Thursday, January 07, 2010

Snowed in and snowed under

The temperature is about 10 below outside, the snow in drifts over two foot deep in places, much much more up on the moors. It's called a blanket, but it isn't warm. It muffles everything, but it isn't a muffler. It cleanses everything, turns us back in on ourselves, reminds us of simpler times.

When the shops run out of bread, people remember that they can bake it themselves. When the electricity goes out, we rediscover the beauty of candlelight.

Part of me wants to be snowed in forever. With occasional parcel drops of food from passing bi-planes. I can work from home at something, anything. I'll weave baskets or make lace. Just let me lie quietly. Calmly, away from the mess that is life at the moment. It's no surprise we're all depressed. The sun on the snow made me smile. The cows running around the field to keep warm made me smile. The cats shaking their back legs as they plod through the deep snow make me smile. The rosiness of people's cheeks and childish glee in their eyes make me smile.

I hope it snows again tonight.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Orange needles

Remnants of a much happier christmas still linger in the back yard. The old tree - miraculously still wearing its needley coat, despite a year of wind and rain. Except the summer has turned to autumn - lush green transformed to burnt orange. It was a lovely christmas. Quiet, just him and I. Cats and a goose. Lovely goose, with its honeyed hide, cross cut, glistening in candle light. I love the fairy lights at christmas. I try to turn them on as much as I can - invite the christmas fairies in. But we're in the witching hour of christmas now. After New Year, before Epiphany. We keep them up because we can - but the spark has gone. We're keeping it together for the children.

There were no children this year. Maybe there never will be. This christmas the tree is just for me, and to freak out the cats of course. People have visited. But it's like Great Expectations - what was her name - Miss Havisham in her wedding dress. All dressed up for some grand event that never happened. Christmas day the house stood empty. Maybe the cats attacked a bauble or too. chewed on some tinsel. But the presents underneath had gone. And it was a sad echo of the days of love that we had here before.

Whatever next year's tree may see - here? somewhere else? Please let it be happier than this. Please let it be more real than this.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006


A normal Friday night, at the begining of the month so everyone had money in their pocket. We went to one of the lazy louche bars that work hard to give that impression of effortlessness. Drank a few beers, then pushed the boat out a bit and bought cocktails. Through each rainbow filtered glass I watched them all, my friends, my lover, as the evening began to unravel as it always does. People sucked down into their depressions, or hyped up on their high horses, speaking over everyone else, trampling them down in the clamber for the throne at the top of the castle. Someone leaves and inevitably the conversation turns to them. Concernedly, reservedly, well, actually and then full scale into the bitchery. Doesn't matter who, it's like we're lancing a boil, sucking poison out of some wound.

I have too much of this poison in me. This crowded space has become toxic, these whispers and lies eating into my mind like parasites.

My lover took some persuading, to go through with this. It was only when I showed him how we could do it without losing the things we wanted to keep, along with the things we needed to get rid of. I'd always joked about it, and when the opportunity arose, I realised how serious I had infact been.

The dinner on Sunday was nice. I was glad. There was enough of the bitterness there to strengthen my nerve, but also enough of the good times to remind me why we were doing it. Why those memories deserved protecting over the quagmire of politics and anxieties that our lives had become. Much wine was drunk, games played. I managed to fend off too many problems when I said that no one could stay over, as they usually would - it would be better if they all shared a taxi home.

And finally the door closed on the last one, and we quietly did the washing up together in the middle of the night. The car pulled up just after we had finished, and within about half an hour we had bundled the cats into their boxes, filled the boot with the suitcases, and locked the house door behind us for the last time.

The letters of resignation, complete with cheques to compensate for the absence of a notice period, should land on their desks tomorrow. The movers would come and take everything from the house before it sunk in what was happening and anyone came to look around. The house belonged to the local hospice now, for them to auction as they pleased. The confidentiality request of the donors would be honoured.

Our parents would also receive letters, telling them we'd let them know where we settled. All that mattered was that we got away. New life for the new life I found out was with me the day before the numbers came up.

It's up to us now not to make the same mess all over again.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


He couldn't take his eyes off her. She was terrifying, mesmerising. Tall, with long dark hair and deep brown eyes. Broad shouldered and fairly heavy set, she wore a man's white satin dress shirt, full and flowing, open a few buttons at the neck. Below that, a short, tight black skirt showed off a pair of beautiful, long legs - none of the weight she carried above carried here, they were slender and delicately tapered. She was laughing with his wife, chatting in the sunlight, drinking wine while they waited for the food to be ready.

When she spoke to him, she met his eyes, she was direct and unrelenting. She made him laugh, flirted shamelessly, and matched him drink for drink. Her confidence both angered and aroused him. He didn't need to be told that they were lovers, you could see it. It drove him mad to watch them - at least Cath tried to hide it, but this girl - she trod the narrow line just on the other side of blatancy. They'd tried hard to stop this kind of thing, over the years. But it was like stopping the tide. She was magnetic, drew hungry mouths to her, just like her mother.

That night he lay awake, listening to their love making in the next room. They had waited a while, talking at first, and then after he and his wife had gone to bed, and a suitable time had passed for them to fall asleep, the talking stopped, and sounds of muffled lust replaced it. He closed his eyes and imagined their legs entwined, the press of her mouth, soft hair falling on softer skin.

