Feeling defeated

I really don’t know what ails me this week.

I really can’t shake of this feeling of overwhelming sadness.

I can’t share it either.

So here I am writing.

Writing soothes my soul.

I’m never down, well not like this anyway.

I’ve lost my inner warrior.

I’ve got friends who know of our fight with council and other agencies to get flood defences put in place .

But it’s almost September nothings been done .

If I’m honest I’m scared that’s a big word for me to use.

I’ve now managed to get insurance.

But I really don’t think I can go through a third flood.

We are only now recovering from.storm Dennis in Feb immediately after it happened we were placed into lockdown.

We have fought organised ourselves we have a resident committee.

Michael sheen has been beyond amazing helping our story to be told.

But sadly still nothing has changed.

At the next winter storm, high tide, there will be no one there for us just like the previous two floods.

It was terrifying watching the water and sewage poor in.

Rising pouring over the garden wall through letter box.

Until the whole of our home and our cancer retreat at 28 and the healing cabin were 3ft deep in sewage.

I can’t explain the feeling or the fear.

The electricity goes off.

It’s pitch dark.

The smell is horrendous.

Out bathroom is down stairs

We are trapped upstairs.

My tiny chihuahua Mavis shaking in my arms cats trapped out the back I can see them on railway banking

My car my husband’s work van are floating .

There is an earie silence the odd shout from.neigbours check each other are okay.

We have a box with candles in and battery packs for phones.

We ring fire brigade to come with dinghys

I ring Vicky next door but one to ask if she’s okay she doesn’t answer

She has two little boys .

Mick is 83.

He’s seen a world war he shouldn’t have to keep doing this.

My hubby is leaning out of the front bedroom window.

As soon as it starts to go down I’ll start bailing he says ..

He says it..

Like.

It’s a normal thing to say.

He’s almost 60.

I hear the fire men shout up to him.

I still wake up at night now hearing them telling us we have to evacuate.

I’m not going I never go.

It’s a danger to life they say.

Don’t you think we know.

Our lives .

The harsh and sad reality is someone next time or the time after will be badly hurt or killed.

Will they change their tune then?

How many more times can I watch my man rebuild our home and the Retreat.?

Bailing sewage for hours ..

The smell of muck and jaeys fluid and bleach.

When will this heavy feeling of dread in my chest stop

When will I stop waking at 3.30am terrified

That little cottage Ravens Retreat

That has provided free breaks and Holistic therapies for cancer patients and mental health.

Is so much more than anyone could imagine.

It was my promise to my best friend.

To Donna .

She believed in me always.

She loved it .

I promised her everything I do there was for her.

In her memory.

So she would always be remembered.

That others suffering with cancer would have the Retreat

Now it’s just not possible to safely have anyone stay there from sept until march.

I can’t fix it.

I feel like I’m letting people I’m supposed to be helping down.

I’m still putting it out there ..

Still trying to raise funds .

But I feel lost.

Praying it doesn’t happen again .

Please share our story ..

Keep us in your thoughts

Here is link to our fundraising page

https://www.gofundme.com/f/2432hui6eo?utm_medium=more&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&pc_code=null&rcid=52844622e7b443c584289e6b58cd19f6

Full moon, ivy, and a new friend.

Matthew Goodridge we met unexpectedly on Oct 30th Samhain eve 2015 when the veil between our two worlds was at it thinnest.
I had walked through the graveyard under a ink black sky.
Heading to my favourite cross roads to perform my ancestor ritual.
There is a beautiful avenue of ancient yew trees in this tiny 13c churchyard an ideal place to honour our ancestors.
The sky so clear I sat down beside the end of a ivy covered tombstone my son Matthew and I have been estranged for quite some time and today as most days he had been on my mind.
The atmosphere this night was heavy.

I sat looking at this old tombstone covered in ivy and moss. who are you I whispered.Opened my bag took out my candles and incense placed them beside the coffin shaped base.
Something told me this is where I needed to be.
I gave thanks to my ancestors who have walked before me.
Sat with my black mirror to scry then after ritual I sat watching the sun rise birds began to sing.
I was still sat on the grave stone I began to pull at the ivy. It had pushed its way into the stone but somehow it felt the right thing to do.
Who are you I asked again as slowly a name was revealed.
My samhain companion.
I chatted away until I had a full name..
Matthew Goodridge.
Aged 43.
Died.. I smiled..
Samhain.31 October 1888.

.

So Matthew it wasn’t a coincidence I was drawn from my usual path.

He had been hidden in in knot weed and brambles covered in ivy for years and years.
Forgotten .
I remember you Matthew Goodridge.
I said out loud touching the top of the stone.
Further down were the names of Matthews two daughters.
Sarah Anne 14
And Tirzah 9.

.

No mention of a wife or mother.
As I finished removing the rest of the brambles from the corner of my eye a tall man in a flat cap stood watching me his cigarette smoke blew across to where I stood .

Gardener maybe?

I smiled and nodded.

In the blink of an eye he was gone.
I looked over towards the yews and the big wrought iron gates
But there is no one about.

A crow caws above me.
Your welcome Matthew I say.
As I pick up my bag..
The sun light picks our the names on the stone.

I’ll be back soon to finish tidying .
That was two years ago.
Since Matthew and I met.
I go there often to keep the ivy at bay I have found the missing end piece of the tomb dug it up repaired and fixed it back into its original place.

He is my peaceful place

An ancestor of this land I call home.

Flowers and vase now show that someone cares and remembers them.

He won’t ever be forgotten whist I speak his name.
I will remember him.

One hundred and twenty seven years to the day.
Matthew Sarah and Tizah my samhain ancestors of this place that I love.

Home is where the heart is. Canals, lakes and waterfalls my town.

I am forever grateful for this small row of cottages and the bank of the tenant canal in South Wales where I live.

I settled here fourteen years ago.

We originally looked a bit further out from the city as houses were cheaper.

I’m so glad we did.

Don’t get me wrong readers of my blog will know we’ve had our fair share of problems massive flood thanks to storm Callum in Oct 2018

But in a way it made me fall in love with this magical place even more.

Family’s helped each other bonds and friendships were made and strengthened

It’s not a posh place to live.

Small two up two down cottages

But it’s paradise to me.

Our home is here.

Our cancer retreat and therapy cabin is here.

Our cats our dog geese swans and birds

Home is where the heart is.

My heart is right here.

For that I’m truly grateful.

http://www.ravensretreat.wales

Stop the clock, open the window cover the mirror

Today has been hard

The lady I have been nursing for almost a year as her soul midwife has possibly only a few days left.

She and I have over the last year become close friends and I know had we met under different circumstances we would have been good friends.

We have so much in common spiritual beliefs, sense of humour and we are both strong minded and stubborn.

Our grand daughters have been friends since baby school they are now 13

Tamika and Jayden both nannys girls.

It was through Jadens Mum I met Karen .

She had told her about my work as a soul midwife and our cancer retreat

I think you will get on she said and passed me her phone number.

She was right .

Karen was streight talking a good looking very proud women. Oh and did I mention stubborn in a very fabulous way.

She had lost her husband two years previously to cancer she had been his princess we sat and chatted about her journey.

At the mention of his name there was always a smile and a story.

He had been her Knight in shining armour

She was determined to stay as well as possible for as long as she could for her boys.

Before I knew it two hours had flown by.

So shall I come back next week? I asked .

Yes she smiled I’d like that and tell Lisa thanks for pointing you my direction.

Just before I got into my car she called me back.

The cancer she said.

Yes?

I told them I don’t want to know how long I have.

What would you do?

I don’t think I’d want to know either I said.

But it’s completely your choice

Someone giving you a time scale on life.

No one really knows.

I’d rather say I’ll die when its my time and I’m ready.

I like that she laughed.

See you next week.

So I’d call in we would chat about anything and everything.

I’d do some reflexology or massage.

We wrote funeral plans and lists.

We put everything in order.

That’s a massive part of my job

It gives back some control and reassures my patients that when the time comes

All their wishes will be honoured

I am a celebrant I trained so that I can confidently offer funeral and wedding services too.

So we plan everything nothing is left to chance

We write wills.

Then when all the serious stuff is sorted

We get on with living.

Quality of life.

Being comfortable.

Getting out and about

Shopping , for coffee.

I’ve even had one lady request we go on a roller coater

Twice! She loved it.

I didn’t

You get the picture.

I spent this evening making memory jewelry from karen’s finger print and her grand daughter jaydens.

It’s solid silver

So that Karen will always be with her.

Karen has been my friend even if only for a short time.

Her grand daughter has been amazing for a thirteen year old.

She has sat chatting with her in the hospice gone out with her on shopping trips.

It’s a joy to see Karen’s face light up when she sees jayden come in.

She told me she isn’t afraid of dying just afraid of not being around for Jayden.

Last Wednesday was her last good day we spent it together laughing drinking tea and watching T.V I put he in bed before I left and tucked her in.

As I kissed her head she caught hold of my hand.

You’ve been my nurse and my friend she said smiling at me I love you Joolz and I want to thank you.

No thanks needed I kissed he head again try to get some sleep and I’ll see you in the morning

Night mam she joked.

I walked out into cold October air and a tear ran down my cheek.

Let it be peaceful I asked the universe.

