Showing posts from February, 2018

Compost For Stories And Garden

6am. Grandchild 3 stirs me from disturbed sleep - fleeing snores and soothing a toddler and a jumbled dream about my dog trying to wake up because she wants a coffee - with this sentence: ‘Granma, Dog’s done a poo in the kitchen, a really big one!’ Explains the dream. I say not to worry, I’ll clean it up - does Mummy keep cleaning things under the sink? Yes, says my observant side kick, and opens a drawer to fetch me a dust cloth. I do not use the duster. ‘I think there’s another bit here,’ G3 advises. ‘Might just be a bit of ordinary dirt,’ I say, but she’s stuck her toe in it, so, yes, it was poop. Toe and floor are disinfected. I make coffee, strong coffee. Dog lies in corner, affects an apologetic face. G3, unaffected, eats two breakfasts before her sister shouts to be fetched. She’s beaming in her cot, our Grandchild 5, framed in curls, holding up her arms. She’s also sticky. Too late, Granma! Straight to the shower, G5, never mind the glower. That

Cephalod Coffeehouse: Book Review February

The Crow Road Iain Banks 1992 Mostly I'm behind the times on reading, because my books are most often purchased via the 50 pence box of our local secondhand bookstore. This one was loaned to me though. The nice thing about reading old books is if there was a fuss about it at the time, I will have forgotten, and read open minded. I had no idea this was any kind of detective novel when I began, it only occurred to me afterwards that there was a mystery to solve. I was caught up in the main character, and the fun of it. It is peppered with death, but warm hearted, and I loved the landscapes. The change in narrator from Prentice to his father, the moving time line, these made the reading a little fragmented but never disagreeable. 'It was the day my Grandmother exploded' is an engaging first sentence, and it held my attention throughout. I'm terrible at summing up plots so I stole the following from Wikipedia, for those who might need more info: 'Prentice

River Paddle On A Frosty Day

Read my To Do list - threw it on the fire.  Put on my red coat.  Found two dry oak leaves in a pocket -  catch a falling leaf, get a wish, I remembered, so I put them on the fire too, to let the wishes be free.  And walked back to where that tree stood bare, and further through the woods.  I found treasures, such as stacks and globs of fungus growing in turned up roots - that tree too I knew - before it fell, recalling how its roots were snaky and caught at our feet.  I found the drowned quarry blooming with algae like some suspect cauldron, stirred with weeping branches. Heard the wind above singing in a language I recognised but could not translate. Rested briefly at my favourite bench, a felled tree this one, left jutting over the river.  Strolled to where the river has a beach, storm strewn in flat stones; the wind chill too much for an unplanned swim by an un-furred creature.  At my feet, two heart shaped stones. Puddles have skins of ic


When you work as a carer and your shifts become palliative, the outcome is obvious. There’s a tumble of variables around how you feel about this: how your relationship was with this other human, were they suffering, and suchlike. There is a need to maintain professional distance, yet be truthful with yourself. There are endings. There are last meetings of friends and family. Hard to envision a life shared without tears, regrets, hilarious remembrances. The most complicated things can become simple - the simplest gesture, a kaleidoscope of references. You look back too and see, that trip out turned out to be the last. The last time the favourite top was worn, the last time we watched the favourite film. But that glance back is not sad, exactly. Because of your work, something wonderful happened. And kept happening. A luminosity. When death came - it was as though an artist had signed a fine portrait. How lucky we were, to be part of that. To witness so readily t