He was supposed to drive her to the station the next day. Instead he offered to drive her all the way home. On the way, he suggested they stop for lunch. He bought her wine and watched the purple stain of her lipstick grow on the glass. Her leg brushed his under the table. The second leg of the journey was bristling with tension. She told him to pull over into a country road near to the edge of town, ten minutes from her flat. He got out of the car and stood, hesitant in the cold. She came round to him, but dodged his clumsy attempt to kiss her. She dropped to her knees and unzipped the fly in his nylon trousers. He put his head back and looked at the clouds floating by - bewildered as she took him firmly in her mouth and sucked hard. He heard again the moans that had come from his daughter's bedroom the night before.

He pulled her up and pushed her down, bent over the car. Her skirt hitched up over her hips, he tore her tights off and took her hard, her hair bunched tight in his hand.

Afterwards, he stood, confused again for a moment. Wondering how he had got there. When he looked up - she was bunching the torn tights into her bag, and running a brush through her hair. She didn't look at him again, just walked away. He passed her on the road as he drove away, her long, lean legs shining pale and beautiful in the afternoon sun.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Every morning in winter, Tom gets up early to watch Mrs Fitch in the shower. He hears the hum of their house as it wakes - a radio being switched on, the dog barking to be fed. From his window in the attic he can see down into their bathroom, through the spindly fingers of the tree. She doesn't close the blind, leaves the window open to stop condensation. He thinks it must be habit - she forgets that the modesty screen of broad green leaves that shields her from prying eyes in summer, falls away sometime in late September.

He's long looked forward to the changing leaves, the begining of autumn, most revealling of all seasons that strips us bare. He has a ritual. His alarm wakes him about a half hour before his parents even start to stir, about the same time as the Fitches. By the time he has been to his own bathroom, and brushed his teeth and hair, Mr Fitch is downstairs grabbing his coat and heading out. Mrs Fitch locks herself in the bathroom, and switches her radio on. Tom opens his window so his breath doesn't fog up the glass and spoil his view. She pushes her fingers through her hair and looks critically into the mirror above the sink. She sets the shower running, holding her hand out until the water is steaming hot. She then lets the purple-pink robe she is wearing drop to the floor, and steps carefully into the bath, and stands for a moment under the scorching stream. And then, when her hair is wet through, and clings in curls to the side of her tired but still sometimes pretty face, when the rivulets of water have navigated her every bulge and curve. Then - every morning, she turns the shower to cold, sinks down and hugs her knees, and cries with all her heart until her skin is blue under the icy water.

By the time she shakes her head and rises up again, swiftly washing herself and warming up again, Tom is done. He wipes his hands, pulls the window shut, and climbs back into bed. Five minutes later his mother comes in to wake him with a ruffle of his hair. She smiles at his sleep flushed face, and tells him breakfast will be ready soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


's funny how the worms move around in my mind. Seemingly dormant then the slightest thing wakes them up and sends me squirming, squealling across the room. Today it was gradual - irritation at people in the room being pedantic or jumping up to do things that would usually get done anyway - I could tell it was mostly me. I was nervous and stressed over the work I had to do preparing for my training. That makes me very sensitive to the slightest quirks of anyone around me. Then a number of emails I had to physically restrain myself from sparking off responses to without forethought. Leave it - I said. You've too much to do anyway. Think it over and send something reasoned and carefully crafted not to sound like the raving loony you are. But as the day wore on, and I panicked more and more about whether I'd get it all done, whether I'd forgotten anything, whether it would be any good. The worms began to churn and churn and bite down into that little part of the back of my neck that sends me whirling into paranoia, twitching, anxious.

I hate talking to people at work about it because they make you feel such a fool when you talk about anxiety / depression anything non physical. But how can I call it non physical when I sit here, taut as if my veins were replaced with wire, brain and pulse racing, short, sharp breaths. I won't sleep, I will be nauseous and snappy. Until tommorrow when panic will return and with it a rush of semi-mania to take me through the day. Coasting - surfing along it with a lipstick smile. Before I crash at the end of the day, try to drown myself in alcohol and debt, shake my head like a wet dog to get rid of the horrible crawling sensation these episode sends all over me. Let loose the worms' grip, and sink back into somnolence again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Michael Jackson is innocent apparently. I will reserve judgement think. Not that I really think/thought he was guilty. My issue was always that this was never going to be a normal trial- The possibility of him being guilty aud getting off because he was a celebrity is about as likely as him being put away because someone accused him and is after his money (or as it turns out- lack thereof) and the jury can't believe someone so seemingly strange could possibly be innocent.

people say- Why does he hang around with kids. Why is he so obsessed? I don't see It as unusual. for someone with So corrupted a childhood to try to relive it like it unen his life is finally in his own hands. There isn't any law that says time makes is grow up. That makes us think differently When we get to a particular age. My mother used to say ''you don't need socks anymore, you will be wearing tights soon." Because women in her generation progressed to tights and skirts and court shoes if they were to be considered a woman. But I don't live there. my world doesn't Value womanhood on her clothes. I still have teddies. I still wear socks. If I could connect with children and feel the Same wild wonder I did back when I was innocent, I'd want to feel that every day. It's as far away from the guilt and Sex obsessed filth of adulthood as you can get.