The next morning I walked into her room towel over my arm to wash her hair how did you sleep I asked.

She looked at me blankly.

Talking about painting the ceiling and how wiccans and dwarfs were playing rugby for Wales.

My heart sank.

Last stages of liver cancer often present a dementia like confusion

I sat by her holding her hand.

joolz it’s you! I’m sorry I can’t go shopping today.

I kissed her forehead.

That’s fine I reassured her the weather is awful let’s rest today we can go next week.

I called the doctor to her as I rang her family.

Things changed quickly.

36hrs later I received that call can you come back to the hospice Joolz it’s time.

My clothes are ready I’m dressed in minutes. Kiss my husband goodbye and step out into the cold night air.

As I’m walking to the car I’m ringing her son’s to tell the the news as I then drive to pick up her Jay grand daughter.

All of this has been planned.

Everyone knows it isn’t set in stone you have no idea how you will feel.

when ‘that’ phone call comes.

As I pull up outside the house jay comes out the image of her nan in younger years

As she gets in the car I ask ar you sure you want to come?

She’s stubborn just like her nan I know the answer

She nods and we head to the Hospice.

The roads are empty she looks at me and asks.

“Joolz what will it be like?”

How do you answer that

Shes 13 her nanny’s girl.

She’s sleeping I say, hoping I can find the right words.

She can still hear you. Talk to her tell her your there.

Hold her hand.

If at any point you need to leave the room that’s okay.

However you want to do this it’s okay.

She nods and we pull into the car park.

She is lying in bed much the same as when I left her last night

Breathing heavier I kiss her gently on her forehead

Ive brought your girl I tell her taking her hands from under the blanket

I sit her son’s beside her jay sits holding her hand gently like precious porcelain.

Im here nan she says.

I remember her as a cheeky four year old no teeth full of mischief slurping jelly at my granddaughters birthday party.

When did she bloom into this beautiful caring strong young.

My heart breaks for her.

I tell them all I’ll just be outside for ten mins to give them some time to say the things they need to.say.

Tell her anything you want I say. I’m right outside the door.

As I come back in I stand back and take in the picture before me.

Hands holding hands words softly spoken a room filled with love.

I sit beside Jay.

We silently watch her breathing slow her youngest son looks at me and asks is she going .

I nod

I love you mam he sobs .

It’s okay my friend You can go now, Leon is waiting.

At 5.45 she leaves us peacefully.

This passing was beautiful. A family holding vigil no pain as she quietly stepped from the earth plane to spirit plane .

I can’t help but feel my world will be a little less bright without her in it.

I kiss her gently and whisper safe journey home my beautiful friend.

As I picture her husbands joy at having her back in his arms.

His princess.

Goddess bless you Karen ❤️

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http://www.ravensretreat.wales

Gratitude, simple things, amazing inspiring people

I’m lying here in bed thinking about my day.Incase this is the first of my posts you have read I’m a soul midwife / therapist I run Ravens Retreat.I provide care, support, nursing and therapies for cancer patientsI have a little cottage that I offer free breaks in for cancer patients and their families.Yes you heard right FREE.No catch.It’s my service to the community and my goddess.How do I fund it?I work full time for the NHS community mental health team.It’s the only way to pay the bills and run the cottage.Not ideal I know but until I find someone who can help me apply for grants and fund raise (we are registered as a non profit company)I’ve no choice.This means I work a 70+ hour week.And I juggle between the two.So today .I go to see a lady I’m working with in the HospiceShe has stage 5 cancer stomach, lymphatic, liver.Final stages she’s 56 I took her into the Hospice four weeks ago they thought she may not last the night.She’s still here a true warrior over the past 14 months we have become good friends.Today as I go into her room she is sleeping I sit quietly besides her. He skin and eyes are yellow she has lost so much weight I pick up a book we have been reading.She opens her eyes and smiles at me “Joolz”Why didn’t you wake me?You looked so peaceful I say and I’m not in any rush.Within a min she is sitting upright giving me instructionsI smile as I get her a cup of tea, make sure it’s ….Strong and hot I laugh..You know me well she says.I put her in her wheel chair and we go down to the sunshine lounge.We sit and chat whilst I do a reflexology treatment on her feet.Rose oil surrounds usCan you do my shoulders she asks..Of course I rub oil into her back a tattoo of an all seeing eye looks back at me she loves all things Egyptian.She takes great pride in making me laugh at the fact she had visited Egypt many times but has never seen a prymidI’ve had a good life she says.But this now is no life is it?My hands are on her shoulders she places her hands on mine .Thank you she says.Your welcome I whisper.I push her back around to her room telling her I will be calling in on her grand daughter on way home to take a mould of her finger print.It’s to make a silver memory necklace I will place her finger print with her granddaughters and put it on a silver chain.Can you put nan on back of my print she asksOf course I say.Keep your eye on her when I’m gone she says.I catch my breath.My grand daughter and hers are friends.I squeeze her hand I will .I fix her bed and help her in.Pull the covers up around her neck as she likes them and tuck her in.I’m so tired she smiles at me closing her eyes.I kiss her gently on her head. See you tomorrow.If you need me in the night ring I say as I’ve said every dayShe smiles thank youNight night MammyShe laughs.As I walk away pull her door shutWalk out into cold December air I’m beyond thankful for my small part in her journey.It’s a privilege to walk with her to the end of this path.Such an amazing beautiful soul.Working with end of life patients changes your way of thinkingI am truly grateful every day for all that I have my health my familySometimes when I have colleagues or friends who are complaining about trivial problems I can help but ask them to role play with me.Okay I say. I’m the doctorI’m sorry to tell you that you have a terminal illness and have six to twelve months to live.The reaction bis almost always the same.WHAT…remember this is only role play.But very real for some people.Now think do the small things matter?What would you do if you only had six months?Would you be more great full ?Would you heal old wounds ?Hold grudges.See more of those you care about.You get the picture.I know life can sometimes be hard.But remember it is always beautiful.Look for the joy.Gratitude is the key to happiness.

❤️

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http://www.ravensretreat.wales

Eric.

I was almost nineteen when I met Eric he was forty seven.

I had a daughter who was sixteen months old and I was almost three months pregnant.

I had just come back to my hometown.

After running away from my abusive husband from the north of England Id gone to stay with friends in west Wales

I’d began to relax until he knocked on the door of the flat I was staying in.

I remember how loud my heart had sounded banging i my head as I heard him banging on the door.
He had found us.

It was no use fighting him

He dragged me down two flights of stairs by my hair.

My daughter in my arms

His eyes were wild

He spat at me beat me and made me feel worthless my life was a mess.

It was a five hour drive home. I nursed my baby girl stared out of the window

Soon the green mountains of wales became the red brick council houses of the estate where I grew up.

I was back as I got out of the car my father walked across from his house. Swaying smell of beer and cigarettes.The reason is left home was him but as my Nan said I’d jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

“You’ve made your bloody bed lie in it.” He hissed I was numb. No one could save us.

After a week back home and another argument with my husband I’d wrapped up my daughter in her pram and gone out to walk around the estate where we lived to get her to sleep.

It was an old burgandy corduroy tansad pram heavy and sturdy it was a windy afternoon so I put the hood up and walked past the woods wind blowing my long hair.

I walked down to the bottom shops then back.up past the church

The vicar was mowing the grass of his big house next to st David’s he stopped and smiled.

Feeling arkward I put my head down carried on walking Cheryl was asleep tiny rosebud lips and long eyelashes she was perfect I hated the way we lived but I didn’t have anywhere else to go I’d tried women’s hostels, Wales but he always found me.

Where would it end I thought as I pulled the pram up the steps to the house.I pushed the tansad into the living room.

It was quiet quicky opened the pram scooped Cheryl into my arms and stealthily tip toed upstairs placing her into her cot gently covering her up shushing her as I shut the bed room door behind me .

Rushing back down stairsThere is a huge bang.

I jump as he begins to shout.I pathetically beg him to stop.Please don’t .

You’ll wake the baby .

The smell of whisky hits me first

Then his fist.

My head hits the post at bottom of the stairs

I struggle to my feet.

Taste of iron in my mouth

I’m still begging him thinking of my baby in her cot.

I have to keep him down stairs .He has me by the hair .

Snarling at me spit showering my face as he opens the front door to throw me out.

Im thrown out of the door onto the concrete path hands scraping scrambling to get up

To get back inside to my baby .

His back is to me he is walking into the living room where I have left the pram.

I watch in horror as he picks it up and launches it through the large living room window.

In slow motion it lands on its hood 20 minutes before my baby was in it.

He hadn’t know that I’d taken her out.He could have killed her.

I’m trying to stop him going upstairs.

I’m hitting him he’s laughing

Then suddenly there at the open front door is the man who has recently moved in across the road.

He looks calm as he tells me to come away.

Stand here he says by me.

It’s sureal.

Jeff looks startled.Who the fuck are you ?

Get out of my house .

Still the man from across the road stands firm.

I move towards himIs this how you treat your women up here?

He’s saying.My husband swings for the man.

Eric he says to me.

I’m Eric.

He hits my husband and throws him into the living room that’s covered in splintered glass.

The pram in the garden where is your baby?

Upstairs I sob.

He hits Jeff again

He is curled up in a ball.

