You are my sunshine..

No I don’t want a cup of tea.
There is an acrid taste of vomit in my mouth.
Questions asked and I hear them.
I hear them like I’m underwater or in a bubble?
It’s this real or is it a dream.

My head hurts if I move it.
The tea the police man has given me is stone cold.
My tears are warm as they run down my cheeks and splash into the tea cup.

I wonder how many tea cups of tears I will cry.

Enough to fill an ocean?
Rushing now that loud noise in my head.

Technicolour scenes I cannot pause or mute.
Play over and over.
Although my eyes are closed I still see it play.

I press my fingers hard into my temples as if they are stop buttons on a memory remote control
but batteries are dead nothing can stop it.

I’m not wearing any shoes.
My feet are dirty there is a scratch on my left ankle.

Dirt from my front garden I’d been out there all day pulling up privit hedges.

That’s where I was when my world changed standing barefoot grounded.in the April sunshine.
Surrounded by my children in the late afternoon I’ll just finish clearing up this mess then we will go down to pick up your Nan I told them.
A car pulled up in front of my house.
Suddenly I knew, that gut feeling. I felt it physical pain.
I caught my breath and I knew he had killed her.

My Mam. The only one I’d ever known my alcoholic father had finally done it.

The button was pressed the flashbacks began
The chaos was real.

I sorted out my children and got in the car stood in the door way of her flat.

I hear him singing in my head..

You are my sunshine my only sunshine…

Dark cloud of blood on her carpet marking where she had fallen hitting her head.

Her china cup, Mam inscribed in gold letters half full of cold tea on the window ledge.
Photos of my children on the walls I can smell olobis oil on a tissue she had used.
I hear a shrill scream then a gutteral howl. The cine film of memories in my head plays on.

The scream is mine. No I don’t want tea I want my Mam back.

The blue bird promise

This poem was inspired by a blogger friend here on word press you know who you are.

You have got this.

I’m waiting for you in the place of new beginnings.

Nan you were 4ft 5 made of dynamite.

Orange lipstick to match your orange head scarf.

Long grey hair I loved to brush.

I’d open your letter box and shout.

Nanny!!!

Jesus Mary and bloody Joseph you’d reply

As you hurried down the hall.

Pretending to be angry

Yet again I wasn’t at school.

Thick cut bread and thick pea soup

Old biscuit tins with buttons in one photos in another.

Stories told of my grandfather

You never loved another.

Giving me a big jug and sending me off to the ‘out door’

At the flying horse pub

Filling it with stout was the score.

Cover it with a tea towel

And slowly walking carefully back.

Little sips of stout and a bag of crisps

Before we hit the sack

Get up them apples and pears you’d shout

As the stone hot water bottle was carried up

Id snuggle into bed beside you

A torch to read my book

Shadows on bare plaster walls

Shining lamp post outside your house

Morning woken by the kettles whistle

Smell of hot buttered toast

Radio on kitchen window

Milk left at the door

Life so simple at your house Nan

There will be blue birds over the White cliffs of Dover you’d sing with Vera Lynne. Smiling at me.

I really hope so I’d think.

Sunday afternoon a loud rattle and clang as my dad fell drunkenly over the rubbish bin.

I was shook back into reality from my night away.

From the madness of my parents

Nan would hug me tell me it would be okay.

There were no blue birds over our house

Only monsters in shadows that would lurk about.

No hot water bottle or hugs in nans bed.

As dad lay on the floor and vomited or fought in the street

I’d run and hide in the old garden shed

Living in our house was existing in a night mare

Selfish drunken narcesists who are incapable of care

The only glimmer of hope would be a afternoon with nan

I’d run across town to see her as often as I can

Escaping drunken monsters was life’s childhood game

Planning my escape from this hell to find shelter from the rain

But living in a different world isn’t as easy as it may seem

You have learnt all you know from your disfunctional tag team.

Your family life is engrained into your very soul.

The journey to unwind all the abuse damage is a long long walk alone.

A pilgrimage a baptism of more learning to begin to make you whole.

There were so many parts missing from the jigsaw puzzle of life I couldn’t see.

I’d filled the missing pieces with sadness, fear and anger

A new journey of self descovery

Battle armour was the only thing to wear

I’d encounter memories and demons as I walked from here to there.

