so simple makes me so happy.
Now where are my car keys 😊

Home

Canalside Aberdulais is the place I love to be.

No where near as posh as Brecon

Or Mumbles by the sea.

Our road has a million pot holes

Passing walkers have been know to flea.

When chased by a gaggle of canalside geese

Walking slowly past is the key.

Gargoyles on the cottage wall.

Rosemary by the door

Kitchen you couldn’t swing a cat.

But I couldn’t ask for more.

It’s my little piece of heaven

No where else I’d rather be

Neighbors who are salt of the earth

Who can fix anything with a cup of Welsh tea.

Canalside Aberdulais

There’s no place I’d rather be

Wood burning stove and hubby I love

It’s the simple things that make a home you see ♥️

In a flash – I’m back

Sometimes I’m still there.

Suddenly.

Unexpectedly

Without warning.

A smell, a taste, a song.

Catapulted at the speed of light.

Flick of a switch.

A blink of an eye

A tactile cine film begins.

It’s running inside my head in high definition

I’m suspended in time.

Back in time.

A prism of light of dark of terror.

A different dimension a parallel world.

It will always be there never very far away.

Operating on a different frequency

Like an old valve radio slightly out of tune.

Then that something, anything turns the knob,

Adjusts that channel pulls the two dimensions together

Past and present become one

Jolting me back into the nightmare

Silently I’m screaming but I know that no one can hear me.

Home brew Shenanigans

home brew

Everyone on Dad’s side of the family drank heavily raced grey hounds and bet on horses. Even the women!

So to us kids that was just the norm.

My Dads youngest brother (our Peter) was no exception.

He was married to Auntie Aggie they were real characters. Aggie never wore her false teeth although she had been known to cut the edge of a pastry crust with them when baking and she did look a lot older than her years.

The creases on her face always reminded me of yesterdays screwed up chip shop paper. She wore odd sized plastic sponge rollers under a head scarf tied in a neat knot in the middle of her forehead. She swore a lot mostly at Peter. She always had a ciggie in the corner of her mouth which when was finished she would use to light another one from. She always wore her pinny and faded pink slippers the ones with that you slipped over your toes with a fluffy bobbly thing stuck on the front, well I say fluffy maybe when they were new which Aggies weren’t so it was anything but fluffy sort of knotted in need of going in the bin.

Uncle Peter could be found in one of three places. In Rain hill psychiatric hospital drying out from the booze. At home brewing home brew in the kitchen. (Or drinking it!) Or out with my Dad down the club.

I really liked him he was like a younger funny nice version of my dad, he smiled a lot and when he wasn’t smiling he was laughing mostly at Aggie.

Auntie Aggie reckoned if we looked in all three places and didn’t find him he then he definitely was dead! We always managed to find him.

He would get out of bed light a cig and pour a pint. His hair sticking up like a mad professor holes in his jumper from fag burns

The kitchen pantry, under the stairs and the spare bedroom was full of home brew.

Lines of sterilised milk bottles with plastic snap on caps.

I remember him running out of bottles in the middle of a barley wine brew and flagging down the Alpine pop man outside the shop.

Getting him to drop off two crates of bottles in exchange for some of his famous home brew!

He and Dad were well known for their beer. Mam swore they only brewed their own as they had been banned from most of the alehouses in town.

As well as their beer the other thing that was famous was Aggie and Peter’s fights.

I remember vividly walking up the grove were they lived early Saturday morning and being able to hear them three houses away!

I cautiously  pushed open the back door to hear Uncle Peter shouting at Aggie to move all the rubbish from under the bloody sink so he can fit his new batch of brew in.

‘RUBBISH! RUBBISH!’ she yells back. ‘That’s me best pots and pans!’

She is in full swing now and I just manage to duck out of the way as a handle less pan, which finds its target catching uncle Peter with a loud thud on his head!

‘You bloody madwoman! Luna-bloody tic!

‘You want locking up you do your pots for bloody rags!’ he’s standing there rubbing the side of his head!

‘Oh its me that’s pots for rags is it!’

She’s nearer now and she belts him on the other side with another pan!

I manage to duck under her raised arm into the living room were Colin and Phil sit obliviously in front of the telly.

‘Who do you think you are Greenall’s bloody brewery?’

‘Get out of this house and take all those bottles with you your nothing but a piss artist!’

The back door opens again and there is the sound of glass smashing!

‘Are you coming out?’ I ask? Colin

He raises his eyes to the ceiling and stretches. ‘Aye I may as well they are at it AGAIN!’

‘Well at least they talk to each other’ I hear myself say feebly.

‘My Mam and Dad won’t even speak to each other’

He laughs ‘I wish they wouldn’t maybe we could all have some bloody Peace.’ He sits up takes one of Aggies fags and lights it. ‘Want a drag?’

‘No! it stinks!’ I say pulling my face he laughs ‘Come on soft arse.’

The back door bangs and we watch Aggie scurrying down the front path still chunnering as she goes. Uncle Peter sticks his head down round the living room door. ‘Here you two get in here and help me finish these bottles afore she gets back. She’s gone down the shop for fags.’

‘Good laughs Colin I smoked the last one!’

