Thursday is a blank of care.

Thursday is a blank. I looked after Naoise friends after school. Crossing the road from the school is the most hazardous. I had help crossing the road.

The boys all climbed up onto the canal house wall to look at the rabbit, and the cat. To notice that the goats had now sadly gone.

The children loved the black cat, but the cat was too scared to say hello. Too many boys.

On the way back along the canal path we saw the Goslings. We counted six. We watched as the goose parents hissed at the other geese to keep away. We edged carefully past the parents and the goslings so as not to frighten them.

The boys played lego and lego and nurf guns and nurf guns and ate beans and sausages and bread for tea.

I made a cup of tea for my friend when she came to collect her boys.

I made a cup of coffee for my friend when she came to collect her boy.

Cherry

Awake since early.

Naoise ate rasberry porridge in bed, selected his shells from our collection for show and tell. He was still waking up as I bundled him in and out of the car.

>Research in studio for Birth workshop<

Rang up Job Ad requesting experienced mother required for help.  Strange conversation talking about care experience and that experience being unpaid caring work as a mother. Asked if I would object to doing caring work and cleaning. I said that I didn’t mind. Cleaning is not nurturing raising work. Cleaning is domestic work. Care work is not cleaning. Not strange to be asked the question nor that it should be expected but to care is not to clean.

Collected Syd from school, running late as had to print out notes in the library for life class. Stopped to collect Naoise from school on way back then remembered that he was going to his friends house for tea.

The sun is out. I take Syd to buy fish and chips. Very naughty. His chip butty is huge and he only eats half of it, he says he feels sick. The clothes that had gotten wet in the rain are again drying-result. The have now been washed twice once by machine and once by nature.

I am only managing to make this art work because Syd can look after himself, well almost look after himself. He is jamming on the guitar, again he should be doing his homework. What to do. Hassle. Encourage. Beg. Do it for him. No taking a new approach. The failed neglectful mother approach. He has to take responsibility for it himself. I can’t do the job for him. The work and inclination has to come from him, not me.

Make some artwork. Feel bad cutting the blossom. Cutting the blossom with the house hair scissors. Snip Snip. I cut the pink.

lyingdowncherrieshiddennipplecherry

Motherhood is not pink. Motherhood is all the colours. Motherhood is shit brown. Motherhood is the soil from the earth. Motherhood is neither clean or refined. Motherhood is all the colours. Motherhood is not pink. Motherhood is not always joyous. Motherhood is salt. Motherhood is sugar. Motherhood is vinegar. Motherhood is diving into red. Motherhood is a place that is misunderstood and complicated. Motherhood is not something that is easy to describe. Motherhood is this for me and that for you. Motherhood is about work. Motherhood is about connections. Motherhood is about loneliness and isolation and togetherness. Motherhood is about creativity and art making. Motherhood is boring. Motherhood is a trap, a prison, a fortress. Motherhood is not always about sisterhood. Motherhood is not always friendly. Mother. What is motherhood. Why is there a hood next to a mother. Why is motherhood a covering, a shroud. Come under the hood with me Mother. Come under the cherry blossom tree. Reclaim the flowers and the petals. Scatter them amid your body and rejoice in our hood or mother. Let the blossom be at our breasts. Let our wombs share what is in our hearts. I love you mum.

cherryfannyblossompetaltwo

See what I have been making mum.

I have just seen a mouse scuttle behind the defunct 1980’s gas fire. Quick as a flash he or she ran. Almost a shadow. I perhaps should be doing more cleaning than creativity. I perhaps should be doing more cleaning than caring. I perhaps should be getting a new cat, or a humane trap. Perhaps first I should just clean.

 

Blanks

What happened yesterday ?

Cant remember what time I woke up.

Yesterday was Tuesday. Tuesday is better than Monday. Tell me why I don’t like Mondays. I want to shoot the whole day down. 

Is it best to leave a blank, a non space, a failed space.

I had meant to write something, but when I got in from my evening walk, after I had made Naoise his super, after I had read to him, after I put my arm around his little body, I fell asleep too.  Fully clothed I crashed to sleep beside him. This is not unusual it often happens. A constant state of utter exhaustion.

I had meant to wake up again and write, but I am struggling to think what it was ?

Was I going to write about

The crescent moon, almost three quarters full.

