Tag Archives: crazy mum

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.

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Snails, slippers and impromptu haircuts

Even grey mornings have their special charm when seen through the eyes of a three-year old with new wellies. Mab bless her for keeping the cheeriness quota up in the house.

The weather this year seems to have prompted a snail and slug population boom. Luckily my total lack of garden lovin’ ensures there is plenty of weedy greenery to go round.

This pleases Ida immensely and her garden investigating in between showers involves collecting the various hues and sizes of shelled molluscs. That and woodlouse herding, marigold petal picking and making secret paths in the grass which is nearly as high as her.

Other news from this place here include the successful antibiotic choice to see off the infection in my less bad hip (in that there’s still a socket) AND cortisone injections – very successful and welcome. Whoo hoo.

My mood is taking a while to bounce back up. I’m biding my time as experience tells me it’ll eventually get back on board. Until then my world has shrunk to the bare basics. I’m still spotting BT’s but the whole system feels a bit forced and creaky… still in action though.

Fathers day was  happy, Steve worked but opened cards and presents before he left and came home to a feast of jerk chicken, plantains, dirty rice, festivals and mango salsa.

It’s a pleasure cooking with Zeph now – he’s a genuine help, in fact he made the festivals and the mango salsa completely solo. Ida watches, stirs and chops herbs and a mushroom which didn’t really get used but occupied her for at least 30 mins. All we need now is a bigger kitchen…

We had a pleasurable couple of afternoons beforehand painting cards and sewing slippers; 

 

We bought the plain cheap slippers and decorated them ourselves with various beloved mini beasts including, of course:

Yesterday I did a hack job on my hair. Never a good idea – I just got incredibly cross when brushing out the dreadlocky knots I’d let build up and cut off my pony tail with the sewing scissors. Luckily Ida was elsewhere as this is NOT an example I should set her as I’m constantly finding little golden locks where she’s been unable to resist the swishing sounds she loves so much.

I did neaten it up but judging from the hair on the floor I reckon I cut off about two-thirds of the length and did anyone (including my nearest and dearest) notice?

Did they bleeding heck. Which leads me to conclude that no-one sees me.

Of course it could be because I mostly wear it scraped back and twisted up so no bugger has any idea what it looks like down anyway.

I suppose I should just be glad we don’t have any clippers in the house as it could have been so much worse.

Wild garden

 Well all this lying around and being sorry for myself has had quite serious garden consequences…

It’s hard to mind too much when it looks so very lovely and the jungliness makes the kids so very happy. Still I feel  there is a happier balance to be achieved though possibly I’ve missed the window this year…

I can’t get over how fecund the plum-tree is

 

Can you say fecund about trees? Bearing in mind last year we had ONE solitary plum. I realise they’ll be a drop but even so we should get into double figures at least.

My valiant little apple tree is covered in fruit as well. Ida and I spent half an hour crouched in the waist-high couch grass surrounding  it yesterday. The amount of humming, buzzing hoverfly and bee life was astounding.

I am particularly fond of the vividly striped hoverflies who vibrate pugnaciously just in front of your face then dart off, satisfied you’ve been suitably quelled. There are so many different kinds we try to count them and Zeph’s collins gem proves utterly inadequate.

Lying on our backs we see bumble bees with white and red bottoms as well as a huge yellow, black and gingery striped one. Watching it ponderously investigate the opening foxgloves I genuinely wonder how it is flying. This is exactly the kind of bee Arrietty dreamed about flying on with plenty of bristly fur to hold onto. Ida amuses herself mightily by saying “No teeth Mrs Tittlemouse, no teeth!” and making spitting sounds holding her sides as she dissolves into mirthful chuckles. She is in just knickers with grass seeds in her hair. We’re trying not to attract the attention of the nice Ukrainians in the churchyard next door who have spent more than the usual amount of time leaning between their immaculate manicured conifers and shaking their heads at the chaos over here. It’s taken me half an hour to persuade her to keep her knickers on and I have no strength for anything else.