Phil goes reluctantly into the kitchen I follow perching myself on a stool in

The corner.

Uncle Peter had made a massive vat of barley wine and is siphoning it into sterilised bottles. Taking great care not to screw on the tops too tight so that the gas had room to escape as the wine continued to ferment in the bottle

He is shouting at Phil to hurry up and make some space at the back of the pantry so that Aggie won’t realise there was more brew in there.

Colin hands the bottles to Phil who put the bottles into the back of the pantry. He winked at me and nodded at the bottle as he tightened the cap as he moved them.

I laughed nervously!

‘She’ll never know!’ laughs Uncle Peter rubbing his head were the pan had hit him earlier.

He had just moved the last of the bottles as Aggie walked in the back door.

‘Hiya Mam’ piped up our Colin. ‘Brought us any toffee’s?’

‘Never mind bloody toffees where’s me cig packet you little thief.’ she clipped

him before he can answer.

Phil laughs

‘And what have you done with all that ale you pissing alcoholic!’ she carried on where she had left off before the trip to the shop.

Peter is standing there grinning like a Cheshire cat!

‘I’ve poured it down the sink my bloody Queen!’

‘Your right my love no more ale.

I’m brewing no more.

When we’ve drunk what we’ve got my love that’s it!’

‘You awful bloody liar!’

‘You pour ale down the sink bloody never!’

‘I know your lying I can smell it now where is it!’

Peter is belly laughing now I  try not to giggle. ‘You can smell what?’ he says theatrically.

‘It must be your top lip rotting my love!

That’s what you get for not wearing your bloody teeth!’

Its no good I heard myself laugh.

Aggie flies at him hitting him with anything that’s handy.

We stand in the doorway shaking laughing.

Before I know what had hit me she had spun round and clipped us too!

We are down the path and out of the street like a shot!

Id rather fight next doors bull terrier than have a slap of me Mam says our Phil as we collapse on the grass laughing and I have to agree.

Take me home.

m27-3

It was 1964 on a bright summers afternoon the sky was blue and not a cloud could be seen.

Paula was seventeen she sat dangling her feet in the cool water on the banks of the stream day dreaming she was a loner and loved nothing more than being outdoors wondering through woodlands always bare foot the breeze in her hair book in her hand she watched the willow tree on the opposite bank of the stream sway lazily water bubbling across the rocks and pebbles her feet cold and her back hot as sun shone down so brightly she found it hard to concentrate on her book so instead she watched the water it seemed to glisten and shine in the sunlight as she looked up across to the other side she caught her breath for there watching her beside the willow tree was something at first she couldn’t quite make sense of.

She rubbed her eyes and squinted. Then rubbed them again. A being something watching or was it?

It was sparkling almost iridescent crystal like.

The being seemed to fade in and out of focus flickering like a lamp, blending in and out of the surrounding almost camouflaged. She blinked hard. But it was most definitely  still there.

It was much taller than Paula longer arms and fingers beautiful.

Paula stood up slowly and bravely began to paddle across towards the willow tree. The water wasn’t deep just past her calves, but she waded cautiously so as not to startle or frighten the being. Somehow she felt they were destined to meet. As she drew closer the being began to come into focus still almost transparent swirling colours reminding her of the translucent bubbles she had blown and loved as a child

‘Who are you?’  asked Paula in almost a whisper as she watched a bright blue dragonfly glide through not around the being, yet she didn’t feel afraid just more and more curious. Tall and slender long iridescent hair with a definite air of femininity

The being reached slowly over and placed her fingers gently on Paula’s forehead the finger felt definitely solid despite her translucent appearance

Standing there together barefoot on a grassy bank breeze blowing in their hair

visions started to flood between them.

Visions of a beautiful place a planet light years away a race of star people. Peaceful tribes healers teachers, purple topped mountains, waterfalls lush green valley’s huge trees and an array of beautiful animals. Paula had never seen before she gasped and whispered Koraki that is your name?. The being glowed even brighter. Her eyes now visible where the most beautiful shade of green like the purest Jade.

Why are you here? Paula thought. Koraki answered her questions yet no words were spoken.

She was a traveller explorer of the universe a bringer of light collecting samples of plants and herbs she had been to earth many times it was not unlike her own planet but our species caused her sadness primitive behaviour killing each other and the planet they live on.

She and others like her where also here to plant seeds of hope and enlightenment to help awaken humans to a new way of life to enlighten them to save their beautiful planet.

As the sun set and darkness fell giving way to a dark moon in an ink black sky stars twinkled like Koraki iridescent skin.

She pointed up to the sky to a small cluster of stars barely visible.

‘Is that your home where you come from?’ Asked Paula.

She sighed, ‘Can I come with you?’

Koraki gently touched her forehead again.

‘No spaceships, these beautiful beings travelled through consciousness in the blink of an eye speed of light. Like beautiful white Ravens

‘She then showed Paula a vision of herself holding a baby girl a star seed.

‘How’? Asked Paula.

They stood opposite each other Koraki held up the palms of her hands the palms seemed to swirl spiral iridescent pure white shining light.