The way that daisies and dandelions clamp shut their petals close to their heads at dusk.

The ewes bleating in the fields.

The failing light.

The grey whispering clouds.

The cold and the need to wear hat and coat and gloves.

The emptiness of the hills, meeting no-one.

The lambs, newborn.

The lambs, sleeping behind stone walls or dips in the fields, all curled up, safe with their mothers on ground.

The suspicious looks of the Ewes as I pass their lambs sleeping.

The owl screeching.

The proud and blue bells up from the earth.

The way I show Naoise the moon and the stars at night by opening the attic window and standing on the bed with our heads sticking out into the roof and sky.

 

 

 

 

Just enough time

4.37pm

Sometimes there is only ten minutes, and that will just have to be enough time. Always time chasing. Always trying to fill life will all the things that I have to do, I need to do, I want to do, I try to do in-between the mothering, the interruptions, the house work, the keeping well work.

I am sitting outside in the back yard. Its a pleasant place, beside a river banked by a high retaining wall. The sound of the river runs in one direction. The sound of the cars traveling on the main road run in both. Lorries and heavier vehicles are louder. Then there is the train, every half an hour.

Woosh it runs past.

The yard is filled with a second load of washing drying in the spring sun. The red japanese maple tree leaves are slowly emerging. Four courgette plants have reared their heads in the little plastic greenhouse, and I can see others are pushing up under the earth.

Naoise is watching Transformers and Syd is meant to be doing his maths homework but I can hear that he is  jamming on his guitar. Music always comes first, always. Later he will be going to cricket practice, so I hope the good weather sticks, and I hope that he settles on doing the homework.

I had another difficult morning with Naoise, at the last hurdle, he refused to go to school. All I needed to do was put on his shoes, brush his hair and teeth. He stated; I am unwell mummy, I cannot go to school today mummy, I have a temperature. He is so determined and adamant. I try listening, persuasion, coersion, sympathy, empathy and the strict no-nonsense  approach. Each strategy, each parenting methodology failed miserably.

The clock ticked towards nine and I felt compounded to scoop him up and leave the house regardless of his protestations. I certainly did not want a repeat of the previous week when he clutched hold of every chair rail in the front room and refused to budge and kicked and cried and shouted out and got more and more distressed.

I don’t want that again.

So I slid outside the blue plastic front door with my very annoyed and red faced child. He hurt my back as he angrily fought against me. I stopped momentarily on a wall by the bus stop. He wrapped his arms around mine, and held me close and the wall so tight that I could not move. I managed to prise his fingers free so that I could walk on again.

Beep beep beep beep thats the oven buzzer so have to get the kids there tea. Its fish fingers and garlic bread a weird combination, but it will do.

Maybe I will find another ten minutes to write later.

After tea.

The children didn’t mind the yellow/orange carbohydrate dinner, in fact they loved it. So much conflict, always a battle for my attention. Syd wanting me to listen to his latest song while Naoise did every thing he could to disrupt Syd from playing. He held onto the neck of the guitar, he tried to delete his lyrics from his iPad, he pulled faces and said that he didn’t think that his new song was any good. So much for brotherly love, sibling rivalry on constant. It winds me up so much, I hate it, its boring and depressing and exhausting. There is no where to escape the onslaught. Ignore> negotiation> ignore. Walk away to where?

Its cold. There is a cold breeze blowing, and the sky is turing grey. I spoke to mum on the phone from the car park whilst waiting to collect Syd from school. It’s been snowing in Scotland. She said she woke to a blanket of snow. All white but melting slowly in the  sun. Perhaps the cold is moving down the country. I have gotten used to the sun, and I had been thinking of an evening walk. I will go regardless of the weather. I need some height, I need to see the hills and see the sheep and the lambs. I need to see the skip and the play and the joy.

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I notice the pink of the cherry blossom flowers. I recall as a child placing the flowers behind my ear and slipping the maroon stalks into the rubber band of my yellow pony tail. I Imagined that I was the prettiest  flower fairy ever as I walked to school. I loved the pink. The intense pink and the fold upon fold of petals. They didn’t look lovely for long. The flowers quickly drooped, faded and fell, but for a brief few weeks the trees provided the best hair decorations there ever were.

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Mum its running out of charge! Mum. MUM Can you come in here mum. Its running out of charge mum. 