I had a choice to make a victim or survivor would I be?

Sounds a simple choice but what I didn’t see.

Was self care and self love weren’t something I knew how to do.

If you don’t love yourself how is anyone else expected to?

Like being a child there were times I’d still run away.

Like a moth flying hypnotically to a flame my self distruct would come into play.

Gradually learning to love the spark inside that was me..

Learning to trust

Finding my voice

Accepting I was now free.

For I am a warrior I am a mother I am a friend.

I have put down roots I see the beauty in life

So is this the end.

Of my journey it’s just the beginning a place of wonder of learning of love and magic this place was visualised by me.

If you are on the same journey know im patiently waiting here for you

If I can get here I promise that you can too.

I hear you nan in the distance the words of your song were part of my key.

There will be blue birds over the White cliffs of Dover

My darling just you wait and see.

The goal that waited for me.

So what if I haven’t reached the goal of what I was going to be when I grew up.
Does that mean I haven’t grown up yet?

I do hope so.

The problem is you see the destination.

The goal it hasn’t really changed. It was always right right there.

It paused and waited patiently.

Waited whilst I grew my wings and bravery left home.

Waited whilst I became a mother and raised my children alone.

Waited when I went to college, tapped its pen to remind me that it was still there.

Then when I was busy again opening a barbers shop.

Then onto different jobs changes of career going here and there moving houses sometimes towns.

That goal it never really lost sight of me and I thought of it often.

I waved from afar.

Mature university student, another packed van heading over the border to that magical place of green valleys and purple toped mountains Wales.

There it was following the removal van.

still waiting ‘the goal’ never a thought of leaving me.

Flying with me like a colourful kite in my catching my eye.

following me like I followed my dreams.

Falling in love, cottages, canals, dogs, cats, geese and ducks.

Secure job that I love.

Soul midwife.

My children gifting me with precious grandchildren to love.

Opening our beautiful cancer retreat.

Life had moved on the wheel continually turns.

That defiant rebel girl still dreams and the goal she had was a simple one.

To write.

To be a part of the story tellers who shaped her life with books of magic and poetry.

The books she found on dusty library shelves.

Terry Pratchett. J.M Barry John Steinbeck. Daisy Aldan. The stories that filled her with hope. That carried me to far away places to disc world to castles and places I could only dream of

So now I see why it waited so patiently.

Here I sit with a lifetime of memories, dreams loves and experiences that bring life and meaning into my poems and stories.
So the goal and I sit together often and when I now step

Into into my sacred space of magic poems and stories. I’m so glad it never left, waited like a faithful old friend.
When I’m not there in that space I know that it still pauses, waiting again patiently like a half blown dandelion, waiting for the next breath of life to blow gently and set the rest of the seeds free.

Each tiny seed a story a poem or dream.

Paused waiting to float gently land and grow pushing its tendrils and roots of ink onto the page. Words meandering like winding inky rivers collecting meadows of wild flower colours.

Gentle breeze blows the words into valleys of green healing and purple toped grounding mountains where warrior ravens fly.

Canalside cottages. Toilets and Christmas decorations 🙈🎅

So as most of you know any jobs improvements on our home “Crow cottage” has been on hold since the flood of 2018 as we have been getting our cancer retreat which is in same street back up and running.
We have lived in our little cottage for 12 years .

I fell in love with it the minute we turned out car onto the canal tow path I hadn’t even viewed the cottage on the inside and I knew we would live there.

Ducks geese canal mountain view from the window .

I loved it.
Now when we decided to look for a house to buy we couldn’t afford to live in the city

However just ten miles out in a small Welsh valley houses were quarter of the price.
That’s how I found our canal.
After never being able to settle in a house for more than a year I found my paradise.

Canalside.
Now I had a friend who was a builder .

Joolz he advised DONT buy a cottage .

The walls a 4 foot thick and they ALWAYS need money throwing at them..Good advice .

So I bought a cottage and twelve years down the line I can say.
He was absolutely right 🙈But it’s been an adventure.

We don’t have fabulous paid jobs Or credit cards

Thankfully we don’t have a liking for all things new.

I love second hand furniture.
In fact I love 1930 furniture and it’s in keeping with the cottage.