When she heaves with laughter I can still see all her ribs but she has a definite tummy now and her legs don’t go out at the knees anymore so I feel better. Down here we have a perfect view of ants and ladybirds going about their business. A tiny yellow spotted beauty sits on the end of her finger for at least a minute before shaking out crumpled silk wings from under it’s spotty overcoat and circling up into the sky.

There are sparrows nesting in our eaves and their fledglings hop all over the rubbish stacked up in the courtyard. Brash and noisy they skim over our heads and tumble from fence to rosebush. I have triple belled the cat and she sits on a branch of the laurel tree pretending their high jinks are of no interest to her whatsoever. She punishes me with a taloned paw unexpectedly in my face as I run up the stairs at bedtime. Thrumming with malicious triumph from behind the banister she stalks off tail lashing meaningfully.  

When we venture down to the compost heap there are three gleaming slow worms twined lordlike on the top of the heap. Fat and gleaming their black unforked tongues taste the air and they blink placidly at us. None of them have tails. They are surviving victims of Mittens joyful tossing of them into the air. Here they are safe from her juggling endeavors and supplied by a never-ending all you can eat smorgasboard of insect delight.

They must be breeding as we constantly find little elver like baby ones, squirming their golden way over the path and through the grass. Bare foot and delighted Ida makes an early joke -” They should be called fast worms!” Delighted she chortles and repeats it  until it descends into a squabble with her exasperated brother.

There is a tiny frog in the washbowl pond. Smooth skinned and lightning fast he crouches under the watermint which has vastly outgrown the space. It needs thinning. I add it to the list.

Here is a bud on the peony. There were more but they rotted in the wet and neglect. This one is at the top of the bush and I feel hopeful.  My wisteria is not dead as I feared, just a little overwhelmed. I clear it some space and add some compost to the base. As well as some volcanic ash my mum assures me will make a big difference. I suspect her of muttering a desperate blessing over it. The plants need all the help they can get…

Hot Spell

The last few nights have been just too hot to bear. My fine figure is far more suited to Inuit nights, I absolutely blubberly-rock cold weather but am disadvantaged in balmier climes.

The children are both the same. I try to soothe them to sleep with tepid baths, open windows and a pj and bedclothes ban which usually gets broken due to the fact they NEED some kind of covering to clutch as they drift off.

 Checking on them in the early hours I peel sheets away and smooth sweaty curls off their faces.

Sometime in the  grey hours there’s a changing tide as night seeps away with the wash of the new-day coolness creeping welcome fingers through the mostly sleeping house. It barely registers in my restless fever-troubled dozing. About now my night-time painkiller is wearing off and I’m waiting for the mornings welcome fix. Stupid fluid on crumbling near non-existent hip-joint . Foul misbegotten infection. Unwelcome prickly hot fever.

Lying on threadbare sheets, every worn spring sticking into me, I hover just outside proper rest. Tiredness and misery stain my thoughts. I resent the heat and flinch if anyone tries to touch me. The idea of a shower makes me actually dry retch. I want to no-go zone every inch of my skin.

I lie listening to everyone else even breathing and the whirr of one solitary fan stirring the treacly hot air around. Mentally I run through the tenets of pain clinic. The need to own and control my pain. The fact that my own experience has taught me this is true doesn’t help in these spare stranded hours. Recently all our lives are tainted with my salty sweaty scent of self-pity  and general all over misery. We’re all waiting for the tide to turn.

Days narrow down to basic goals. Clothes on, food of some kind provided, one child got school and collected, other child nursemaided by Cbeebies, buckets of water and hulahoops. Coaxed into considering a pile of leaflets to be cut into ribbons with the fascinating usually out-of-bounds orange scissors a worthy afternoons occupation. What feels like never-ending hospital trips chasing the seemingly holy grail goal of pinpointing the correct antibiotic cure for my own filthy internal plague. Petri dishes seeded from the mysterious putrid fluid drawn from my very bones offer up grown auguries of success.

I have grown to mistrust them.