I imagine now cutting bunches of the pink blossom from the trees holding them close to my bare sagging breasts. Perhaps lying on a lime green sheet to set off the pink of the flowers and the peach of my skin. Why. I have no idea why. Just a thought. A visual thought. Perhaps too sweet, too sweet, too romantic, too sentimental?

A young girl. A middle aged woman.

Yesterday was black today feels pink. Pink is hopeful, moving forward with pink. Pink of nipple and vulva. Pink of pride. Pink of purpose. Pink of protection. Pink of private. Pink of principles. Pink of promise. Pink of petal. Pink of practicality.

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Walking home was good. Naoise wanted to go home, he didnt want to play in the willow scrub. He wanted to come home with me. Straight away home. Home along the canal bank. Walking back Naoise needed to do a wee. He wanted to wee in the canal water. I told him that would be dangerous.

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Naoise:Why mummy because it would hurt the fish?

Me: No Naoise because you might fall in! 

Naoise: Oh

I see how differently we see the world. Him and Me. Son and Mother. I see all danger befalling him. He sees all danger elsewhere. Out there. Over there. Not here. To him there is no risk. To me the risks are constant, everywhere, right here, now.

I am overly anxious and I know that this is a failing as the children pick up on my anxieties. I try. I try. I try to be more pink than black dog, but the anxiety creeps and jumps out at me, sometimes when I least expect it.

 

 

 

Sunday is no Funday

6.38pm (awake since 8am)

Its a bright sunny but cold spring day. The cherry blossom is very almost out. May have seen swallows yesterday flying over the sewage works between Hebden and Todmorden. The sewage works are located by the canal and the conditions provide clouds of pennine midges for hearty swallow meals.

blueskyappletreepotatoechitinground

Syd is back from his dads. He is pleased to be home.

I am sad. I have been sad all day long. I have tried everything to relieve the sadness but nothing has worked. Some days I hate who I am what I am where I live and who I live with, Thats normal I guess. Its normal for me. I despise loudness and conflict and housework and slaving for others. As I write this I know that it will cause me pain. It will come back to me in hatred as I am not really allowed to be totally honest in this space. Thats normal too I suppose.

We all lie to protect ourselves and those that we love. We all pretend that life is ok when perhaps it is not.

Just another Sunday, another fun day for some.

I am sick of the neighbours building projects. I am sick of banging every evening, every  weekend. I can see that they have chipped the front room back to the plaster, so maybe the banging will stop. All I want is to live in quiet.

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I spend the day dreaming of living elsewhere. Cornwall would be good. Paradise of maternal ancestry, warm and wild. Its easy to grow things where the sun shines brightest.

There are too many people and too many slugs and too much cold and too much rain and no jobs or prospects here. Today my home does not feel beautiful. I am ungrateful and bitter. I don’t want to socialise with anyone. I see grandparents helping out their children. I wish I had some help when I needed it, I know that this is a fantasy, that there will never be help when I need it.

I am bitter as lemon. I am bitter watching my neighbour collecting his children from their grandparents. This will never be the scenario for me so best to wish them luck and goodness and try not to be mean spirited.

I had a plan but it didn’t work out. Its hard to find the energy for others when there are so many problems close to home.

I dig the soil. I dig and dig. I turn over the soil. I fork and spade and lossen and remove weeds and nasty looking grubs. I plant onion sets.  I dig troughs of soil to place the chitted potatoes into. I gently lift each of them into the ground and cover lightly with the soil.

The battery of the computer is running low. I hadn’t wanted to write much,  I wasn’t going to write anything. I thought about writing:

Today I am sad, today I failed at being a mum, I opted out at every occasion that I could, I cannot stand it today, I don’t want to be a mother, I don’t want to be a carer and a raiser up her. A tidy up and cook and scrubber, Today I have failed. Best to fail well. 

Its easy to nurture a garden. Its hard to nurture people, and even harder to nurture yourself.

I found two beautiful pale blue birds eggs within the grass. I held them. They were fragile. Shells thin as paper. I held them and I thought about my two sons and how precious they are to me.

Too sentimental?

I think not. Even when I no longer  want to be a mum, I still love them. I love them with all my heart, and this love keeps me going. You cannot escape being a mum.

A mum should not be a sentence.