Paula held up her hands much smaller against Koraki a ball of lights around them glowed she had never felt such pure love and hope.

Paula slept peacefully on mossy grass that warm summer’s night under the willow tree by the stream.

She was woken by the warmth of the sun on her face and the babbling of the stream a Raven cawed above her and she thought she heard Koraki whisper that she would see her again.

The following spring the baby girl Koraki had gifted to her was born seed of the star people. She was tiny perfect dark brown eyes and an almost translucent aura about her.

Outside the window a raven cawed loudly as my mother Paula cradled me in her arms.

My love for healing for herbs and fascination with the stars and the universe and affinity with animals I’m sure comes from Koraki.

Living by water walking barefoot and love of books comes from my rebel mother Paula.

‘I’m a mountain wondering lover of Ravens and all things magical.

On a dark moon you will find me barefoot on the mountain crossroads by the stream looking up to a tiny constellation of stars home of Koraki beautiful iridescent bringer of light hope and love.

Four little words

I can’t remember that last time I cried for myself, I’ve cried for other people but never for me, apart from when my granddaughter Tamika was born. Happiness of course. But before that I’m sure it was back in the dark ages before I came to Wales.
You see I’m always positive its just the way I am. Facebook status life in general I really do believe that there is always something positive in every situation. You just have to look.
I’ve been off work now since March after a sudden and completely unexpected collapse midnight on my birthday. I’d been walking my dog and cat, who by the way thinks he’s a dog down the canal for their walk.
I can’t really discribe what happened I just knew there was something very wrong.
Rang my hubby to come and get saffie as she couldn’t walk too fast.
Then hurried eight doors up to out cottage on the canal bank.
I made it too the bathroom where I got the worsed pain ever like being suddenly hit in centre of my he’d with a pick axe.
I thought this is it I’m going to die.
Sounds dramatic but I’m really not.
I really was that scared.
I lost my speech and couldn’t feel my left side.
Jeff came in picked me up, carried me into the car and within thirty mins I was in emergency room at Morriston hospital.
Pretty scary stuff as I never went to my G.P never took tablets, even had my children at home
So after being admitted I had lumber puncture, c.a.t scans, MRI, neurologists blood tests and transfared to three different wards and subjected to worsed hospital food a vegan could imagine
I was eventually discharged with a letter for my G.P a months sick note and a promise of a neurologist appointment within the month.
I was so relieved to leave still couldn’t walk so dragged my still numb left leg down the corridor ignoring Jeff’s plea’s to get in a wheel chair. (I may have swore at him)
I was and still am determined to sort myself out.
I admit thinking about it this was the universe kicking me up the arse to slow down
I had with hind sight missed a few warning signs vertigo, extremely painful joints, brain fog, pins and needles in my fingers and a weird sensation sort of crawling or dripping water under my skin on my back.
But as a lot of us do I blamed it on work..
Wrestling with wheelchair, or menopause, because let’s face it I’m 53 most things are down to the bloody menopause! Oh and the bed! I’ve had three new mattresses.
But now six months later still off work I’m not so sure.
I’m still waiting for my appointment.
I’ve agreed to take gabapentin and they do help slightly but there are mornings when I really struggle to get up and get downstairs.
The pain is horrendous.
My fingers are stiff, shoulders, hips and most other joints are beyond painful.the numbness is something else.
I use cannabis oil at night as otherwise I find lying on either side on my shoulders unbarable.
I accept it is something neurological I’m still having energy healing, relfexology and I’m thinking of taking up yoga anything to keep my muscles moving.
I will get better.
My worry is my job, I’m down to half pay, and if I’m honest I know I can’t go back and do the job I did. The occupational health doctor confirmed this last week. It’s one thing knowing it but having someone else tell you is different.
I have now gone into panic mode.
Shall I open a vegan cafe? I could do dog walking, pop up restaurant?
I have never NOT worked. I’ve always supported my family.
This is my weak link. I am still positive about things. I really am.
But I’m scared. What is it your trying to tell me universe I really am listening!
This morning lying in bed beside my hubby jeff sun streaming through the window his big arms around my I lay there head on his chest listening to his heart.
He talked about building a healing & therapies room we had planned for me to work from just behind the cottage.
‘I don’t want you doing it all yourself I said. Digging foundations when the weather goes cold.’ .
He tightens his arms around me and tells me to stop worrying. ‘This isn’t like you.’ He’s right it isn’t
‘we lead a very simple life I don’t want posh holidays never had credit cards I wear charity shop clothes happily. But keeping the car on the road paying bills and food in the cupbords are important. So yes the first time me not being independent paying my way is scary.

Shhhh he says.. ‘I’ll look after you.’
And that was it. Catalyst.
Four words that broke the dam. I cried I don’t think anyone has ever said that to me before.
‘Ill look after you’
I’ve looked after myself from being a kid anyway and everyway. .

So I know I’ll get better.
Maybe I won’t be able to stay in my current job but I’ll find a way to do something else I love.
Maybe that will be working from home in my new Healing room who knows what the universe has in store but I’m listening.
But I do know those four little words were said at just the right time, right place by just the right person. I love him my beautiful shy Welshman.
I’ll look after him too