Everything seems worse in the night. While my toes dip in the sea of sleep the pain balloons and swells unreasonably. Irrationally I doubt my ability to last til morning, I dread the next day packed full of small failures, I weep about my loss of humour and ability to celebrate the small things. Bitterly I resent all the sleeping going on around me and the card dealing performance of fate.

I’m chasing something in my troubled half dreams. Vaguely I think it’s a cure or an AI disguised as a steer in some grotesque urban forest. The pain in my pelvis is because I’ve been pierced with a poisoned arrow. Defeated I lie down on some broken glass and wait.

Slowly I can feel some warmth seeping through from behind me. Somehow I’ve become cold and bask in the slow flush of heat as comforting and calming. There’s a goddess behind me casting a healing scorching spell. I stretch my toes and snuggle into the glow. Without noticing I drift deeper into sleep, taking a millisecond to register the spell as a possible threshold for change. We’re on the up I mentally murmur as I dive deeper.

When I wake up there’s a small naked person wrapped over my back. She’s all tangled hair and pouting lips. Smooth golden limbs speckled with summer bruises and scrapes are draped over me and she radiates heat like a small serene sunshine-gilded buddha.

Who knows? Maybe she is a spellcaster. I certainly noticed a very beautiful thing immediately without the aid of drugs. Goddess knows I yearn for a bit of everyday magic why not lean on a bit of placebo faith healing?

Packing mayhem

Oh my life, I’m taking a break from packing.

Things should get easier now Ida’s gone to bed as I won’t have to keep fishing her additions out of the bags. So far this evening I’ve retrieved a rollerskate, a wooden spoon, the box of paints and Zeph’s wetsuit that no longer fits him. All useful items in some other scenario I’m sure but unwanted for five days in London with Julianne.

We’re all highly excited and I’m sure there’ll be tears at some point. I’ve tried not to over think stuff which is something I do a little. Maybe I went too far the other way as today has felt a little hectic.

Hectic but full of brilliant stuff and so many Beautiful Things it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Mum and Dad came for pickled fish lunch today to plant out the potatoes and distribute easter and birthday presents like very Boho easter bunnies. It was a hugely happy afternoon and the sun shone bountifully on some very focused potato planting.

The potato race between the kids is becoming an established ritual. They each get a bag and the same amount of chitted treasure. When the plants are ready we harvest each bag with forensic carefulness and count up the bounty. The bag with the most tubers (regardless of size) wins.

We have ready, set and gone – only a few months to wait. Zeph believes he has this years edge with a sprinkle of ground volcanic rock mixed in with the compost. I reserve all judgement.

My mum dressed up in the gardening apron with the string pocket I made her last year and Ida spent a long while eyeing it up covetously. I’m thinking of running some up for the summer craft stalls.  String dispensing pockets are actually very useful.

Our lizard has been unwell so we’re glad to see him looking a bit more sprightly and eating more. I feel happier about leaving him for a while and Zeph has stopped checking he’s still breathing every hour or so. He shot into the bedroom earlier in the week at about 6.30 am shrieking he thought Sticky was dead. I leapt to my feet, raced downstairs half asleep, missed the last few steps and knocked my arm out of its socket on the door jamb. I was sick on the floor from the pain and Steve had to come down, avoid the sick, push it back into its socket, ice me up and clear up. All under the watchful gaze of a bemused lizard who’d been enjoying a nice nap.

I’ve been on full strength drugs all week and quite enjoyed the cotton wool cloud feeling. I know I can’t let it go on too long though so have brought my dosages down which has resulted in a bit of evening snappiness.

I think the kids were quite glad to go to bed tonight and I’m sure Steve would’ve liked to have joined them. Too bad beardie – we’ve got rucksacks to fill…

I think the blossom will be over by the time we’re home again. The plum-tree was frothy with white flower frills today but the liquid green leaves are overtaking it. There’s very little on the apple tree this year but the crab apple is covered in deep pink buds. I hope there’s some left on Thursday these crimson lake edged petals are thrilling.

The peony’s first bud is showing as well – I can NOT wait! I do love my  blowsy ephemeral peonies so much.