Birth Research, Studio Peace, Sun Set

Spent the day researching for a birth workshop coming up and writing a proposal in the studio. Patrick took Naoise out to Manchester for the day, its my turn to look after him tomorrow. Seems as if there is no time to spend together as a family anymore. Everyone getting on with their own thing. Syd away for the weekend with his dad. Feel a need to carve out a life for me, starting to fill in the gaps, time changing and shifting.

A notification comes up on my phone. A huge earthquake measuring 7.9 in Nepal. Terrifying. I try not to think. I put it away. Always suffering, always natural disaster. I wish for a world where this was not the case.

Here I am in my comfortable, fortunate, predictable world. I must always count my blessings, not look inward too much. Try to reach out. Try to help others. Be grateful but critical, analytical, think hard, create as a response to the situation that I find myself in.

Always love research good to find new work, need to compile it all together, organise my knowledge so that I can draw upon it. Utilise what I know. Act. Don’t want to give away my knowledge. This is all I have, all I can hold. It is my work. It is my income, or potential income. Sometimes you have to hold back and protect ideas and thoughts. Hug them in, nurture ideas quietly. I don’t always want to share. I wish to hide and curl up and not look outwards. Inwards. Inside. Hold tender thoughts that are dear close.

I found this amazing film of a woman giving birth in a river. I will hold it here less I forget its location in the big wide world of the internet. It would be great to make some drawings or mono prints from watching it again and again.

Need to make some more monoprints about my own birth experiences. Still need to revisit this place, I have never successfully achieved a visual representation of how I felt, what happened, what birth actually is. Need to capture the raw energy, the pain, the pushing, the anxiety, the transformation, the joy. So much. Too much happening all at once. Profound yet absolutely ordinary and everyday and primitive and necessary.

I think of the lambs being born in the field. I think of all the women of the world. Mothers, daughter, sisters, friends. We are born. We are here. What do we do in-between. In-between birth and death. A journey, a place of travel, encounters, connections, conversations, experiences, held together by past memories and a place to push on towards.

Keep going pushing onwards.

In the evening I met a friend for one drink. I drank red she drank a cocktail. We listened to her friends band, they were cool and funky and we chatted and laughed.  A woman in a gold wrap over top, jeans and brown high healed boots danced sensually to the music. She was confident and sure about herself and her body. She didn’t care that she was the only one dancing. She is totally immersed in her own movements and she is funky. I thought about filming her but its too intrusive. She reminded me of the Gillian Wearing film/performance Dancing in Peckam.

Walking back home. I notice that the beach hedge leaves have all burst open. I hold my arm outward and push my hand into the leaves. I walk along stroking the hedge and feeling the newness and softness of the fresh acid green beach leaves.

What did happen on Friday ?

Greyish and much colder than it has been, some rain. Strange to see rain as it has been

I have to think very carefully. What did happen on Friday ? I woke up somehow got Naoise to school which is always a challenge. Ah yes we took coral and shells and fossils in for show and tell to lure him in. I cycled the canal path to Hebden I was the central part in the my own film. I saw geese sitting on nests close to the canal bank and protective geese guarding the brood. I saw couples hugging, kissing and holding hands. I saw dog walkers and kayakers. I got frustrated by walkers listening to headphones unaware of my presence even when I dinged my bell repetitively. I went passed the forest school grounds and remembered the daffodils that me and Naoise planted two years ago. I cycled passed the Callis Canal Boat Community and I glanced in at there activities, vegetable growing, chicken rearing, boat maintenance, willow fences, watching the world go by.

Met my friend to talk about a collaborative project. Sip coffee, write notes, try and settle on a thing together. Listen to her and her ideas, write notes and help her out too. I like to help artists clarify and refine ideas. Artists are great lateral thinkers, their minds fly around in very which direction, I am good at finding central themes, holding disparate thoughts together locating a focus. Wish I could do this for myself. Much easier to help others, harder to help yourself.

