Monthly Archives: September 2012

Burn it! Burn it all! Burn it I say!


There’s too much stuff in this house. Or we need a bigger house.

Stuff. It’s definitely stuff. Three bedrooms, three people…and we all sleep in one bed anyway.

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s stuff. Daisy’s stuff. My stuff. Paul’s stuff.

Lots of walks out, keeping busy, creating and cooking, that usually helps me through the ‘for fucks sake, burn it all! Let’s live like C15 monks! Beeswax! We need LOTS of beeswax’ stage of the year.

Like I say, October’s traditionally a time of mania for me. Not real, bi-polar mania, just a strange antzyness, an odd feeling of distant upset, gathering clouds and reflection.

Am I a good mum? Am I? Should I throw away the telly and live in a teepee? Should Daisy ditch the toys and have instead a creative-mind creating expressionless doll and a grubby bit of sheep’s wool to play with? Should I be crafting her clothes from hessian?

Is her bubble bath giving her cancer? Do I feed her the right things? Is it right that a 22m old can count?

For answers to these and other important questions, join me for cocktails at 8…



How did my baby grow so big?
One sure foot in front of the other
Looking for squirrels
“They are skittering! Hiding their nuts!”
Striding ahead on our autumn walk
In the same big park
Where we lost her baby gloves

I was more upset losing those gloves than was rational
They had flown off her hands
With the duck-bread
Two tiny pink dots on the iced lake
I suppose they’re still there, in the murky gloom of the lake floor
A bright fleecy fish-cave

It seems an age ago now,
I’m shocked to count it’s less than a year
That’s all the time it’s taken for her to become a little girl
Who knows all about squirrels

I’m sure there’ll be other tiny gloves
On other tiny hands
But right now
My determined daughter shines
She’s a blinding apparition,
A miraculous gift from a generous Mother Earth.

Marriage of Manners


Pondering in an autumnal way
Our marriage,
I wonder what it looks like
From the outside in

Sometimes we talk through Daisy
Both conserving energy to take care of her
The best we can do
When we’re tired, it’s cold, we’re poor, it’s raining

But don’t be fooled
Behind these wearily barked instructions
Lies a mutual understanding
About what constitutes love;
And what you do with love
Once you’ve found it

And that is: You never let it go.



We’re tired, we’ve not much money,
She’s been ill & we’ve lost the tax disc…
It’s been the week from hell
But just now we’re walking in the Saturday morning sun
She’s in the buggy
Being perambulated like George V

Town is empty, it’s all ours!
Frosty sunshine has repaired the recession-hit shops,
Just for us, just for today, they sparkle
We buy a pirate ship from Cancer Research, £3
And three Gingerbread Men, £1
She holds one aloft in triumph
And I think, ‘Its the small things’

He reaches for my hand, and his warm fingers wrap around my cold ones
We kiss in the street, still in love
It’s suddenly Autumn,
And everything’ll come right, you’ll see.

Teenage Kicks


Out and about in Manchester, Sunday. Sunny and chilled, the centre looks a little worn from the previous night’s offerings of saturday night sick, but otherwise the wide-boulevard victorian glamour city I’ve always loved. This town is like a second home to me- although I’ve never lived here. But I’ve lived it through the emotional and familial landscapes of my parents and their ancestors. On Deansgate, I see my mum in her 60’s garb, St Ann’s square is reminiscent of my Grandma’s shopping sprees. It’s a Manchester at war as my Gran knew it; the Methodist piety of my paternal Grandmother; of my dad’s drainpipe pants and capstan full strengths.

For me, I suppose, it’s Hobbs and Kendals (now House of Fraser), Chanel counters, GAP, Russell and Bromley, and the forlorn Arndale Centre.

It’s a special place that the three of us- sisters and mother- come to get in touch with the real world as opposed to the backwaters, and there is something about the town that is edgy, trendy and wealthy, despite what people’s preconceptions might be. People forget what a hub of the arts it is- comedy, writing, music, art.

It’s much smarter than Leeds, but has a more secretive air than Liverpool. I feel safe there, although I can’t think why I should especially; perhaps it’s nearly two decades of shopping there…or two centuries of my family shopping there? Manchester and me, we’ve got History.



Time to say goodbye for now,
Daisy knew she was leaving this time,
And clung on with her small, strong arms
Flung around her Ganny’s neck

And in my daughter’s crying, I found some strength
From somewhere deep
“Lets us make biscuits, my special good girl!”,
Shapes cut and baked until golden brown

We shared one, butterfly shaped and sweetly delicious
They tasted all the better
For my salty tears,
That fell in with the flour.