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Mama, gardener, teacher, photographer, faffer with paint and colour

Saturday, 29 August 2015


Peach


That summer
we pushed each other off pavements. 
a lot.
denim jackets -our shield against all that wasn’t us
yelling our boredom in the park

swearing loudly in the bus station
(me blushing at the furious mum skirted by her children)

walking the streets
sitting on walls
larking about
friendship
desire 
longing
waiting
confusion

i wanted him
he wanted her

we punched each other’s arms
laughing in pain

he called me a peach

i beamed 
soft skin 
smelling warm
summer ripe

later 
i realised he meant
i bruised easily.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Too Much Too Young

This was written for a friend about her mum, she has allowed me to post it here in the hope that it may help others understand.


Too Much Too Young

She beams, says hello and asks how I am, remarks what a lovely place and then says

I think I have been here before
yes I am sure I have.
I try to remember if she had visited before when my daughter was little maybe,
I don’t think so

She says wistfully
I think it was last week.

The first flicker in me of knowing
this is it
this is where it goes wrong

She looks tired,
really tired
Like each moment is lived a thousand times
Trapped in her own thoughts
Not knowing where the door is to get out
or even what door she is looking for, or how she got there anyhow.

Its ok that first moment, not as awkward as I had imagined

with a lurch

we talk about a family that she knows who may have brought her there last week do I know them?
I say I don’t but that lots of these big granite houses look the same around here.

She falls on her sandwich like she hasn’t eaten in a good while.
There is a deliberateness when she eats.Both hands on the sandwich.
Casual, carefree are not words that she will own now.


A smaller bird than she used to be,
she used to be wiry and brown and light
going to far away places, adventures
a strong migrating bird
searching for sun
Now she is littler
ruffled
the winter bird that stayed at home
I want to protect her

Her daughter passes out the wrapped sandwiches to the hungry kids and the quiet mum.

We laugh and talk about sandwiches being so much better they are when someone else makes them for you. If only she was able to make her own picnic
choose which bread, which filling, shop for herself,
prepare and plan. Pack.Gather her belongings.Walk out the door car keys in hand. Meet you there.

Her freedom has gone

now and then a spark of chat about her flat
or laughing about still being a mum as well as a grannie
and I am fooled
until she asks
don’t you remember me ?
The hole in the ground yawns wide.

She is too cruelly young for this.
Cycles of words that wrap around and around. Mother and daughter
ask and answer, ask and answer
Patience, a kind that has been used for a long time.

She asks me how long I have lived there and then a few lines later asked how long I had lived there and suddenly
Did I just ask you that already? A hesitancy, an awareness.
The veil is nearly pulled away
A glimpse and then gone
The filter stubbornly remains.

I show her the place on the river where I saw an otter,
thinking in her travels, her walking, that she would like that.
The wistful look flickers on her face and she quickly says
Oh yes I saw an otter too, I’m not sure where it was now...

Later I hug her goodbye
giving all my love in that hug
I am a little girl grown now but she has no memory of me
I hug her just as a person in that moment
no past
just love
futilely whispering,
take care.

Friday, 21 August 2015

A dare poem.


The Heron

Down the boot strewn stairs 
behind the usual melee of dogs eager to exit 
falling over the stuff we would have in our porch 
if we had a porch.
We spew out into the late Sunday afternoon.
A single welly bumps all the way down to rest on the last stair.

The air is cool and fresh
ahead the dogs run 
scampering wildly, guessing which way we will go.

I have nothing left in me.
Answered, nurtured, argued, 
reassured, explained.
Spent.
I am done.
Undone.

A walking piece of taxidermy.
I have a mother’s skin. 
Insides stuffed with love and should and need to, 
guilt, more love,
held in with coping, 
bound with responsibilty.
Colours faded like butterfly dust,
music on mute.
My stitches are pulling.

I need to remember what used to be inside.

Breathe out.
Breathe in.
Breathe out...

I walk along the leat
rich guinness brown
churning
swirling fast
rushing to join the river again,
leaves circling, surfacing,
diving.

The left over rain 
tap
tap 
taps the leaves. 
Bouncing droplets.
Washed clean, the green beechwood glistens in the new sun.


Suddenly a heron rises from the river.
Pulling itself upward with a slow hard won grace
It seems huge, this creature.
It has nothing to do with me.
It is awesome and free.
It is wild.

Unbidden into my head 
hysterical laughing relief, all I can think is
Thank fuck, I don’t have to feed the heron.


Monday, 12 May 2014

Hedgerows and freedom.


I left the house with a with a bit of food, some water and my dog. Oh, and a plastic dinasour in my pocket.  And some secateurs in my bag that I forgot were in there but you get the general picture..... Fairly unencumbered for me. No spare clothing, wellies, or coats for a young missy, no tools or mammoth food supplies.




The day was wild and windy. My favourite kind of day.


Passing a fellow parent in his car on the way to take his son swimming, to sit in the fugg and echo of the pool. He was happy for me to be out on a walk, camera in hand and was just a bit jealous. I felt free and lucky walking on, blown around the lane. Woo hoo, bring it on wild wind!