I worked in the studio on some mono prints. There never seems enough time. I always feel as if I am rushing. Rushing to get marks down. Trying to keep my cool. Clock checking. A lot of time is wasted traveling too and from the studio, it would be much better t have a base closer to home. My life is a triangle of travel and activity between home, studio and allotment.

torsomonoprint

I made monoprints in blood red. Monoprints of my vulva and sagging boobs. How quickly the body deteriorates. How short life is. My boobs are shrinking and loosening and heading southwards. I love drawing my nipples, beautiful full stops between the mountains and valleys breasts. Its good to look, I don’t remember when I last looked this closely at the curve that my back makes, or the rolls of flesh and muscle falling around my stomach. My legs are strong all the running and walking and cycling are working to firm them up, but I feel big and bloated still. This is not the body that I wish I was housed in. I remember the body I had. The body that I had after Syd was born. It was ok. I was slim and trim. I have lost so much. So much time so much strength. I think its ok to say hello to my body again. Its ok to invest some time in trying to love it once more. My body has felt a stranger.

saggyboobs

The mono prints are rough first tentative ideas. The news print is best to work on as the surface of the paper is shiny and the oil sticks and the line is sensitive, sharp, clear, even finger prints can be captured with ease.

Artists to look at and think about when making this work; Louise Bourgeois, Sue Williams, Marie Suzuki, Annette Messenger, Tracey Emin, Dorothy Iannone.

I cycle back. I collect Syd and his friend from school in the car.

I collect Naoise from school and his friends to play. We go home straight away so we can see Syd before he is out to play his cricket match. The children shoot foam bullets around the house and pretend to have battles with lego star wars models.

Patrick is home late. The day is long. I was going to go for an evening walk when he returned but the inclination has passed.

Toad Love

20.42 (awake since 6am)

Albeit the building work going on next door home is peaceful. Naoise relaxing watching Clone Wars whilst I type. I should be getting him into bed. On bed is good enough for me. Its been a long and busy day.

Everyaday is a busy day when you have children to look after. Busy is good. I like busy. No time to think is helpful. I think too much. Analysis the minutiae. If you keep moving keep onwards pushing forward there is no time to reflect no time to be sad or paranoid or self obsessed.


The two month cough

You are number 17 in the que please hold the line and your call will be answered As predicted making an appointment took a lot of phone holding and morning task juggling, but bingo I got a time slot and with the super duper female doctor. In a small town everyone knows your business. I bumped into many I knew at the surgery. I chatted with a woman that I hadn’t spoken to since playgroup days. She is very softly spoken. I get distracted and have to check with the receptionists that I haven’t missed my call.

The doctor is kind and efficient, I blow into tubes and have my chest listened too and answer questions about allergies and hay fever and asthma none of which I have ever suffered from. I leave with a prescription for an asthma inhaler and a visit to get my chest x-rayed upstairs.

I make use of the free instant coffee. I am not waiting a moment when I am called in. I take the paper coffee cup with me, I need the caffeine. I feel a little concerned about the chest x-ray. Just procedure. Just a precaution, but I won’t relax properly till I get the results. I am ushered into a tiny cell of a room, with one door in and one door out, an institutional robe rests on a shiny plastic blue chair. I am instructed to remove all my top garments and to put on the robe. I can hear someone else in the room having an x-ray, then it is my turn and the door magically opens. A very young nurse checks my name and date of birth and places me in a strange and uncomfortable position against the metal plates. She asks me to relax and breath in when she says. Its not at all relaxing none of it not the position or the breathing.

I am so sick of this cough. I am so bored of it. Cough medicine and pain killers do not work. I imagine that living in a damp place by a river in a damp house and running on damp hills has been no good for my lungs. Perhaps I just need a rest. Its no fun coughing and weeing simultaneously, but rather a good trick!


I wish me and Naoise were watching something that we both enjoyed, this is a bit sad, him staring at one screen me at another.


Got up

Shower

Get dressed

Breakfast disaster do not want to talk about depression, pharmaceuticals and GCSE options first thing.

Make packed lunch

Clear up after them

Pour more coffee

Wash up

Get Naoise dressed

Naoise gets back in bed

I make him raspberry porridge

Get Naoise downstairs

Milk drunk, porridge eaten.

Run to school, slightly late.

Cant be bothered with this list dull dull dull filling screens with meaningless nothing words.


Studio via riding bike along tow path and avoiding human and dog obstacles on way. Geese are all on their nests and very protective and aggressive. Spotted first clutches of ducks. Very sweet. Very tiny and fluffy and darting. Ducks are awfully neglectful mothers, most of  the ducklings will perish. Geese on the other hand are superior parents, dotting, attentive, always present.

