Thursday, October 11, 2007


When I was about ten, I made myself a skirt with a piece of red felt; I sewed it into a tube, hemmed the top and threaded elastic through for the waist then I hemmed the bottom with white cotton! Mum had taught me how to do a back stitch for seams, but hadn’t impressed upon me the importance of using the same colour cotton for invisible hemming. I didn’t notice the little white stitches dotted around the hem…and was out in the street, wearing my creation, in a flash. When my mother spied me posing in this MINI she dragged me inside and made me take it off…AT ONCE! I couldn’t see what the problem was…it was beautiful. She eventually raised the hems of my dresses a few inches, which didn’t make any difference at all; they still covered my knees…this would be about 1964 when it seemed that the whole world noticed what you were wearing.

She made all my clothes; another bone of contention in later years when fashion reared its ugly head. I hated almost all of the clothes I had to wear, but I do remember a pretty summer dress that had merry-go-rounds on it; that dress was made immortal in a patchwork quilt. Sundays were horrible; I was dressed nicely, and forced to wear a straw hat with flowers on the brim…the hat stayed on my head with the help of elastic string under my chin that itched and drove me crazy. I tried leaving that hat everywhere but there was always someone busy enough to find it for me. I even tried throwing it into the burn but the wind skited it along the bank and it landed safe on the grass. I spent half my time running away from those hats. I was sent off to Sunday school every week, wearing my hat. And, when every other child in the place was showing her knees below her dress, mine were ten inches up and under dresses that practically reached my ankles – this was definitely not fashionable!

Monday, October 08, 2007


Oooh, my friend Carrie and her man are back together again! He’s been and put an end to his past; closed down the shutters for good and the divorce is on its way. He’d been legally separated for years but recently came to the conclusion that he had to find out just how he really felt, so he went back to see if there was anything to be salvaged of the marriage. The break broke both their hearts; they’ve spent the last three months or so apart, and haven’t been able to completely cut communication – a painful friendship. Why are men so dense? They can’t see past their comforts; he’s lived with Carrie for five years and didn’t know that he loved her; was afraid to find out the truth because then he’d have to spill his emotions, ask himself questions and find the answers from a place he refused to acknowledge – his heart. And he is such a sweet man, one of the very few I’ve known; I never had one like him.

I feel sorry for his wife; she might have had high hopes for reconciliation – she had been asking him to return for a long time, which is probably why he was so confused. At least they both know now, and everyone can move on. There are no children involved; it’s all grown-up angst. He and Carrie will sit down now and negotiate their new future; they were happy together but he always had this weight around his neck, and she knew that he wasn’t completely committed to her. I sincerely wish the best for all three of them.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I think the word muse is old-fashioned, and suggests that writers sit at their desks, always waiting for a 49 bus; and it's just not true. Writers write, then they edit and then they write some more before putting it away. All the writers I know begin from a prompt or an old/existing piece of work; they don't really sit facing a blank screen/page - that's a cliché.

You see this image of writers in movies, like say, The Shining; he’s sitting there with his mind out seeking inspiration and is taken over by an evil spirit. There is also the portrayal of this character as one of these, ‘I’m going to sit down one day and write a book,’ people, who believe that writers do indeed just sit in front of their typewriter and wait for this thing, The Muse, to strike.

Some poets wake up with a whole poem swimming inside their head but mostly they’re pulling images out of their diaries and notebooks to create a piece of work that will evoke some emotion from their readers. It’s amazing when you are gifted with a complete poem but it doesn’t happen often. Usually you are scanning around for a political element to sink into your anecdote or countryside musings; musings is a nice comfortable word which is a million miles away from a capitalized muse preceded by the definite article.

No, I don’t spend time waiting for my Muse; the usual reason for my procrastination is just bone idleness. I can’t understand why my head persists in this practice; it makes no sense. It is enamoured by the amusing situations and characters but when the words build into the tens of thousands it seems to take fright and run off screaming, and I have to drag it back. I’m closer to death than I ever was so I’d better try harder to get it under control; otherwise all these half-written tales will never be born. I remember one day, in the bathroom, when I was five months pregnant; I suddenly realised that there was no going back – it was going to hurt whatever happened; this lump would force its way out of my body, dead or alive, and I would have to suffer the pain. I need to align myself with this image and push these creations out. So why don’t I just get on with it?

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I’d rather be a cleaner than a teacher; when people tramp all over your work they apologise, and sometimes ask your permission to continue. Students don’t usually say that they’re sorry for giggling in your class and disrupting the lesson plan you spent ages working out. Thank the stars I didn’t spend time in that area. I did quite enjoy popping in at Book-week and doing creative writing workshops, or reading something with the younger years. Teaching English to ten 10yr old Spanish kids just makes you paranoid. I couldn’t hack it – give me a mop every time.

I like adults; people should be born at nineteen, with all the angst already flashed through their dreams, although babies are nice – maybe we could have babies as toys. But I quite like four-year-olds, they’re funny, and intense. Though I have seen some awful little beasts on the streets here; I saw a male one last week, belting around on a bike, swearing and growling to himself. He looked about five! And I have seen worse on the streets in the west end of Newcastle; carrying their booty from houses the older boys had broken into. Even comparing kids in the same family, the cousins, my God! When Amazon took her lovely, only child up to visit the Loch Lomond mob she was traumatised watching ToughGuy put the half-nelson on her little red PowerRanger. My older son, TocToc has five children and they all just tumble over each other. One of them can be sitting watching television, quietly, and another will suddenly leap on him. It’s a mad house. Just watching PowerRanger’s face is great entertainment.

I don’t visit often – I like to talk to them on the phone. Though, maybe that’s why they all go a bit hysterical when they do see me. On their own they’re fine, and I would take them most places without having to go back and apologise. I once took three of them out, together…oh my God! Never again. Comedian was about two and I had him in the buggy. As we walked around the west end of Glasgow he leaned out, calling ‘Dickhead!’ at people passing by. I was mortified. My oldest grandson said, ‘Just ignore him granny, he’s a bad boy.’ But they are usually good, and they stop swearing before they turn three. When PowerRanger was about 14mths I held his hand at the top of the stairs, in TocToc’s house, and went to take hold of ToughGuy, he suddenly sat and slid down the stairs on his straight legs! I don’t know why I was surprised. My only granddaughter is three, and is as tough as any of them; they used to drag her around like a rag doll.

It’s a wonderfully strange world; I’m told that their teachers love them, but it wouldn’t be me.

Monday, October 01, 2007


The Archangel smelled of Guinness and home-made steak pie. Eurythmics pumped ‘Sweet Dreams’ into the air and Delphine found herself sinking into the music, all the way to the bar.
‘What can I get for you?’ the man sitting behind the counter must have spoken.
‘You sent for me,’ she looked into his face; his eyes had tears hanging in them.
‘There’s only me, I don’t know...’
‘No, but I do.’ She let him pour a drink and took it with her around the room. ‘Do you mind if I have the arch? And this little space behind…yes, this is it.’

He stood up and heaved his shoulders back but his mouth wouldn’t work. Delphine put her hands on his, held them together and shook him awake.
‘What did you say your name was?’ he looked surprised that he’d spoken out loud.
‘I’m Delphine. Call me Del. I’ve just got to get some things from the car. Are you any good at DIY?’ She was out of the door before he understood what she’d said. And back again with her arms full of fabric.
‘I’m sorry, who are you?’ he rubbed his face.
‘Don’t worry about a thing Bruce, I just need you to nail some of this up for me.’
‘Look, Del is it? This isn’t the kind of place for you. Nobody comes here, it’s dead.’
‘Nothing wrong with dead; I like dead.’ She handed him lengths of purple voile, and told him where to pin it. ‘Can’t you feel it Bruce? Isn’t your hair tingling at the roots?’
‘Only ‘cause you’re scaring me shitless,’ but he laughed.
‘I’ve got needles and pins all over,’ she glanced up at him and they both shivered.
‘I don’t know what the hell I’m doing…or you for that matter.’ He said.
‘Go and open the doors.’ She spread black velvet on a table under the arch; her hand swept tarot cards in an arc, images up. They lit the room. Delphine stood up and switched on a lamp that sparkled stars across the ceiling. Bruce returned and sat at the table with her.
‘Why are you here?’ his face trembled.
Delphine selected a card and placed it in front of him.
‘I am…the answer to all questions.' A jangle of horns, braking cars, slamming doors and shouting clamoured outside.
'Let the President and Prime Minister in first.’

Sunday, September 30, 2007


I made myself go up town today and the sun came out. I’ve been crocheting blankets again; started at work the other night, in between calls. It’s time to build up a stock of stuff to sell, I mean I’m supposed to be finishing my website and that’s what’s holding me back, because I haven’t got anything, right here and now, to put up for sale. I’ve got all sorts lying God knows where but can’t get to it at the moment; some is in Spain and some, hopefully, wrapped up tight in the old flat. I saw wool at great prices in a big old department store last week so that was the first stop. Think I’ll get three blankets out of this, and the colours are stunning…have started already and am one ball down – 100gms in a couple of hours.

