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New Growth

It’s only natural to feel blue, surrounded by people and still alone, showing your smile, but hiding woe, life seeming steady, and yet the ups and downs unsettle you.  Everyone has felt this, at some point.  It doesn’t mean endless suffering is yours, but only a spell, a dark cloud passing over, tears from the sky in an isolated shower.  It’s a phase, it’s a thought, it’s a criticism, a row, an illness, a life not really lived.  It can be a forest full of niggles, a stem full of memories, regret, damnation.  Any of those things.  It stands to reason, so many, as people are made up of many different things.  The traits are endless.  Shy, retiring, bold, assertive, intelligent, artistic, spurious, curious, furious.  Yeah, I know, furious is an emotion more than a trait, but you do get people who are permanently furious.  Does that not then become a trait?

And of course, the spurious, well is that a trait, or is that something one becomes by will, for a variety of reasons.  You have the ones that fake their profile picture, for vanity, the ones who fake a passport, an identity, the ones who send out scams to the world, out of greed, and power, the ones who fake orgasm, laughter, coughing, the ones who once put fake coins into parking meters, (impossible now), the ones who wear fake designer, jewellery, the ones who fake their death, their life, the fake smile, the fake friendship, fake love. 

I’m not sure you can fake love, like you can’t fake dislike, hate, but then one of my traits is acceptance.  Another is obsessive.  Being obsessive can sometimes make one blue.  At those times of blue, of grey, the dark reeds, when one appears scared of death and yet calls on it from their loneliness, life can seem impossibly hard.  Throw it off, take off.  Retract, pound the ground around, and find somewhere to reflect, to gain back equilibrium.  Scan the clouds sailing past, and forget the world beneath.      

I once felt detached from my home town.  I worked out of town and I socialised out of town, could be blue out of town too.  I spent more of my life out of my town than in it.  Things changed.  Early retirement was my decision.  I’d have more time to help my ageing mum, to mind my grandsons, and I could become a writer.  I did the ones closest to my level of attainment, and attempted to better myself in the other.  I enrolled in a Creative Writing Course, out of town.  I retained my link and my affection for the city.  Then two years later the pandemic hit us.  Grief struck with stiff unrelenting fingers.  I felt a sense of loneliness, like an island battered by stormy seas, worry, anxiousness, unhappiness a little more than blue. 

The one thing I could do during those times was walk, and I trudged around my town.  No more clippity clop, it was now thud, thud thud, this way and that way, up hills, down hills, through trees, by ponds, by burns, by fields homing horses.  Ear bonnet wearing horses.  I smiled at the passer-by, often the fake one, smile that is, not the passer-by, spoke with the cows, and the sheep, no need for falsity here, and I tuned in my ears to the birds. 

Things are returning to how they were, but we’re not totally back to how we were.  Life goes in circles.  For example, the land I’d walked before the pandemic is different to the land after it.  Not so you would really notice, but if you look closely, you can see it.  There’s an isolated section, raised land, from the burn upwards, a pathway winding around it.  Here I noticed tiny conifers had taken root.  The smallest, most delicate of little trees.  Now, two years later they’re bigger still, become sturdier.  There are so many of them, I’m not sure they’re all going to fit when they turn into adult trees.  The land here has changed.  Slightly for now, but in a few years-time the thicket will be thicker, darker.  You won’t see the trees for the forest.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that our lives, like the lay of the land, will change from time to time, bringing green, rust, and blue.  There is nothing fake about nature, about the trees.  They, like us can have broken roots.  The trick is not to topple.         