Our dog is barking

Come on then Eric is saying or don’t you hit men?

He picks Jeff up and throws hm down the path

A police car pulls up and a familiar lady police officer gets out .

She looks at me I look at the floor.

Jeff is shouting about Eric atacking him.”The police officer puts her hand on my arm did he do this ?”

We’ve been here before she asks I say no because if I say yes Jeff has told me he will kill me.

Yes I stutter.

Yes he did and he attacked Eric.

Jeff runs at me .

Police man grabs him throws him against the car.

Bloody maniac Eric’s saying.

Can we take you to hospital she asks?

I’ll take her says Eric.

Is that okay she asks

Yes I say I’m going to be okay.

Because I know I will now.

That was the very beginning.He was 28 years older than me.

Just come back to his home town after a broken marriage and a break down.

He knew how afraid and vunerable I was

He helped me pick up glass board up windows

Change locks.Then he slept on my sofa

Supported me to get back on my feet.

He would wake me singing cliff Richard living doll.

You can’t have another baby he said to me gently after a week

You can’t look after yourself.

Your only a few months if you tell the hospital about the beatings they will help.I was horrified.

I’m keeping my baby I sobbed.

Then I’ll help you he smiled.

He took me to anti natal

Drove me to appointments.

Stayed in my house.Is he your Dad?

The midwife asked.No he’s Eric was all I could say.

I was still terrified of anything happening to my daughter.

I refused to have my baby in hospital.

It’s dangerous my doctor warned it’s a big baby.

I’ll be there said Eric I’ll.look after you.I moved to the other side of town new start

Eric had bought a van and had started a furniture removal business.

I had a lovely little house Eric was still poping in and out he put up fences layed a lawn created a beautiful garden.

Cheryl started nursery life was better.

When I woke early hours of morning 7th August 1986 I phoned Eric first then the midwife.

I’m scared I told him as I opened the door.

He kissed my forehead you can do this and again I knew I was going to be okay.

The midwifes and my doctor came Eric held me as I pushed my beautiful baby boy into the world he was 12lb 9oz’

Put the chip pan on for this lad he’s got a tooth!’

Laughed my doctor.Well done

I looked at Eric tear running down his cheek

Come here to your Dad he said as he held my baby.

In that second an unbreakable bond was madeEric had saved me when he had come back from stoke on Trent

He was a good man

My daughter held her new brother and named him Matthew.

Followed a few years later by Michael.

Eric idolised each of my children and they him

Who was it who said blood is thicker than water never met Eric.

Our children grew up we went our separate ways but aways remained friends

Matthew met and married a Belfast girl.

Eric by this time was 76

Michael would go to stay with Eric take him fishing help him around the house.

Cheryl would stay in the school holidays with her daughter. He was her dad from the minute he walked into our door as she slept in her cot upstairs.

He couldn’t have loved her and the boys any more than he did.

He started to shows signs of dementia.

Which over five years got worse.

He still lived in the family home he had come back to all those years before .He needed help now

It was decided Matthew would take him to Ireland.

To a purpose built dementia unit atound corner from his house erics own flat.

It broke Cheryl and mike’s heart to see him go but I know it was the best decision.

I went over last week to see them.

My six foot son helping his Dad walk slowly with his walking frame.

I remembered Eric proudly pushing Matthew in his pram.

That big man who saved us.

There with the baby he had held minutes after he was born

That’s what makes a dad.

Not blood but love.

Thank you Eric we saved each other x

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Belfast, titanic, making memories.

This is my second visit to Belfast. We are visiting my son and his family Natalie and my grand daughter Hattie.

It’s nine months since our last visit.

Too long .

So today Matthew has organised a trip to Titanic Museum it has been awesome.

Belfast is such a beautiful city with friendly beautiful people the weather has been kind and I’ve pinched myself a few times reminding myself how lucky I am.

My grand daughter Hattie such an easy going polite little girl an absolute joy to be with but oh how they grow up far too quickly

Lunch in the cathedral quarter at a beautiful little restaurant called Made in Belfast .

The vegan choices are stunning.

Then back to our hotel.

I’m lying here reflecting on a perfect day

I’m truly grateful for all that I have.

Family and health are everything.

Memories I shall treasure. ❤️

Family

Family isn’t always blood. It’s the ones in your life who want you in theirs.

The ones who accept you for who you are.

The ones who just want you to be happy, and who LOVE you no matter what and for you this feels completely mutual.
This is Family!

This is your tribe

Life is beautiful.

So here I am in Northern Ireland for the first time.
To say it’s been a wonderful weekend is an understatement.
Me my hubby my youngest son his partner and baby flew over to see my eldest son meet his wife and daughter.
I haven’t seen him for eight years.
I think on the build up to coming I experienced every emotion possible.
I was so nervous.
Other than it being so long I have no idea why other than I really wanted it to be perfect.
It really has been.

We have eight children but to have one missing from for eight years was indescribable there was a huge hole in my life. Nothing I could do about it but wait, and hope.

But yesterday the years

just years melted away
No matter how old our children get they are always our babies.
His wife and my youngest son’s partner sat chatting comparing how similar they both are.
Although the lads disagree it was just so wonderful seeing them and their daughters together finally meeting my beautiful granddaughter was a day worth waiting for.
Belfast and everyone we have met have been so friendly.
It’s 4am and I’m lying here blogging looking forward to welcoming them to Wales taking my grand daughters walking together on the mountains.
I can honestly now say I have everything I have ever needed or wanted.
Life doesn’t get much better than this.
Never give up.
Hold out your hands to the universe and believe.
Life is truly beautiful.

Nan

Shouting through her letter box .
Pea soup cooking
Heavy blankets on the big bed.
The archers on the old valve radio
Crazy paving in the garden

Blue lino on kitchen floor.
Tea caddy and aliminium dented tea pot on old pantry shelf.
Whistling kettle on the stove.
Peeling lead on the windows making shadows on the bedroom Walls.stone hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel
Boxes of swan vesta matches

Brass fireside ornaments
Mirrors that hang on chains.
In their corner they hold captured Victorian painted ladies with parasols furniture polish smelling of lavender.
Lavender tree hanging over the gate.
Rubber spouts on old kitchen taps.
Wooden draining boards and twin tub washing machine.
Tracing paper toilet roll and pink carbolic soap.
Snuffly clever Staffordshire bull terrier to greet us with his tin dish wanting food.
Card games and laughter by the fire for pennies. With cousins.
Bingo at Park Street chip on way home. Cold night air
Head scarfs, blue Mac and walks to the shop for her John player cigs, milk and bread.
Walks to the outdoor for a jug of stout.
Old tins containing buttons black and white photos of memories and stories of her life.
That smell of home of cooking cleaning of love
Fragments pieces of my Nan’s house
Memories of love.

Words are powerful

My out look on life is for the best part always positive.

The power of positive thought and putting things out there to the universe has always been at my core.

Words are so very powerful I have never understood people who are constantly negative if you can’t say something nice shut the f@@k up (quote from my Nan) who was without doubt a wise old northern soul who was a million times wiser than Google.

Anyway it’s very rare that I visit my home town

I have relations there whom I have been estranged from for many years 30 plus.

Believe me I wish things were different but I accept that no matter how hard I try some things just can’t be fixed.

I have a dream sometimes where I am with a particular family member and we are having lunch in a cafe laughing and chatting and everything is as it should be.

It’s so vivid when I wake it’s completely real.

Like the dreams when we loose a loved one when we wake thinking they are still with us. Then we remember and it’s feeling that loss all over again.

You get the picture.

Well anyway I used to believe that maybe in time things would be different but they are not

I went back there. To my home town to see some old friends stay with then for a few nights.

One of my friends own a hair salon. She is a beautiful soul a fabulous hairdresser and if she can help or listen to a client she will.

After chatting one evening she tells me that this particular family member has been into the salon.

She sets the scene

“She’s just so rude” she says.

To all the staff. She’s always the same.

“She sits whilst having her hair cut and bitches about everyone and everything.

Then as she’s leaving she holds open the door and shouts over to my friend

“You know our Joolz,,,

Yes she says

She the precedes to say some awful and terrible things about me and my children.

For all in the salon to hear.

My friend asks her

Why are you saying this?

What do you want me to do with it?

“Tell her she says. I don’t care.

Then off she goes.

I laugh for a minute when I’m told. Nothing she says surprises me but this latest nugget was priceless. What goes on in her head I say.

My friend goes on.

“Joolz I said to my staff how are these two women related I’ll never know.

They are so different.”

I just know that’s how she is.

I don’t try to get into her head. It’s pointless.

To work out why she’s says such terrible and hurtful things.

Because only she knows or maybe she doesn’t.

I resolved along time ago that she won’t hurt me.

But hearing the things she says does hurt, On the drive home I could feel my anxiety level rise. Anger. I stopped on the Moors and allowed myself to feel it all

Recognising that’s the reason why I don’t go back home very often.

The truth is I accept that my dream of us together drinking tea and laughing is just that. A dream

I wake and loose her all over again.

I know she still after all these years is toxic.

But I still wish she wasn’t.

I know there is a lesson somewhere, hers and mine but I’m struggling to find it.

So I’m back home in Wales and I wish her well.

But that tiny peice of me in between dreams still wishes it could be different.