At the Studio make some drawings. Tentative work, its been too long without pencil in hand. Marks are shaky and haphazard but I manage the beginnings of something that is ok. I am pleased that I have made a start, no more procrastination. Action. Action. Draw. Draw. Draw. I draw because I am.

drawingselfies

Its an interesting process drawing from my own body. Watching, observing trying to draw what I see not what I think I see. A need and desire to put theory into practice. I cannot run a life class and teach without making and creating. Feel greatly relieved and relaxed sharpening pencils, smudging charcoal, looking and looking and not questioning. I play music. Its the best most relaxing thing.


toadsontoptoadloveone

Speed back home along canal. Its up hill on the way back. I had meant to photograph the dead duck that I spotted but I forget and the moment has passed. Instead I encounter two toads making love. The smaller female clinging tight to her man toad. I steal their intimate moments. I am glad that I saw them, that I did’nt squish them under my bike tires. Leaving them I warn other cyclists of their location and tell them to take care of the toads.


Just back in time. Just. I collect Syd from school in the car. Drop him back at home. Syd is excited he is off to The Trades Club tonight to see the Palma Violets, Patrick is taking him and his friend.


I hang out in the playground. Naoise and his friend play with sticks in the willow scrub and swing on the ropes. Hang on branches. We eventually get home at five, and I spend the evening stopping conflict between my Syd and Naoise. I am rather glad when its just me and Naoise, and its too too late now so I need to end this and try not to be such a neglectful parent.


 

 

 

The dead rabbit

22.56pm ( awake since 6.30am)

Its dark. I am still coughing badly, sometimes I feel short of breath. When I cough I wee too. Coughing and seeing simultaneously isn’t great. I must remember to make a doctors appointment which is always a challenge as you need to ring at 8am, this is the worst time ever to be hanging on a telephone line waiting and waiting and waiting. I will try. I will try tomorrow, must not forget, need to look after myself. Patrick has panicked and  frightened me with potential doom and gloom diagnosis. I am sure there is nothing to worry about. I am sure that I am just a bit run down, perhaps I need some antibiotics, who knows I am not a doctor. I now feel rather paranoid. I am tired its been a long day. Need to rest, to stop thinking.

I got back from running my evening class and both children were still awake. A cruel home coming. I cannot work out how Naoise manages to stay awake so late. More understandable to find Syd awake he is a teenager after all.

I hear the river, bubbling and gurgling.

In the library  I heard a baby crying in a pram. I recall stressful loud cries. I am here cries. I will make myself heard cries. I don’t want to be here cries. Push me outside NOW cries. I wished the wheels of the pram along and out.

I wonder why all I can see are prams and lines of baby clothes.

You cannot return to the place you have decided to leave.

Duality.

I hear the owl.

I hear Naoise steady breathing.

I hear cars pass on the road.

I look at the Octonaut Pod all orange plastic and garish.

I notice the banana skin that needs to be composted, piles of clothes that need putting away.

I spoke to my mum. She is well and enjoying her peace and quiet. Dad has been planting more willow trees, sadly the rescued Emperor Moth has died. The nest that she discovered remains empty. She is convinced that she could have disturbed the bird when she arrived back at the house.

deadrabbit riverofweeondryearth

I ran the route past Lumb Falls. Its a beautiful and isolated spot. Lots of curlews and lambs bleating. A few ruined buildings. Big farms breeding pedigree dogs and keepers of pigs and horses and chickens. I run a little, walk a little. Its bright and sunny and I wished I had all day to run and to walk. Perhaps one day I should give myself the gift of time and do just that…walk and walk until its time to collect the children from school.

ruintworuinone

Must manage some drawing before the week is through. Perhaps the studio via a bike ride tomorrow. I’ll leave the computer at home so all I can do is make marks. That will be good, it must be done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dusk walk

22.37 (awake at 4am, 5am and 6am up at 7am)

Woken in the night first by requests for water from Syd, then his alarm clock twice. Didn’t feel rested at all when finally it really was time to get up.

Its dark now and  I am sitting up in bed writing this, Naoise lying asleep beside me. I can hear the river flowing and a train passing on the track. Its another clear star bright night. I went for a walk. I had to get out. I have a desire to head for the hills. If I haven’t managed it then it needs to get done, its part of the routine.