I’ve bought a phone to go away with as well. The cheapest I can find which is ten pounds.

TEN POUNDS. Honestly – I feel ludicrously old. How can a mobile phone – okay it’s hardly flashy – but it’s perfectly functional – be £10 and a stamp  is now 60p. Or a Snickers bar which is, in my mind, about 27p be 89p!! I nearly drop my purse everytime I’m conned into chocolate bar purchasing in our corner shop BUT a phone – a mobile, walking around, put it in my pocket, startrek future, phone is TEN POUNDS.

It all seems wrong. Is this because I’m old?

Anyway I’ve finally mastered how to answer it and we’ve uncovered our oyster cards. I’ve tracked down enough clean socks and hole less pants in case of road accidents for us all. We have toothbrushes and new paste. I’m having a minty fresh break from the salty stuff. Ida is over her horror at being presented with a tube of Hungry Caterpillar stuff. I thought she’d be pleased, she thought I was a monsterous, caterpillar grinding ogre. Surely this is all we need?

Look out Big City…

End of term and a pep talk

Easter is nearly upon us, how the hell did that come round so quickly?

Today is the last day of term which means a 2pm pick up. Now I have never actually forgotten to pick him up. Although I’ve had a couple of oh christ – I nearly forgot – quick!  out the door and run moments. For some reason these memories make me jumpy and I keep checking my watch and skipping from task to task making more muddles.

This morning we watched the screening of the Bollywood film Zeph and his year group have been working on all term. All their teachers had dressed up, they had chairs set out like a cinema and cups of popcorn. At the end they gave out Oscars. It was not without technical hitches but loud, exciting and joyful. Exactly how I think school should be. I came away hugely cheered and Ida hopped and jigged all the way home.

She can’t wait to go to school and I have to retrieve her from the going in line in the mornings. Very different to my school experience and long may it last.

Unsurprisingly the morning back here has been a bit flat – especially since I’ve tried to impose a little order. Not something you would glean from a quick glance. I’ve been reading a friends flylady progress and feeling the need to return to some of those structures. I’ve talked about my attitude to chores and tidying many times before and without being picky I can see the need for a bit of decluttering and imposing some system scaffolds in my jumbled corners.

I need to stop procrastinating and start a bit of doing. I managed to pull my arm out of its socket recently so am waiting for a bit of healing and keep telling myself that after that I’m going to GET DOWN TO IT!

Steve’s got some time off over easter so you’d think it’d be the perfect time but it’s so tempting to play hooky. We’re going to see a friend as well and do some big city stuff and that’s all MUCH more appealing. Although I know some DIYing and order solutions would have a much bigger day-to-day impact on my life.

It’s too easy to let the small inner voice tell you you’re lazy. Often I feel like an observer in my life instead of actually inhabiting my body. In these gray leaden days I anchor myself with the children. Playing, reading to them, cuddling in bed – singing songs and idly spinning stories. Everything else loses focus and importance.

As I feel less miserable and more hopeful I think I’m too quick to write all that stuff off. It seems like time-wasting when I could have done work that left a physical mark. Finally feeling clear-sighted enough to look around at what needs doing – it’s far too easy to slip back into the habit of castigating myself for doing nothing.

Bolstered my Rachel (my therapist and she has a certificate so is surely worth listening to?) I decide to be a bit kinder to myself.

Getting through the days is hard work. Remaining emotionally connected is hard work. Well done Laura, bloody well done to all of us who get to school, cook tea, do bathtime and bedtime or even leave the house whilst wrapped in a soul numbing blanket of misery. Fecking brilliant people who manage everyday fighting a rushing tide of physical pain. Two fingers up to anyone who thinks you haven’t accomplished much in your day. You’re still breathing at the end of the day aren’t you? Then it’s a SUCCESS. Whoop whoop and maracas, flash of gold and a big flourish. Well done all of us broken vessels.

Just the easy stuff to do now.

This and that.

So Mothers day has come and gone. It’s pretty low-key in this house but very happy and loving which is just the way I prefer it.

