Inspired by the brilliant Story of Mum and a bog post that she shared by :

When I walk. Walk in the wind, the rain, the sun, the ice, the snow, the fog, the nothing  and just enjoy. Make sure I don’t take a smart phone with me and just enjoy the moment.

Make time to be with my children and facilitate them with their creative projects.

Be grateful for what I have.

Perform random acts of kindness.

Try to be positive.


Be proactive, help your family, friends and community.


Make homemade gifts and cards.

Take time out for yourself.

Learn new things.

Teach the children to help out more with domestic tasks.

Go on adventures, find new places and museums and art galleries.

Support the creative work of your friends.

Draw, paint, make, write, think, read, walk, play.

Make healthy dinners.


Daisies in December

11.50am ( sat on the sofa)

Naoise and his friend bend over to pick daisies from a small clutch on top of the hill. He runs to me with his tiny bouquet of daisies. He hands them to me. I love being given flowers picked by my son.

The weather is completely confused, El Nino they call it. I have never seen daisies growing in December. This is my first bunch of christmas daises.

I talk to my brother via Skype I see sunlight streaming in through his kitchen window. He lives in the North of Spain. He tells me that there is no winter. He tells me how strange it is. He tells me stories of forest fires raging on the hills.

The flood came. It was like armageddon. The river rose and rose and raged and raged. The train track became a river. The power went out. The cars on the road stopped moving. The roads impassable. We stayed inside all day, it wasn’t safe to go out.

We watched pictures of flood devastation via social media.

P and Syd went into town to see if they could help alleviate the flood but it was futile. One boy, one man and one orange bucket cannot stop the floods.

Yesterday P helped clean out a factory that had been affected. We washed some friends towels. I probably should be doing something to help instead of sitting here on my arse, but I need a rest. I need a rest. I facilitated P helping out by looking after N. My conscience says I could do more. Guilt.

Don’t feel very well. Sluggish. Missing Syd, he is at his dads.

Syd has organised to play a benefits gig with his band.

Last night I helped N to make a clay bowl and cup. He loves pottery. He was inspired by a television programme. He is trying to put into practice all that he learnt from observing others making. He presses his thumb into the top of the handle.

This project is fizzling out. Running dry. Lost my love of it. Almost new year now. Mum up north, seen little of my family over this festive period. It always feels sad. Our family. Our family. Christmas suggests that is what you should be doing. But I never see my parents for more than a day over the holidays. I seem to see them less and less. The children miss them. Its to be expected. Not seeing them. The North of Scotland is a long long way from where we live.

I worry about the valley and all these floods. The community is brilliant and resilient and caring, but the floods will come back. The world is ill. This is global warming. The government do nothing. Nothing. People look and stare and are horrified. Nature is strong. Nature is violent. Humans care, but we need to care as much about nature as we care for each other. This is a partnership.

I have never seen daisies growing in December before.

On Christmas eve there were hail stones. I danced in the street. I wondered if I would ever see ice or snow or hail ever again.

Head numb. One hangover rolls into the next…..I miss Syd. I miss Syd. I hate it when he is away. I stop in shock. I miss my son. I miss my son.

Dream. rest. drem. rest.

Days to get lighter

8.39pm ( sat on the sofa)

Today will be lighter. Yesterday was the winter solstice. Today will be lighter because Syd has done his gig so won’t be hyper or stressed or excited anymore. Him and his band were really amazing. It was exciting to see them play and be in the crowd with all the community. Andy Kershaw and his dog came out to support Syd, how brilliant is that. It was a proud mum moment.

Me and Naoise hid behind the chairs, put ourselves in the background. Naoise was delighted when his friends came in the pub. They played with his new thunder birds toys and drew and had fun.

Mum won’t be coming up to visit us again over the christmas period, she has hurt her leg, pulled ligaments falling over in a gorse bush. Very bad timing.

My brain is already dead from childcare. We got in late late late last night after a drink at my friends house after the gig….I drank tea.

What is there to say?

We head towards the 25th. Naoise is so excited. He jumps on my back eats his advent calendar chocolate, tells me how many days are left.