So I don’t mind car boot sales

Second hand shops , e bay

My living room cost under £500 to furnish probably furnish whole house for under £1.500
I guess I’m telling you this so you get the picture that I’m not a I want a new sofa kind of girl.
I buy when we need.So when we moved in I thought eventually we will get a new bathroom.

For now it’s fine.So few months ago

I find a beautiful bath tub on Facebook market place FOR FREE! so off we go to collect it.
It’s in the garden of a lovely ladies house who asks if I’m going to use it as a pond ?No I laugh I really like it and It’s going in out cottage ours has seen better days paint is chipping.
She’s thrilled it will be reused proceeds to give me a lovely set of telephone taps and a bath panel and off we go!

Two days later it’s a bit of a squeeze as it’s slightly bigger and has to come in through the window there’s lots of swearing and mentions of Vaseline and he’s going to buy me a bloody tape measure for Christmas as my long suffering husband fits this lovely deep bath.

I’m thrilled but I’m now on a mission to find a sink and toilet.
I don’t have to wait long

As a week later we are picking up some slate chippings to finish cancer retreat garden from builders merchants I spot a brand new toilet for £30.00 in the sale.
Jeff’s off looking at wood on his return I try to look casual as I push our trolly to the cashier.

“Er what’s that? ”

I ignore him

We aren’t buying a bloody toilet I proceed to tell him just how much we are saving it’s £60 off

He’s doing that look!

One raised eyebrow as I push the trolley into the car park and attempt to change subject.
So that was five weeks ago.

The toilet in its box is still standing in my bloody living room under the window with a view of the canal.

Apparently Jeff is too busy to fit it!

Now here is the Christmas link.
He’s sat eating breakfast this morning. 1st December

The Christmas tree and decorations convosation starts .

I don’t mind I say reluctantly.
Yes it will be nice for our grandchildren and I’m sure our cats Luna and Lucifer and tiny dog Mavis will have a wonderful time climbing up said tree 🙈

Now the tree goes in the living room window.Stands Infront of it were the new boxed toilet is currently living.
This is it .

It’s weekend he will have to fit it today or no Christmas tree!

I’m feeling smug as I say

Okay we can do it later after you’ve sorted toilet because you’ll have to fit it out of the way to put the tree up.

Cup of tea love before you start?

I wonder into the kitchen and click the kettle on
Well he says looking at the toilet.
I thought if we put a Xmas table cloth over it.
We could use it to put the tree on and I’ll fit it in the new year?

He’s really serious!

Can you guess what my answer was😈
The decorations and tree arent up yet.
Watch this space.
I’ve hidden the Christmas table cloth.

You really couldn’t make this up

I walked through the gate
there standing before me was a huge 1930s detached three story house.
I’d driven past here hundreds of times and never noticed it.
hiding behind tall fir trees.
it was drizzling rain a dull damp day.
angry clouds above this huge house
I stood beside my friend Chris he looked at me.
looks a bit run down I say choosing my words
old-fashioned rooshed net curtain that haven’t seen a washing machine in a long time adorn the huge windows
I hear my mother saying “they need steeping in some Sally white bleach ‘
your not wrong mam I think.
come on then I say to Chris as we walk past the huge cars on the drive shining and polished complete contrast to the grey and dismal house.
the Adams family comes to mind says Chris as we walk up the stone steps to the first floor front door.

Rocky horror I smile
I ring the bell and we wait.

nice view across the city I say as the door is opened by a well dressed man in a suit

he struggles to open the door pushing boxes to the side of the hallway and beckons us to come in.
I introduce Chris and we take a seat in the waiting room.

Dust in corners of ceiling cracked paint spiders webs and if the windows were cleaned there would be a fabulous view across the city.
the furniture is 1970s g plan in a faded green ancient Wilton carpets thread bare in places tell of better times and I wonder if families stuck within their grief fail to notice the neglect around them as they sit here being advised on their loved ones funeral.

Waiting to pick up ashes or to view a loved one before a funeral.

I’ve worked in many funeral.homes but this is, well run down. shabby and cold. It’s shocking
The man who runs things is lovely a little aloof but I didn’t see this coming.