I’m not a window shopper; I tend to get what I want and scoot off, but I’d brought my notebook and the camera, to people-watch so…I sauntered into the Buchanan Galleries and had a lovely latte in Ben&Jerry’s. There was a group of guys break-dancing for the crowd; nothing spectacular but I had fun. I think it would’ve been more exciting if the music was louder; there was no atmosphere; I suppose the shops might have complained.

I was only out about two hours; that feels like a whole day to me, but it means that I get to do lots of different things. Years ago I might’ve spent it all in one go, my time. I met an old friend in town a few years ago and we spent the whole day in Waterstones on Sauchiehall St, right on to a poetry reading in the evening and were practically shoved out of the shop at closing time, high as kites on caffeine!
Today was good and I was pleased that I didn't waste money; I popped into the Works and almost bought a scrapbook album, but I put it back on the shelf - it'll still be there in a couple of weeks. Then I vered into a pound shop but managed not to NEED anything, and headed off to the subway like a good girl.

When I arrived at the flat there was a handful of people standing outside the building beside an array of bouquets on the ground. I stopped and asked what was happening and they told me that the woman in the fire had just died; one of them was her daughter, she said that they’d switched off the machines this morning. Her mother had never regained consciousness; the smoke had caused too much damage to her brain. I could feel myself tearing up; I’d never met her but I was upset that this woman had died. She was only fifty-five. I was stunned that so much damage could have been done and we had not suffered at all. The people above and below had, to some extent, but the only thing that touched us was/is the smell.

In the ten weeks that I’ve been here I’ve only met people in the lift about four times. I met the neighbour next door yesterday for the first time. I don’t know the name of the woman who died but she has touched me. When I was a child I remember women from the area coming round now and again collecting for the family when someone had died. I said to Musician, ‘I wonder if there’s anyone getting up a collection for her daughter,’ and he looked at me as if I was mad. ‘Don’t get involved,’ he said. And when I thought about it, who would open their doors these days, to strangers asking for money, in an area like this?

As I began my new crochet I listened to the kids in the street, running around, playing some ball game, life going on as normal while the bunches of flowers sit beside the door, and above them the black gaping holes of the windows in the burnt-out flat.

Friday, September 28, 2007


I was thinking about making soup; can you make soup in a microwave? I imagine so, I’ll give it a try, but my lovely vegetable peeler is in the burnt-out flat, so is the blender. When Pete and Joan’s family asked me what I wanted from the house I said I’d like the peeler; I felt it was already mine, and it would always remind me of my time there. I spent eighteen months looking after them – that’s longer than a lot of marriages; mine only lasted three months! The first one that is; by the time I waited for a divorce I’d decided not to go through it again, so when I’d had enough of hubby no.2 it was just a case of saying, ‘Don’t be here when I get back from work!’

I must make Amazon call the housing office and arrange for some kind of removal of our (very smelly) belongings. I’ve already thrown out all the soft stuff that had absorbed the smoke, anything that wasn’t in a bag or drawer. But, she can’t bear the idea of that awful smell coming into her new/temporary flat. She’s got a veranda; I suggested that we stack it out there and gradually get it aired, cleaned or whatever. I’ve got loads of pottery stuff and dishes that would need re-wrapping so I’m saving newspapers. For a while Amazon had convinced herself that she didn’t want anything that was left there but now she realises that she can’t afford to replace everything, that a lot of stuff can be cleaned.

I don’t know how far the repairs have gone; I’ve got a feeling that they are waiting for us to remove more stuff. At the moment all of my stuff from the storage cupboard is piled on PowerRanger’s bed. I still don’t know how my albums and photos have fared. Don’t know if they’ve replaced the floors yet or what. My grandson’s room was the only one that wasn’t soaked with the hoses so the floor and electrical stuff in there will be okay. The kitchen was soaked but my blender was in a cupboard. I’m going to call her now. I want home-made soup; I feel winter drawing near.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


This link shows a fire in my building...on my landing! When I came home from work last night I couldn't believe the sight that met me as the lift door opened, and the smell. It was horrifying because of the recent scare we had with Amazon's flat going on fire. I immediately looked towards my son's door and it seemed as I left it. The fire had been on the opposite side, just a few yards away but through the all-important fire-doors; two of them, thank the stars - the thought of going through all that again, with the smoke and water damage.

The CID have been round this morning asking questions and now the fire investigators are here. We've heard that one person who was taken to hospital is in critical condition. Musician has just been across and spoken to a fireman; they're clearing the flat out - it's been completely gutted. He'd been speaking to a woman last night who'd been trapped inside her flat with her son, terrified, not knowing what to do. Musician told me that he'd gone out on to the landing last night because he'd smelled the smoke and was stunned when he was enveloped in it. He said he knocked on his immediate two neighbours' doors and told them that there was a fire, but he couldn't go out into the lift area because of the heat and smoke. He said that when he touched the glass panels at the side of the door he could feel the heat. Now he's beating himself up wondering if he should've done something. I reminded him that he had asthma and that his lungs probably wouldn't have let him get very far.

I'm wondering why fire is in my this a warning to me? I could turn myself into a frazzle analyzing omens or just be ready for anything; or make sure the smoke alarms are working! Actually this one is hanging off the ceiling. Must make him sort that out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Well, I breezed into the new/old job and felt as if I’d come home; there were all these people still there, and they remembered me. I just slotted right in and felt soooo comfortable, it was wonderful…as though my space was waiting for me to come back.

The place has changed some, for the better, so I’m looking forward to stuffing my stuff into my little nook. We used to be able to see around the room from where we sat but now we’re in our own small world, a carved cave of shelves and cupboards, with electric sockets – I could even bring the laptop! But not now; now I need to make Xmas cards. You see, that’s what I like/need in my work; space and time to do my own thing while I’m getting paid to do something else at the same time. When I was looking after my old people I could do all kinds of crafty work or writing; I can do this here while waiting for calls. Last night I had a whole hour between calls at one point.

And from the first call I knew I had made the right move; I loved being back with my tarot cards, reading for someone, discussing problems and advising positive steps to take. I think of myself as a life-counsellor, giving people energy and hopefully the impetus to make changes in their lives. The cards are only a tool to make people talk about and pinpoint their problems. That is the best part of this job but there are those who spoil it and drive you to distraction; that’s why I left six years ago. They are the ones who call every day, every week and obviously don’t listen to the advice they’re given; they ignore what they don’t want to hear. In every industry there are those who make things difficult; in the psychic world there are questions and accusations hurled – not everyone is a charlatan. I know that a lot of poor people spend money they can’t afford trying to glean answers from the cards or the dead, but there are also other outlets that don’t receive the abuse that psychics get, like shopping and sky-tv-till-you-drop. There’s nowt as queer as folk, and you can’t tell them what to do with their money.

The other reason that this all fits in is that there are psychics and tarot in both of the novels I’ve got on the go; I didn’t plan it, it just happened and I hadn’t really noticed – perhaps I see it as just part of reality. And, the beginning I’ve written for Susan Hill’s CW course is going in that direction too. I think I’ve been guided back here for a reason and am where I am supposed to be at this time in my life. I hope that the new piece I’ve begun isn’t another novel; I can’t deal with three at once…I don’t think.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Thought I'd add a touch of spring to our lives seeing as winter is blundering swiftly towards us; it's been raining on and off here for the last couple of days. I took my coat on Saturday and ended up taking it off and having to drag it around town with me - the sun arrived and stayed all day! My other excuse for using images instead of words is that my finger nails are clicking on the keyboard...and I'm in procrastination mode too.

Friday, September 21, 2007


I’m singing Abba’s 'I do I do I do' as I write this. One of the guys from my writing group got married on Tuesday so he brought in a box of favours today, with cake and everything. I chose a CD of the music they had at the ceremony and party; it’s classic cheese, including YMCA, Shania Twain and Amarillo – of course it was a civil partnership. So, a great start to the day; cake and favours of chocolate pretending to be sugared almonds, and now relaxing on my bed with the lovely Shania wailing (with me) ‘From This Moment On’, and twiddling with sunset photos I took from my window the other night…ooooh, and just as I speak there’s another one just beginning. Life is nice tonight.

Oh, and I think I've managed to change the settings of comments so anyone can leave one without all that hassle.

I got a new job; going back to the psychic world of tarot reading. I start on Tuesday so will be spending the next few days pouring over my books to refresh my memory. And the only job application I haven’t missed the deadline for is that of the lollipop lady; my colleagues from the call centre job voted and said that they want me to do that anyway, so it’s kind of serendipitous that I’d missed all the others. It’s only temporary, till Xmas I think so it would be an interesting experience…maybe a little wet, but I quite fancy it for a laugh. God, my life is just a barrel of laughs – I’d be dead by now if it wasn’t.

I picked up my ordered books at the library; The Hours, The Awakening and The Quiet American so am looking forward to browsing. I’ve just finished reading Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad; and I didn’t love it. It was okay, but it didn’t evoke any laughter or tears – maybe a little smile, once; but it’s only small and I read it in a couple of days.

Actually, the next few weeks is looking good, and I’m going to give myself a right good talking-to….oops, I’ve gone off, singing along with The Hucklebuck’…a little bit of that …a little bit of this….’

I went off a little while ago with, ‘you spin me right round baby right round like a record baby right round…’ I LOVE THAT! Not sure if I can remember who sang it.