I bought one free range chicken and some cranberry sauce……I will do the rest of our grocery shop this evening. The local super market stays open till midnight. I try to make christmas a modest affair. I went shopping once. I hated it. Shopping feels evil and wasteful and wrong and leaves me feeling stressed.

The glut of christmas is unappealing. I like the story telling, the magic making, the cracker pulling, but I am not at all religious. Peace and joy and goodwill to all mankind would be great though.

The news is full of stories of refugees fleeing from war and violence, the biggest movement of displaced people since the end of the second world war.

The snow hasn’t come. The cold hasn’t come. The ice hasn’t come.

I did see three deer on a walk last week, that felt seasonal. Christmas becomes more and more of a fiction. Is the snow man extinct?

Its a clear day. Naoise friend is coming to play today, least he won’t be lonely. We tried to find a friend for him yesterday, he made me ring all my friends mobile and landlines before giving in.

No rain today. Blue clear sky. Cars frantic movements on the road outside. The chug of the radiator.

P finishes work today. I will be glad of some help with the house the children and general family maintenance.


Dead of night

3.22 am ( sitting on the sofa)

Coat on its cold down here. Sleep broken by Syd sounding distressed in his sleep. He went to the toilet. My head hurts, too many different kinds of drink at the solstice party. Note to sleep must drink more adams ale than alcohol.


Silent road. Silent washing machine. Silent night. All is calm all is bright, around yon Virgin mother and child. Tis the season to be jolly, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la,

We drew pictures of ourselves and we all wrote letters to santa asking for our hearts desire.

Syd was suspicious of my family portrait drawing exercise…..we are only doing this so you can use it in your art project. 

……….my friend’s fridge magnet spoke truisms if we desire nothing then we free our minds……………

Me and P went for a walk in the woods with the truculent elderly dog. The sky was aqua marine. The red of the sun reflected in the windows of Ted Hughes home. Naoise played with my friends children .

When we got back to her house, the children made lots of noise on guitars and drums and electric piano.

The drop in party between a fixed time frame is a great model for socialising. I want to do this too. A really cool party was on my santa list.

We watched a cute animation about a business man teaching a blue baby bird to fly and then an episode of The Mighty Boosh. Naoise liked it.

P does not finish work until Wednesday, so I have the children on my own for a few days.

The house is looking cleaner for my efforts. Writing this had become a dissertation. Too much analyses. Too much word typing and not enough looking up from the screen. N hasn’t been asking for the iPad as much since I made an effort to do more with him. Engage him.


This art project has not always been a friend. At times it has become monster. A nasty mirror of my mind. A place to spill. Its sometimes best not to cross boundaries between public and private. Perhaps boundaries are very important. What happens when we try to dissolve them ? Do you feel uncomfortable?

I am glad that I don’t have to wake the children to rush them to school in the morning. I am glad that the school gates remain locked. It is the boundaries time.

Its too warm. Its too warm. Winter is snow. Winter is snow. Winter is cold. Winter is ice. Winter is putting on coats and hats and glove and scarves. Winter is bleak not warm.

All the lines of stuffed santa and snowmen and excess. Consumerism is not christmas. Peace and love and kindness to all mankind is Christmas.

I miss mum and dad, and my sisters and brother. I miss being together. I don’t like this fragmentation. This un-togetherness. What is Christmas? All the ghosts of the past Chrismas. I remember the sad year my Grannie died. My heart broken mother weeping. My mother lying in bed inconsolably sad. I always remember this. We need to cherish each day, each time spent with each other. Christmas expects idealism, the virgin, the child.

The mother wrapping parcels, keeping house, negotiating conflict, keeping togetherness.

I love my family, my two boys and my man. We are family. We are family. Its not perfect, its far from it. There is bickering and raised voices and the attempt at calm. There is competition between children and children winding each other up and competing for our attentions.

It is blissful when it works. When we sit on the sofa watching TV together, walk together, laugh together, draw together……..but tother does not always work. The house holds us close. We live in a sliver of a home. One room and kitchen downstairs. There is not much space to escape.

S spent the day asking with a friend. When I get back from the party, I see a pale teenager. I see a teenager that looks stressed with bags under his eyes. He push, push pushes me. I don’t give up. I don’t give up.