He asks if there’s anything I need.
No I smile
Okay I’ll go and get her, I’ll put her in the chapel of rest then I’ll come to get you.
off he goes .
I look around.
is there a secret camera I say?
Chris laughs..
we are hear as part of my soul midwife work.
I’m doing the hair and make up of a lady I’ve worked with.
before her family come to view her.
Then next week I’ll do her funeral.
Chris has come to help
for the first time
probably the only time after this.
after few mins he comes back up stairs guides us down stairs to the chapel of rest.
I swear you couldn’t make this up.
It’s under the house next to a garage

Bang bang bang constant hammering of coffins being assembled.
he opens the door creak. musty damp smell
why didn’t I video this …
blare witch goes to funeral home
there before me is a huge room set out with old wooden folding chairs
very dusty chairs
I’m wishing I’d brought a feather duster and some polish it’s set out as a chapel
wow I say.

Chris nudges me
this “could” be fabulous obviously it’s not used now
no says funeral director.
not for years

He smiles shuts the door behind us it’s dark and dismal and I’m reminded of a Steven king film

Here is chapel of rest
a door to the side is opened into what can only described as a large cupboard with a gurney trolly in there body on it looking like it’s been dropped out of a plane and landed very akwardly.
head twisted mouth and eyes open not just cold but bordering frozen.

I look around almost sureal slow motion
now first and foremost I’ve seen alot of corpses in my job
I’m not afraid or shocked I care for the body
when I go to funeral directors they are usually lying with dignity eyes mouth have been closed head straight .
You know what I mean.

Everything okay says funeral director?

There is a arched window behind him covered in dust and spiders webs
it’s winter but the flies are alive one lands on the face of the body

I flick it off
are you going to put a stitch in the mouth I ask?
(usual practice)
Oh no he says I don’t like that..

would you like a tea or coffee?

I’m tempted to ask for a gin I bloody need one

I shake my head
he leaves closing the door and I wonder what the fook is going on.
Chris is standing in the corner with a is this a sick joke look on his face .

I take out my kit and get to work.
talking chatting to my lady as I work.
well I’say to her
ou chose this place I’m betting you”ve never been here before!

Chris come help me hold her mouth closed.
I work gently hair make up fix her body into an acceptable position and close her eyes and mouth.
there is still rope around her feet from when she was brought from the hospital morge

a sticker across her chest her name and date birth.

I flick away flies

There I say as we finish
goodbye my friend

I pray her family don’t come to view in this room
it’s just beyond unbelievable and I’m glad Chris is with me or no one would believe this
we go back up stairs he is sat at an old desk.
where the sink I ask?

sink? He looks puzzled.
Yes I’ve just been handling a body id like to wash my hands.

Chris laughs nervously.
We wash our hands say a polite goodbye tell him I’ll see him to do the funeral.
we get in the car
sit for awhile
seriously that place is beyond I say.
I wonder what I can do
vow to get funeral over with then go back to speak to him
he needs to sort that place out he needs help says Chris.
help…
he needs a mop and bucket and a complete renovation I say.
The funeral went well cars staff everything was good
but behind the scenes there was a completely different story .
I wouldn’t tell the family
what could it achieve?
but I plan to go back and have a chat to see just what the score is there has to be a reason such a beautiful place has fell into such disrepair.

what do you think?

Why do we all write?

I remember the day I learned to read.

You know that sudden click when the penny drops.

Books have always been by very best friend.

The magic of being in the story.

Knowing the characters.

The sadness of finishing a book.

Writing was much the same.

My father wasn’t the best.

But I’m thankful he taught me to write.

He gave me an old jotter.

A thick pencil.

Wrote my name at the top of the page .

I copied it and copied it.

Then my address

My dog’s name.

Then a sentence I’d ask him to write.

This was before I started school.

It was magic

I could write,and I did.

I have never stopped.

English was my favourite subject at junior school.

I remember the teacher giving us a subject in creative writing and within minutes I’d be lost in the story that had began to bake in my head.

I’d write about anything and everything.

I remember writing about the starlings.

I lived backing onto the woods on a huge council estate

There were always hundreds of starlings they would swarm all flying together in a squarking fluid like black cloud.

I’d stand on the shed roof to watch.

Hundreds of birds together.

Almost moving as one huge cloud.

How did they do it.

I imagined their leader calling out to his tribe their were ranks.

Everyone of them had a job.

A community.

All looking after each other.

They weren’t the prettiest of birds or the biggest but I loved them.

The teacher loved it she asked if she could keep it.

I was a shy eleven year old.