I am loving all this forum stuff with Susan Hill’s writing course but it’s all just more procrastination for me. But then it’s all about writing and literature so it’s allowed, but I really need to take myself in hand. I should announce a deadline; that usually works for me. A map would be better. I’ve found a nice big table for my room so maybe I’ll work on a plan. When I hear of all those writers who sit down at a certain time and make themselves stay in the chair till they write something I want to do that; I want a more ordered life – things would move on if I was more regular in my habits…but people wouldn’t recognise me, I might disappear. Maybe I like being a whacko.

Also today, I discovered that some of my writing group have been hiding the fact that they belong to a craft group! I NEED to join; I’m only ever happy if I’m spread farther than cheap margarine.
Doing the Time Warp now.....

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Amazon was over here today, checking out my little space in the minefield that is Musician’s flat. She was impressed enough to suggest more visits; the space Musician inhabits, ie, living-room, is a maze of wires – a bit like a spider’s web, where he sits in the middle and spins his music, moving bits of something here, there and everywhere. She never comes here – and that hurts his feelings; he’s the sensitive middle child, and gets upset when she tells him his place is bogging. So now she knows that some kind of clean has entered the building she’ll pop over now and again. I usually have to walk the several streets it is to her flat, so I’m happy; now I can continue my layabout life and if she needs me she can come here.

The stress and depression is still hanging over her; she had the follow-up doctor’s visit this afternoon and he made slight changes to the meds she’d been given a few weeks ago. I reminded her that these are only temporary measures until she can get back into a better sleeping pattern and relax into the pressures of the custody battle. She still hasn’t been back to the burnt-out flat; we need to get our stuff out of there so the workmen can repair it – she can’t bring herself to face it again, yet.

I’m glad I’m old and have dropped my passion off along the way; I wouldn’t want to have to go through all that LIFE again – relationships and children and money and all that STUFF. I don’t really worry about money, even now, because I am only me, with no dependants. My children are dealing with their lives and there’s not a lot I can do to help except support them (and drag them to the doctor now and again) and dish out advice. I brought them up to be individuals: not just my children; but it is painful to watch them suffer all these slings and arrows.

One of my sisters-in-law is struggling with her son; it’s a real bitch of a fight where she’s trying to hold on to him, keep control and he’s choking-to-death. There’s nothing anyone can do and it’s heart-breaking to watch; the pain they’re causing each other is awful. He’s 22 and should have left home by now but was so comfortable, even in the confines of his prison. I should try and talk to her; point out that when parents get to where she is they often behave worse than the child ever did and move everything to enormous proportions. Of course he’s not a child now but she is absolutely blind to that fact; she continually brings up all her hard work in taking care of him, which included paying his phone bills and buying him anything he thinks he wants/wanted. He doesn’t want to hurt her but won’t or hasn’t been able to cut himself off even though he hates living there. She won’t listen to anything anyone has to say anyway, so there’s no point – we’ll have to wait till the end of the play to see what happens.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Well, I think I’m finally falling apart; I was at the hospital yesterday morning, at the face clinic and I am suffering from DMT which means, Dysfunctional Mandibular something. She said that my jaw might not return to the way it was; I should get my mouth open wider than it is now, but don’t think I’ll be facing a future that includes Big Macs. They had to take impressions of my teeth to make me some kind of shield that I’ll need to wear at night to gently relax the tissues in my jaw area. Apparently, I’ve been overworking my poor old jaw, because I have to chew on one side – there being no teeth on the bottom of the other side! Long and convoluted, I know, but let this be a warning to those of you out there chewing on one side…GIVE IT A REST!

The making of the impressions was pretty hysterical, considering I can only open my mouth about half-an-inch! It was painful, still is. I hardly slept last night, kept waking up with acid in my throat, having to sleep sitting up and coughing it away. My body is fast approaching ancient; I can see myself being fed through a tube – that’ll keep the acid-reflux at bay. I shudder to think what it’ll be next. Last night was my own fault; I had cake about ten o’clock. I need taking in hand – I still haven’t had a vegetable since I left Devon! I blame it all on Musician – if he had a cooker and a fridge I’d be able to cook proper food. He did have a fridge, I bought it for him, but he blew it up a couple of months ago; cleaning the icebox with a knife’ll do it every time. He is definitely not mine, this changeling.

I find myself disappearing into the land-of-lie-about-all-day; I’ve watched several movies today and my excuse is that I was tired after last night. Tomorrow, I will go to the library; I will go buy the house-warming present for my brother-in-law; I’ll have lunch with Morag; and I’ll walk instead of taking a taxi. I didn’t do any writing today but I did last night, and am half-way through ‘End of The Affair’. Feeling old and decrepit but still optimistic.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Yesterday, a dull Saturday morning in Glasgow, Govan rang to the sounds of 24 orange bands parading through the streets; I could imagine all the pillows over hung-over heads – I mean it was 11am for God’sake! My head was clear and zinging with caffeine. It took them almost half-an-hour to pass. What I like about high-rise-living is the view and the muted street noise; not that muted really; we’re only eight flights up. I stood at the window and watched as they drearily marched through the grey day…and there might have been a little rain in the wind.

My mind flipped back to my youth, when I played a drum in a marching band. My family were a mixed bunch of Catholics and Protestants, and when I joined the band my mother went mad, ‘Wait till your granny hears about this,’ she said. My granny loved it! I used to pop in to see her after practice on a Sunday and she’d get me to ‘give her a tune’ on my drum.

Drums feature several times in my life; when I came back to Glasgow, after living in Newcastle for 15yrs, I joined a drumming band in Barrhead called ‘Wummen Drummen’. I absolutely loved it; it’s hard to describe what it feels like to be part of that huge beat and rhythm. Even now when I hear drums in the street I come to a standstill…I have to find them through the crowds and stay for at least part of the performance – this drives my family and friends insane; they’ve been hurrying me away from things like this most of my life, and I suppose I was such a people-pleaser that I’ve always let them. I should have made them sit with me sometimes rather than me always having to move on to the next thing with them – there never seemed to be any time in any of their lives to just stop and listen, to pay attention to what was going on around them. In my life as a young mother my children were always hurrying me out of bookshops and charity shops. Now that I’m free, I can sit where I please as long as I want, but sometimes it’s a lonely life.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I did get some answers on my question about the novella, and have come to the conclusion that it is really more related to the short story than the novel. I thought I should read more so asked if anyone knew any off hand and got two so far which I'll try to get from the library today. My local writing group meet there so it's all quite handy. I've been popping in on this group for the past year, whenever I was in Glasgow, and it never occurred to me to actually join the library. It wasn't till I wanted a Grahame Green book for Susan's writing group that I thought of it! They didn't have one of his books on the premises - it's a deprived area, but I would have thought he'd be there.

Gotta go now but I might be back.

I'm back. Had a fabulous morning with the Ibrox Writers up in the library; a wealth of great writing appeared, and I got help with three little poems I'd dragged out of a dark cupboard - by the end of today I might be able to move them to the Done folder. I'll give them a few weeks there before sending them out to earn their keep.

Picked up the Grahame Greene I'd ordered, End of The Affair, and am very impressed with the first chapter. I did as Susan suggested and read it slowly, going back over the first page a couple of times, asking myself if I knew what he had done there and how he did it. Very clever the way he kept the focus and kept us waiting to find out what we wanted to know from the first sentence.

by the way...I might not have mentioned that I'm participating in Susan Hill's writing course.

I had to put in an order for the two novellas I wanted; this is a pretty small library; but I only waited a couple of days for the Grahame Greene. The up-side is, they have a lot of computers. I had to take a disc with me today so I could print something; I need ink for BOTH my printers, and now I'm not earning at present, I can't afford to spend money on ink. When I went into town yesterday I had to chuck myself on the bus home quickly before I could spend anything. I can't get past Waterstone's, WHSmith or pound shops.

One of the writers in my group reminded me that she'd like to look at the old novel that I've shelved; she's really good at picking out rogue elements in a piece of writing and I had asked her to be my first reader a while ago. She's not best pleased that I'm not working on this, but as I tried to explain my reasons to her, I began to understand myself, what is going on here - she thinks that my art is mirroring my life in that I'm all over the place. It felt good to work this out. I said that at the moment I feel, if I can sort out the structure of the Bluebeard novel and park myself at chapter four, then I can go back and do the same for the other...then perhaps work on them in tandem. I really don't think I'm ever going to be able to stay on one thing at a time. But that's alright, as long as I can concentrate on what I'm working on at the time. I suppose one of them will eventually take the lead. Nothing is ever plain sailing in my life.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I was so impressed with myself yesterday; I wrote a whole piece, edited and polished it to what I hope is publishable standard, then emailed it to The Guardian. It's in letter form, an 800wd first person account for their Saturday supplement family page. So my fingers will be well-crossed until I hear from them. I also got around 500wds on the novel; a good day, for me.

