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Schoolward bound.

We seem to be hurtling headlong down a slide to Ida starting school in September.

She literally CANNOT wait. We scope out the reception classes on a regular basis – we’ve already bought and name-tagged most of her uniform – my mum has given her a lunchbox that looks like a ladybird – she has a book bag.

We’re ready.

Except I’m not. I feel terribly anxious about the whole thing. Sometime I have a little cry. (This isn’t as momentous as I’m making it sound – I’m a woman in touch with my feelings – those pedigree chum adverts make me cry…)

I cannot believe how fast time is passing. She suddenly seems to have shot up, she’s so tall – when I pick her up I put her on my hip and her legs hang down. Last week she fell out of bed and sleepily mistook me for an orc. I scooped her up to lay her over my shoulder to comfort and, it’s hard to describe, but it’s as though my body was memory moulded to her baby toddler physical imprint and she didn’t quite fit. I was jarred, suddenly more awake from my four am walking doze.

I’m also really looking forward to a bit of regular time alone. It’s pretty full on this SAH ing. I am worried about the fact she hasn’t had the nursery grounding Zeph had when he started school. She doesn’t go to pre-school or anything. We hang out a lot together.

I’m not particularly worried about her being clingy. Most of the time she can’t wait to be rid of me. I do worry about her conforming to someone else’s rules. Following a groups schedule. About playing games where she doesn’t make the rules. About co-operating.

About social skills. But in my mind – primary school is where this stuff goes down. We just have to hold on for the bumpy learning curve.

This is how Ida prefers to wear socks

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Every morning we have a dispute about it. She points out they’re ON her feet. I point out she can’t get her shoes over them. On very bad days she’ll ram her feet into her wellies like this.

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I fear the learning curve will be steep.

I worry it is my fault.

Paved with good intentions…

It may have been me that inadvertently put paid to the sunshine by purchasing barbecue charcoal. I genuinely cannot remember lighting a grill at this house in sunshine. Sorry.

It really was a lovely splash of pre-summer at the weekend. We spent most of it at the park watching Zeph cycle laps and Ida try to bully strangers in the playground into playing her games.

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The garden is starting to respond to the warmth. Once again I’m marvelling in my overblown peony, and can anyone tell me why it’s always covered in ants? They march up and down the bud – busy and officious. I can’t see any aphids to milk…maybe they’re expected. I have blown Ida’s mind describing ants milking aphids and she is scouring the place with her magnifying glass for evidence.

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The clematis that has scrambled up my alarmingly tall eucalyptus tree is covered in pink flowers all following the sun through the sky. I love it and a passer-by knocked on the door last week intrigued by what she thought was an unknown exotic species.

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I have to avert my eyes during strong winds. I keep waking up sweating from nightmares about it crashing through the roof of the Ukrainian church next door. Amiable as they are I don’t think they’ll be pleased.  A tree surgeon is on my list of things to save up for. Along with the desperately needed rewire. In my blogging interlude our electrics have been condemned as dangerous and a fire risk.

Gulp.

On the bright side the ever-present damp may slow most sparks…  We’ve been doing our best to save but a recent redundancy development hanging over us means a finance rethink. Bah.

Always something to spend not-enough-money on. I have been slowly chipping out my studio space by the kitchen by removing cupboards and mouldy plaster and smothering everything with cheap white paint. Soon I will be able to leave my sewing machine out and not have to keep heaving it off the table for meals. I lull myself off to sleep at night imagining arranging all my fabric, buttons and jam jars of bits and bobs on walls of empty shelves.

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This is us barbecuing our tea. We’re not the sort to be put off by rain. Good thing too in this climate. I’m particularly loving the happy happy joy joy on the kids face. Also the fact my mum spotted a bit of blue sky

May

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How amazing is the sunshine? Admittedly I’m quite enjoying sitting in the cool of my house after a hard hour smashing china under the rays.