Blushed and nodded.

Mrs Moore I was so happy.

She was a wonderful teacher who inspired me throughout my school years.

Diary’s note pads, poems.

Lists I wrote everything down.

I wrote when I was happy, sad, mad, upset or lost.

I think it’s because writing gives me a way to work things out?

Does that make sense?

Words are easier for me when they fall out of a pen or a key board.

Although since loosing my best friend nursing her through cancer.

Ive written about my journey through bereavement hoping it will help others.

I’ve also discovered voice note.

I talk to her and record it.

I need to find a way to add it t o my blog.

So where and why did you start your blogging journey?

Could you live without writing.

I definitely couldn’t.

Pen paper and blogs are my friend, counselor and confidant.

Over active mind.

Inside my head is where they rush.

Demanding to know

What was the name of the hand cream used by my mam when I was a kid

In a green tub, remember it had a tight lid?

It smelled of earth and was greasy too.

And if penguins had feet not flippers would they need shoes?

What was the name of the lad at school?

42 years ago the one who.broke all off the rules

Do I have a pen? I forgot to write

The recipe for curry Mike asked me for it, you know mam the one that I like..

Did I turn off the light the one in the yard?

What was the name of the film. with bridges that Clint Eastwood stared?

Is there palm oil in the vegan buscuits I bought?

Is that the cat banging the flap with a mouse that she’s caught?

Did I remember to shut down the damper on the coal fire?

If this rain doesn’t stop soon the river will get higher.

My hubby can sleep on an old washing line.

I might as well get up it’s almost quarter to five!

I wish I could banish the thoughts in my head

Or leave them downstairs with the cat.

While I sneak off to bed.

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.

Faith

In my darkness I found the courage to lite a candle within myself.

Embracing the shadows that lead the way to inner enlightenment.

In the darkness I found my true self.

I was not lost.

Just waiting

For the flickering of the light.

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.

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.

Life before mobile phones and I pads


Were our summers longer?
In the days when there were no mobile phone or games consoles
As a child I all through the school holidays i would leave the house after rushing breakfast or taking it with me,
Running through the woods with a piece of burnt toast in my hand
Toby my dog at my heel
Heading for the huge oak tree at the top of the hill that held our rope swing.

Huge and beautiful ever changing I loved that tree swinging climbing sitting in it’s branches with a book. When we had rope for a swing and a good strong stick I’d sit with my back pressed against it huge trunk at least five feet wide watching as friends swung out over the high drop where the stream ran below.
Bright pink rhodadendron bushes and spiky Holly would break our fall if we fell.
Red Sandy soil tall green grass bright blue sky.
It wasn’t a massive woodland and it was in the middle of a council estate but it was our paradise I loved it.
When it was my turn I’d grab the thick blue rope and swing as high as I could. Legs strieght out leaning back, long hair blowing in the warm summer breeze and for a few minutes I was free, I was flying.

The stream meandered below we would build dams from large stones and sticks the lads would steal cargo nets off the lorries that would park up on east lancs road
Then they would tie them high up between four trees we would bounce about up there it was more luck than our knot tying skills that prevented us from falling!
Crank caverns we’re a few miles from the estate another favourite place I loved it there I’d often set off with a Terry prachett book a bottle of water and walk the few miles spend the day up there.
The lane to the caverns started between two old farm houses Mrs Hewitt one of our teachers lived in one with her daughter Sally she would wave as I passed by. Behind her house where the horses fields and the most beautiful Chestnut mare I’d stop for a chat feeding her handfuls of lush green grass from my side of the fence she couldn’t quite reach. Her warm breath and soft nuzzle rubbing against my face
If I was lucky enough to have custard cream buiscuits I’d share them too and she would rest her huge head on my shoulder and I’d tell her anything and everything. Dogs and horses were always my confidants.
The next part of the walk was through beautiful golden fields thin strieght path through swaying wheat fields I’d sometimes walk into the field and lie down in a cocoon of earthy smelling golden wheat corn or barley reading my book I never felt alone or afraid.
Often falling asleep book in hand . Thankfully never when the combine was working
The caverns (caves) we’re in a small valley surrounded by a small dence disiduous woodland
Trees so close there was places that where almost darkness then another few steps bright sunlight flooded in. I would try to have one food in dark the other in light. Shady and cool on a hot summers day
It was said that the caves were once connected to a hall in Rainford the next village over the years they had become blocked but I would still venture inside as far as I could go.
Feeling my way along the cold stone graffitied walls.