Even today, I'm still on that roll; got another few hundred words on the novel using the same exercise we worked up together in my flash group - everyone who used it has come up with something great. I'm a seriously happy scribbler tonight, though annoyed about something else; I asked a question in a thread, in a writing forum, if anyone knew the difference between a novella and a novel, forby the size. There was only one answer, which didn't make me any the wiser. I'd just finished reading a fabulous novella by Susan Hill called 'The Albatross', and was so impressed with it; how tight the focus and the writing was, how it grabbed me and wouldn't let go - still won't. I suppose the best person to ask will be Susan but she'll be really busy right now with the writing course. I'll ask her later. I really wanted to know how the structure differs from a novel - maybe I should read more of them and find out for myself.

A serious money day today; had to visit the cheque-cashers for a pay-day-advance so I could put the cash in the bank to cover my loan repayment. Poverty here I come, back on that roundabout again. But I am working towards a new job so hopefully I'll be earning by the end of next week.

On a lighter note, all the lovely Asda shopping was delivered this morning. Isn't it wonderful to wake up at 10am and answer the door to bags of groceries that you didn't have to get yourself!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


My local writing group organised a day of workshops last Saturday. I had the greatest day; just being in a workshop, talking and writing is better than the best carrot cake you can imagine; better than whole bottles of Tia Maria, Drambui or 12yr old whisky! And a free lunch to boot. I felt sorry for some of the group who had to look after tables of books, hand-crafted cards and the tombola; some of them were bored out of their pencil cases. I was in my element; the tutor on my workshop was an American poet called Gerry Stewart…and she got a lot of work out of me. I left the table with a whole poem and the makings of another two on the same theme; which was living with my son, right now, this minute. This is the rough poem:


Wires beating rhythms up walls, throbbing
Natalie Imbrulgia into speakers
out of tweakers – woofers.

Middle Child undivides my attention.
He’s cooking scrambled egg with cheese –
the maturity blares around my tongue.

Time sings here and my hands are soft
from squeezing T-shirts in his long bath.
He has nothing, and he shares it all with me.

I get high as a kite at writing sessions, especially if I come away with lots of work. I’ll let all this stew now in my notebook and see what happens. I usually can’t write about the present; I find myself waiting years to tell a story or use my life and experiences – that’s probably why most of my writing is about death and sex! Except this.

She talked about using themed verbs in our writing; I’d forgotten that my son was a musician so have just added those above on the day – I’ll need to work on them and find out more about tweakers and woofers so I can use them intelligently. Maybe I’ll interview him, yeah, that would be fun; I’m sure he’ll manage to slip a black hole in there somewhere – the thought of inviting him to SPEAK is terrifying.

Monday, September 10, 2007


My excuse for not writing in here last week is….my nails were too long. I can’t bear the feel and sound of fingernails clicking on the keys, sometimes slipping from one to another and just generally making a mess of everything. So, I soaked some washing in the bath, squeezed and swirled till the said nails were pliable then I cut them all off. Now I’m whizzing around the keyboard like a wild thing, loose and fancy free…and unemployed. I’ve now got five application forms to fill out; will force myself into it tonight, when my bum is numb from sitting here surfing.

I had a few lovely drinks with Herman Saturday night; we got to sit out in the garden with our little tubs of melon (reduced), glass of wine and enjoy the strange and wonderful feeling of Glasgow sunshine. He’s house-sitting out in the burbs north of the city; quiet and lush grass under my bare feet. And the luxury of a huge telly to ignore while we babble on about god-knows-what, and my future, both work and medical; I’m still locked up – nothing wider than a finger can get between these teeth.

I spoke to a doctor from the face clinic on the phone the other morning, and told him how worried I was about being lock-jawed for three weeks, and whether I’ll stay like this forever, and is it wise to leave me until my appointment on the 17th. He said I’ll be okay. I’m just wondering how they’re going to get my jaw going again after all this time. I told him that I was thinking that my jaw might just fuse and never move again. I think he thought I was mad, but I had the impression that he was about fifteen and had mistaken me for his old granny, and was therefore invisible.

So, I had to drink white wine; I didn’t want a repeat of the last red wine episode with the projectile vomiting – I would’ve drowned. And, I had to get on a train and travel by myself to get home so didn’t want to end up toooooo pissed. So there was me, standing at the train station and admiring my sobriety and the fact that I’d only drunk one bottle when Herman disabused me of that; he just hadn’t brought the bottles into the living room. Well I was pretty well-oiled, but got home safely, and am still alive.

We met about eight years ago when we were working in the psychic centre. One of us had the bright idea that I go back there to work, for now. I think it was me; I was worried about my poor old references having to be bothered again for all these jobs I’m going to be applying for; I won’t need one there. So, I called them this morning…and they remembered me. There’s probably going to be an opening in a couple of weeks and in the meantime I can refresh my skills with the lovely tarot cards. I think this is all a great idea because there’s a lot of psychic and pagan stuff in the novel; it’ll be good for me to be steeped in it all again. I’ve spent most of this morning studying and playing with some of my cards. I’ve got three packs here but no books; the books are all packed away somewhere and I know that some of them GOT IT in the fire. But I’ve got stuff in the laptop, enough for now. One of the packs hasn’t been used but the book is still somewhere in the box; it’s called The Greenwood Tarot – some amazing images, but different from most other tarot so I’ll need to find the book. My other two are old favourites; The Shakespeare Tarot and the Native American Deck. I’m really looking forward to doing this. Wonder if the place has changed much.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I've been sitting here all morning, surfing: not writing, and watching Topcat chase two huge flies around the room. She caught one between her paws on the window ledge, and her whole body froze; she raised one paw a fraction and peeked at her prey, then she ate it.

I think I'm going to the burntout flat with Amazon today. I've been too busy with the job to go there and didn't realise that she was in such a state because everything had just folded on top of her. She didn't tell me anything and I was getting annoyed, thinking that she was just being lazy, and that she had fallen out with me - she wouldn't answer her phone. When she finally did pick-up she couldn't speak for crying. This was last Thursday; I asked to leave work and turned up at her flat in a taxi only minutes after talking to her. I'd tried to get her to go to the doctor and she finally got me off the phone by agreeing to go after she freshened herself up. I knew she wouldn't. I made her take a bath and dragged her there in a taxi, and went in with her to make sure she told the doctor about all the symptoms she'd been experiencing. She's all twitches; almost like someone with tourettes syndrome - except for the swearing.

The doctor says it's probably stress, related to the custody battle and the fire; and the good thing about that is that there will be a definite end to these problems. So she gave Amazon something to take before bed that will relax her and help her sleeping patterns, and hopefully the nightmares will go too. It's agonising to watch your daughter go through this kind of pain; I'm trying to keep it together so I will be a good support but it's so hard when my face wants to collapse into my throat. And of course there is the guilt because I returned to Glasgow to help her and ended up focused on myself and a new job; this working life will kill me. Maybe I need a nice man to look after me so I can give more time to my children. But when would I have time for him, or me? And when will my children not need me? When I'm dead is the answer to that.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I managed to stay in the job for one and a half hours this morning, then I sloped off for my tea-break and kept right on walking...around the corner to Cafe Nero, stopping off on the way to buy a job paper. I just couldn't bear it for a minute longer; that lonlieness in a room full of people, all connected and talking into the ether - none of them speaking to each other. When I think of my days with my old people, even the thought of constant BBC1 is appealing; numb-bum syndrome is looking very attractive.

I've called several job options and asked for application forms to be sent out, including one for a part-time lollipop lady! That's a nice sociable job, isn't it? I want to talk to real people, bump shoulders and swap stories. I also called the WEA; I worked for them years ago, tutoring all kinds of stuff, but this time I'll restrict it to only those I love; creative writing and scrapbooking. I know that I hate teaching, but I can handle those - they are the only subjects that make me high as a seagull on the wind.

Perhaps I can make myself do a bit of writing on the novel - no excuses now that time is no object. I really think I will end up back in carework, though one of the jobs I will be applying for is a housekeeper in a temporary house for relatives of cancer patients in hospital.

Monday, September 03, 2007


I was soooooo bored today, doing the first ten-hour shift, my first day of real work. It's not as sociable as I thought it would be; I was a little lonely. Though mostly, I was on the phone, slaving my brains out trying to solve problems without asking for tooooo much help. So really, there was only a few minutes now and again when the phone didn't ring and I could swing around in my chair, looking out of the window. And poor old Billy-bob wanted a window but he's stuck way inside the room, in a different team on his lonesome. I never got to speak to him because he's on an earlier shift. A very flat day all round.

I kept picturing myself leaving and not coming back, but I can't afford to walk out on a well-paid job before I have another one in place; and I can't just leave just because I'm bored. So, I'll be there tomorrow, for another ten-hour shift, counting the pounds in the pay-packet - admiring the lovely figures on my payslip.

Must speak to someone tomorrow about going part-time before I do something stupid.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


I'm feeling a whole lot better about the job now; I had the fantastic idea to ask if I could go part-time, so it doesn't look so daunting. If I'm knackered just working 4 weeks 9-5, what would I be like ploughing through ten hour shifts? When I first looked at the rota these huge shifts seemed to be across five days but it's only 9-5 Saturday and 10-2 on Sunday. Hopefully I'll only have to do this one week; am sending up little prayers for part-time status. I won't have a life otherwise; won't have time to write, to finish the novels, play with my arty-farty stuff. I look at the pile of scrapbooking goodies I haven't had time to even open and wish I was ten years older and retired!