I had two mysterious homemade cards – Ida’s was full of her impenetrable writing which she importantly read out to me sitting on my chest at about 7am. It was full of have a loverleee day and I love my mumma but also a short discourse on woodlice and sausages. Zeph’s was in the shape of a butterfly, (that’s passed through a jet engine,) and although easier to read seemed to be congratulating me on having a son like Zeph. His logic had led him to the conclusion since his arrival had made me a mother it was in fact him who deserved recognition and thanks.

I genuinely fear for him, as a political career seems more and more likely.

I also got a pile of books and an opportunity to read some as all meal responsibility was removed from me for the day…(leftovers for lunch and a takeaway for tea – excellent kitchen action guys.)

During the course of a standard chaotic and haphazard sunday several things drifted through my mind, hasn’t the commercial emphasis on the day stepped up over recent years? Surely it puts lots of extra pressure on children missing a mum in their family set up and everyone who’s lost their mum – and all the mums mourning a child and the many women desperately trying to become mothers.

In the face of all this heavy emotion it seems painfully flippant that when Steve asked if I’d like to do anything for Mothers day the first thing that sprang to mind was some time on my own. Sans children for a few hours.

Oh the irony.

Part of my living in the moment plans include speaking my feelings more often and I feel reminded to do that – everyday and not just one a year.

I’m not sure either Zeph or Ida need encouragement to speak their feelings. To be honest at the end of every long day I wonder how it would be to hear a bit less of them .

In the usual attempt to beat back the madness we’ve been making stuff; cakes, 

parrots,

 

They are the fault of this,

Bane of my life.

Mind, it’s a great book. We’ve got several different types and I’m always glad when they turn up in wrapping paper and generally – pleased in the theory of them.

My problem comes when I try to convince the kids they’re a starting off point to making something and that it doesn’t matter when, due to material differences or lack of skill on my part or, swinging the other way, over-enthusiasm in a certain area, means the finished result doesn’t look a lot like the picture.

It enrages them. They feel cheated and let down. It leads to rancour. As though we needed any more of that.

It’s also the school spring fair this weekend and being a bit early for seedlings for the plant stall we’ve made these plant pots instead. Ida helped me transplant our plants into them today and there is still compost everywhere. It was only as we finished I wondered why we hadn’t done it outside. Ah well.

The finished pots look very cheerful in the colours of sugared almonds. Here’s hoping someone shows up to buy them. The last one wasn’t hugely well attended. I’m always impressed by the teachers ability to keep forging on enthusiastically in the face of apathy. I’ve done my part in begging my Mum and Dad to bring the kids while I man a stall so they’ll probably account for a big part of the take being totally unable to withstand the pleading eyes of the kids.

Do you know I started writing this on Tuesday and it is now, although only barely ten minutes in, Saturday. What has happened to my umph?

In other breaking news I’m flexing my embracing change muscles by trying a new toothpaste.

It’s salty. And brownish red. Every morning it reminds me of a slug. To be honest it’s not going well. Toothpaste shouldn’t be salty – should it?

Things to do with spaghetti and sausages

I refuse to slope off to bed yet again without managing a post.

There’s lots of stuff jumbling around in my head but it never seems to make it to the blank white screen. And, just as in the morning you’re left with a few tattered fragments of a hard nights dreaming,  now I’m here – the pithy and witty thoughts have fled.

It matters not as I’ve something really special to share from a lunchtime adventure. Weeks ago on a vomiting tour of Bristol I bought Ida a magazine from the Arnolfini bookshop. It’s called Okido and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It has held her attention much longer than many other things and I was charmed by the style and quality of it. Each edition is themed and this particular one was habitat – a word which I presently hear quite a lot of. Don’t get me wrong – I am glad, just a little weary…

Anyway one of the pages had this suggestion for construction play and I have been nagged to the edge of my, already perilous, sanity. Today I succumbed.

 

Try not to notice the playdough fingernails. We did wash our hands, honest to Mab.