Maybe in another lifetime.

Different Dads.

The sky is so non discript neither grey or blue like dishwater drizzeling from above
A red dirty Audi estate drives in front of me it’s brake lights the only brightness on this dull day.
Will today be the day you leave us?
I wasn’t even in the same part of the country when my own father died. I’d moved to Wales three years before we we’re estranged he was a bully and a alcoholic.
I don’t even know how or where he died. If anyone was with him
I drove back to my home town and was told in a very matter of fact way “Your old man died last night”
A pause
What?
Yes last night he died …
Another pause.
Nothing I felt nothing.
Relief maybe .
That I didn’t feel anything.
You Malcolm are the exact opposite of my Dad.
I’ve sat today listening to my hubby, your son chat to you about childhood memories you are completely non responsive but he carries on.
Stories of you and lou taking the sow to the boar. Rope tied around the back leg of a large pig , stearing it with a stick. Who knew that’s a done thing.
Down the road into the village past the pub and down the lane.
It’s starts out quite no problem until most of the dogs on in the village realise what’s happening and before you know it your like the pied piper. Pig, stick and thirty dogs following you. What a commotion!
Another story about going to fetch a Billy goat in the back of a small van.
Goat unimpressed about being transported and sticks it’s horns through the van roof so many memories.
I’m here dad he says.
He looks at me and says I came home from work because I had that feeling.
Someone was standing behind me.
He was waiting for me to come home. So I came.
Keep talking I tell him he knows your here.
My heart swells with love for him my grafter of a man.
Everything about him so like you Malcolm you taught him well.
I wish we had know each other longer I’m sure you had hundreds of more stories to tell me.
See you later Dad Lou will be here later to go fetch the m. Jeff’s says kissing you gently.
We leave to drive home in separate cars.
Dreary drizzles clouds the view from the back door over the bay.
“I watched the pier burn from this step, over at Weston super mare I here you say. On a clear day you can see ilfracombe
Your voice as clear as day Malcolm.
I know I whisper only last summer you were up there on the flat roof fixing the gutter with Jeff.
How will he live with out you I wonder ?
I’ll take care of your lad I promise.
Now go fetch the pig home xx

Final journey

I’m sitting here mid afternoon listening to you breath steady hum of the hospital bed mattress keeping you comfortable here in the living room where you have brought up your family.

Sringe driver increased dose today keeps you comfortable. You have declined this last week. Cancer…..

Your a hard man, a grafter but the pain has taken the glint from your eye.

I tell you what’s going on around us I’m taking your dog patch out, that Jeffery your son my husband will be here after work.

Always “Jeffrey” full title never Jeff.

The picture of you and Nancy hangs over the bed in younger years with your mop of dark curly hair you look greek both smiling and happy.

Memories of the past family parties birthdays, anniversaries when you and your twin brother would arrive dressed the same we would laugh knowing you hadn’t planned it. I can only imagine the trouble you two caused when you were young lads handsome and cheeky.

Before your women tamed you.

You and your Nancy.

Douglas and his Ethel

You had always been close.

Bringing your children up together. Holidaying together.

Ethel was the life and soul of the party few drinks and she would hold up her skirt dancing around with her infectious laugh. It’s a good few years since she left us cancer took her too.

I wondered how Doug would cope without her.

Now I can’t imagine how this family will carry on without you Malcolm.

Sixty plus years Nancy has loved you and your children and grandchildren idolise you.

Douglas your twin your other half. He’s never known life without you by his side.

My Jeff was run over suffered massive brain damage as a child you told me you couldn’t go to work as a lorry driver without him screaming the house down. So you would take him with you up and down the country. From here in Wales up to Scotland. I’ve never been I told you.

Go you encouraged there is no where like it.

You gave jeff car engines told him to take them.apart then rebuild them you always believed in him

He is amazing just like you are your boys run their own garage they rebuild camper vans do mots any engine Jeff can fix it.

When you and I sat talking few weeks ago you told me you’d also taught Jeff to build ‘ go and look at the fireplace in front room you winked twinkle in your eye.

You had built it.

The garage overlooking the bay. Did you build that too I asked.

“no that was Jeffery you laughed he built me a garage then put two horses in it and used it as a bloody stable!”

You are so alike. Peas in a pod . Father and son, friends.

We laughed cars and horses that’s my Jeff

That’s our link our connection Malcolm we both adore the same man. How can I thank you enough?

I sit here while your Nancy sleeps for a little while she had seldom left your side

I whisper thanks and promise I will look after your lad.

That we will take care of Nancy

I bet Ethel will be there waiting and your best friend Jock. What a party that will be Malcolm.

As Dad’s go I don’t know a better one I wish I had known you longer

When you go I whisper come back sometimes and see us I think I feel you squeeze my hand.

I whisper again to my goddess to take you gently carry you on this last part of your journey. Keep you safe

My heart hurts but I remind myself I’m blessed to have had you in my life.

Estranged

Almost nine years since I saw my eldest son being estranged from a grown up son or daughter is indescribable.

Knowing waiting is the only thing you have is heart breaking.

A friend once said to me ,”birthdays and Christmas must be hard”

Yes they were but it is much more than that

I have three children and five of my husband’s eight in total Lots of grandchildren.

They are all so very different when they all turn up it’s like the Walton’s!

If your under 30 you may have to Google them 🙈

Anyway my point is they are all individuals I love them all dearly

Matthew was always the one who would ring his Mam. Every other day, everyday sometimes when he was on tour in the army in Iraq he would Skype or send e blueys little blue letters. He always kept in touch so we would chat about everything.

I’d tell him everything. We were so alike sense of humor,liked same food well you get the picture.

So when suddenly he stopped calling then refused to see me I was distraught.

No reason absolutely no idea why

That’s hard to imagine I know what your thinking if you knew him so we’ll you must have an idea.

Well I didn’t and that’s what was so bad my kids can come to me with anything.

He wouldn’t talk to his sister or brother about it I thought my heart would break.

So every time something happened a baby born, a holiday, my dog saffie was I’ll. Talking about my other childrens childhood of course there was memories of Matthew too he was always in my heart.

I would have rang Matthew we would have talked.

I’ve been in hospital a few times he would have been there

Good things, sad things, new things every single thing I’ve thought of him I’ve missed him there has been a hole in my life no one can fill.

My other children were upset about how much I was hurt. Keep in contact with him I’d beg he’s your brother I wanted them to still have each other it was beyond hard.

Our children are irreplaceable. I have a few close friends who know me well and know when I struggle know that every few months I ring his mobile just to hear his voice.

Friends who knew me as a single mum when the kids were small who remember how it was, friends with shared memories.

So Friday gone I visited my home town for first time in two years stayed with good friends

Viv and I sit up late chatting inevitability the conversation turns to Matthew I get the crampy feeling in my gut fear and I hope that this year will be the one that I see him again. You will she says positively.

I drive home and I speak it out loud as I drive.

“Please mother hear me bring my lad home to me,

Happiness health and abundance I ask from thee

All my children together is all that I ask

The past to be left and a new beginning to cast

My face is wet and I stop my car on the Moors

I love my life where I live my hubby our retreat but the ache that my lad left in my heart won’t ever be fixed without him .

Today I sit down with my phone to read e mails.

A message pops up from Matthews wife who I’ve never met.

She asks for my phone number.

I feel sick is something wrong.

I send it.

She rings

He has spoken to her Saturday night the night I sat chatting to Viv.

I don’t ask for details but he wants to sort things, to see me I’m trying hard to be okay but I’m sobbing.

Can I go over and when.

Of course I’ll go as soon as he wants me there I’m on a plane I cannot tell you how I feel it’s beyond happy. This is the first day of a new beginning. I rang Viv to tell her she too is blow away.

I had never given up hope but I can say honestly I was afraid.

So there it is.

Everything I asked for

I really am overwhelmed.

Never give up. Never.

I know I say it often

But

Life is often hard….

But always beautiful. ♥️

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 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 😊

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.

Life is beautiful but sometimes unbareably hard.

I watch her smile at our grand daughter.
Struggling to hold her beside her as she lies in bed.
Her daughter Sarah and my son Michaels baby.
She and I have been best friends since they were children.
My random friend
Questions like could we keep a penguin in the bath?
The kind of friends that know each other well.
Our likes and dislikes
We laugh at the same things
Don’t get me wrong we have had our disagreements.
Passionate arguments.
But when push came to shove we both knew we could always depend on the other.
Forever friends.
We would joke about riding on old people scooters
I always hoped that Sarah and Mike would get together.
I loved Donna’s kids like my own.
And last year my meddling worked.
Not how I would have planned it but here we are.
And it is what it is.
You see we hadn’t seen each other for awhile we had texted but not seen each other for a year.
I work as a soulmidwife.
Companion to terminally ill.
On my way out of the hospital ward I was visiting I saw her there Donna.
Admitted with pain she had suffered with for awhile.
She had text and bllamed it on work, pushing wheel chairs lifting patients
But after two weeks she was diagnosed.
Cancer.
We fell back into step. Like we had never been apart.
We met the week after in the park engineered to have mike and Sarah with us.
Eighteen months later they are together.
We have Emilia our beautiful grand daughter.
She is the positive light that has kept Donna fighting.
Two rounds of chemotherapy she has been amazing.
I’m in awe of how brave she is.
Two months ago we flew to Corfu.
I stood on the deck of a boat watched as she swam in the bluest of seas warm sun.
White sands her long black hair shining
She was so happy
We visited old Corfu town, sat in small seafood restaurants by the sea.
Drank cocktails. Laughed danced and sang.
We didn’t speak of cancer.
What a difference two months can make.
This is my job I deal with it all the time.
There isn’t anything I can’t deal with
But
I don’t want to deal with this
For a month she has been complaining of pain in her liver. Twice admitted
Jaundice, codine, oramorph.
More pain
I stayed over with her last night
Eyes yellow tired and scared.
Reassured her that no matter what I’m there
I promise I’m by her side.
I promise her that her sister and I will look after the kids.
I will love Emilia enough for both of us.
I will help her make memory boxes
Write birthday cards, graduation wedding, and letters.
Of course I will. I love her.
I hold her hand in mine.
She falls asleep against me.
As she sleeps I feel her breathing rise and fall
Her hair is damp from my tears.
I pull the covers around her kiss her gently
Visualise myself watching her swim and smile in the blue sea
On our next holiday in the sun

Invisible

Lunch time you don’t really see me.