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Don’t get me wrong I love, LOVE the bright glorious light. I genuinely sprang out of bed this morning with an appropriately cheery song on my lips.

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I just like looking at it from the shade. With an icy clinking drink in my hand.

This weekend Zeph learnt to ride a bike. At 10 I feel bad for letting it get so late before enabling this ritual but we’re not really bike riders. He’s wanted one for ages so when passing the Raleigh shop on Barton street we amazed him by actually going in and purchasing a second hand bike and a brand new helmet.

Of course his joy was short-lived when he got on and couldn’t ride it instantly but he’s a stoic optimist my boy which fills me with pride and half an hours googling and some remedial first aid led to us getting up at six on Sunday morning. We made our way to a very quiet park with a small hill to put in a bit of coasting practise before graduating to pedalling then turning and finally, by the end of the day cycling from a standing start. Brilliant.

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Saturday night after a shower we counted sixty one distinct bruises, three big grazes and a fine set of hand blisters but one incredibly content boy. I feel swollen with pride at his perseverance.

It turns out cycling, balancing on a bicycle, is one of those things that is near impossible to explain. You just kind of do it I offered feebly, realising how unhelpful it was.  Your body makes thousands of miniscule adjustments to keep you upright and all you need is the time and space to let it get on with it. With lashings of patience and encouragement – balancing the “that’s amazing!” cheering with the book reading indifference is a parenting tightrope I’m getting better at. I will take a leaf from someone else’s book and persevere.

Also – take that Homer Simpson mug…

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Hello

 

The sun is shining today. For once I’m sat here with my fingers on the keys and actually feel as though it may be possible to say something.

Anyone who reads this – and I am astonished/abashed/amazed/gratified at how many of you still seem to despite my perfidy – may have noticed the poems. Sorry if it was all a bit much and thank you to those who read and commented.

I bleedin’ love poetry in a very joyful, uneducated way. In that I read a lot and write a lot but have studied very little. NaPoWriMo seemed, in the early hours, a wonderful way to structure some of the free writing I do and attempt to break my sick-stomach aversion to my blog.

I know its been too long – and I don’t want to do all that justifying apologising stuff which I know is tiresome but I am sorry for not coming on and saying I was taking a break. So if you wondered – I am, wholeheartedly, sorry.

I’m hardly shy of spilling all on here and have given ample evidence of that in the past but this one isn’t really all my story so suffice to say; I am older  -hard to deny given our attachment to the linear nature of time – and wiser – I can now make custard without curdling it and in equal measures,  disillusioned with our legal system and still glad for it being there.

Some real world shenanigans left me mute here. I hated it – I couldn’t even bear to look at the site. The fracturing of my old hard disc gave me ample excuse to truant indefinitely but it was a constant small ache behind my ribs. An insistant sharp corner that wouldn’t let me rest easy and I hoped a bit of exposure could clean the place out for me.

Which it must have – because here I sit.

 

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The kids are, as always, amazing. There have been festivals, celebrations, cooking, days out, new experiences, tantrums, daydreaming, quite a lot of cake and change- embraced change – between a gazillion beautiful things.

I’d really like to start sharing some of them again.

Day Twenty Seven

Prompt: Ten things found at an auction house

 

Drowsy, heat drenched day in the dusty rooms.

What sent my idle hand aloft – to bid – on a whim?

Seeded by some drifting dandelion prompt blown

by the sly goat eyed stranger dressed head

to toe in good tweed. Smart cane, hat tilted over horn.

 

Lot sixty three, Splintered, stencilled – bound with steel

heaved home. Breathlessly.

 

Now sat cross-legged – tea in hand, fragrant brew.

to prise it open. Impatiently.

 

First a cacophony of jumbled shapes snarled about with wools and string

Odd screws, unknown coins and here,

a key. Rusted, curlicue and heavy.

 

Next a strata of wooden edges. A cup bound with gold

Black bog wood – blood wine stains – reeking of holy

wooden teeth, satin smooth – scented with apple.