Yes  – what we’re looking at here is building things with frankfurters and raw spaghetti. You can use vege sausages, they need to be hotdog style ones, whichever you pick.

 

 

I mean, I knew she’d enjoy it but who knew I’d get such a kick out of it as well?  

 They did end up more like odd DNA models than anything an architect would recognise..unless they’d trained at the Dr Seuss academy.

 It was the most joyful hour I can remember for a while. Turns out Ida knows what a tripod is and can construct one, how did that happen?

Then, once our creating thirst was quenched, we tipped the lot into a pan of boiling water.

 Do avert your eyes from the squalor. My kitchen floor is a flylady hotspot of ginormous proportions.

A scant eight minutes in the pan and DA DAAAAA

 I really feel I can’t fully convey the satisfaction in eating the deconstructed structures. I’m laughing to myself again at how much I enjoyed that bowlful. I can only urge you, with the zeal of a new convert, to go forth and build then eat your own sausage spaghetti wonder.

 

Writing Workshop – Picture Walking

Why am I here? I have forgotten. My head is full of cotton wool, the sounds of the world around me muffled and far away as though I’m wobbling my uncertain backstroke down the big Barton pool, eyes fixed on the pockmarked concrete ceiling.

Her skirts draw me closer and catch my eye. Oh they are lovely, purple rustling taffeta and silk that begs to be stroked and slipped through fingers. They whisper as the wind tosses them and slither invitingly. Flap flap like the sheets on the line on drying day and I wonder if I could hide in there.

Diffidently I raise my eyes up the length of her body. She is taut and fully stretched. She doesn’t look at me, her luminous eyes fixed firmly upon the horizon but I feel her gentle welcome. Quickly child a soft voice writes on my heart.

Like a minnow or a sly puff of wind I dart into the amethyst folds. Gently, kindly, the fabric caresses my sore skin. Like mothwings it wraps around me, insubstantial as cobwebs but I feel as safe as though stone walls lie between me and the real world which tumbles on – somewhere else – around a corner. Out of sight.

Wriggling so my head lies on the pillowy warmth of her thigh, I look down the strength and length of her arm, twisted as a steel rope, to see what keeps my azure lady pinned to the ground. At the end of her satiny sleeve is a knot of flesh. A grinning demon has her held fast. His eyes flash maliciously at me sheltering in the lady’s petticoats. Ha ha, he laughs – do you think you are safe?

Look at me. I am the irresistible centre of the world. The black thrusting tower at the centre of everything. I am the unavoidable pinion, the scaffold to the events that unfold. And you, little thistledown seed, you cannot escape. The world is still happening to you Laura, even if you don’t look at it. 

Dark man with your lips beaded with blood. I do not see you man. I look up at the soft sky. I feel the silk on my skin. I see the endless lilac cloud and then the soft cloud behind that and further back I see the stars.

Hot white, blazing blue, burning yellow they trace time across the abyss. Always moving, tracing beginning and ends they turn endlessly. Giant, ponderous uncaring. They do not see us in their stately progress. Inexorable they move like the sea. Immutable, unconstrained. Unknowable.

I feel the lady’s tremble of laughter in her flesh. She knows too. She knows. I nuzzle my face into the milky white, blue-veined strength of her thigh. We will be the stars she and I. We will be the wind and the high wisps of cloud. We will be the delicate unfurling new leaves and the eroded brown skeletons, lifting from the autumn bonfire on a line of smoke in a wintery gust.

Look, look he says, I have laid out love for you on a cloth on the green green grass. Wine in a flask from the end of the world, iced cakes, sweetmeats laced with endearments. We can while away our lives here. Sweet in the dappled shade of the tree. I would hold you, shape you, love you.

Bang bang on my flesh, sharp insistent talons from the real world. Back there in the distance they scratch at my side. Shaking my head to dislodge their insistent gnat-like whine I look up. Up the sleek stretch of her to the resolute pale face with blooms set in black curled hair. She is so sure and beautiful. Lady, lady I cry with my eyes. Why are we still here? How can we be free?