Future Progression

‘Talk to me, I’m in charge here,’ they say.  ‘Oh ok.’  I take my eyes from the dark and look upon the face of wisdom.  ‘What are you looking for here?’  ‘I’ve lost my way and it was a choice between going up the hill or downhill.  I chose downhill,’ I say as I suddenly recall the house at the bottom of the hill.  It will be different to the others.  It will be different, like you.  Your house will become a haven where I will be torn between affection and reality.  You will never know this.  The reality mine, not yours.  ‘It’s just that there’s not many come by this way,’ they say, never taking their eyes from my soft stance, ‘but it’s very pleasant to have you stop by.  You say you’ve lost your way.  Is there any way I can help?’  ‘Not really.  I’m ok.  I lose myself all the time which is why I meet so many interesting creatures, leaders, just like yourself.’  I look diagonally across at the other edge of the field where a white horse grazes and I want to stroke it, but I can’t.  I mustn’t give rise to fright.  I turn back to look at the tendrils of hair surrounding them and think of your curls which I will come to touch, and the music that you will play.  Europe and America will come together, and never let go, and I will sing it inside my own ears for years to come.  I will look back on it with you and we will smile together, you relaxed and easy in yourself, me a taught sinew, sitting by you, a background fire raging, our bodies apart, our minds fused.  ‘Please don’t be scared of me,’ I say as they edge away, many eyes upon me.  ‘We have to be on our guard,’ they say, ‘there are many wolves around.  They try to trick us in their sheep clothing.  Not all is always as it seems.  Not everyone is genuine.’  I recall that I will lie with you, and that I do not know you, but you will prove to me that my lack of fear and the trust that I will have in you is deserved.  A Lesser Whitethroat flits by, laughs at us and then sits in the dry, crackling beech hedge bordering the field.  I see ahead in my mind, those leaves which are rust, magically transform into green.  I will need to wait two or three weeks to see it for real.  I will often as not be walking by beech hedges, you will walk by the grey and red of granite and brick, parallel lives, presently, before and after.  You will remember me as I will remember you, we’ll hear each other’s voices, I will hear the song that I go on to hear.  You will have another song to sing and I will sing no more.  My voice will be silenced, and I will not sing, I will not speak.  I’ll be lost.  ‘I’ve called for this little chap to help you,’ they say, turning towards the Lesser Whitethroat.  ‘He will take you to the path, and once you are on the path you must stay on it.  Do not let anyone move you from it.  You pass the castle station platform, you pass the overhead bridge, you pass the red brick house, once hidden by the trees but so many are down, and besides the ones that have remained rooted are bare as yet.  My friend will lead you, in his fluttering way, to the brook that bubbles endlessly, and the once forgotten pond.  He knows the way, and he says he knows you from the future.  He tells me he will be awakened by cries, and the hooting owl, and he will then know you.  He will lead you from the lost places.  Go with him,’ they say as they turn from me, edging forever further away.  ‘I will, and thank you,’ I say quietly, my voice and my footsteps hushed for fear of causing fright to fire up in the hearts of the meek.  ‘It was a delight to meet you and all your fellow creatures.’  The white horse at the far edge of the field nods before the Lesser Whitethroat takes off, flies back up the hill from where I’ve come and I move forward, to find myself.                                  

Double Four

The dominos are falling, one with two, three with four, or five with six, depending on the dots.  She sits on the edge, the cold, the distant, the floating cloud.  She is the double four, and she stands strong, doesn’t waver, her slim frame, streamlined, silent.  An ebony piece, warmly cool, touched by no one, no one touching her.  She stands aside from the rest and watches as the dark shapes fall, the chips are down, the one and one, the two and three, the much sought after double six, but there the double four is up, a strange one.  ‘I’m left wi the whore frae Leith.  I’m out,’ shouts the man in cap, through beer coated throat, hears she in her reminiscence.  She is party to a group of twenty-eight, has four dots either side of her face if you look at her horizontally, or four topside, four bottom looking er, what’s the word, er…standing up.  She’s still standing.  Perpendicular.  Some might say she’s not got a great grip on life, that she walks the thin line between sanity and insanity, but she’s not the one toppling in the rolling snake of tumblers.  There goes another.  Clickety click and they’re down.  Wait, that’s that other game.  That’s em, what do you call it…the one with two fat ladies, a man alive, legs eleven.  Legs eleven.  The whore frae Leith needs but two.  She’d give the game up for but one.  On saying that, her bottom is solidly stacked, and she’s still standing.  Another, another and another topples.  Knockety, knock, knock. knock, the three two hits the back of five four, her group, then the five four hits the back of double two, and they’re down, dots licking the ground, Bakelite backsides shiny and smooth peeping up at her, she the last man standing.  Double five is down, her fellow player the four and three is away, in a sad trail of fallen tablets, in interwoven defeat.  Sanctus dominus, she bows for his favour.  The circle of standing stones is no more, a bevy of tiles flat and scattered.  The double four shuffles on, in search of another game.        


