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.

Flight & floating mystery

So on my way back to South wales from cannock driving down M6 past Birmingham airport.

Overhead flies a bowing 747 coming in to land.

Now I’ve never been a fan of flying probably as my head can not work out how such a huge lump of metal weighing 439,985 kg loaded with people bags food fuel can FLY. yes I googled it.

It completely spins me out!.

So then Jeff goes on to tell me that equal to approx 8 40 ton lorry’s duct taped together.

How?

Then he says cargo planes carrying tanks ect are even heavier 🙈

My head hurts.

He’s no hysterical laughing.

Is it just me? Does anyone else have a problem with the how is this even possible?

Discounting witchcraft.

One woman on a besom is far more easier to comprehend.

I also had this problem six years ago as we boarded P&O cruise ship the Ventura.

It was a 50th birthday present for jeff.

Now I’ve been over to France when I was 16 on a ferry and to Isle of man and of course I was expecting something a little bigger.

But f@@k me it was huge..

As I stood next to the smiling man who took my car keys at the dock looking up at the huge building like structure. I wanted to get back in my car.

How was That going to float?

Sixteen floors of restaurants dance floors swimming pools and people?

Don’t think about it Jeff says. It just is.

I have a theory.

When I was a kid there was a massive Co op shop in town where at Christmas you could que to see santa.

His elf would seat everyone on a beautiful decorated magical sleigh fairy lights would flash brightly scenery would pass snowy cabins and mountains of the noth pole as the sleigh rocked to and fro.

Exited children would then be shown off the sleigh and now magically they had been transported to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole!

We we’re definitely not in the basement of the local co op in a small northern town.

It was magic.

So maybe Santa’s sleigh builders progressed to building boeing 747 and huge cruise ships.

That has to be a much more understandable explanation.

😉

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.

A basket of stories.

I’m sitting on my bed, surrounded with paper, pieces of a new book.

Contemplating a re write more detail. Shall I start over again? Colours, smells descriptions painting the picture to make things visible for the reader.

The autumn sun is shining the sky is blue and the trees on the bank seem to dance around the silver bark beckoning me to go outside

I’m distracted by silly things the glass is blown we need a new tilt and turn window.

It opens onto the grey flat roof of the kitchen extension. Next doors fat black tail less cat Charlie sits looking thoughtful on the edge of the roof.

I have locked the door. Turned off my phone.

Today is mine I needed to just be. To be gentle with myself its been a hard week.

To be here in our cottage by this window finishing the book that was supposed to be finished in June.

I love this place this house I muse about my journey what brought me here.

To this canal this cottage.

The small circle of friends I hold dear.

The girl that I was, has stopped running and is now settled happy I am content with my lot.

Itchy feet the gypsy wonderer has pushed down roots deep into this magical place.

I’ve never been materialistic food in the cupboards diesel in my little car and mine and my family’s health that is enough. Anything else is a bonus.

A good friend of mine and I were talking on what’s app and referred to a job we both did previously which involved caring for vulnerable adults. She used the term carrying their stories.Boomthat really struck a chord.

Story carrier….

It was true. Very.

I have always been drawn to work that involved caring, nursing supporting vulnerable people it’s what I do best.

Disadvantaged children, Learning disabilities, Homeless, Addicts Mental health.

Now I’m a Soulmidwife Holistic Therapist .

The common thread in all of this is the stories.

I believe that that is the key to genuinely helping someone who is in a vulnerable position is listening.

Getting to know their story. Not just their diagnosis or their addiction or situation. How did they arrive at this point?

Each person I have worked with has their own complex story listening is the best gift I have given.

I have heard some horrendous stories, some sad some disturbing. But they are all pieces of a puzzle that makes a whole.

Now as a soul midwife I listen to wishes regrets and plans of patients who are end of life.

I have heard of baby boy given up for adoption in the war and a life then spent teaching and caring for other people’s children and a choice to never marry or have another child after a strict father forbid her to ever speak of her baby again. Sadly, she never got to find him. But the day after she told his story I sat held her hand as she passed peacefully knowing she had spoken his name and someone had listened.