We all went for a drink in town last night; first time I've been in a pub for a couple of years, I think. Back to lovely pints of beer; went down a treat but I was kind of nervous of getting seriously pissed and being sick - never a good idea when you have lockjaw. I hadn't been in the Horseshoe Bar in an age, but I'd never been upstairs in the karioke lounge. It was amazing. Our two young men got up to sing and were fabulous; Billy-bob was brilliant at 'Bed of Roses' and got a standing ovation, which we started. A great night out to seal our new friendships.

I haven't had the energy to do anything here all week, even to put down the stuff that happened with Amazon on Thursday...I'll get to it later tonight, maybe.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Today was hard; I felt out of control and lost most of the time. This is the last few days of training then we will be let loose on the unsuspecting world; there will be help and supervision but I just pray that I don't feel like this, then. I have never felt so useless and stupid - I keep making the same mistakes over and over again; not immediately following each other, no: I get it right sometimes then go all to's a bit like pulling the petals off flowers, now you see it now you don't. Yesterday I was depressed and planning on looking for a job in a sandwich shop. Today I wanted to be a cleaner - I know how to do that, and I'm good.

I almost burst into tears this afternoon. I can't bear not being in control of my mind; it just won't do what I want it to do. By the end of the day I felt a little better but then I took a call that was someone accepting a quote he'd got earlier; I missed out a whole page of script!

It's so annoying to discover that you're much more stupid than you thought you were!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Not laughing open-mouthed yet; this is the fifth day lock-jawed and nothing has changed, not even after two whole days of antibiotics, and a bit of Friday. I'm beginning to hallucinate and dream of huge sandwiches in soft white bread or crisp baguette heaving with hams, pepperoni and jalopino peppers in fabulous sauces. I might be facing some kind of bombardment from gamma rays or lazers to demolish the stone, which is probably tiny. Or maybe I could just get someone to give me a good thump on the jaw. That's what Morag and Hamish said tonight, at the hospital.

She is looking great; even walking better/straighter than she was before. She said that's because the bag's not there; she was always aware of it and the fear of it coming off somehow. She's a new woman, and Hamish is elated at how good she is, compared to all the other times she's been in hospital. I know that the real difference is that this time the operation was elective and she was much stronger - not ill in fact, either before or after. They're so wary of feeling good, of calling down bad luck on themselves; they're not going to think too far forward - their minds are still full of all the other times when she was banging on death's door. Let's hope he's off on tour somewhere.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I've just noticed the advert above here for a 'swollen gland' problem, and the trojian virus too. It's scary how some computer programme scans everything I'm writing so it can assign the adverts. This is more than big brother; Dad, Grandad and all the Uncles have poked their oars right in.

I'm still locked up tight but full of medication. Off to see the Loch Lomond mob today; it's Tough Guy's birthday and I forgot to post anything for him, so I must present myself. He's five already; I am constantly amazed at how people grow when I'm not looking. I'll phone TocToc to find out if there's anything in particular I should buy. I'm thinking I might have a little wander in Dumbarton; I've only ever been there once, for a few minutes...and if I'm planning on moving out that way I should have a look at my new territory. So I suppose I should get up and get dressed then.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I went straight from work to casualty tonight; that's three days with lockjaw and cuppa soup, I thought it was time to do something. Three hours later I'm told, by the face specialist, that there is a stone in the saliva duct and that the gland is infected - which is why my jaw has siezed up. They x-rayed my head in a strange machine where I stood up, fitted my chin into a little shelf and the thing spun around my head. No, it was definitely the machine and not my head that was spinning, though I wouldn't have been surprised if it'd been the other way round. What a day I had at work; I'm sure I actually felt my mind drain out of my right ear as I answered the phone to my trainer who was in the process of assessing my calls. I bumbled through the fake call, trying to remember everything I was supposed to do; it's all these things at the same time that's getting me - not that I can't multi-task. I know that by this time next week it will all be fine but it just feels so awful right now. I've never felt so dumb!

The doctor gave me two courses of antibiotic to take together (well I assume I take both together) and paracetamol - free drugs are always welcome. Actually I was quite impressed because I was examined by two doctors, x-rayed and examined some more. The bad news is that I was supposed to be having a lovely drink with my friend Herman tomorrow night and will have to postpone because of the antibiotic, mainly, but also because I wouldn't be able to wolf down crisps and dip as well as I might. So, it's probably a good time to unpack some stuff properly and do a bit of housework in this flat.

I spoke to Carrie on the phone and she's a lot better, but need to stop her from drifting into the bitter ex camp...and there is a bit of flirting going on when HE pops in for a coffee. So, she's not out of the woods yet. He seems to be skipping gaily along, forgetting that he's broken her heart, and taking the friends tag a little too far - he just doesn't know when to stop.

I was right next door to Morag in the hospital tonight but missed the visiting time; but desperate to get home anyway - starving mostly. As soon as I arrived I got Musician to order a pizza - it took over an hour to get here but it was worth it. Eating was excruciating but I had to get some solid food down me. And now it's bedtime already. Nighty-night.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Well, tomorrow is the last day of study in our training period; we take to the phones in the model office on Monday!!! My head is full of criteria, excesses and vehicle details, which will all drain right out when I answer my first call. We spent a day on the phones last week, doing sales, and that was a complete nightmare. The talking to customers was fine; it was just the idea of keeping them on hold while we bumbled around trying not to make serious mistakes. It’s amazing how the mind copes with the strain of all this – it just pops off on holiday, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops.

Customer Support is a little different; we’ve spent a few hours listening-in to seasoned agents, some of them pretty fresh meat themselves. I’m sure I’m going to like the job; I mean what’s not to like? There are quiet times when you can chat to colleagues, read your email, scribble some poetry or have a quick manicure…and, you get your own desk where all kinds of paraphernalia can adorn the divider in front of you. I’ve never had a job with a desk; I’m 53 and have my own desk - isn’t that cute? They operate a tidy desk policy, so I don’t think plants are allowed, but I can have a photo of one, I suppose.

I do like the idea of just sitting there, queen of my little castle, solving myriad problems with a click of my wand/mouse…oh my god, I’m the Fairy Godmother!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I know I've always wanted to be different, create my own particular space in the world, but it's just getting ridiculous now - I've got some kind of lockjaw! Other people get colds and flu, broken wrists or tonsilitus. I've been on cuppa soup all day and now am pretty hungry. Of course I've shoved chocolate in there, but because I can't open my mouth I want all the things I can't fit in. I stood at the hot plate in the cafe at work this lunchtime and eyed up what looked like lovely mince with carrot and stuff; I was trying to make my jaw do the popping thing it was doing earlier but it wouldn't move, and pain was rearing its ugly head. I realised that I wouldn't be able to eat anything except soup and left the queue.

I had this about twenty years ago and it lasted for three days I think, but of course, I didn't go to the doctor, it went away and I never discovered what had happened. A few years later I had the most excruciating pain in my jaw every time I ate something really tasty and the more I tried the more it swelled. That lasted a day or so and went away, but when it happened again I did go see my doctor and she said I had a stone in my syliva duct. She sent me to hospital for tests and I felt so stupid by then because it had long gone. They had me lying on this mad machine with my head on a separate section; it was all very odd. I don't know whatever happened after that, about the results I mean.

I had the pain with tasty food earlier this year, for a couple of days; and now it's back with a vengeance; all symptoms together in the one place at the same time. The popping jaw is horrible, the click sounds loud as anything inside my head; every time I open and close my mouth the hinge of my jaw kind of bangs in and out of place - maybe I've dislocated my jaw! Maybe it would be a good idea to find out about this. I did call the doctor's office to ask if they could squeeze me in after work but they don't see patients after 5pm. They're not open at the weekend, so when can I get to see a doctor for a minor complaint? NEVER! it seems. I'm not taking a day off work for a minor thing and I wouldn't go to casualty, so I suppose I'll have to make an appointment for my day off and try to describe the symptoms. Wouldn't it be better all round if the doctor could see us when we were actually ill, and displaying said symptoms?

Monday, August 20, 2007


Number one grandson is, Bouncer
Number two, Shouts at the Sea
Number three, Comedian
Number four, Tough-guy
Number five, Power Ranger
Grandaughter is, Grubby Angel

The best thing about them, by far, is the fact that I am not responsible; I can leave when it all gets too noisy, or if they're at mine I can call their parents to come get them. I don't see them often enough for them to get too familiar and rude; so I usually get them at their best, which is NICE. I'm planning to go visit them sometime after work this week. This is a big year for a few of them: Power Ranger and Tough-guy started school; Bouncer started secondary school; and Grubby Angel started nursery. I haven't been up there since I've been back; they turned up here in my first week and terrified Musician's little cat, who I'm now going to rename Topcat.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


As far as food goes, today is Hedgehog Bloomer Day; I have to eat it while it's fresh, soft and crisp, so that means lunch, dinner and supper - even though lunch was around 5pm. I've been to visit Morag in hospital and she looks great. Things are moving along nicely and she might be out in four or five weeks, hopefully; if she doesn't get any infections that is.