A mangled thought was straightened at the sink, pressed through the rollers of the past, after a pitying self was dubbed and scrubbed, a foul mouth full of soap. 

Spangles, small squares of colour no longer sold, sucked into antiquity, and the penny chew pulls at sugar dipped rhubarb crunching teeth.   

Lasting memories in the mind of some, but not the young.

Our minors, the rays spearing the clouds, the sun indoors, the innocents, are saved from flying punishment, the blackboard dusters, the duster busters.  They will never hear or feel the crack of leather against their hand, will never need to scratch out words with chalk on slate, or sweep a chimney.

I’ll be round soon gran, I’m going on zoom, the text message says, then three smiley face emojis.  Will she ever groan like her grandmother does, on rising, or dance around the lavender polished piano, chopsticks beating time, or iron her towels and pants.  All fingers and thumbs granny texts back, a simple   Ok   no full stop.  She can’t find the full stop.    

If a child’s circulatory system is pressed out on a table, capillaries, veins, arteries and all, there would be a throbbing line 60,000 miles long, so says the Franklin Institute.  Her grandmother’s circulatory system is longer, stretched with age.  Does her grandmother’s heart still flutter like a butterfly or is it just angina?

Are landlines becoming a thing of the past, like outside toilets, Ceefax, smoking on aeroplanes, punctuation, steam trains, benevolence, lucky tatties?

She has the luck of the spiced coated lump contained in her grandmother’s lucky bag.  She has a heart that flutters with excitement, lips pouring laughter into the air, and a Woman’s Realm granny.              

She’s never seen a typewriter, a Dictaphone, an adding machine, a dummy waiter, never worn a real fox stole, or climbed a tree.    

Her grandmother must eat her dinner at 5 o’clock every night, wear a shower cap in the bath, change her corn pads regularly, wear her tights with bunion shaped sandals.  Bones don’t stretch with age, but they harden, the density of which is difficult to take.    

She learns that Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt.  255 to 138.  Her mummy won’t have it.  She experiences a pandemic.  Not the Spanish Flu, but a 21st century bug.  A killer, like war.  She should never experience war, but she sees the world is skating close to the edge of it.    

Her grandmother’s lined cheeks are pink with the heat, the heat of the busy mother of her mother.  The doorstep is wet, and soapy, the brass door knob shines, a sparkling letter box awaits correspondence.  A letter from America.  Communicating with others is optional, but talking soothes.  Her grandmother knows war, she knows sadness, death, and loneliness.         

Can a washing machine be a twin tub, a hosing in and a hosing out, a whirl and a twirl, all squeezed dry?  The pulley parries surfaces, dangles long-johns and corsets, secret clothing bared in the good clean air.

Mangled thoughts pressed out, rollers curl toes, rows and rows and rows of idiosyncrasies, the old and the young, ancestral sharing, energising, resurrecting, listening, caring. 

Nature’s Way

The sky is a thick grey blue, the sun shining through it from the east.  A blanket waiting to be thrown off, as the rays strengthen. Birds, the little ones, have been murmuring for two hours now, maybe more, my eyes wishing to stay closed, not to risk awakening my mind. The tree outside the window is still bare, thick arms, reducing to twiggy fingers the higher they rise.  Birds are hidden, by their colour, the same washed-out camel colour of their arbours.  One bird rattles out notes, like rapid machine fire, another two-toned tweets.  Is there danger around.  A cat perhaps, out for its morning institutional.  