I saw bats, a sliver moon. I heard the owl screech and the cow baying. I saw lambs fresh from their mothers womb. I saw blood stained wool and placenta. I heard the curlew and the dog bark. I saw fox gloves growing in-between the dry gaps of the stone wall. I saw buds clenched tight and acid green fresh leaves. I heard the sound of lambs bleating and ewes ba ba ba ing. I saw the red of the sun fall away to the night. I saw static windmills. I saw a rabbit jumping out from rocks. I heard a security light switch to on. I imagined that I heard the scurry of badgers. I hoped to see weasel or fox, little owl or hawk. I saw clouds of midges and ewes with their lambs settling down in grassy hollows to sleep.


snakesandladdersblockingtheview

Naoise is much calmer he is going happily to school. He has started to get himself dressed. He was pleased to be wearing his new shoes. We drove to school as I was working today.

I worked in the studio. I worked on the allotment. I heard the bees happy in pink nectar. It was hot and sunny and everyone was pleased. Still no sign of the swallows.

Syd asked me to collect him from school. I dropped him back at home and then collected Naoise.

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theshadowpiggybackfourtheshadowpiggybacktwo

Naoise played a short while in the willow scrub.

I tidied and washed and brushed up the kitchen. I put pots and pans and knives and forks away. I hung out clothes.

Syd looked after Naoise so that I could fetch some food from the shops.

Syd and me made goats cheese and caramelised onion tarts together.

Syd was tired, giddy, disruptive and mean, but loving and apologetic. He needs to work on kindness. He is often cruel to his brother and has to be instructed not to be. It is tiresome. It is dull. I wish it was not like this but then I remember that me and my brother and sisters fought like cat and dog too. I forgive his erratic mood. He seemed anxious about a thing. Not sure what the thing may be. Hormones at a guess. Life is not fair when you are a teenager. Its just not fair. 

He fell gently to sleep watching  football.

I feel like falling gentle to sleep too.

 

 

The dead lamb

19.47pm

Syd at cricket practice. Naoise fast asleep in bed. Patrick out. Home nice and quiet.

When the mist rose the day turned bright and clear. Not a cloud in the sky.

The train passes at the back of the house.

A lot can happen in one day. I decide to pour a small glass of red. Haven’t eaten my dinner yet, and cannot be bothered to cook. Cooking for one seems pointless. I find a plate and fill it with breadsticks and homemade humous and tomatoes. Tapas will do.

Syd rings requesting a lift home. He is only ten minutes from the house. I tell him that he needs to walk, that Naoise is asleep in bed. He sounds fed up. He says he is thirsty, I suggest that he finds some tap water to drink.

I have been walking and driving around in circles all day. I feel like a dervish.

This morning Naoise looked out onto the ridge of the mill building opposite the house and said look mummy bluetits. We laughed together when I explained that they were pigeons and that blue tits are tiny in comparison.

sheepandlambsinthewoodsWent for a walk up on the hills with my friend. I showed her my circular route past all the fields with lambs and the bridle ways and farms. To our horror we saw a decapitated lamb. It looked as if it had been killed in the field. Its body was tiny. Later as we walked further forward we passed a gnawed leg. I felt sick thinking about the poor little lamb. We wondered what could have killed it, dog, fox, badger, hawk. I thought that we should be telling the farmer, but the house looked empty.

Walking back along the road, a post van passed us, then stopped and reversed. I thought that the driver was going to ask where an address was, instead he called out the name of my friend and said he had a package for her. We were both surprised and delighted by this encounter. She walked home with brown box in hand.

The sound of the curlew lifts up through the valley.

We talked and walked and walked and talked. She is a delightful friend. I am so very lucky. We oohed and ahhhed at the light on the hills, beautiful, shifting, tonal shadow moving light, painterly, atmospheric and romantic.

The image of the dead lamb has stayed with me all day.

I go to the studio. Tidy, sort, put away, prepare the space for messy making. Too long its looked like a gallery, or an office space. Back home via the shops I make Syds dinner. I sit with him and eat my salad and  apple whilst he tucks in to a teenagers dream of a cheesy carbohydrate pizza.

We talk. He seems better, so I just give him one pain killer. I hang a second load of washing out to dry, load the tumble dryer with sheets. I run Syd a bath filled with lavender. I tell him to soak and to rest and to dream and get better.