I spent most of yesterday working my way through a website-builder wizard and I am happy to say that it's all looking rather bloody good. It'll be a writing website mainly but it will include the arty farty, and stuff for sale. I haven't attempted to upload photos yet, I think I'm going to leave that for tomorrow night. At this rate It'll be a couple of weeks before it's finished and published. The whole arty stuff for sale bit has given me an idea; I thought I might make up a little book of my published poems and scrapbook them - something simple, cheap but that will effectively make them different and attractive.

The rain has stayed away today, though the sky was purple in the distance as I taxied it back from Asda with the lovely bread. I'm finding it difficult to believe that I'm in the same universe these days; four years in Devon has wiped all memory of Glasgow summers. I look at the sky most days and am astounded that it is still only August; it feels like February.

Friday, August 17, 2007


And another lovely weekend hovers; I've never looked forward to weekends for years - never worked 9-5 or these regular hours for decades.

Musician brought me a box (a little one) of chocolate macaroons, so I'll be having them for dinner. See what I mean about me not eating proper food when I'm let loose in the world; I need old people around me to cook for. I don't think I've had a vegetable for four weeks!

So, I'm popping off now to eat my macaroons with a mug of Earl Grey.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


This boy, Musician, was let loose on my laptop on the net for one day and caught himself/me a Trojan! He says he turned off my AVG and turned down my security so everything would go faster. When I accused him of damaging my lovely machine he denied it and said that the flashing pop-up was from my system. I couldn’t believe that I actually knew more than him about it; I think it was just that I know my own machine and that it was completely obvious it wasn’t a real message from my system. Apparently it’s a new piece of spyware from a Trojan called Zlob, called Virusprotect Pro…so watch out for it. It sits on your task bar and flashes up a warning every five minutes, taking the curser so you can’t continue typing! It tells you that you need to update your spyware protection and when you click into it, it demands that you buy their product; we’ve tried everything to get rid of it and can’t. I googled it and found a few references and descriptions and an offer of a free download called Spyhunter that would get it out of my system. I got it and ran a scan which told me that it had found a lot of spyware but when I clicked on the FIX button it demanded that I buy their product in order to do this.

So the next thing is for Musician to disappear the task bar and see if that helps. If not, I’ll need to ask a computer technician for advice…even to buying Norton or something; I won’t be blackmailed into buying programmes I don't choose. This is all so annoying and I don't want to go into my bank or buy anything if there's this spyware watching everything I'm doing - especially when I don't know exactly what kind it is. I don't want to fork out for a big programme if it can't fix this; if it's as new as it might be then Norton probably won't do it. Just had a thought to contact Microsoft...yes, that's what I'm going to do first, and ask their advice.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I got to speak to Morag on the phone tonight; the staff nurse took the mobile unit to her - handy that. I called the High Dependency Unit this afternoon and they said that she'd been sent to a ward, and gave me the number. I couldn't get through to them because they were busy every time I tried. When I called tonight the ward said that she wasn't there, that she was in the HDU. My God - who the hell is in charge of this place?

She sounded good, just as if she was sitting at home on her sofa. She's been cut and trimmed and sewn up completely; no bag, no leaking holes - let's hope she stays that way. The main worry now is infection; that could kill her. After the operation they sent her from HDU to the ward far too early and she had to be taken back. Apparently the surgeon was mad as hell; he worked on her for nine hours. Hopefully I'll get up to see her by the weekend. She and her husband are ecstatic that the bag is gone - what a blight on a life is a stinky bag, outside the body, with the ever-present threat of bursting.


I am sooo knackered. Just got in from another gruelling day sitting down, listening and practising telesales; we have to do two days on the phone in sales…TOMORROW, as part of our training before we move on to the last two weeks. It’s scary stuff. I’m not scared of the talking on the phone but I hate the thought of ending up in a clunky babble and keeping the customers on the line for ages waiting for their quote. I know I’ll be alright eventually; it’s just trying to remember all the information that’s clogging up inside my head, and to get the right bits out at the right time.

I haven’t had time to go to Amazon’s and get online but we’ve got the landline here at Musician’s now, so everything is just hunky-dory. I've got him cooking lovely food at the moment so I will be quick here, for now. We're having bacon, sausage and scrambled egg; scrambled eggs with cheese is his speciality.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I've just spent ages setting up an account with 1 & 1; it wouldn't accept my address properly, kept adding bits that had no business being there. Eventually I got through it and now have to wait for the free software to arrive so I can build my new writer's website. I'll have a blog with it which I will keep strictly for writing stuff; I shouldn't need to update it every day. I'll play with links; still don't know how to add links here.

Went to see Harry Potter at the IMAX cinema yesterday; the last twenty minutes were in 3D - absolutely fantastic. I took Bouncer, number-one grandson. He loved it, and kept muttering what was happening all the way through, just because he's read the book. I had to tell him to shut up several times. If you're anywhere near Glasgow, this is definitely the place to see this film, and it's only about a pound more expensive than the ordinary cinema. I just couldn't believe the effects; found myself saying, 'My goodness, oh my, wow!' I even reached my hand out a few times because it seemed like the characters were right beside me. Absolutely stunning.

I actually did some writing last night, so am very pleased with myself, and deserve a gold star for writing a poem too; a whole poem! It seems I'm back in writing mode - I can't settle in to reading. Ususally if I'm reading I'm not writing and vice-versa. So, maybe I can get on with things now. Don't know how it's all going to go with the new job and all that entails, but I feel very optimistic.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Well I got the lovely job; at least I hope it'll be lovely. I was out and about all day yesterday; all the things I had planned went off like a dream - timed to perfection.

I did my surfing at Amazon's new flat, had a bath and washed my hair there - because I'd given her my hairdrier and haven't found the other one yet. Then it was off to Morag's for lunch; she's kind of saying goodbye to her close friends and family because she goes in for a huge operation next Thursday and might not come out of it. She has Crohn's disease and had an operation that left her with a fistula (a hole in the wound that leaks into a bag) nearly two years ago. She could carry on living like that but she's had enough and wants to take the chance that they can successfully fix it. So I'm sending up prayers for her and if anyone wants to join in please do. It's an eight hour operation; a long time to be under the knife. My daughter was under for over five hours and that wait was a nightmare - especially after the surgeon had impressed upon us the fifty-fifty chance of death.

6pm found me and Musician buying tickets (buy one get one free with orange wednesday) to see TRANSFORMERS; it was a great movie - amazing how they make those intricate movements. Musician is always listening for interesting sounds; he'll get me to buy him DVDs so he can copy little snippets of sound, like explosions, and all kinds of whizz-bangs to use in his compositions.

Then it was straight back in a taxi for the third episode of HEROES on telly. It's so long since I saw the first two that I've forgotten a lot of it, but a little came back as I watched. I'll be working three twelve-hour shifts in the weeks to come and won't be able to follow all of it; working three days on and three off, but I haven't been able to follow serials for years - I'll buy it on DVD then I can have whole days to catch up.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


The hallway, looking towards the living room where everything was piled on top of each other; a little mountain of our possessions.

This is my daughter's bedroom; her head would've been just there on the left. The picture that you are trying to identify, is a window, and a hole in the floor beneath it.

Our very own mountain. My photo enlarger is amongst this and mould is growing on everything.

What's left of the mattress on the three-week-old bed.

The white horse was one of the first presents I bought my grandson.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I had an epiphany last year; I was watching someone interview Goldie Hawn and she was talking about her religion which is a mixture between jewish and budism - the programme had been talking about ghosts earlier (it was the heaven and earth show) asking people on the street whether they believed in them or not. Well, I was suddenly hit with this realisation: what if we are still evolving and some are more evolved than others! So that some of us can heal, see ghosts, get telepathic messages etc. It makes complete sense; when you count the years or eons that it took us to walk on two feet, to talk, to live past thirty, to grow taller, to create, to communicate, write etc; to make use of everything around us, to bake clay, weave baskets and finally to build machines that can fly through the air or send signals across the planet.

So maybe we are God; apparently we only use a small fraction of our brains. All this slagging-off mystics and healers is the same treatment people portraying the world as round got - maybe in a couple of hundred years healing and praying will be looked on as normal procedure....oh by the way, praying was the other thing; they were asking people if they believed in the power of prayer. I think that's when it happened; I think that's when it dawned on me that prayer and healing are the same thing - tapping into energy that comes through us when we ask for it. Again, it's only some of us who can tap into this; I think that that's pretty obvious when you realise that some prayers are not answered, apparently. When Amazon was having the operation on her brain to fix the aneurysm I was calling everyone I knew to pray for her, and she came through it fine. So did the prayers work for me because I am evolved more than others? This would include some of my friends; there would've been more than one advanced being! And would this mean that I could heal if I trained and practised?

I caught a programme tonight, just for ten minutes while the film broke for the news, one of those hypnotists, forget his name, but the thing was he got this man to think about a couple of numbers and to try to pass them on to a woman who had to write them down. I got the numbers immediately, so did she. It's been a strange day.


My god, Carrie is broken-hearted indeed; she called me last night in a real state. I keep telling her that it's okay to grieve, because it is like a death. Now all the unanswered questions are surfacing - bitterness and anger taking over in short bursts. I stand outside this evidence of love and thank my stars that I am completely closed for this kind of business. It's just excruciating to watch, knowing that there's nothing you can do except stand by as support and wait, till she moves on, till she gets over him - till hell's fires blink out.