The energy inside there was palpable.
They fasanated me.
I’d stay as long as possible lighting a small fire as night closed in.

No light pollution the sky on a clear night was light a black stary blanket only the sound of crickets and shuffle of nocturnal creatures hedgehogs foxes Badgers
Earthy smell of fallen leaves and thick grass that seemed to grow moss like that was often my bed.
I always slept well outside.
I’m sure this magical place sparked my absolute love of camping, walking and being outside any chance I have.
If you have ever been woken gently by the dawn chorus around you, you’ll know what I mean.
All this magic I was around eleven years old no one missed me whilst I was gone and I know look on that as a blessing.
I always had my dog and carried a small folding pen knife gifted to me by my Nan.
She gave it to me with a wink and a ‘dont tell your mam.’
I’d pull up a swede or carrots peel and eat vegetables taste amazing when eaten as you pick them .
In the next village Rainford there was a huge field of peas
They are one of nicest sweetest things I’ve ever eaten. I’d walk home with my pockets full.
Do my chores then leave again for another adventure.
I’m so very glad I was a sixty’s child
For life was and continues to be beautiful if you go outside look at the sky walk touch the earth talk to animas connect with guardian trees lie in fields of gold
It’s never too late. What are you waiting for?

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.

A new generation

Come with me on a journey back in time, To a northern rural village the year is 1969. It’s a bright and beautiful summers day.

I shall tell you the story as it was told to me by Lilly

She was seventeen years old. She loved the beautiful meadow and sitting on the banks of the stream dangling her feet into the water I guess I’m a bit of a loner She would say she but she didn’t mind her own company and loved being outdoors wondering through woodlands never caught her with shoes on her feet. Barefoot wind in her hair that was Lilly.

The breeze was warm and gently swaying the willow tree on the opposite bank of the stream it’s was late afternoon but the sun was still up there shining brightly and the sky was cloudless and blue.

I’d been been sitting watching the water running over the smooth pebbles she told me The water seemed to glisten and shine in the sunlight the reflection of the willow stretches across to me I was thinking of Alice stepping through the looking glass into a magical land. You know somewhere better than here? I know I’m a day dreamer she continued but then something caught her eye.

Who’s that? There across she caught her breath rubbed her eyes was it heat shimmer from the water?

there watching her beside the willow tree was something at first glance she couldn’t quite make sense of

She rubbed her eyes and squinted. Then rubbed them again. A being a tall almost bird like being or was it?

Sparkling almost iridescent skin, crystal like. Shimmering like the stream running over the pebbles.

Perhaps I’m seeing things she thought.

It seemed to fade in and out of focus, blend in and out of the surroundings almost camouflaged.

Much taller than Lilly longer arms and fingers, it has wings on her back that seamed to retract she was very beautiful.

Lilly stood up slowly then bravely began to paddle across towards the willow tree.

It didn’t move tilted it’s head slightly watching her approach almost curiously

‘Who are you?’ she asked..? Climbing onto the bank beside her.

The being reached out and placed her fingers on Lilly’s forehead. There was a static like buzz.

Standing together barefoot on that grassy bank

Visions started to flood between them like a fibre optic connection.

Lilly gasped as she saw seven tiny stars a small consolation light years away beautiful star people peaceful tribes healers teachers, landscapes of purple topped mountains, waterfalls lush green valleys huge yew like trees and an aray of beautiful amimals

Lilly sighed and whispered Koraki that’s your name?.

The beautiful being nodded and smiled their energy arced together. Her eyes where the most beautiful shade of green like purest Jade. Lilly felt absence of peace and safety she had never known.

Why are you here Lilly thought. Koraki answered her question yet no words were spoken between them

She was a traveller fearless explorer 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 tribe sadness our primitive behaviour humans killing each other and destroying the planet they live on.

She and others like her had also come here to to plant seeds of hope and enlightenment to help awaken humans to enlighten them to heal and save their beautiful mother planet. A new generation of star children.

As the sun began to set darkness fell.

a huge dark moon in an ink black sky and the stars twinkled like diamonds and Koraki iridescent crystalline skin.