All the little birds flit from branch to telephone wire, to guttering, back to tree.  Their energy is boundless, their movements fast.  Whereas the pigeon, plods around, low, keeping to the ground mostly, occasionally flapping those wings and rising to a higher level.  The shrub which homes flying fairies and a bird feeder.  The little birds can clip their claws between the wire mesh of the holder, but the pigeon is not so agile.  She has a feather, at her wing side, which hangs lower than the rest.  She’s been damaged I’m guessing, suddenly remembering the pigeon that flew into the bedroom window last year, falling to the garden room roof, dazed, but alive.

Nature is beautiful.  I’ve always loved living creatures, from mice, to hairy dogs, to the broadside of the fiercest looking bull.  The world holds a gigantic array of living beings and this time of year, it is springtime, more and more are born.  Lambs will appear soon, if they’re not already frolicking in the fields with their mother, birds line nests, beaks agape, accepting worms and grubs from mother, human babies as well are being born, the daily statistic of which escapes me.

My mother, she was born on this day ninety-one years ago, in the year of ’31.  A beautiful little girl, feisty and independent, growing up into a beautiful woman with a mind of her own.  My mother, our mother, there are three children born of this woman, was small in stature, but she had the largest curiosity for life.  If there be a question needing asked, she asked, and asked, and asked.  She wanted to know everything.  Where were you last night, who with, how did you get home, did you have on clean underwear, in the early years, to where are they going, do you think he’s living in there, what are they getting done in the house, is she buried under the patio?

They speak of the circle of life, and it is true.  We come from seed, are born, grow and are nurtured.  Those that are born, and are grown, go on to have their own young, and as their young grow, age descends in a puff of white.  The elderly community is snuck aside, cared for, pitied, until death takes them and they join the nature from where they came, at the same time as more and more beings and creatures are born. 

The lucky ones, the ones with the largest curiosities, the feisty ones, as well as the indifferent, the timid, all will be remembered, and their circle of life will go on, round and round, with the chirping birds, the foresting squirrels, the neighbour’s cat and the lambs, who are on their way.                   


I’ve written this on the back of a lesson on Mindfullness and Wellbeing. My take on how to cope with the lows and the highs. The worries and the woes.

Every day now since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve felt moments of dread, I’ve been loath to rise from my warm bed, my place of safety, even if it’s not always my place of slumber, nightmares and bad dreams swilling inside my skull.  I open my eyes, look out at the daylight and I shut my eyes again.  Relax.  I hear the murmur of the traffic and I try to imagine a running river, feel the spray from the current touch my cheek. 

The clock ticks, and I’m a child again, restrained into quiet time on the living room sofa, mindfulness and wellbeing recognised even back then.  The quiet time being for my mother’s benefit of course, but it paid off.  She stayed sane.  The dawning sunlight warms the right side of my face as I check out the insides of my eyelids, where a lone eyeball expands and contracts, checks me out.  My shoulders feel tense, and I realise my teeth are clenched, the taste of my night terrors on my lips, and a constant buzzing perforates my ears.  This sound, a lone piper playing, a skirling, birling squeal, is unfixable.  It’s my buzzing and I have to embrace it.    

Like I’ve been trying to embrace my other condition.  Germ phobia.  Outwardly I don’t fear contracting diseases, but inwardly, I can’t get rid of the fear that was driven into us at the height of the pandemic.  It’s been plunged so deep I can’t expel it.  I cannot cough it up, splash it unceremoniously into the spittoon.  It’s rooted.  A defiant residue of my fear for my mother. 

I still dodge dragon vapour breaths and cuddly people.  I step back from close proximity.  My hands are dry and prunish from too much washing or sanitising.  And buses are fun.  I can brave a bus journey but when forced to sit next to another body I’m like a poker with a slight lean towards the aisle, avoiding body contact.  It doesn’t matter that it could be the puffer mad Mitchellin man I’m sitting next to, touching only layers of padded material, STILL, please do not touch me.  Eye contact too, I avoid.  I’m masked, cloaked and daggered.  When I pause for a moment and think about it, I may always have been like this, the pandemic the ideal excuse to play it out to full effect.     