I am lounging in Amazon's new flat, using her phone line; I have arranged for BT engineers to come put in a line at Musician's but it'll be two weeks. Soon, the smoky air will assault my lungs as we clear out more of our ruined possessions, then it's off back to prepare Musician's flat for decoration; I'll probably be there a few months.

The interviews went well and I should hear by tomorrow if I've got the job the agency has put me forward for; if so, I'll begin on Monday. If not, they'll set me on to something else. It's all call centre, customer services stuff; I'm trying to avoid the sales work first; I'll take them if I can't get in anywhere else - I haven't really got experience in this field so will have to take what I get in the long run.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I brought the rain to Aberdeen, again. As my train arrived in the station spits of rain were dotting the pavements. I am the harbinger of the deluge – but not flooding, I hope.

Well, the Cointreau slipped down our throats with the greatest of ease; I poured the first one, and we sat slugging, because, as I said, ‘This is going down a treat, just like lemonade.’ And, that’s because it was lemonade; I forgot to stir it, so the Cointreau was sitting on the bottom of the glass…and when I got there, boy it was strong!

We got through over half the bottle, but had bought two; it was reduced to £14.99 in Morrison’s and I made Carrie put them in our basket. I told her that we might need more than one over the three nights, and we wouldn’t want to run out of the lovely stuff.

She is doing okay; it really is like a wake – we laughed our heads off at old tales and jokes, she cried a couple of tears but waved them away. The whole thing is very civilized; he’s here now packing up more of his stuff and we’ve been laughing and reminiscing for an hour – he is a lovely person, but dripping with baggage, which he has to go sort out. It’s a sad situation, but I know that Carrie will be alright.

We’re going to the cinema this afternoon to see John Travolta in a dress; Hairspray! Meeting up with Carrie’s daughter first, then we’ll have something to eat after the movie. The last time the three of us saw a movie together was when I treated us to Ghost in Newcastle; I surprised Carrie by producing a bottle of Bailey’s and two plastic cups – her daughter was only a teenager then. We left the cinema giggling like girls.

I went to bed last night with my toy-boy, Harry Potter. I bought it in WH Smith in the train station for £9.99 but had to spend another £15 to get it at that price, so I treated myself to Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, and Carrie to a David Baldacci novel. I am enjoying HP even though I’ve forgotten a lot that happened in the last book, but it’s gradually becoming apparent. My sister-in-law, Sid, called me the other day to tell me that she’d been breaking her heart over it and had finished. 'Don’t tell me anything,’ I yelled. All the family have bought it from Asda for a fiver but I couldn’t be bothered going, and I’d have got a taxi home so would’ve paid about eight or nine quid for it in the long run…and I might have a new job next week anyway, so I’ll be alright for money – I hope.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I popped over to visit my sister-in-law Sid last week and to pick up holiday clothes for Amazon; Sid had just arrived back from a fortnight in Tenerife. So, I bought a nice packet of biscuits, chocolate caramel digestives, but she had loads of lovely stuff in her cupboard and I left mine in the bag - which was not good for me.

When I got back to Musician's I mixed a huge glass of chocolate Slimfast and settled down with it, in front of the telly, and washed down about eight of the lovely biscuits with the thick choclate-y shake. SOMEBODY SLAP ME!

All this week I've been in Amazon's new flat with no cooking facilities, just a kettle, so I haven't enjoyed the best diet. I had fish'n chips once; instant mash, corned beef with instant gravy; a range of general rubbish; and tonight returned home from my interview with a foot-long sub, full of salami, ham and sausage with jalopino peppers and chili sauce; and a bar of chocolate that another sister-in-law brought along with the new microwave - which is too late for me 'cause I'm off to Aberdeen tomorrow!

But, Carrie will feed me well; she is very healthy, though we are planning totilla chips and dips to go with all the alcohol.

Next week will be better.

Monday, July 23, 2007


The burnt-out flat is just horrendous; sewage pipes have melted and it's all been pushing up out of Amazon's toilet! So, beside the floors being squishy with water, there's also sewage soaked into the hall carpet; though the only smell is the smoke, but it is all disgusting. I spent an hour clearing one sofa on Friday afternoon; filled five huge, extra-strong, black bags with what can only be termed as rubbish now. MY BOOKS! I photographed a selection of burnt and soaked books for insurance; in one there's probably over £100 worth. I'll post some photos as soon as I can get them re-sized, maybe tomorrow after the interview.

I took a few CDs back with me and they've stunk out my bedroom in Musician's flat! I'll wipe them with strong-smelling lemon cleaner and hopefully the stink will fade.

I spoke to one old lady who lives above Amazon; what a crabbit old bitch! She moaned and complained about how the housing association has taken so long to do this and that, even though she had demanded that they complete the work and make her place the way it was before; I reminded her that my daughter had lost everything and she acted as if I was invisible and was just a wall for her words to bounce off! The burglars had stolen a few electrical goods from her but she still had her home - stupid old biddy. I was so mad I froze and refused to speak or look at her. I just waited for my taxi and leapt as it turned the corner. Some people are thick as yoghurt.

I was supposed to return today and clear out some more, but I just couldn't make myself do it - I'll go tomorrow morning then can have a lovely bath when I finish. I wanted to do a lot for Amazon because she has had the horror of the initial loss, but now she's had a riotus party holiday in Ibiza, she can do some of the work when she gets back.

I noticed that quite a lot of my stuff had been piled on Power Ranger's bed; I won't go through that till maybe next week - it's not in the way of the workmen at the moment, it can wait. I rescued quite a few packets of photos from the 'mire' of the living room, and know that there is more somewhere in there. I can't bear the thought of my beautiful scrapbooks in there; I don't know where they are!


Well, the culprit was number two son; Musician had disabled the modem to make the laptop go faster while he was playing with the lovely thing. I had to trudge back to his flat this afternoon to get him to fix it; couldn't phone him because his phone is still in the pawn! I was not best pleased when I discovered what he'd done.

I've got an interview tomorrow afternoon for a job in a call centre; got to dress formally and not got a lot to choose from, so it'll have to be the navy crepe dress. I did think of popping into town to buy a new white shirt because I've got a couple of pairs of new black trousers but when I knew that the laptop was alright I couldn't wait to get back to Amazon's flat and play online. Right now the lovely navy dress is swinging on a carrier-bag-rope I've strung across the veranda...and we have SUNSHINE in Glasgow today; it's very hot, quite tropical actually, for here.

I'm going to Aberdeen on Wednesday for a few days, so will not be writing writing writing as planned; I've only got about 500 words done of the sex scene I'm writing for the novel. I wanted to post it for my online writing group. So, the new plan is to get a least a thousand words tonight and see what they think of it. I want it done before I go.

As for the rejections; I can only find one, which was a short story for a lit. mag. called Planet, but they said that they liked it but couldn't offer publication, that they had so much stuff. So, I'm happy enough. I don't know if there are others that Amazon has misplaced; it took me ages to find my mail - and she couldn't find it after a good search.

I have to go now and use up the old milk on my Slimfast shakes.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


My god, this is taking ages; I'm on Amazon's poor old smoke-damaged laptop and it is slower than a tortoise on valium - it's going to the shop tomorrow. My modem has kind of disappeared; suddenly it's it might be going to the shop too! But first I'll get Musician to take a look at it; something else uninstalled itself last week and he fixed it, so this might be related; maybe I've been swiped by an electrical storm, or just a virus - soon find out. Hope it's the cheaper option...meaning Musician.
The plans I had to decorate for Amazon while I was here in her new flat have flown; I'll be popping up to Aberdeen to join in the wake for Carrie's relationship, which is ending. So we'll spend a couple of days in comfortable clothes with a few bottles of Cointreau and a lot of ice.
Will be back very soon under the steam of my own modem.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I'm in a cyber cafe in Glasgow. It's real Glasgow weather outside; dull dull dull, but not cold - this is our kind of summer, so we're used to it.

Well, I've been to the doctor's at last about my itchy ears, and I've got eczema inside my ears! Never heard of that one. He said my blood pressure was borderline so I'll have to have it tested again in a few months. I bought myself two tins of Slimfast to try and curb/help my diet; when I'm not working with my oldies I eat any old stuff at any old times - which is not good. So, we'll see how I get on.

I haven't seen the burnt-out flat yet, hope to do that today. As I left Musician's this morning I checked the camera and it's not working! I charged the battery last night, so can't think what's wrong with it. So I won't be able to take photos for the insurance. I'll have to buy another little camera. I'll get one for Amazon and she can take it on holiday. It doesn't have to be great, I'm sure I'll get one for about 20 quid; they're quite cheap nowadays, as long as you keep it simple.

Her new flat is lovely; she's got trees outside her window! It's in a nice little square, and I love the veranda. I'll be spending a week there while she's on holiday, so am looking forward to that - all that time to write. But I'll probably do some decorating for her too. Might paint her son's bedroom - I now name him, POWER RANGER. He loves the new place and can't wait till his room is done.

Musician served me breakfast in bed yesterday; scrambled egg and sausage, and it was beautiful - actually it was my second breakfast because I was up earlier and had cheerios. So all is well at the moment. I'll buy a yellow AD paper today and look for a job.