Sitting by the huge school bins.

Hiding with my dog.

Hating being in school.

Listening to the dinner ladies

Spouting the same old monologue.

Angry on the inside

Quiet and shy on the out.

Screaming inside my head.

But unable to let it out.

Scared by all the feelings.

Going on inside my head.

Wanting someone to make it better.

Or wishing I was dead.

My escape is drawing, painting and writing.

Imagining a better life

A world were things are wonderful.

With no one to hurt you

Or school bullies and family strife.

A world where lumps in your throat

Don’t block the words you need to say.

Where families love each other.

In a loving normal way.

But drawing painting dreaming.

Are not going to change this world.

So I will keep this label of a rebel trouble making girl.

Old weathered hands and treadle sewing machine


Old Weathered Hands.
I think its human nature when we lose someone we love our greatest fear is forgetting the simple things about them.
The sound of their voice, their smell, precious memories.
However in reality I’ve discovered as I have grown older I’ve remember more not less.
Lizzie my Nan I remember her long thin silver hair.
Gold heavy creole earrings weighing down her tiny earlobes, her faded blue apron my little Nanny.
Little but loud, northern salt of the earth she always said it exactly as it was.
Most of all I remember her smile.
How she would pretend to be annoyed when I’d shout Nanny at the top of my voice through the letterbox at all hours of the day and night. Her house was my sanctuary the smell of furniture polish and hotpot.
I’d watch her as I held up the flap of the letterbox as she hurried down the hall exclaiming ‘Jesus, Mary and bloody Joseph, I hear you calling in my bloody sleep! I’m changing my bloody name to Rumplestitskin!
I remember her baking cheese onion and bacon pies on tin plates and egg custard tarts on a Sunday.
She would send me to the outdoor at the flying horse pub with a empty jug to have filled with stout old tea towel to cover the jug. Id try to walk back without spilling it sneaking a mouthful as I walked.
Our trips round to the shops she would carefully apply her tangerine lipstick and tie her checked hair scarf the we would call into the bookies for her each way bet then the butchers for bacon ribs and the paper shop for twenty John player specials.
Bingo was on a Friday night down in the church hall park street in fingerpost
Me and my cousins Gary and Phillip on one side of the table nan and her friend Lizzie Ducker on the other.
She would give me a card to mark.
‘Nudge me if your sweating’.. she would say.
I’d be terrified!
Smokey church hall jesus on his cross watching the bingo. Womens eyes fixed on bingo tickets biros moving quickly scribbling out numbers.
‘House’! Someone would shout and there would be a sigh from everyone else.
Walking home we would call in the chippy bag of salty chips in yesterday’s newspaper between us.
Then home tired ready for bed my cousins in back bedroom, I would be snuggled up warm in Nanny’s bed beside her. The weight of old blankets and coats with silk lining to keep us warm.
I still have a piece of that overcoat lining.
Silhouette of leaded windows on the wall beside the bed reflected from the old street light on the peeling blue flowered wallpaper.
Sometimes I’d go to bed before Nanny. Lying there listening in the dark whilst she stayed up late to sew on her old Jones treadle sewing machine.
The sound of that treadle was magical as she worked to make me dresses it often lulled me to sleep.
The simple things. Her old biscuit boxes one full of photos. The other full of buttons both full of stories.
Stories of her family friends the man across the street who had got stuck in a tin bath.
A big faded button from a coat she had worn that my grandfather had bought her she held it in her hand like a diamond eyes closed smile on her face transported back to him.
Photos of child she had raised and loved as her own as well as her own three sons.
Photos of my grandfather who I knew from her story telling not from memory as he’d died when I was too young to remember.
She taught me many things my Nan, pastry making, sewing, names of plants herbs, that when I got nettled there would be a dock leaf to fix the sting not far from the nettle. To star gaze fortune tell and to always bide time never to act on temper.
How to win at cards although I never managed to win her once.
I remember combing her hair and sitting running my finger along the back of her brown weathered hand, tracing the blue veins of her old working hands grafters hands.
As I sit her now holding my granddaughters hands looking at my own hand in hers it is brown weathered blue veins meander and they tell my story.
Beautiful childen Tamika Tiger and Emilia Willow I wonder what your memories of me your Nanny will be?
I hope you will remember my old weathered hands and how much you made me smile.

Just an hour late

Twenty two years since my mam died. I was 31 I had three young children youngest one Mike was five

I had arranged to go down to see Mam after school to see if she felt up to going to spiritualist church there was a medium she had hoped to see but I’d been busy digging up hedges in our front garden all day. So I thought I’d go back finish cleaning the mess I’d made up then go down to Mam with the kids washed clean ready for church.

The last bush was really stubborn, so I tied a rope onto the back of my car and tried to yank it out but as I’m doing it I can hear my mam tutting at me.

‘You should have been a bloody lad’ she says.

I laugh stop the car dragging the hedge behind.

Odd? She’s not there.

I get out to untie the rope I’m covered in soil and leaves as I get up Mams best friend Francis is pulling up in her car.

I know instantly. ‘Mam she’s gone’. Francis is sitting in the passenger seat her husband is driving tears roll down her cheeks she doesn’t answer she doesn’t have to.

‘Without me there’ I shout voice shaking.

I tell the kids to go inside no one speaks.

I ask a neighbour to babysit. It’s a weird feeling, Shock, sort of like being underwater and everything seems to slow down.

Suddenly it’s like your whole world is in a bubble,surreal.

I get into Francis car she holds my hand.

‘It was your dad’ she’s saying. I flush hot, my head feels like its going to explode.

I don’t cry.

Francis talks on the drive over to Mams, only the other side of the village but I’m impatient to get there.

‘Get your mams trolley’ Francis insists she keeps saying it.

‘She told me to tell you if anything happens get the trolley’.

I still don’t speak.

I walk through the corridors in the sheltered housing into the flat.

There is blood on her carpet. ‘Bicarb’ I hear mam say tutting again. ‘Bicarb will get it out’.

Dad is sitting smoking a roll up in the kitchen.

I stand and look at him.

I don’t know for how long.

Francis pulls at my arm. ‘Get the trolley.’

‘For fucks sake’ I hear myself say. ‘Okay. Okay I’ll get it.’

I look around pictures of my children hang on the walls, Mams cardigan where she had left it on her favourite chair.

Without looking I know there will be a blue inhaler in the pocket and a packet of tissues and a lipstick of bloody awful tangerine she insisted ordering monthly from Avon.

I pick it up and hold it to my face and breath in I can smell her perfume.

I put it over the bloody trolley.

‘Where is she?’ I ask. My voice sounds different. Like its external.

‘I told her she’d go out of here in a bloody box’ Dad says. I want to kill him.

I close my eyes. Slowly breathe in.

‘At the hospital’ says Francis.

‘Come on Joolz you need to identify her.’

We leave the flat and head for the hospital. I’m numb.

How do my legs still know how to walk?

Why are clocks still ticking?

Why is the world still turning? MY MAM IS DEAD.

We get to Whiston Hospital sit in waiting room Francis is smoothing creases that aren’t there from her skirt. I read the information on the wall bereavement support. Victim support. We wait for the police.

A tall young police officer and a smaller female officer walk in I can hear Mam again. telling me ‘Police men are getting bloody younger and look at the state of you she saying you need a good bloody wash. Full of soil!’

‘Are you ready’ the lady police officer asksshe’s got a stain on her jacket and I wonder what it is?

I nod. My mouth has gone dry. I can’t speak.

I’m not ready I will never be ready that big black lump is in my throat. I’m so afraid. It can’t be her not my little Mam and I’m praying this is all a bad dream.

They take me in.

She’s on a metal trolley

She will be cold on there I think.

Her hair is stuck with blood. Drying blood.

I want to fix it.

Her hands are covered she’s not wearing her glasses I put my hands on her face. ‘Oh Mam’ I say

The policewoman puts his hand on my shoulder.

I shrug her off.

I pull the sheet back lift up her left hand. Middle nail cracked it always grown like that.