Throughout it all I’ve written and this has helped.  I’ve written down my innermost thoughts.  Thoughts I couldn’t say out loud for fear of opposition or alienation.  But writing is a solitary aid.  I’ve walked amongst the trees also, another solitary pastime.  I’m attracted towards the trees when suffering throws out its clouts.  Being amongst the trees I’m alone, but solitude is my emollient, only the tiny little beasties to hear me rage, sending them scurrying with all their little legs under bark strips, leaves, rocks.               

So, this morning after a slow start, I have a word with myself.  I look to the left shoulder and I say, ‘self, you really must do something about this behaviour.’  Then I look to my right shoulder and say ‘You’re damn right I do.’  After one hundred squats and fifty press ups, showering, cleaning my teeth for three minutes, laying the toothbrush in the cupboard out of toilet spray contact, dress, dry my hair, moisturise, dress, I’m ready to go.

I drive to Dobies. It’s a Garden Centre not too far from my home. The shop is stocked with lovely little gifts which will take me out of myself.  I look around at the landscape, to ease some tension, the landscape I passed many times with my mum. We came here a lot.  I’m soon there and I cannot help but look across at the disable bays where latterly I used to park.  I step out the car and walk towards the entrance. The house plants, ceramic pots, bamboo chairs, baskets, cushions, scented reeds, books, floral wellies, food store, and cafe.  That’s where we sat with our tea and our scone, and our unhinged chat.  It hits me like a punch in the gut.  Everywhere I look, I’m reminded of the woman who introduced me to quiet time.  My eyes fill.  I will them back as I often do.

Let’s have a look at the summer houses we never managed to reach, too far for my mum to walk.  They are tempting, but one a bit further afield than my back garden would be preferable.  Say a beach hut, or a mountain lodge, a chalet by the loch.  Alone.  Beyond the summer houses there’s a pond with ducks.  Three of them, peacefully paddling in their own ripples, comfortable in a two’s company, three is a crowd scenario.  They swim backwards and forwards, nothing too urgent calling them.  Beyond the pond fields upon fields, crawling with nature.

I leave empty handed and make for the car where the tears eventually show face, pooling up inside my sun specs.  Sometimes that’s all you need to do.  Cry.  I drive home.  I give in, forget my busy life, forget the busy, crazy world around me, forget madmen and dour men, illness, death and dying and I lie down, alone with my thoughts.  Sometimes, it’s as simple as putting on that it’s all about me blindfold, breathing deep lavender snuffles, and spilling the heavy load. 

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is today, the 8th March, the year of 2022.  Every year has a theme, and this year’s theme is gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.  I don’t have a theme as I write and this is not an examination of the whys and wherefores or the politics of IWD, but merely the reflections of a woman.

I’ve always liked being a woman, and have never suffered any serious inequality.  There’s a word being used frequently today, a word I’m not a fan of, which is the word misogyny.  It tires the jowls too much.  Well, I haven’t suffered too seriously under this either.   Now, chauvinistic tendencies are a different story.  This is a word which was bandied about a lot in my era.  Shhht.  Pretend you didn’t read that.  Of course, I’m not of this era.  Let’s just say I’ve heard tell of it being the in word in the sixties and seventies.  Yeah, bring it on Margaret Thatcher, I’d have shouted, if this had been my era.  ‘I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end,’ said she.  Good for her.  Patience has never been my virtue.     

Imagination is one of my good points, depending on the place my imagination takes me. Here and now, I wonder about being a suffragette, in another life.  Crying out with my colours of green, white and purple, asking only for the vote.  That’s all.  Hanging from railings, marching with banners, being beaten down by the bobbies and the courts.  I can’t really say I would have done any of that and I don’t even have the excuse of not being the marching type, as I’ve marched down my town’s high street, many a time, in time to the beat of a drum.  Perhaps I’m just too shy, a don’t cause a scene girl.  And yet, I would stand on the highest of podiums to applaud these women from years gone by.              