Monday, July 16, 2007


This is Torquay, pretty at a distance.

Torquay Harbour, winter sunset.

My 'Pink Rock Bum' I found this on Babbacombe Beach a couple of years ago. Don't ya just luv it?

I took my last walk downtown today, didn't have long so I stayed in town, mostly in Waterstones with a latte; see, I live at the seaside, and what do I do? Spend my time off, even in July, sitting in a bookshop! I don't deserve lovely locations - I should live in a block of flats in a manky city, which is just where I will be for the next few months, living with Musician. I can't even talk to him on the phone 'cause he's pawned it! He's probably spent all his cash on getting whatever he's pawned of mine out before I get back!

I'm all packed, and poor old Clara Bow has been weeping half the day. But she was better than I expected, and though she is upset, she understands why I have to go. She really is a sweetie.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


This is a copy of the email I sent to Herman after a night on the lovely red stuff, last time I was in Glasgow. I'm just reminding myself not to do it again.

had a great night last week. i was pretty pissed; not sure if i remember
actually leaving! but i woke up in my own bed, with most things intact...except
for most of the wine i put away the night before!!! i was sick in a kind of
projectile-way over the side of the bed!! when i woke up i was totally
disgusted. don't think i should drink that much anymore, now that i hardly drink
at all. i thought i'd lost my white shirt, but i'd hung it up in the wardrobe!
God, what a state.

how were you? i'm piling through that airline 
novel; it's pretty much an info-dump but interesting. i remembered all that we
discussed on the writing front on formats, and have written it down. weather
here lovely. must remember to water the plants on the verranda.

Over the last five years I've spent so much time working away or driving, that I never get to have a drink; and I often forget, don't even think of having one; and now I can't drink properly - maybe I'll have to go into training.

Well, I'll have to find something else to drink; no more red wine for me; maybe I'll change to white.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I was speaking to TocToc last night; Clara Bow insisted on watching that 'One Show' so I spent the half hour in the kitchen on the phone. I just happened to mention the weather and he was off on one; everything you need to know about the melting polar ice caps, warm air, cold air and..... This son of mine should've been some kind of scientist - he reminds me of an old guy from the tv... a Magnuson, but not Magnus, I don't think - not the one who did Mastermind. TocToc spends all his time with his children so that his brain explodes when he catches the attention of another adult. Bingo just tells him to shut up; no wonder he is starved of good conversation, but you daren't open your mouth in case he starts, and you can't get him to stop. I remember, barely, when I was that passionate about the world; I was about his age, thirty, and would quite literally fly, when someone pressed my buttons. I wasn't a dancer at parties: I was a talker - always in the kitchen or wherever the debate was going on. Now I'm so laid-back I'm almost horizontal.


Some of the things waiting for me at home are rejections; I don't know how many and what they are - so I'm looking forward to finding that out! But rejection doesn't faze me; been there done that - it's all part and parcel of a creative life and if you can't deal with it you're in for a rough time. An old friend of mine from Northumberland used to growl at the postman...

'Oh I know what you've got in there mister,' she'd mutter, while watching him stroll around the cul de sac; and there were several post boxes she refused to use because she always got rejections from them!

I just need to catch up with my mail and get the work back out there again.

I'm counting the days now; three to go, then I'll be out of here in a taxi by eleven on Tuesday morning to catch my train to Bristol. I've got an afternoon flight this time; I can't usually catch this but I think they must've changed it. So, I'll be in Glasgow by about 5pm. Really looking forward to this move; it's cost me a fortune to post my stuff - three parcels so far is approx. £35 and that's not counting the twenty quid I paid to send Amazon's goodies special delivery! I could have bought a car down here and drove it all up; but that would've taken all day and a lot of the night...and in this heat, with the traffic. Glad I've done it this way.

Clara Bow asked me how long I would be in Glasgow and I almost freaked; I don't want to actually lie to her but I don't want to tell her yet - she'd drive me insane. When my back to back said she was taking seven weeks off in the summer, Clara begged me to cover it; she said she didn't want a stranger. When I balked at seven and said I could do five, she wept. I told her I'd think about it, and after a couple of hours I said I'd do it. I've done seven weeks before, but that was with lovely Joan and Pete. I fobbed Clara off by telling her I was staying with Musician for a while then popping over to Loch Lomond to spend time with TocToc and the kids, then I changed the subject. It's been a long shift.

I had to tell her that I was leaving for good; couldn't justify lying. She was actually fine about it, and understood that my daughter needed me after the fire - and she knew that I was anxious to find out what was lost of my stuff that had been stored in Amazon's flat. Poor old Clara Bow; she weeps a little every now and then about who she's going to get now and will they leave her alone - because I've spent my time off (when there's no visitors) sitting at the dining table with the laptop so she won't be alone: there's not many carers will do that! I do feel sorry that I'm leaving her to begin again with strangers but am also quietly excited about a new life unfolding - I've been running around the world for four years, and it's time to go home. I've given her seven months of good care; it's not been as wonderful as the time I spent with Joan and Pete - they spoiled me for other jobs. I know that I'm not going to continue doing care-work; time to move on.

Friday, July 13, 2007


His gum-coated tongue laps up flies
in a slow rolling motion. He goose-steps
with long black legs through trampled night sand
flicking up a fine dust.

She nestles into tall gutterings, curls
up to high-flown paper and leaves, and sleeps till
the sun sinks. Rain runs off her brown back,
only snow disturbs her.

At first light, sated, he walks the shoreline
ducking his head, sucking up water – a rasping
whistle through his teeth – the spray loosens rough
gum from his tongue.

They live separate lives. She attracts him
with a low murmering, excitement pitches
vibrations as far as half a mile, in waves
five minutes apart.

He picks up the signal, flies back and forth
across the river in a bid to escape but comes
closer to her position on every return journey
until he lands at her feet.

Mating over, he dances in rage – now leaving
now charging, though he is weak already.
He leaves her to bury the eggs, and screams
at the opposite bank.

She fucks him twice a year. The eggs hatch out
when the ground is soft, April, October….frost
would suffocate the young, they must fight
their way out with still-soft claws.

The moment their eyes open, necks stretch and
feet hook into a rival’s head, red is the first
colour they know. She clambers over his strong thighs
eyes on the road ahead.

Published in STAND Magazine 1993

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I will always consider this, My Beach...

All this moving in and out of flats – where do I really belong? Sometimes I think I’ll never be able to answer that. When I left Glasgow I let Musician live in my flat till he got his own place, but then I had to officially give it up and make serious decisions about my stuff; I had the great idea of using Amazon’s flat – she decided not to leave her relationship, to keep trying. So that’s how I ended up there, in a spare flat, on my visits, and how all my precious bits were squashed into that huge cupboard while I swanned around Spain and worked in Devon.

It was a lovely space, in and around local shops, near the subway. When she and Whatsiname actually made the split, he moved in and we shared for more than six months; I wasn’t there much, thank God – he was a serious pain in the arse. But he eventually turned and demanded his flat back, kicking Amazon and PowerRanger out to live in what was really her flat; when I visited Amazon gave up her bed for me. It wasn’t ideal so I spent odd weeks with Carrie in Aberdeen and Bree in Newcastle. 

My beach at sunset helped me to dream of new walls, and I will miss it.


This is the riotus but fabulous blanket I crocheted for Amazon's new flat; so she can snuggle down on her enormous sofa and watch Big Brother on the borrowed TV.

It's very important to me that my family have creations of mine in their cupboards; blankets for snoozes on sofas; bowls for soup; mugs for cocoa; beautiful photographs of their children...etc. I think I want to be imortal.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


The woman I'm looking after at the moment, let's call her Clara Bow, is 92 yrs old and mostly pleasant. She still puts on her powder and lipstick every morning, even though she's had a stroke and only has one good hand. My god, I can't be bothered and I'm only 53! Right now, she's watching Neighbours and I'm sitting at the dining table behind her. The worst thing about living with Clara is watching TV; she has sky but I'm sure she has shares in the BBC - she will not watch any channel that has adverts, except the sport channels. We are complete opposites but she loves me because I am a fantastic carer. The carer I work back2back with used to run a nursing home and is a bit headmistress-y, apparently. I am not looking forward to telling Clara that I'm leaving for good, and thought I'd wait till Monday, but it might happen earlier because I don't want to actually lie to her; if she asks me when I'm back or how long I'll be away I'll have to tell her if I can't divert her attention. And then I'll have to live with the result for longer than I planned.

Her memory is really taking a trip these days; she constantly asks me the same question or reminds me to do something that is part of regular routine. She will panic and worry about who she's going to have instead of me, and will focus on the bad carers she had in the past. I know that she won't for one minute think of me and my family; it will be all ME ME ME. Her son and daughter-in-law nearly flipped when i told them - this means a hard time for them because she'll be on the phone complaining or the carers will be complaining to the office. This job has suited me because I could do lots of writing and stuff, but most other carers want to go out on their time off.

But I'm not going to worry about all that; I'm going to concentrate on finishing the patchwork blankets and post them home before I leave. My god, the junk I've collected while I've been here has cost me a fortune to post. I always planned to get another car and drive back, but I'm flying because it's quicker and cheaper - though not if you add the postage!