I hear mam beside me telling me the story of how her sister Eliza trapped it in the front door in Brown street. Where she lived as a childI’ve heard this story a million times but I smile and listen again

‘I know mam’ I hear myself say.

She looks so small. ‘I’m so sorry I was late Mam I was pulling up the hedge in the front you hated those hedges didn’t you. Couldn’t get the last one up. I was coming to fetch you with the kids I’ve made your favourite for tea and Michaels got a new reading book.’

‘That medium is on later at church the one you wanted to see.’ Im almost begging.

My little mam. Doesn’t answer. It really is her. How can I possibly leave her here on her own?

I cover her up. The police woman holds me up. ‘Come on’ she says ‘they will look after her.’

I don’t remember walking back to the car or the drive home.

We sit outside Francis tells me there was a massive row dad was drunk again. She sighs ‘He was always drunk’ I sob.

Mam had said he couldn’t make any more home brew in the flat he was repeating everything she said. Mimicking her

Shooting at her with a toy gun that made a noise.

She was on her nebuliser.

Struggling to breathe

She stood up told him to get out was going to ring me. She didn’t get to the phone.

She has massive heart attack hit her head on coffee table

He might as well have had a real gun.

‘Take me to the flat’ I finally said.

‘You’ve got the trolley Francis said don’t go back ‘she sounded scared.

I ring our Michaels dad Mike.

‘Come and get me I’m at the hospital’

Ten mins later Mams trolley in the boot of Mikes car andI’m going back to the sheltered housing.

‘What the fuck happened?’ Mike asks. I tell him. He doesn’t speak.

‘What are you going to do?’

‘I don’t know.’ I answer. ‘But I’m not scared of him anymore I’m furious.’

We walk down the corridor I count our footsteps. I hear my mam.

‘Go home Julie to the kids’ she says.

‘I will in a minute I say out loud,’ Fab I think I’m talking to my bloody self.

I walk into the flat we’ve been gone two hours tops.

Dad is in the bedroom Mams single bed tipped up on its end drawers tipped everywhere clothes strewn everywhere. I stand looking at him.

There’s a banging noise in my head. It’s my heart.

He’s opening boxes looking in pockets of coats.

There is a new toaster and a kettle still in boxes she was planning to leave him.

It’s as though I’m not here I think.‘Can he see me’?

Mikes got hold of my arm.

Dad looks up.

‘Where is it?’ he shouts at me.

I don’t answer or move I stand in the bedroom doorway.

‘Sovereign rings, money, rings jewellery bank books.?’

‘I don’t know I say?’ And I really don’t.

‘She’s dead Mams dead.’ I shout.

He walks over to me.

‘WHERE IS IT ALL?’ he booms.

I feel the spit and beer breath hit my face.

I don’t move or step back he’s furious.

‘TELL ME NOW.’

He lifts his hand as he’s done so many times.

I still don’t move.

Everything slows down.

Mike jumps between us.

Grabs dads big arm and says

‘You’re never going to put your hand on her again.’

I’m stunned!

I look at dad he suddenly doesn’t look as big or scary.

‘Don’t ever, come near me again’ I hear myself say.

I’m picking up mams best jumper.

I pick up a bag put her clothes and shoes in.

Dad looks confused.

I start to take my children’s photos off the wall.

‘What are you doing?’ he shouts.

‘I’m taking back what’s mine.’

‘You don’t get to look at my kids again.’

‘Do not come to the funeral she didn’t want you there.’

Are you happy now you killed her?

I wish she’d have just left you years ago we’d have all been better off you murdering drunken bastard.’

I hear mam laugh.

He sits down hard on the floor.

‘I’m going to a solicitor ‘he shouts ‘I want what’s mine.’

I look at him lean forward and say quietly almost a whisper.

‘I want my mam my kids want their Nan.’

Mike puts his hand on my arm ‘Come on Joolz he’s not worth it.’

He takes mams clothes I carry the photos and we leave.

Francis is getting out of the car it’s a warm evening and Mam should be getting in my car with me now.

She hugs me.

Don’t forget her trolley.

I won’t.

Raven.

Rhyme or reason

I loved you when you were sober.

Which wasn’t much at all.

You’d lock me in the garden

Throw your Sunday dinner up the wall.

There were photos you kept in an old wooden box

Of you looking handsome and smart.

Maybe you were different then

Where did the all madness start?

When did you stop caring?

About anything else but beer.

We’re you hurting inside you too.

And wishing that you weren’t here?

I saw parts of you that are parts of me.

That terrified me to my core.

I was afraid I would become the person you did.

The monster that I abhor.

But I imagine somewhere deep inside yourself was a spark of goodness too.

Because I remember in flashes the dad who taught me to love the seasons and poetry too.

You brought me a bike that had been left by the fairies.

Held my hand when I was scared to go to school.

You gave me my streak of rebel

And my love of breaking all the rules.

Am I to believe that you were all bad?

Selfish and a drunk to the core.

Because that would mean no rhyme or reason.

And then what would be the score?

You had a reason for being and acting the way you did.

I will never know those reasons and why your love you couldn’t give.

Divine experience and lessons I have learned

And now Dad at last I can live.

Wake up call.

pexels-photo-673862.jpegI’m beyond fed up.

I’m married.

I’m just eighteen, I have a beautiful baby and a vicious bully of a husband.

So far I’ve had broken nose, collar bone, arm and so many bruises I’ve lost count.

I don’t argue anymore.

I keep quiet.

But he’s pissed.

I’ve walked around the block three times to get the baby to sleep.

She’s finally dropped off.

I open the front door gently lift her from her pram almost run as quickly as I can upstairs gently put her in her cot and pull door shut behind me..

Listen

Quiet.

Tip toe down…

Then breathe.

He shouts. I jump. Heart thumping scared look around he hits me hard. My ear rings head bangs on the door frame. I scramble to my feet.

‘Where the fuck have you been?’ he says through gritted teeth smell of whisky wafting in my face splatters me with drunken spit.

I try to turn away. But he’s holding my jaw.

I’m 5’2 his 6, 7 frame towers over me.

‘Shush I plead the baby I stammer. I’ve been walking she’s teething … Needed to get her to sleep.’

I’m almost pleading I’m tired of this.

‘Not now please. Let’s not fight.’

‘Please’ I say again ‘I’ll make you tea.’

He pushes me down I get up again and pull the tansad pram up the front steps and though the front door.

Shutting it to keep the neighbours from witnessing my shame.

I push pram into the lounge he roars everything goes into slow motion he picks it up and throws it. Through the living room window.

Has someone pressed a button?

Glass splinters.

Slowly, shattering.

Pram hood up lands on upside down it’s bends and lands on its side.

I’m holding my breath.

Empty pram.

But he hadn’t checked.

He could have killed my baby.

The horror of the situation hits me.

Was that the wake up button?

He hits me again. And again. I’m numb

And I fall in the glass.

Blood everywhere.

A voice in my head. ‘Get up, get out of here.’

I keep crawling.

‘You lying bitch’ he’s saying as he alks into the kitchen

There’s blood dripping from my nose.

There’s a bang it’s the front door hitting the stair post.

The man who lives in the house opposite

Is standing there. Like a big shadow.

It’s all surreal. I feel sick.

He hold out his hand to me and pulls me up.

Jeff is back with glass of whisky.

‘What the fuck do you want?’

He is furious.

‘You’d better go I stammer to the man.’

He ignores me I’m really scared now.

‘Is this how you keep your women in line in St Helens he says?’

‘Beat the fuck out of them.’

He looks at me. ‘Where is your baby?’

‘Upstairs sleeping’ I manage.

‘What the fuck has it got to do with you?’ Jeff shouts dropping the whiskey and striding towards him.

It all happened so fast.

‘Call an ambulance says the man.’

‘ No I’ll be fine’ I say.

‘Not for you for this dick head’ and he hits Jeff. Knocking him into the lounge onto the broken glass I stand there frozen.

Jeff gets up and he hits him again and again

‘Come on he’s saying or can you only hit girls?’

Then he picks him up and throws him down the path.

‘I’m phoning the police’ Jeff says looking like he’s done a ten round boxing match.

‘No need says the stranger I rang them before I came.’

‘Now take yourself anywhere else but here.’

Just as a police car pulls up outside.

My dress is covered in blood from my broken nose. My face hurts but my baby is okay.

The police are pushing Jeff into the car.

The man is saying Jeff attacked him outside the house.

Police woman asks ‘Is that right?’

‘Yes’ I nod. ‘Did he do this to you?’

‘Yes’ I say.

My dad arrives from up the street. Looks at me with distain.

‘You’ve made your bloody bed lady lie in it.’

The man shakes his head.

‘Bloody idiots lot of them.’ he says.

‘You need to get away from this place’ he says. I smile ‘thank you.’

‘Hospital’ asks the police woman

‘No I’ll be fine I can’t leave my baby. I’ll go later.’

‘Are you sure’. ‘Yes’ I say.

I won’t go too many questions.

I close the door and start to pick up glass.

Look out into the garden at the pram on its hood.

My baby cries from her room.

I have to leave.

Meditation or dream?

After my evening talk with my lady I fall into bed asking for the bliss of sleep which has eluded me this week.

I drift off but I’m woken by a tapping on the front door.

I go downstairs followed by Saffie cautiously open the door There before me is my lady Hekate she smiles and steps into my house.