In my mind’s eye I’m back at school, when things were a bit segregated.  Boys got woodwork and metalwork and girls got cookery and needlework.  I must say I’d have preferred woodwork, even although my lentil soup was pretty awesome, as was the nightie, made in sewing class.  A crinkle cotton white with tiny blue flying birds, kept me decent at bedtime, shall we say.  I’d never make another nightie again in my adult life however, but there have been pots and pots of lentil soup, so it’s not all bad.  My favourite subjects thankfully were open to both sexes.  Music and English.  Have I made a living from them?  English, I’d say so.  I had to speak it in an interview and write it to apply.  I got the job.  I’ve yet to make the big-time playing trumpet.                

It’s only in the autumn of my life that I’ve begun writing prolifically, having always written from a young age.  Shall I make a living from it?  I keep trying.  Perhaps I’m more patient than I thought.  ‘For most of history Anonymous was a woman,’ said Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) a writer of the 20th century.  An avantgarde writer and member of the Bloomsbury Group.  She started up Thursday evening meetings in her home, with her sister Vanessa who was an artist, their brother Thoby joining them, bringing along some of his Cambridge University champions.  The result a coalescence of artists writers and intellectuals, talking, debating, putting the world to right.  How romantic a thought and wildly interesting?  I can see how this would be a garner of inspiration.  Men and women working together.      

‘I am no bird and no net ensares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.’  Charlotte Brontё, English novelist and poet (1816-55).  This is a quote said by her character Jane, in her novel Jane Ayre, some may say an early example of the feminist novel.  I’ve never been an active feminist but I hold feminist values.  I believe in women, as I believe in men.  All equal.  Women should not be held back by their sex.  A woman doing the same job as a man should be on the same level of remuneration, any such pay rises or bonuses being attributed to their skills and competences in the job.  I always felt the company I worked for were fair in this way, but I left to have a baby, and on returning some years later, didn’t dwell on equality.  I was busy parenting, as well as earning some money and I was happy.

 We’ve come a long way from the times of Charlotte Brontё and Virginia Woolf, from our great grandparents, grandparents and mothers, and even from when I was a young mother, leaving the workplace to watch my babies, but still there are improvements to be made.  For everything in life there is the possibility of improvement.  If we don’t have balance we topple.  Here’s to women and the   ecological advancement of equality.  Here’s to green and purple and to white.   


Winter has stretched its icy fingers far into February, but has eased for now, hardy snowdrops popping up through the grass.  The ground is soft as there’s been a lot of rain and daffodil stems appear.  A fenced garden homes a mass of purple and yellow crocuses in a cheerful floral chorus, and sparrows etch footprints in the earth. 

On the way out of town, it’s uneven, hilly, flat, and sprawling, the fields spreading their tentacles of greenery across the landscape, mellowing the mind.  Sheep graze in the pastures, crows call from the fringe of trees.  Squirrels are disturbed by my dainty thudding, the swish of my arms swinging against my jacket, my heavy breath, as I trudge up the slight rise in the land, and they scurry to the nearest tree, their feet clinging on to the wispiest of branches, as they jump from one tree to another, higher and higher. 

The scent of pine crisps the air, clears the nasal passages, their fallen needles soft underfoot.  As I walk, I’m in a passageway of tall pines, a green den, dry and secretive, all worry and anxiety combed from my hair as I go.  It’s another world.  A tree world, the home of foxes, rabbits, field mice and the squirrels.  I’m alone, but I don’t feel lonely.  It’s deafeningly quiet, my ears buzzing with life like the teddy bear squeak of the buzzard as it chases the cackling magpies, the rushing burn, constant in the background.

A stile stands on ceremony at the end of the wooded walk and I climb over it into a field.  As I reach the top of a ridge and look back down towards the trees, I see the perfect portrait.  A deer stands, nose in the air, sniffing for humans.  If the wind is blowing her way, she will catch scent of me.  I stand as still as the deer and I look.  That’s all I want to do, to look at this illusive animal of the wild.  But then I capture her in my lens and click. 

My heart slows then races as the deer senses me and hops across the field, over the bordering fence and out of sight into its life in the trees.  Calmed and rejuvenated I walk back to my life, more able to face and dispel worry.                