The children do help with the house work. N hoovers the rug. S reluctantly dries up dishes, ever so slowly, ever so slowly.

Remain calm. Diffuse conflict. Be consistent. Listen. Empathy. Structure. Boundaries. Love. Cuddles. Love. Play. Listen. Laugh. Encourage. Give voice to others. Provide a place.

Its later. Its later this morning. I need to go back to bed. Back to bed.

Try to engage the children in the last days of this project……what do they want this space to be?  How do we represent us? How to make this less threatening? Collaboration. Collaboration. How to collaborate with my family? Not me and them. US. How to make US work together? How to encourage us to work together? Do they want to play? Would they rather I just downed the writing and the art and just was with them in the now? Is the art worth it? Is it better just to be. To be.

(inage: all the family portraits). …….

No snow

12.32 am (midnight not today or tomorrow)

Spray on snow decorating window panes. Reindeers pulling santa sleighs. Snowmen. Snowballs. No snow. No snow.

Removing nits one by one from the nape of Naoise’s neck. They are foul, it is war. War on nits. The horrid things have irritated his skin and his head is full of scabs. Poor little child. War begins with tea tree conditioner and a new super duper comb tomorrow, or Monday when the chemist is open.

The unseasonal weather means that I feel not at all festive.

Today was good, saw my family. Ate mince pies and brandy butter. Decorated the house with plastic. Bad music played by small people strumming guitars and banging and blowing recorders.

Exchanged presents.

Wrapped presents for P’s family.

Made CD’s of Naoise singing carols.

Cleaned bathroom. Cleaned front room. Cleaned kitchen floor. Noticed the build up of black mold. All is damp and too warm and grey and dark.

The darkest day tomorrow. The winter solstice, then the light will slowly return little by little day by day.

Read an article about the El Nino effect. Swallowed worry and thought about our beautiful world and all the beautiful people and our constant denial.

I miss the ice and wind and cold and sledging. The unseasonal weather is unsettling.



Cut finger clean shelves and china

20.05pm ( at the table)

Phewwww I am tired. Cut my finger cleaning bits of broken china. I think I remember cutting my finger on the same pieces of broken china last time I did a spring clean. Open shelves in the kitchen are pretty to look at but the grease and the grime and the spiders and the webs build up quickly.

Naoise is eating basmati rice in a bowl on the sofa, he has dropped a tiny bit and is picking rice grains off the blue fleecy blanket.

Syd is back from band practice with his friends. P is being difficult and moody with me. Ahhhhh I hate living in a family sometimes. Sometimes I would love to be responsibility free. Twenty ish again. Oh the parties I would have. How busy we think we are before we have children. How beautifully naive.

Dreamt I lived in a house on a cliff over looking Sennon beach. The garden was too dangerous for the children to play in. I dreamt of rescuing puppies and kittens from rocks and waves.

I looked after my friends puppy. I took it for a walk. The ground of wet and muddy. The puppy did’nt want to walk in the rivers. The rivers must have been icy cold. Saw three Ro deers running on the hill.

P is about to go out to get a friend to mend Syd’s electric guitar, I am guessing its a night in on my own again. The days are long. The days are long caring for children. He takes beer, I doubt he will be back soon. I will be on the night time routine, as per usual.

Daddy, daddy……………….

Syd in and out the shower….no just getting in…ahhhhhh the music sounds the beginning of the shower.

P leaves, I don’t feel like kissing him goodbye. I will go out Friday. I will go out. I will relinquish responsibility. Childcare is endless, endeless.

N: Its a tripod camera, its a tripod camera. 

N: Can I put a bandage on mum.

Me: No

N: Please.

N:Can I have a hot chocolate.

Me: Yes. 

No time to write this… for children needed….always needed. Its better to be needed than not.

Seeing through the fog.

20.13pm ( sat on the sofa)

Syd getting out of the shower. P playing chess with N, wish it was read a book, but I am not complaining, I actually have a free moment. I am writing this in secret. The washing machine chugs around.