As always I am struck by her beauty and although no words are spoken she tells me to collect what I need from around me.

She opens the door for us to leave. I look around its 3am where are we going?

I pick up my ritual bag and call Saffie we follow Hekate along the tow path catching in with her step her staff on the ground is the only sound of the night, her cloak seems to blow behind her although there is no breeze.

As we reach the top of my street she smiles we are standing on the cross road.

‘Your mountain’ I ask?

‘Yours’ she answers.

We walk the familiar path Saffie and Hekates hound like two shadows walking in step like two shadows before us.

As we reach the mountain she removes the hood of her cloak.

I feel that familiar knot in my belly.

She holds up her torch to the familiar wall of granite she moves the torch points back at the way we have walked together.

No words are spoken but no I don’t want to go back.

She smiles you have all the tools you need my child.

I open my bag take out my robe undress but the robe has gone.

I look at her she smiles ‘Open the gateway you are safe here’

I take out my blade. ‘It isn’t finished.’ I here myself say handing it to her feeling foolish as the words leave my mouth.

She takes it and as the polished copper glints despite the darkness of the new moon the yew handle seems to be transformed into part of her hand.

She holds it out to me and for a second our hand is one.

I feel a bolt of energy surge through me she nods

‘It is finished.’ she says.

‘Do not fear my daughter.’

I draw a line along the wall of granite the width of us both, as we stand before this mighty mountain.

A gateway opens and there is loud roar of water fierce and rapid through the archway a wooden bridge visible spanning over a fierce river below.

She holds up her torch taps her staff and both dogs lie either side of the gateway.

My bag beside her Saffie looks the other way.

I follow my lady across the bridge. she stops as I reach the middle the shadow stops and the bridge seems half light half dark.

We stand there betwixt and between watch the rush of water passing bellow us in the shadows.

The water splashes and rushes on logs and sticks are tossed this way and that.

I breath in and smell the wet earth and leaves but feel safe here on the bridge.

In the faint glow of Hekates torches

Hekate steps into the darkness her torch seems to dim but still she lights my way.

‘What can you hear she asks?’

As we walk deeper into the cave I stand still and listen the water runs down shiny red tinted walls reminding me of blood. With a metallic essence I can taste it in the spray.

‘I hear the rushing of the river mother.’

‘Then quieten it she tells me gently.’

I breath in close my eyes feeling the earth beneath my feet the sound seems to hush.

‘Now what do you hear?’

‘I hear magic the growth of the roots, Journeys of animals and insects of life I hear the earth all around us and I hear your heart beat mother.’

She wraps one side of her cloak around me. ‘Our heartbeat child.’

‘When you call me look within yourself and around yourself land sea and sky we are one I am always here.’

‘The paths you have walked I have always lit but you have always chosen.’

She holds up her torch to a familiar door scratched in the peeling paint is ‘keep out’ in ballpoint pen.

It’s my childhood bedroom door.

She nods the choice is mine I open the door step inside.

I’m not afraid.

Humpy Dumpty beer ad posters still on the wall purple curtains on a droopy wire green carpet I spin around on the tallboy cupboard is my old record player I hear myself laugh AC/DC’ Let there be Rock’ album is on the turntable next to it on the bedside table are a pile of sticks acorns and feathers are just where I had left them.

I walk over to the curtains and pull them open birdsong fills the room the old oak tree outside my bedroom window stands blowing in the breeze like an old friend. I can smell the cut grass and sunshine I see the old gate leading into the woods behind the house where I had climbed trees built dens, read my favourite books escaping to magic lands like disc world and Neverland.

I turn around and there on the bed is my Nan wearing her apron long silver hair tied back shopping bag by her feet my old dogs lady, Toby, and lucky wagging their tails pleased to see me. I catch my breath ‘Nanny!’ I hear myself say and a tear runs down my cheek.

‘I’m not bloody staying’ she says laughing,

I hug her ‘Nanny I’m sorry’ ‘What bloody for now?’ she says wiping my tears.

‘For not being there when you died for not being at your funeral dad wouldn’t let me come. I came to the cemetery stood on the hill I watched from behind the tree.’ I cried again on her apron as I have so many other times.

‘I know you did my girl I was there with you behind that tree.’

We hug for quite some time I’ve missed her everything about her I inhale the essence of her I feel safe.

‘Let me look at you.’ She says.

She holds me away from her and smiles. You can still smell the sunshine and the storms she laughs. I nod.

A hundred beautiful memories flash before me like old photographs ‘What was that?’ I ask.

‘Love’ she answers.

‘You did it my Lass what did I always tell you?’

‘Trust the universe that was love.’

She wiped my face as I hugged my dogs.

As I stand up I’m bigger than my little Nan now.

She picks up her old shopping bag pats my dogs blows me a kiss and they are gone.

Leaving nothing but the pile of sticks acorns and leaves.

I sit on my bed listening to the buzz of summer outside and the heartbeat of me and my lady I can feel everything I whisper.

The door swings open I walk over to my lady and

we leave.

The door seems to melt back into the granite wall leaving no trace that it was ever there.

We walk back to the gateway the path feels less rough and there where we left them across the bridge Saffie and her black companion lay together.

We stand together on the other side the bridge now bathed in mid-day sunlight

She bids me to take note of the river.

It’s meanders slowly and smoothly beneath us.

We cross the bridge side by side.

I pick up my bag and she bids my to close the gateway I trace the edge with my blade. The bridge between the worlds is sealed.

My clothes are gone.

She hands me a cloak I swing it around me she fastens it.

We walk back home she stays by my side until I reach my garden gate by the canal.

Everything looks the same but somehow I know it’s all completely different.

I kneel before her thanking her for this journey this lesson.

She kisses me lightly on my fore head and hands me a small saffron flower she smiles and I watch the billow of her cloak in the sunshine as she walks back to the cross roads.

Thank you my lady I whisper as she turns the corner.

Family?

Like a chess board..

Life…

Family.

May not be perfect

But

Everyone fits into a place.

You know who they are..

You know your relationship to them.

Their Expectations

Mam

Dad

Sister

Aunties

Uncles

Nieces

What if someone takes that board

Throws it high into the air.

You stand watching all of the pieces

Falling.

Landing this way and that.

Upside down.

Back to front.

You remain suspended.

Looking down at them.

Strangers.

Unrecognisable in their new roles.

Chess board no longer your life.

Family.

not yours

You no longer fit.

Totally confused. Head fucked.

another reality? parallel universe.

anxious, angry so very scared.

Floating fuzzy, stand outside your body.

stand and watch the chaos.

No one is who you thought they were.

Like a sick game of musical chairs.

Who are these strangers

Not family anymore

lies and deceit

A charade an elaborate false tapestry

Years to embroider

Minutes to unpick.

Davina McColl your a lier

Long lost families

Happy endings, smiling faces,

Loving mothers

Open doors big family reunions

Happy tears and welcoming arms.

Chess pieces that fall into place.

Not on this board.

Cosmic Connections.

Look around we are all connected.

Sparks of the same flame.
Fragments, shards of the source of all.
Stardust of stars.
Drops flowing to the same ocean.
All of us. Not some of us.
Colour, creed, beliefs,
Good, evil, indifferent.
You can’t pick and choose.
All at different parts of different journeys.
On our way back home.
Divine experience, expression.
A tiny spark, microcosmic
Mind blowing.
Amazing you.
And me.
Us.
Love

I need a plan.

pexels-photo-38136.jpegPregnant, Id took a sample of urine down to the chemist at the bottom shops. I waited as pensioners came in with prescriptions chatted with each other about the weather and the new pebble dashing the council were putting on the houses. What a bloody mess little pebbles everywhere.

I picked up some nail varnish, it was in the sale fifty pence jet black I put it on the counter and stood rattling the change in my hand.

The assistant came through from the back I reached out with the nail varnish and the change. ‘Positive’ she smiled taking the fifty pence. ‘Do you want it in a bag?’

‘No I stuttered it can go in my pocket’ the huge old cash register rang out. As she dropped the change into the drawer.   Signifying the massive change in my life.

I had to go home and pack. ‘Positive’ she said didn’t she?

I have to pack and find somewhere to live. I’m going to be a Mammy.

This time it will be different.

I walked slowly up the hill and through the woods home. It was March it wasn’t cold but I shivered. The woods were just coming alive again trees and bushes squirrels I sat on a log by the stream.

A million thoughts racing through my head.

I cant let Dad find out

Who should I tell?

Should I tell anyone?

I’d tell Mike we were best mates he’d know what to say.

I walked over towards his house he was half way down his street walking towards me I stood and waited for him to get to me.

“Where you going?” he smiled

“I’m just on my way over to yours to pick up my washing.”

Mikes Mam had died a few years ago and my mam had started doing his washing he was working in Fine fare supermarket instore carpet shop and she made sure his shirts were ironed he had to look the part.

We walked back towards the woods. ‘Come and sit by the big oak for a bit.’ I asked.

‘You okay?’ I didn’t answer and we walked along the path towards the big oak tree,

It was like my huge big forever friend, always there I’d climb up sit in the branches with a book hanging from the branch was the rope swing id fell of more times than I can remember.

Mike grabbed the rope and swung out over the bomb hole.