Would I Lie To You

So, I’ve not written in my writer’s journal for some time, I’ve been somewhat disillusioned with my composition skills.  You know that way when you think, wow, that’s great writing, so witty and clever, and then you realise you’ve been on the fantasy juice.  Like while working on negative traits, I chose melodramatic as a negative characteristic trait?  I mean how do you portray melodrama?  Have you ever tried it?  I regretted choosing it immediately.  Then I thought I know how to do it, but all I did was internalise some dramatic thoughts.  I hate this.  It’s rubbish.  Ok, so if that’s an example of melodrama, I need to go away and think on it some more.  I’m a little like Primo Levi – I need to ‘let it pass through the filter of reflection’ first.  It can be a sloooowww process.     

Quickly on the back of negative traits I’m having to overcome the unreliable narrator.  I mean, sounds bad, does it not.  No one wants to be unreliable, unworthy, wrong.  The thing is, we come across these unreliable narrators in every day chit chat, for example – the two men passing at the paper shop.  ‘How are you today, Bob?’  ‘I’m marvellous Tam,’ says Bob, eyes red tinged, dark shadows under his eyes, his face a pallid white.  The guy is obviously in need of some medical treatment.  Or, the man to his wife.  ‘What’s wrong with you?’  ‘Nothing,’ she says, the decree nisi hidden underneath her magazine.  The dog walker with the barging, snarled tooth Rottweiler.  ‘He won’t touch you,’ he says in a wee fairy voice, the dog at your throat.  I’d like to add a caveat here for Rottweiler lovers.  It’s not the dog but the owner at fault.     

You see what I mean?  It’s not easy trying to be a writer, trying to put all this in to a novel or a short story in the right way.  Done wrong and an editor will say unreliable author, never mind any such unreliable narrators.  ‘It’s crap,’ they’ll say.  ‘She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.  How the hell can her laptop respond by locking her out of Microsoft just because she’s typed the word Stalin in a word document, followed by the phrase The Great Escape and German War camp.  Have you ever heard the likes?’

So, you see my dilemma? Next step Mindfullness.  Now there’s a theme I could get to grips with.  How about I delve into the pluses of going back to the simpleness of childhood, and a chapter on How to Climb a Tree Without Breaking Your Neck.  Or Yoga Wine Parties.  Walking in the Woods with your Vigilante 130 and some pepper spray.  How exciting. 

Ok, enough of writing for now, my favourite programme is coming on.  Would I Lie to You?  Now here are six prime examples of unreliable narrators.  I must take stock.  I might even get s story out of it.  Right, I’m out of my doldrums and I’m back on track.  Watch this space.    

Crowning Effect

Crowning Effect

Ochre curtains drape themselves upon the scene, a fire burns in the grate.  There, she stands, hand out in greeting, head at least twelve inches lower than the chiefs she welcomes, gold braid and lapels singing on ceremony.  I’m stiff, her actions say, while sporting a coiffure of grace.  She wears a dress and shoes, pearls at her throat, taking the eye from her skin, no one noticing the paper wrinkles.

Chairs are placed beside her, formulated for speech and recognition.  Tea and biscuits will arrive, and the threesome will thrive on words of culture.  There’s a camera crew taking photos.  This must be logged.  A life recorded.  Headliners, no matter you only want peace.  That’s not to be.  Commitment is hers and that commitment must be cut in lasting images.  A smile is required.  Always a smile, except when it’s not.  Some situations demand solemnity and then is it perhaps easier?  Is it easier to frown than smile?  Her eyes display show, not tell treaties.  Light is in them but the soul remains locked apart, for her interpretation only.  And yet one doesn’t look unapproachable.  One may approach dignity with dignity, with permission granted.  Only ever then.

Hear, hear says the new defence services secretary.  It’s an honour.  Only those present know what’s said, but it will be noted in the history manuals.  Those will scribe discourse.  They will allow future people, people still to be born, people who wish to look back to realise the nature of this era, to know how it was.  Is it so that time brings clarity?  Hindsight brings vision.  What will we learn from this?  I think we will learn about commitment, patience, strength of will, steadfastness, duty.  May we also learn of scarcity?  Scarcity of public solidarity.  Distance must prevail.   

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