Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Monday, 27 August 2007
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
This is a version of my latest assignment for my Writing Course. It had to be around 1500 words, and autobiographical. The theme had to be about a book, a baby or a wrong turning. I took the latter. Let's hope he likes the one I sent him more than he liked my poetry, huh? ;^)
me, Easter 1974, age 6
I jog to keep up with mum, head down, staring at the pavement as it rolls past underneath me, my scuffed blue shoes dashing along, my white summer socks, grey from the rain. Her scarf flinging flag-like from the February wind, she looks forward, her taut features stubbornly fixed towards home.
I hadn't meant to get lost.
I couldn't make out why she wasn't at the school gates to meet me. I waited with Joanna's mum. I liked Joanna. She had neat hair in a "page boy" cut, and she wore shoes with three buckles on each foot. She had a cat called Thomas O' Malley and a toy submarine for the bath that doubled up as a flute when it was dry. I wanted to be just like Joanna. Standing with her and her mum at the gate, I was part of her family. They didn't argue and their house was neat with fitted carpets all one colour. But as the sky grew darker and the crowd thinned away, Joanna's mum bit her bottom lip and shook her daughter to one side.
"I'm sorry, Helen, I'm sure she'll be here soon. Perhaps she's gone up the shops! We have to go. I have to get tea, for Jo's dad."
After all, Mum will be worried about being late. If I walk on, and meet her half way, she will be relieved. Her eyes will open wide and she’ll smile with all her face so that her top lip folds up. She’ll be happy and laugh, and tell me that I’m clever. We’ll stop at the cake shop on the way, where Toni’s mum works, and we’ll get cream meringues for tea, the ones shaped like butterflies. Then, when we get home, I’ll tell my two elder brothers why we’ve got cakes, and they’ll be nice all evening. It’ll be great.
Big black branches pour down towards me like treacle as the wind pulls up another heavy gust. I stare up at their clawed limbs sprawling out against the charcoal sky as the rain finds the gap around my neck and collar. I start to cry, and run.
Puddles lie in ranks along the path, mirroring street lights now fully lit. I splash through their yolks in my panicked sprint till I am too dizzy from the wind to go on, folding up to squat on the curb, shivering, with my arms wrapped round my knees. I sniff cold mucus into my throat, coughing and crying.
Suddenly I am blinded by a beam of white light making a stream of raindrops glow towards me. A new panic, as I realise a car is stopping by me. I don’t know anyone with a car. Least, I might know someone who has one, like Joanna, but I’ve never seen them in one.
“Helen? Is that you? What on earth...?”
Oh boy. Sr Callista.
“Weren’t you coming to Church, then? No? Well where’s your mother, then?” She drives off in mid thought in the direction of the shops. All the mothers from our estate walk down to the school along past the shops. It’s when bread for breakfast is bought. And cakes, for tea, if your Mum’s in a good mood.
But I’m not listening. I’m investigating a beige cardboard box on the seat next to me. Little disks of plastic made to look like silver, with faces of old people on. Most of them have haloes and “Pray for us” written in the circle. Then there are small crosses with Jesus on and “JHS” underneath his feet. I wonder what this could stand for and decide on “Jesus Has Suppered”. We did about The Last Supper last week. I feel pleased to have remembered.
“Ah! Isn’t that your mother?” She pulls up not far from the shops, alongside a small figure hunched forward with one hand on her headscarf, holding it against the tugging wind.
The voice is familiar, but it isn’t Mum’s. It’s higher pitched and says different words.
“Oh really? Oh dear! Helen? Are you all right darling?” She puts her head into the car. It IS her. She opens the door for me.
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
I took this near Bolton Abbey, which is set in the middle of lots of hills and paths that obviously appealed to hikers and explorers. It was on the wall of a Post Office. Inside was also a gift shop, grocery store and tea bar.
Saturday, 18 August 2007
I'm always sad to see them go. It always happens mid-August here. But this year, I'm noticing their leaving more than ever because I've seen so many more of them around. Especially when I was up in Yorkshire a few weeks ago.
So beautiful, so sweet looking. Goodbye, my innocent little ones. I hope for safe journeys for you all. Avoid the French shotguns. Avoid the Greek glue-traps. Come back to us safely.
Saturday, 11 August 2007
Whilst up in Yorkshire last week, walking through some beautiful gardens, I spotted this tree. I was immediately drawn to its base. To me, it looks like a hand. I can imagine the tree running along on its fingers at night, and settling in a different spot each day, keeping an eye on the visitors.