Jet black hair blowing in the breeze whoo whoo he shouted ‘come on jump on as he swung back towards me.

I grabbed the rope and straddled across his legs holding the rope and tilting my head back to feel the breeze. Closing my eyes. The rope creaked.

Birds song distant sound of a lawn mower I loved it here in the woods I lifted my head looked at Mikes smiling face he didn’t look old enough to have a job such a baby face we’d been friends for years we shared a paper round.

He bought me a gold fish for the pond in mams back garden Dad had joked and said we were now engaged as he’d given me a goldfish.

But Mike had more girl friends than any other lad I knew he was so handsome but he was my friend. Best friend.

‘I’m pregnant’ I heard myself say.

Shit it was out there I’d said it.

I jumped off the swing and he jumped off landing awkwardly beside me.

‘Fuck Boo” He yelled.

I looked at him as he sat on the old log at the top of the bank. I watched the rope swing still sway in the breeze.

‘My bloody ankle’

‘What did you just say, pregnant’?

‘SHHHHH!’

‘There’s only us bloody here fucking hell Boo Your Dad is going to kill you!’

I sat beside him, I felt numb. He was right he’d go spare.

Especially if he knew I’d told someone.

‘Can I feel he looked at me and I felt myself smile as he gently put his hand on my belly.

I laughed ‘nothing to feel yet I think I’m about four months’ ‘But it’s still in there he didn’t move his hand’

I stood up

‘Well what are you going to do?’

‘Have a baby Dad can fuck right off, I’m leaving home so don’t say anything yet.’

‘I’m saying nothing!’ he said with an exaggerated scared look on his face

‘Does anyone else know?

‘No and No I don’t have a plan!’

I need a plan’

“You need a fucking plane ticket he joked”

We walked back to the house and through the back gate Dad was in the back garden sawing wood with a band saw, ‘Alright Mr H?’ Dad grunted and carried on sawing Mike looked at me and did that face again running his finger across his neck. I kicked him as he opened the back door.

Mam was in the living room knitting I put the kettle on and Mam came in fussing around Mike and folding up his washing for him and asking him about his job, I sat by the coal fire waiting for the kettle to boil listening to Mike sweet talk my Mam.

Fuck I really do need a plan now!

Pit wheel turns

Gazing into the flames she sees the pictures that are there
Rocking slowly rhythmically in her old rocking chair.
Memories start to dance and flicker within the flames .
There amongst the burning coals she sees the faces and their names
Like a fiery cine film she sees the thriving old pit town
The sound of the mines whistle as the cage go up and down.
As it summons men to go underground and to leave their wives
While the pit wheel goes on turning like the seasons of their lives.
Alun and violet she smiles even their names seem to fit.
Black diamonds, coal face, blue scars, black lined eyes all delivered by the pit
He was a miner -a grafter -a good man and he was her’s.
Broad strong shoulders, dark hair blue eyes, with a wink and a whistle–warmer than the warmest furs.
She had worked in the post office and soon she was his girl.
They married in the chapel. Reception in the miners club. He had won himself a pearl
lads from the pit singing together the wives brought food and drink
they were a community, a family, the pit and shared hardships forming the link
They had saved and bought their cottage in the village, solid stone and thatch

Sash windows–sweet smell of rosemary and a vegetable patch
white sink by the garden gate smelling of rosemary.
He dug for coal all week and potatoes on a Sunday happy that it should thus be.
He’d take her to the club on a Saturday night. Wearing dresses she had made
The pit wheel turned, the miners mined and earned what they were paid.
She baked Welsh cakes and plate pies and watched as he taught the kid next door
how to fix his bike. Make a cart–and so very much more
He would have been a good dad but it was not to be,
so it was just the two of them–a small sad tragedy.
Caravan holidays-a small car visits to see her sister in the city. Life moves on.
The pit wheel stops–and suddenly all of it is all gone
A deathly silence–no whistle–no club and then, no post office too
She worries he will be lost. What is there for him to do
He still winks and whistles he fixes cars does the odd jobs he can find
She is still his girl they have each other, in that nature has been kind
The seasons turn and t
hey grow older, people move away–with no reason to stay.
The town seems to be smaller their lives grow smaller too
Same grey hair same blue eyes milky now with age, and the work scars are still blue.
She rocks as she cries silent tears watching–reruns of their beautiful life.
A successful combination–a loving husband and a loving wife
She thinks she’s hears a pit wheel turn the memory make her cry
She cries for him, h
e has just gone through the door no wink no kiss goodbye
He has turned off the light–forgetting she was sitting there
forgetting who she is and who they are and suddenly life is so unfair
She rocks closes her eyes–knowing she will remember for the pair

Raven Wordsmith 🖤

Show quoted text

Raven & the Lighthouse

Blacker and darker than night the lone Raven lived in the shadows.
Built her home in the cracks and crevices of the rocks and cliffs
She liked it there it was safe.
She had hatched her young there
Sheltered them away from predators
Fiercely protecting them with a shrill sharp caw.
Guarding her nest with the courage of an eagle.
She taught her young well.
As she watched them leave the nest as they flew confidant and solo her dark Raven heart fluttered and swelled with pride.
She tilted her head as magically she watched as their dark raven feathers shimmer almost iridescently in the bright sunlight
She cawed and preened herself
And if Ravens could smile she would have.
As her off spring strutted transformed into beautiful peacocks in the lush Green Meadows of the mainland
She circled high above never far away keeping one eye on her beautiful creations.
Always flying back to what she knew
The dark protection of the craggy cliffs and rocks
Then one evening on her journey home as she soared on a warm breeze sea spray splashing below as she prepared to land.
There before her was a bright light.
She circled again.
Light flooded the cliffs and craggy rocks. She cawed a loud warning.
It didn’t move. Things looked so very different in the light.
She cawed again. No response.
There it stood tall grounded and strong and silent
A lighthouse
She felt her heart beat faster.
She was tired now she needed to land.
The lighthouse seemed to beckon the warm glow of light seemed to promise safety. Dare she move away from the rocks..
She circled one last time before noisily but cautiously landing safely by the lighthouse door

Raven Wordsmith 🖤

Through a gateway.

She had never ‘needed’ him.
She had spent her life being fiercely independent.
A warrior single mother.
Worked hard to provide all her children
Any job, many jobs she had lost count.
The children grew she watched and listened for their call.
She went to university had many acquaintances few ‘friends’
He had come along a friend of a friend.
Poker faced, hard to read, quiet and unassuming.
The complete opposite of all she had ever known.
He would smile raise an eyebrow at her fiery temper.
something about him tugged at a piece of her that lay buried, lost.
Kind deeds and few words, They fell into step with each other
An unlikely match she wasn’t looking for and hadn’t expected.
On a Sunny afternoon in April. Friday the thirteenth
He turned smiled as she walked towards him down the isle.
She still didn’t need him.
She wanted him wasn’t that better?
A small welsh cottage on a canal bank.
A dog, a cat, ducks and geese
A garden filled with fox gloves herbs and roses.
Their children never far away.
The years passed they worked hard.
Fifteen years since they met.
He still raised one eyebrow at her and smiled
Today on a sunny day in June
She follows him through a small gateway into the lane and the cottage garden he has made for her.
They sit side by side she rests her head on his chest closes her eyes and listens to the steady beat of his heart.
She knows it belongs to her, and hers to him.
Through this gateway he has cast his spell.
She had fallen into this magic.
She needs him

Belonging.

Why is it I choose to write?
Paper and pen my life long love.

My friends
Writing is magic that has given me many lives
Helped me to make sense of this world.
Ink runs through my veins.
Words hold me gently like a solitary single leaf floating on rippled water.
So many memories spill onto paper..
Ebb and flow pushing me to shore
Words wrap me up in hope and stop me going insane.
Flashbacks of you like blurry cine film.
If I didn’t write.
I’d wonder
Were you ever really here at all?
Were you just a fragment of my splintered broken imagination?
Would that be kinder than the truth?
Without you I would not be.
I stare into the mirror look for shadows of you
Needing to belong.
So I write it is as if you never chose to leave me.

Raven Wordsmith 🖤

Village Girl

I’m just a village girl
Walking with my dog saffie by my canal.
Taking in the seasons.
I don’t need a weather man.
I can feel when thunder is approaching
Smell the rain drops in the air.
I’m just a village girl
I take my time to stop and share,
To smile and greet other walkers.
Lovers of this isle so fair
As we watch the beauty of a sunset
Or watch the dance of magestic march hares.
I’m just a village girl.
Following secret mountain paths unseen.
By folk who rush along life’s road
Who miss simple things a walk outside can glean
The beauty of our waterfalls
Feeling the rushing mighty power in the air.
Watching red kite soaring on the wing
Hidden valleys mysterious caves
Are pleasures that money can’t bring.
I’m just a village girl.
Two up to down cottage life for me.
Sitting by a fire pit
Star gazing cloud watching hot cup of tea.
Foraging in hedgerows herbs nuts and berries to find.
Making time for magic.
dancing in stone circles and douse for lay lines.
I’m just a village girl
I honour the old gods of this land.
Ever grateful for the beauty of isles of Albion our precious magical land.
So as i look out from my mountain
neath town below me looks so small.
My heart is filled with love for this place.
This village girl has it all