Show me how to leave the sharp hard earth? Show me how to be free and safe for always in the billowing sky? I look down again at the tangled hands. Lady you are holding him as much as he holds you. You are leaning on his outstretched hand.

Now the fortress of silk doesn’t seems as secure as it once did. Lady are you not here to save me? Now I see a flicker round her eyes. Is it sadness and regret or just a speck of pollen from the sweet-smelling blossom? But she does not answer. She does not let go of his hand. The smiling wolfish man with the polished pleasing face and the burning eyes.  We do not fly away to safety.

Breathe, breathe the fronds of silk whisper against my hair. Wait, wait the wind plays on the china blue leaves. Not long, not long her stiff curls jangle. I will not save you sweetling says the resolute set of her spine, her muscles corded ropes of strength – waiting. Soon soon I will fly away and save myself.

Watch me, watch me.

Watch me darling and learn.

So for now I feel the breeze lick my face and cool the wet salty lines on my cheek. I breathe in the clean smell of her skirts like fresh bread and lavender. Consolingly her skirt tickles my back. It colludes in my hiding from the noise back there. The hot burning spit of it.

Breathe breathe until the world calls me unavoidably back. The lady will soon be gone, free from her laughing determined devil.

But the stars still wait behind the veil of cloud.

I joined in with Josie’s Writing Workshop prompt this week over on Sleep is for the Weak. As usual there’s a wealth of wonderful writing there – do hop over and have a browse.

Beautiful Things on a cold day

Brrrrrr – it is freezing here today! So much for a thrifty fuel bill winter… The kids are in the grip of coughs and colds and I’m in a truly miserable funk.

Lovely.

So here’s a picture of Mittens our slightly aloof cat.

She loves Steve best and really views the rest of us as impediments to her access to him. She’s not a huggy kind of cat but has been surprisingly tolerant of Ida, especially since she’s willing to share scraps of chicken and fish surreptitiously at the dinner table.

I think she has the most beautiful whiskers.

I’ve read a lot of other people floundering around in post New Year gloom which makes me feel less alone. Certain recent events have prompted a bit of navel gazing and self-analysis. Enough for me to book some appointments with my therapist.

The last few days of administering cuddles under duvets, putting Bagpuss and Totoro in the DVD player on demand, wiping noses and making endless rosehip syrup hot drinks has left plenty of time for introspection. Not always a bad thing and I feel though I’ve taken another step along a long road.

As usual plenty of Beautiful Things litter my path;

* It was MumandDad tea last night and we had a fish extravaganza – which included these very exciting razor clams which were in an irresistable paper bundle at the fish stall.

We could afford five which we cooked carefully like mussels and it turned out only Zeph and I liked them so we scoffed the lot! Huzzah!

He was charmed by the way they bubbled and hissed when we rinsed them and is now set on finding somewhere we can go and gather them ourselves. I find his interest and willingness to try new things really heartening. 

* All the coughing, wheezing and nose mopping aside there’s really nowhere nicer than on the sofa, between my darlings, under a cosy duvet, watching a bit of Studio Ghibli.

* I’m absorbed and pleased with working out some animal masks for a possible order. I have some fairs booked and am also building some stocks up for them. There is a pile of woolly felted purses slowly growing. Recently I felted a grey cashmere charity shop find and can’t resist stroking its luxurious smoothness every time I pass the pieces stacked by my sewingbox waiting to be transformed.  

* I noticed I was talking myself out of an opportunity lately. It was very I can’t-ish hidden under a sensible rationalisation. I want to stop internally running myself down – and it’s all too easy to slip back into the habit. Whilst not wishing to turn into a self-help cliché I really resolve to stop building my own barriers. Although this is balanced with recent events reminding me to keep my boundaries in place.

* Exhausting all this therapy mumbo- jumbo eh? Luckily snot and howled requests for hot drinks don’t let me wallow too long.

* On the walk to school this morning it was sooo cold my toes ached but  so glimmery- the whitebright sun dazzled us every step of the way. All my dusty corners feel illuminated. It is gloriously invigorating.