What to say? The walk in the fog was slow but good. I saw shifting clouds fuzzy like pastel smudged on paper. I saw two magpies, a crow, a wren…I saw a grey squirrel..some workmen fixing up a big house on top of the hill. I saw dew dangling like jewels on wool and empty branches.

Walking makes it all seem ok. Its all ok.


Admired a friends creative project and drank hot chocolate with brandy to celebrate. Fog. Fog. Cold, dark, damp. Collected Syd. Collected note from GP. Dealt with a tantrum over crackers in the budget supermarket, nearly had a nervous breakdown in the carpark struggling with child, tantrum and shopping. Did’nt cope well got stressed about cars and Naoise misbehaving and it was horrid.

Later N was vert very good and helpful and I forgot the incident before.


Syd normal cheeky self. Soon the school will break up, I need it to end, he is restless and tired and behaving erratically.

Friend came around with keys so I can look after her dog tomorrow. Looking forward to some company on my walk. May go over the tops in Walsden….not sure yet.

Washing machine comes to the end of its cycle. No more energy to write.

Beep beep beep. ….beep beep beep….

Blocked off canal path and plastic bag

14.07pm (sat on the sofa)

Just spoke to mum and before that P. Mum sounded tired, she is having her home re-roofed and it does sound stressful, though I do struggle to identify with her sometimes. Everything always sounds like a chore. I kept saying but it will be much better when it is done. I guess she is fed up with the whole process, its slow and messy and stressful.

Walking back from the meeting with the friendship group I rebelled and took the path that has been blocked off by the environment agency. This act of rebellion involved a precarious route holding on to the metal fencing that was blocking the main path, I had about 10 cm of grass to negotiate. I kept thinking I might slip into the poo brown canal water, but I didn’t. I was triumphant. I couldn’t see why the path even needed to be blocked off, there was no building work actually taking place on it.

I am determined when someone says you cannot do something to find a way around it. I like being adventurous and rebellious even if that defiance is only to walk a public path that has been blocked off.  I did it, I did it.

I haven’t anything new to say. I have been thinking about ending this writing. I have become to reliant on the screen to sooth me. The screen draws you in. Connections, real connections are made in the real world. Its good to start a conversation here, a thought, but its what happens in the 3D world of now that gets noticed.  I am wondering what I will do next. I look at the house, its neglected and I think I have neglected myself and the family by focusing on this project. You don’t have to record and document everything. To really enjoy something you have to let it float by on the river or be carried off by a cloud.

I take all that I have for granted. I need to be more grateful. I need to concentrate my efforts on my friends and family and near ones. I need to move forward. I need to be more physical and more visual. I need to stop worrying about what I haven’t done and look at what I do do. I need to accept the passage of time. I need to try and enjoy this day, this moment. The tree in the corner of the room, decorated by my son. The busy messiness of family life. The messiness of a full life lived. A tidy home isn’t necessarily a happy home, but a caotic home isn’t either. Need to try and find some balance. Need to run again, I liked the running, it sorted out my head, it stopped me from thinking. Need to buy new trainers to run the hills. You can always start again, thats what is good about a new year, it invites reflection it provides a beginning.

Pick up Syd soon and need to drop off the bill. Then I will collect Naoise, take him to a party. Then I will take Syd to guitar lesson. Back home, cook dinner, get kids ready for bed, collapse on sofa.

Each day is pretty much the same…….today I have enjoyed taking the path that said it was blocked and finding that I could get through……..thats what I need to do with my stubborn head. I need to keep pushing through, finding a new path. Excepting that this is today….but there is a different route that I could take tomorrow if I try. Small steps. Small steps.


9.15 am ( sat on the sofa in the front room)

It all feels pointless. This seems pointless. I have toiled and laboured and maintained this project and now it is almost done, it feels disappointing and pointless. Yet if I have a day when I don’t manage to write I feel that I am floating. Floating in meaningless.

I have been eating and drinking too much. I don’t feel at all well. The perpetual rain. The nothingness. Trying to find meaning in my pointlessness.

The tree that P has bought in from the allotment stands tall in the corner of the front room, decorated with owls and robins and penguins and paper stars and angels that the children have made.