I have contacted estranged siblings and listened to stories of lives that have been so similar apart regrets that family feuds hadn’t been resolved earlier.

I have listened to stories of abuse, rape self-loathing and harm. Reassured not judged held shaking hands

A hug a hand to hold sometimes reassurance that ‘you can get through this ‘the simplest things are the greatest gift.

So next time you walk by that homeless person or sit next to that old lady/man on a bench remember that every one of us has a story. Many stories that entwine into one life we collect along this path our journey.

Listening hearing and genuine acceptance are greatest gifts you can give.

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?

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.

Release me..

Huge mechanical monster lunges,

Clenches it’s massive jaws together tight unbudging.

I’m held in the most unnatural vice like grip I push either side but the struggle is futile I’m trapped.

Warm foam like saliva drips from it’s hungry looking lips.

I sit still bolt upright.

Unmoving praying for it to let go.

Waiting for it to move.

Eyes wide head unmoving glancing from side to side.

I wonder ‘Is it dead?’

Nothing.

Someone please help.

It makes a sound a low groan almost pitiful.

No one comes.

There is no other choice.

I need help now.

I sound my horn.

Please someone release me from this dying carwash

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.

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

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

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

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

Earth Guardians

I see you standing there my friends
Magnificent guardians of the trees.
Tall giant and proud before me.
Gently swaying in the breeze.
You gaze out across the churchyard
How many changes have you seen?
Staring up to behold your greatness
Woodland creatures secret shelter held within your branches a secret place unseen.
You stand throughout each season.
Ever changing.
Yet staying the same.
Solid grounded storing knowledge.
As above so below you silently proclaim

How I missed the end of the world


I had left my fleshy over coat of a body lying safely in my bed. This want unusual I did this most nights, orange glow of the salt lamp beside my head. Purring black cat curled beside my feet as the misty egg shaped craft enfolded me rocked gently as it carried my to the safety of the second road astral plane.

The misty egg dispersed revealing the beauty of this place which always made me smile.

I pushed open the squeaky mental gate stepped onto the winding path to my left a field of barley gently swaying in the warm breeze sound of grass hopers and salty smell of the ocean to my right is a beautiful meadow wild flowers scattered like paint on a canvas.

The path leads to my temple just before it stand two guardian yew trees and a tall slim man watching me walk towards him. He is leaning on a garden hoe tending the herbs that grow beside the temple doors.

Its Joe I smile as I reach him his sparkly blue eyes smile by themselves weathered leathery skin from all the hours tending the gardens.

He holds out his hand and hands me a key label tied with old piece of string reads time.

He pushes open the huge oak doors to the temple and I step into the cool hallway candle light flickers as I step into the small room to my left.

I undress and change into the red robe that is hanging there for me.

The stone floor clod on my feet.

I continue down the hallway holding the key.

Almost muffled sound of drumming an ancient beat steady and reassuring.

I reach the end of the hall way there in the archway of the old stained glass window overlooking the beach is an old woman gently humming a tune that seems so familiar?

As she hums she spins a silken almost glass like thread on her old spinning wheel.

As the thread catches the light it seems to throw off prisms of light pictures like old cine film. Of places I’ve been people I know, memories.

She smiles never taking her fingers from the wheel or slowing down and the thread spins on.

The pile of material she is spinning from seems to grow quickly smaller as I watch.

What is this I say crouching down beside it.

It reminds me of blown dandelion seeds, wishes?

It is so beautiful.

It is time my child she says as a single tear runs down her cheek.

I look at the keys label ‘time’

But your almost out of thread I say I have the key shall I get more for you to spin?

Everything has a begging and a end my child she whispers as the last piece of thread runs though her fingers and the wheel runs free.

There is a gush of wind she stands up before me and opens the clock she is wearing.

The lining of the cloak shines before me it is the universe our galaxy there is our blue planet circling our sun.

A pin like explosion sparks from it.

Then another and another. Until just like seeds from a dandelion it is gone.

She steps forward wraps her cloak around me and everything begins to spin.

Raven Wordsmith 🖤