I write some notes and go to the library to print out. I am cutting it fine with the time. Only two minutes to drive back up the road to collect Naoise. I pick up a friend on the way. She  is pleased for the lift. I am glad not to be the only one who is late. We arrive in perfect time as the children are just coming out of the door. Naoise runs to me and smiles. I love to see his face light up with joy at the end of school, and I feel so grateful that I am able to collect him. We hang out for a while in the willow sub. I am gladdened when he is good and comes home when he is asked.

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We make a quick trip to Burnley to replace Naoise school shoes that don’t fit him properly and to pick up a cricket bat for Syd. I drop Syd back at the cricket field. He is happy to be playing again. Last year he couldn’t play because a car ran over his foot, breaking foot and ankle in muliple places. He spent three months on crutches and six months recovering. This year he will be able to enjoy the summer. Play out with his friends. Enjoy sports and socialising.

He is back home now, upstairs with his friend. I should stop writing. I have nothing of any significance to say. This writing is clunky, ugly, immature; I did this, then I did that. There is a need to record and document, I am not sure why, or what the purpose is, perhaps to hold time, less it falls away too quickly.

The light is fading, I have naughtily poured another small glass of red and I am making my way through the bread sticks and humous. Tomorrow I will need to run off this bad.

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Here and There

7.02 am (up since 6am, awake in night for water)

Slept with the attic window open, cuddling Naoise.

Should have written this yesterday. Yesterday was Sunday. Everything slipped. So today I will cheat and attempt two posts in one day. One in the morning one at night. One for today one for yesterday.

It is the most perfect spring morning, mist lifting up through the valley and the yellow glow of the early sun sits behind the hill line. Head heavy with red wine intoxication. Why do I do it. I know its no good for me. It doesn’t take away life ills, just deadens time, makes me inefficient. I can feel the brain squeeze and it will be harder to move and think today.

Mum and Dad are away in Scotland. I receive a few text messages from them. They like to be far away. It is the peace and quiet that Mum craves, she is always surprised by it. She tells me in a message that the quiet is only disturbed first by the call of the curlew and now the geese. She has also found a nest and describes it to me. By standing by the veg patch you can see it is carefully lined with sheep’s wool. No idea what bird. I suggest that it may be the nest of a curlew. She is concerned that they may have disturbed the bird with their arrival. Dad tells me that he has just rescued an Emperor Moth whilst turning on the water supply. They have always loved nature. I am pleased that they find themselves in tranquility and find such fascination in small things. I have them to thank for my love of nature, definitely a joy passed on.

I haven’t much time I can hear Patrick and Syd getting up, and if there first interactions with me are a partner, mother staring at a screen they will not be best pleased.

The washing machine is on and I have hung out white pants and white vests and white school shirts to dry on the line.

Syd had an accident riding his bike on the road. His wheel caught the curb and he fell off. He told me that he rolled into a ball. He scared himself. I am glad that it did not see him fall. I would have been filled with horror. Patrick was just behind him, and helped him up. The bike was damaged but nothing that cannot be fixed. I ran a bath for Syd and placed him in it, listened to what had happened to him. He seemed to have come out of things unscathed. I was expected to find bruises and cuts.

Syd calls me in the attic to go and see him, he is feeling unwell. Shock, exhaustion, pain, a headache. Blimey he seemed so ok last night. I try to coax him out of bed. He is being stubborn and belligerent. I will try again with cups of tea and paracetamol to raise him. I hadn’t planned a day at home looking after a poorly child. I had needed a day in the studio to prepare some work.

Need to bring this to a close its all too complicated trying to write this now.

Me and Naoise spent some time working on the allotment. Planting herbs. Mowing the grass. We had a battle with bamboo sticks, he won every time. thebrokenbranchintreeinthetreebranchfixing

Naoise climbed in the tree, and found the branch that had broken when he had fallen from it. He lifted the branch up and positioned it in the place that it had snapped off. He is agile and climbs higher, but needs my help to get down.

I have a long day ahead of me. Patrick won’t be coming home at 6.45pm tonight he is going out. My shifts at home are endless. I feel time creep heavy on my heart. Life has become even more challenging than before. I am trapped by domesticity and maternal responsibility. Walking the hills provides the illusion of freedom.

I cannot eat breakfast and do small talk. I cannot.