Yesterday I bought a few small gifts for my nieces and nephews. I only buy gifts for the children. Christmas is for them not us. All the flood sirens went off, Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge. We got back by driving over the top road. The road down was a river, dangerous and slippy and steep.

I have become slow, slow, slow. The year is almost up. We made a recording of Naoise singing Silent Night and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer for the grandparents. I like to make things. I like to beat the capitalist christmas. Peace and love and goodwill to all mankind.

The garage did’nt charge me for sorting out the car doors that were jammed with seat belts. It was such a relief, I had wondered where I would find the money to pay for car maintenance a couple of weeks before christmas. I am not prepared for this seasonal time of year. I am behind. Behind.

Naoise is snoozing in bed. P is snoozing in bed. Must get on and prepare something, must not give in to my depression. Weak, no energy, pointless. Pointless.

Loosing faith

16.54pm (writing sat on the sofa drinking tea munching short bread biscuits all dark, very dark)

The washing machine is chugging. I am loosing faith in this project. What did I think that I would achieve by writing every day for a year? I have achieved an even messier house and a lot of words and images that I am not sure what to do with. I am really looking forward to stopping this. It has been a strain. I don’t think that it has been helpful to my health and wellbeing. Running and walking are. Making art are. Doing something outside of myself is.

Beep beep beep calls the tumble dryer…must attend it is very instant…beep beep beep again.

I have achieved some tasks today. Helped a friend..tick. Given Syd some nurturing time….tick….Made Syd dinner…tick….spoken to the secondary school about some concerns..tick….taken Syd to the GP…tick……tick…bought some seasonal treats, christmas pudding, mince pies, cheese biscuits. Buying a few luxuries a little at a time. Made room for the tree in the front room which involved moving all of the furniture around. It is a work of art making space for a tree in my titchy front room….tick…tick..hoovering tick….

Boring, boring…..Naoise at his friends. So will put my feet up a while before I need to make the dinner.                 P been doing loads of overtime so not seen him since the weekend.

Nice to be sitting in a slightly tidier home.

Naoise went to school in his diy school shirt today…..refused to play along with the schools christmas jumper plan for economic, ethical and environmental reasons. Wrote letter of concern to school about the excessive promotion of consumerism to our children. Felt better. Await reply.


Can’t be bothered anymore.

16.46pm ( sat at the table)

Syd at home unwell. P upstairs working from home. N sitting on the sofa playing on iPad. Me writing on this screen. Can’t be bothered with this anymore. I am bored of my own voice. Bored of recording how challenging parenting can be. It was boring when Naoise wouldn’t brush his teeth. It was boring when I couldn’t get out the door. Actually it was more than boring it was really stressful. Naoise isn’t used to being rushed out the door. He is not very good at behaving in the morning mainly because he cant wake up. He said that he feels sick if he brushes his teeth just before he gets in the car. Oh I am all out of sympathy this morning. I try to remain calm. Calm.

I really cannot be bothered with this anymore. I cant write about the Sure Start course its all confidential. I am glad that its confidential as I haven’t the energy to write about it.

Glad that I dont have to do this for much longer. Sick of recording my life. Starting to feel that I dont want to share. Don’t see the point of this anymore. Its been hard to share. Its been hard to be disciplined. Its a love hate thing this journal writing. I need to get away form the screen. I just need to live and stop analysing and documenting. I am not even sure that this has been good for my wellbeing. I am full of doubt today.

Naoise singing was so sweet. All the children doing their best to perform in front of the adults. I dont feel the least bit christmassy. I must find some joy in this sodden time of year.

Sending Syd back to school tomorrow, he is clearly better and bored. His friend has come over to play guitar with him, which is lovely. I am glad for him, though I wonder how P will concentrate now the teenage music begins.


Life is a merry go around not a ladder

13.44pm (at home sat on the sofa)

The sound of the radiator humming out its heat. My bottom sinks into the cushion of the leather soda. Cars and lorries and buses on the road. The constant slowing and moving off. The temporary traffic light, amber, red, amber, green. Stop. Start.

Syd is upstairs in bed, he is pale and unwell. He is tucked up warm watching a film. I collected him in the car from school.