This Copper Beach turns from green to its final deep copper.The leaves are damp, unfurling and fragile, like new butterflies. Soon they will dry and strengthen and be rich and rare amongst the green.




The hedgerows are bountiful, with Green Alkanet, 
( a confusing flower to teach little ones as the flower is actually blue).




Greater Stitchwort, delicate and simple.



The Red Campion flower reminds me of my grandad. The last time I saw him I was about ten maybe, he was in hospital dying of cancer and not always making sense. Just before I left he said, "You always knew what they were called...... 'Red Campion', you said". 
 I was happy that he made sense at least when speaking to me for the last time and chuffed that he was thinking of what we shared. He taught me lots of bird names too and use to cut out a weekly bird column from the paper and send it to me from Yorkshire. I collected them and put them in a scrapbook. I think he would be happy for me now in this rural paradise. Flowers in May at every step and birdsong to make my heart glad.




Wandering on through rain showers and bursts of hot drying sun.


This is Stiniel common. We lived a few fields away from here many moons ago, built the frame for our yurt and slept under the stars in a place called Little Field.Whilst building the yurt we lived with a slightly crazy old man who hadn't hoovered his house since the 60's and who bathed late at night but we never ever heard him get out of the bath. 


I had a great encounter with a fox on this common those many years ago. I could hear the awful cry of the hunt nearby and looked up from my walk to the hill opposite the common. A beautiful fox was also walking and we both stopped and stared. Eventually I sat down on a rock to watch him and he sat down on his hill.We both looked at each other for what seemed like an age, the hunting horns calling all the while. I spoke to him in my head and hoped he got home safely, cursing the sound and the intention of the other humans. He wasn't in any hurry and didn't seem to share my stress.He was truly fantastic.

I also fell over a hare just near here. As you do. Freaked me right out, for a second I thought it was a child or a dog then a deer and finally realised I had disturbed a sound asleep hare. It was much bigger than I had imagined and a much treasured sight by me. 
Anyway they are stories from another time.....but I am glad to be back in this place.





Down the hill now, nearly there.The road is full of pothpoles, (there is no recession), and running with a spring that really does spring eternal. It's a hill that makes you clomp loudly or your bike breaks squeak if you are Daisy. Nestled beyond our land is Stiniel, first listed in 1224 as Stenenhalle which means Stone hall. Our field has always been a farming field until the last 5 years or more when it was left to grow wilder with the fox and deer.




A gate at last for our field, as the last one was ...well...




not quite doing its job. Mmm a stone wall job to put on the list.

So this is where we are beginning now, clearing years of brambley scrub, and sowing new grass where the brambles were, letting light into the old coppice and seeing bluebells appear again. 








 There are 4 sticks near Rosie dog which are invisible to you, that mark a building to be, that will house the future goats + grazing ponies, that already have many names. Fingers crossed and all that. 




Psyched is the word of the moment.



I hope May is full of beauty for you xxx







Sunday, 24 November 2013

Spectrum

It's been a long, long while. Nearly a whole year since I wrote anything on this blog. So long in fact that I have spent the last half an hour battling to find my way here, trying old passwords in vain and being asked cunning questions by Google like, "When was the last time you logged on to your blog?"Aaagh- I don't bloody know do I. Anyway, panic over that I had lost myself in the ether net. One additional digit and here I am again.

The photos and ramblings stopped for a while and I am hesitant to begin again.... This year has been a contradiction of conflict and understanding.Our daughter was finally diagnosed with Asperger's in July. I could not write for anger and frustration, for doubt and exhaustion, for needing to read anything I could find to understand and writing the worst about our child so as to be believed ( I wouldn't recommend that).  I  spun around in turmoil with the amount of people that would tell me how "normal" my child was when I was crying out to say "I need to tell you.This isn't right". So it was easier to catch my voice in my throat, unless I was sure I was believed.Thankfully some people did believe us.

It felt a betrayal to write about my beautiful lovely daughter and our daily struggles and still does.Would I want someone to write about me without my knowing, pretty sure not! So here I am, not sure where to go now with this blog. I have never been one for chit chat when I have fire and passion raging and I don't think a whole blog on my old dog going senile is really going to fulfill me or you dearest reader...(though please if anyone wants to hear about endless trips to open the front door at night and trying to turn a chubby old dog away from the wall she is barking at please feel free to contact me.)

I digress.

On the day that we had the results of our daughter's assessment we took her for her usual riding lesson.The conversation turned to passions and our daughter talked about loving the Harry Potter books ( currently on the fourth time of reading the whole series ). Her riding teacher clearly has a big passion for horses and she looked at me with her shiny smiley eyes, knowing nothing about me and seeing me every week and simply asked "What's your passion?". I felt like there should be a big space that I could run into, my passion flying like a banner, but there was only empty exhaustion and somehow I said a little hysterically, "I don't remember". And I really laughably couldn't. Drama aside, it took me a couple of weeks to remember.