Here; Mahogany – ship in a  bottle. Beneath this haul

A knot that needs unpicking. Thick lustrous rope. Like

holding seaweed – or some semiprecious pearl umbilical twisted in the propeller

of a tin model plane. Golden B clanking, I trace the AE on the cockpit before

Swooping to land it.

 

Rolling on the bottom – a stoppered test-tube wrapped in an envelope

postmarked Porlock. Inside- the middle of a poem, strangely haunting.

Snagged in a corner a flagscrap of vibrant yellow silk -sewn to the edge a list of

secret runes – a chemical shopping list.

 

Late afternoon light slides in like syrup – slipping to the bottom

of the chest as I tilt it out of place

to check I have lifted every listed secret up to my face

to be inspected.

 

With tender shock I see a ragged edged moth pinned to the wooden slats.

Silver headed stabbers. Demanding relentless things.

She turns her furry head. Hope she sings.

 

 

Day Twenty Five

 

Ballad prompt

 

The Ballad of Mick Philpott

 

Back bent under the sheer

Press of six bodies draped there.

Surely children are heavier

for a father to bear?

 

Standing stubborn at the dock

Fingers a sieve to pass tears through.

Pressed unwillingly out by the shock

In our eyes as we silently watch you

 

And judge. For you are unrepentant.

Prison’s not where you should go.

You swear blind- you never meant it,

Sure you’d turn out to be a hero

 

In the ballad of your own life

you were always the puppet master.

Keeping control with the tip of your knife

Who knew it would end in disaster?

 

Back bent under the sheer

Press of six bodies draped there.

Surely children are heavier

for a father to bear?

 

Barrel chested and lordly in reports

Clear now you only loomed so large

up against your chosen child bride cohorts

Throned like a rajah in their regard.

 

Back bent under the sheer

Press of six bodies draped there.

Surely children are heavier

for a father to bear?

 

 

 

Day Twenty Four

 

Ida

Who made you woodlouse herder

darling? Fiercely intent

and crouched in frowning concentration,

You guide them

with soft voice and occasional gentle poke

from a dirt rimmed finger, tender

with care and hope

for their survival despite my thoughtless feet

and casual moving of pots.

 

Face pregnant with worry you will rescue them,

righting the fallen.

Occasionally cupping them in an reverent, hot palmed hand

to stroke the waving fringes

of their legs.

Day (bugger I’m really falling behind) Eight

 

Long nights lying awake, this lump of uncertainty

Lodged under my heart.

Watching the moon sail across a clouded sea

Of stars. Pockmarked silver crone heedlessly waning.

Me, a beached swollen gourd endlessly waxing.

 

Now I come howling through this silent night.

Matching the wind, wailing outside the window

leaving telegraph poles and trees upturned in its wake.

I am tide washed, savage – blood-stained and triumphant.

 

Here he is finally

Blue-crumpled goblin mouthing secret obscenities.

Bawling, reaching out starfish hands to haul back his briny ocean.

Raging, gasping with indignant fury

arching back to strike a fisted blow

To my brow. He is a crumpled moth wing unfurling

Under the fiery heat of my regard.

 

My spring heeled stranger. Carving out his own space.

 

 

Tardy day six

 

Morning

Woken by the smell of bonfires

clinging to ruffled fur.

Padded points of weight

press my head deeper into my warm pillow.

You pick your way disdainfully

over the stepping stone continent

of my duveted form

merely an impediment to your beloved.

 

Rustily vibrating you tangle

blood stained scything paws

in his beard.

Wrapped around your smallest claw

he stirs, murmurs and rubs a still sleeping hand

over your tilted head and jaw.

I watch you lift your chin then narrow your eyes

In alpha triumph.

 

Glinting shards of morning sun slice in

to leave rainbows trapped in your whiskers.

 

Day Five

 

cinquain prompt

Sunset

leaves storm grey clouds

outlined with coral fire,

banked up embers waiting for the

sunrise.