Naoise wouldn’t wake this morning. I am glad that there are only two weeks left of the term. I literally had to prise him out of bed. I had to carry him on my shoulders, and even when I put him down on the pavement he was slow, slow, slow, his legs just waking to the vertical of the day.

DSC_000001-17 DSC_7768

The day started badly. Arguments and stress over lack of funds. The trigger was Syd asking for some guitar strings. He seems to be going through guitar strings like water. I pay for them with what change I have in my bag and by dinner P has apologised for over reacting to Syd’ss request. I have talked to Syd about keeping back £10 of his fund for strings. There is understanding and things are back to relative harmony. P will be working late tonight. I will be holding the fort.

I hold. I hold the family. I hold it together. Mothers are glue. Mothers create a space to hold the lives of others, and they have to find the time to hold themselves.

The mindfulness exercises at the friendship group were good. I noticed the clock, my breath, the passage of time, I sent rage off in a cloud. I replayed the morning at home, mainly what had gone wrong. All I see is the crosses. I ranted about mental health and the lack of funding and I got annoyed at the ignorance of one of the members of staff at the sure start centre. I need to learn not to open my mouth. I need to train my brain not to think. Not to speak. Go hum hum hum. Shhhhhhh Shhhhhh just listen, don’t comment. Its not always helpful to speak. Better to just be present.

The ladder of capitalism. The list of to do’s. I do. I do. I do. What happens if you stop doing. If you really practice this mindfulness lark. If I concentrate on the keys of the computer. If I don’t think about the needs of m family. If I think of nothing. If I just watch and become the observer.

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I am on the merry go around. Occasionally I get off and I can see, then I jump back on and around I go again. Soon this project needs a full stop. The journey will continue, but the writing needs to slow down. I need to be still with a pencil and a line. I need to take the line for a journey. The writing makes me question too much. Analyse.

I feel annoyed with this project so its best that I do stop. I have managed it. I set myself a task and it is almost done. I like the idea of the project. It makes you to make. I want to make drawings. A drawing a day. the focus to be on the visual. Only the visual. I am not a writer. The drawing is a fluid medium. It can be pencil and paper. It can be sculpture or performance. It can be a shopping list. It can be a walk. It can be meditating. It can be anything but there must be a record, a document, a trace, some evidence. Then that is a drawing. Words and language can be drawing too, but I like the idea of setting myself the challenge of abandoning this form. This ramble. This reflective ramble. This ramble is not satisfying me and my curiosity for what I can see.

I need to be the WATCHER. Maybe WATCHERS are happier. WATCHERS are careful. WATCHERS are mindful of the passage of time. WATCHERS see what we are doing now. WATCHERS stand back and learn and are open minded. WATCHERS don’t judge. WATCHERS sooth the threats and lessen the drive. WATCHERS are compassionate. I WATCHED the mindfulness woman. I want her Zen. I want her knowingness. I want her calm. I sit her on my shoulder. I will bring her out when I need to. My watching woman.

What will I do with this project:

1/Try and crowd fund the publishing of four books; spring, summer, autumn, winter

2/ A participatory project

3/ More readings of m(other) stories. Think about how to develop the audience. What time frame? How

4/ An exhibition

5/ A celebration of the completion of the project.

6/M(other) Stories part two: a drawing a day?

7/ Evaluation

I was ever so grateful for all those that came to visit me at the open studio. I loved the children that drew in my space. I love to share my materials with children so that parents can be my audience. I think I make my artwork for adults. Is that ok, probably not as art needs to be for all. It needs to be for all if you want to tick all the requirements of a funding bid.

I was happy reading in the presence of friends but I need to think about reading to strangers. I do need to get myself out of the valley. Not myself my art. My art needs a wider audience. My art wants the city, the passer by, the random person.

I need to complete the form to do voluntary work at the mental health organisation. I realise that I need to turn my rage into something proactive. I need to stop ranting and start doing. Is your to do list longer than mine. Do we need to have a to do list. Where does all this busy-ness come from. What happens if nothing happens. What happens if I do nothing? Life moves on.

Tomorrow its the Be-friender training course that I cannot really discuss. I can talk about me in it. Thats what I will do.