Today for the first time in an age I took my camera and went with my daughter into the late autumn sun. The early morning transformed by the heavy frost.We looked at our familiar landscape anew. She with her camera, me with mine.This is the way I saw it :)































































xxx

See you here or there or somewhere.
























Thursday, 3 January 2013

Waves and where does it all begin?


We decided to get away from our riverside dwelling for a few days before Christmas.We left behind the sounds of the workmen at the big house next to us, manouvered past the ten or so work vans, mud spoil heaps, needy hydro, left behind our dogs who were sulking a little and went to Cornwall. I longed for some sea air, to be fed, to be surrounded by something other than the work we do and to generally be free from most of our responsibilities.

This is Mousehole pronounced like Mowzel. It is a tiny pretty fishing village with winding alleyways that lead to traditional Cornish cottages, steps with pots and gardens, courtyards, and a handful of galleries. It seemed very quiet and private so I stopped taking photos of the streets, reminded of taking photos of a decorative house in a medieval village in France when someone chucked water out of an upstairs window onto the street below with an annoyed glare.No slop lobbing in Mousehole which seemed much friendlier but you will have to visit yourself to see what I mean!



We had a sea view from our room at Old Coastguard Hotel and watched the waves crashing on a small island in front, called St Clements Isle. Gulls wheeling and calling and being blown in the mizzle and wind. Daisy set up her toys on the low down window ledge and wedged herself between her "dangerous" z bed and the view and played.The Barbies and Ken seemed happy with their room.


Someone told us of a good beach.This is Sennen cove further around the end of our isle on the atlantic coast. I love Cornwall in the winter, devoid of summer tat, icecreams and windbreaks, litter and disappointed people wishing it was sunny.Winter on the beach was wrapped up dog walkers, bobble hats and red faced babies in backpacks, a brave or nutty kayaker, me loving the wind, breathing in the spray and salt, and really getting into the unashamed greyness and beauty of it all.




Daisy had fun in the amazing velvety soft sand and relished bare feet being buried in the coolness and then followed up with the obligatory footballer's dive.



A good beach for leaping off rocks and sliding down and clambering up avalanche sand banks.













Meanwhile I am looking at the rocks, zig zags and swirls, fracturing.



Staring at the waves, curling and breaking. Bliss.

Later we go to the very end of our isle, luckily bereft of summers crowds. There is an exceptionally gaudy King Arthur's theme park and tourist shops, all closed, looking like a Mike Leigh film set. Hooray we have Lands End to ourselves, apart from two elderly women walkers chasing a stray plastic bag whipping faster than them across the car park and a young couple diligently paying at the meter surrounded by acres of empty lots.



So here we are at the end of our island, well the south westerly part of it anyway. I had my photo taken here many years ago as a kid and just felt compelled to take one of Daisy. Bit kind of weird that it is 3147 somethings to New York, especially as someone spends all summer taking photos to sell to tourists here!  A sign begging to be graffitied if ever I saw one. It reminds me so much of photos of my childhood in the 70's, a typical holiday album shot. Sometimes they just need a little more colour....




Then home for Christmas. The river has been smiling at us.



As for new year I have no affinity with the usual celebrations, I have always found it surreal and  felt a fake because I didn't really feel like I was celebrating anything. So this is my beginning of the year.....You have to look carefully because I looked yesterday and I couldn't see them, but today, as I was clearing back the leaves from a bed of heathers, they were there. Hidden or curling up from the earth.Winter Aconites -the first signs of new growth here. It makes my gardening heart glad. Spring is on its way whatever winter still has to give us.xxx

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Copper and ice.



Orange canopy above, leaf fall below, eyes half closed in pale sunlight, autumn was on fire.



Our footsteps and paws pace out the trees along our walks.Beech, hazel, sycamore, oak, ash.....the colours change from lime green to yellow, red and copper. As they are walked back into the earth they all become brown, lose their shape and colour until they ARE the mud.



I need to remember to look at familiar views with fresh eyes, lift my head up and stare.This is where I am lucky to live. 
This colour will be short lived until the next rain or wind. 


Young pup Rosie runs ahead scampering in the leaves, old Jessie dog relies on her nose more these days, eyes and ears starting to play tricks on her.This path was recently covered in hardcore and looked awful, luckily a bed of beech leaves have now disguised it.


These beech trees are solid sentinels, they have such still  awesome power when you walk through them. They root you. I wanted to bring my parents here before the leaves came down.Too late! That night the wind and rain came and stayed around for a while

At home during one of the prolonged days of wind and rain another massive limb of our favourite beech tree came down.



It must have made an awesome crash.Somehow, for the second time, it politely left the fence below intact, jacknifing over it.


This is the extent of the fall, the beginnings of the cutting and clearing by Ashley.
One of my jobs has been to clear and stack the smaller bits of the wood, it is my favourite job I have ever done I think! 



I get toasty and warm doing it, it is good exercise and it is quiet and beautiful and I even have silent companions! ( Ashley too sometimes)





A sudden turn from autumn towards winter. Heavy frosts. Pink mornings. Blue skies.White ground.





Not long until Winter Solstice and Winter has arrived breathless and late!

Stay cosyxxx