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

That’s home that where you came from? Asked Lilly.

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 at the speed of light. Like beautiful iridescent white Ravens

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

‘My child? a star child asked Lilly but how.

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

Lilly held up her hands much smaller against Koraki a ball of lights around them glowed she had never felt such love and hope. Their two worlds where connected the joining of two tribes.

Lilly told me she had slept peacefully on that warm summer’s night under the willow tree by the stream.

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

The following spring the baby girl Koraki had gifted her was born seed of the star people.

Outside the window a raven cawed as my mother Lilly gently cradled my in her arms.

She never lost her love for the outdoors and walking barefoot with the wind in her hair.

She passed all that on to me

She told me stories of Alice through the looking glass but this one of Koraki and my star tribe is my favourite

‘I’m a mountain wondering lover of stories Ravens and all things magical I’m a soul midwife and healer

On a summers day you’ll find me with a book sitting under the willow tree feet dangling in the stream

On a dark moon you will find me barefoot on the mountain crossroads looking up to a tiny constellation of stars

Home.

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

You taught me well

You taught me well.
By example.
Of exactly what not to be
A racist, violent alcoholic
Oh Dad you taught me well you see
You taught me to have work ethic.
By staying in the pub.
You made our lives so miserable
Just because you could.

Oh yes you taught me well.

I watched you get arrested for fighting in the street.
You’d throw your dinner up the wall.
Too pissed to even eat.
I watched you steal from mammy’s purse.
She’d cleaned houses so we could live
But you’d go off drinking down the pub.
And somehow she would forgive.
Not me.
You taught me well.

Going to school step over you asleep on the floor.
Choking coughing on vomit.
I’d prop your head in a washing up bowl
Go to school wondering if you’d die.
Not knowing if you’d be there when I got home I’d stand and wave you goodbye.
Oh yes dad you taught me well.

You cared about things not people.
Beer, homebrew, pubs, the bookies and guns
Your word was law or I’d regret it.
I’d tell you I hate you then run.
Oh yes you taught me well.

There were two sides to you.
The monster who could reduce me to a frightened mess.
I could count on my fingers the good times.
When you’d swear you’d give up the ale.
And although I wanted to believe I never quite did, I have to confess
You see you taught me well.

I wasn’t like the other kids.
I never really fit.
Hair you’d cut all shapes with pinking shears.
Coat that didn’t fit.
Your dad’s just a piss head.
Yes I knew they were right.
Normal I thought so I’d seen this time and time

Sit alone on the bus and in the playground
Avoid another fight.
Yes you taught me well.

My mammy should have left you.
But instead she stayed.
Maybe too tired, sick or worn out.
Our had she grown used to your alcoholic ways?
I’d go sitting in a friend’s house,
But you’d come and look for me.
Shouting swearing until I came home.
No chance of escape for me.
Yes you taught me well.

So I’d sit and hide in libraries.
Found a way to escape.
Terry Pratchett and Lewis Carroll
Helped me to my thoughts reshape.
Took me to other worlds
Far far away from home.
Where you couldn’t reach me.
And in these stories I would roam.
The stories they taught me well.

You tortured my poor mammy.
Until her dying day.
Massive heart attack took her from me.
As you’d argued pissed as every other day.
I walked away from you that day.
With anger in my heart.
I couldn’t help but wish you’d had the courage to live apart.
The damage that you caused
like Holocaustic ripples on the water.
But I’m stronger – a good mammy, friend and wife,
I’m not just an alcoholic’s daughter.

Dad you taught me well

Disruptive Demon Visitor

Unwanted uninvited disruptive demon visitor made of twisted rope.
Knotted tightly. It surrounded you with a sack of amniotic
like fluid.
Dulls the hearing blocks concentration replaces joy with black thunderous
fear.
It is heavy to carry feels impossible to put down,
Steals breath from free deep breathing to panicked shallow gasps
It engulfs not some of you all of you.
It wraps you tightly within its self until it is you,
You are it.
It will leave but only when it has completed its mission.
To drain you of strength replacing it with terror.
As it slides away slowly and your breath returns
You are reminded that it has not left completely an
invisible string joins you to it.
It can return at anytime no warning.
It crouches in the dark corners of your mind

Watching waiting until stress fear or uncertainty call it back to
you.
Anxiety is the disruptive demons name.