Sunday, October 26, 2008


Over the past couple of weeks I've been through a multitude of family gatherings; a birth, a funeral and a wedding - though the wedding was my sister-in-law's friend and I was the photographer. The weather was awful, the worst imaginable; tons of rain, coming in waves and drains blocked with leaves; there were floods everywhere - I was terrified that my wee Clio would just phut-phut out in the middle of one of them, but she's a star.

So now, I have to present myself at a 20s soiree, wearing beads, for a friend's birthday. All this socialization is a bit too much for me...and, tomorrow I have to go meet a pile of writers doing Nano! But that's different, I'll socialise with writers anytime.

My daughter called me last night, just as I arrived back from the wedding, looking forward to my night of CSI stuff. Could I run her over to somewhere on the edge of the planet because she couldn't afford a taxi. So there I was, spending my night in a car, lost, with her on the phone (my phone) to drunk friends who didn't know where they lived or were unable to verbalise it!

This common life is too much for me; I want to be a hermit again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


10 days off work, spent away from the television and in front of arty projects I can sell either on ebay or in local shops – that lies ahead of me. But, November is National Novel-writing Month, so I’ll need to do that too. How am I going to get this lazy old body to take part in all these things?

If only I could be dragged through this creative mud, wouldn’t it be fabulous? It might change my life completely and I would be completely delirious – why can’t I set it up? I tell people all the time to make changes in their lives, sometimes five or six times a night; I must take my own advice.

Life with the car is better because I get more things squeezed into the hours in my day, when I can be bothered and if I don’t take any notice of the weather – which is howling behind my head as I type, so I might not go to the garage and have two new back tires. I can’t stay here till it’s time for work because there’s no food; shopping is a necessity.

The fact that I’m living in a junk shop, surrounded by bags and boxes of stuff doesn’t make me get up and tidy it; that would be wasted effort because it’s going to be moved soon enough. My bed is an island in a sea of God-knows-what and I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for the phone call about the keys of my new flat.

The thought of paid holiday is very exciting but I’m pulled down by imagining all the intrusions; if I’m not careful I’ll spend it all doing things for other people and not arty-crafting and writing. I’ll wave my magic wand and forbid myself from running family around; I’ll get up early and have long, long days; I’ll wander around the loch taking pictures, notes and pick up leaves for art.

Only time will tell, but there might be some interesting posts as I beat myself up…and, I think I’m going to take the bluebeard novel to Nano – there’s loads of sex in that, so there might be little clips of that! But now I have to go out in that weather for lovely food.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


My dead friend’s daughter has started blogging, and is posting her childhood diaries; she’s just reminded me of a scene between me and Roseanne in Manchester. We were both pregnant; I was six weeks ahead of her, relaxing after a bath one evening, when her husband came panicking at my door.
‘She needs you. You have to come right now.’
‘What’s wrong?’
‘She’s locked herself in the bathroom. I don't know what's wrong with her.’ For all the rush to get me up there he didn't seem really worried. She was standing up, moving around and not in any pain.

So I got dressed and followed him up the road, and it was quite a walk. When I arrived she dragged me into the bathroom and pulled out a breast.
‘Look at this!’ she squeezed the nipple and little white bubbles appeared.
‘Oh, it must be milk,’ I said. We stood there, glued to the spot, wondering at this change – I don’t think she was even showing then, must’ve only been a few months. ‘You’ve dragged me out of the bath for that?’

Innocents abroad didn’t do us justice; we were twenty-two in 1976 and hell-bent on living life. We’d met a pregnant woman and wanted to be just like her – and that was that; we told our men that babies were on the menu and they had no say in the matter. Unfortunately, some months later, I decided I didn’t want to spend my life with this particular man and orchestrated an argument so I could walk out with no comeback.

Stupid, dumb but definitely not blonde, we stumbled through that year; she got married and gave birth, I gave birth and got married (to a different man). We knew nothing about ourselves or our bodies and were disgusted when a midwife suggested we breastfeed – it wasn’t fashionable then and we thought she must be from the 19th century. I don’t know how we survived…how the kids survived us is a miracle!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Angry? Try furious. That was something I never want to repeat; listening to a priest pontificate about religious politics during a funeral service. This doddering old man wandered across the scriptures to give himself a jumping-off place so he could rant about the credit crunch and how greedy people were for wanting more and more money - what did that have to do with Anne's life? I think he mentioned her twice; some of the family missed it!

His actions took all emotion out of the situation - maybe that was the intention; keep everyone from crying and breaking down in his church; make sure they are sufficiently bored, intoxicated, fused into a stupor. I know I'm coming from the Heathen point of view, but I am a connoisseur of funerals and have listened to some wonderful services - I know what I'm talking about.

So, it's best to change the subject - Lily is here! My poor niece struggled to give birth for days and eventually, on Sunday night - 35 minutes from Monday, Lily made her beautiful appearance, and boy is she pretty. Two weeks early and not a wrinkle in sight: smooth and gorgeous she is...and a sleeper! I spent an hour with her yesterday and she didn't open her eyes once. There was a real panic on Sunday night and worry for my niece; the baby was always all right. We've had the bad side of pre-eclampsia before when my sister-in-law, Sid, nearly died and lost her new son in the struggle. So it was a very tense time.

Lily was my mother-in-law's name; it's lovely to see it revived.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Oooh X-factor is back and aren’t they just fabulous? I love Austen, and Laura and Diane, and Alexandria. Me and my sister-in-law watching together in our own homes, texting what we love and hate…we hate Daniel. He seems a nice guy but I don’t know why he’s there; I think there were quite a few would’ve done better in his place. I feel that the judges were diverted by his sob story; I’m surprised at Simon, but then it wasn’t his choice to bring him to the live shows.

And…he made it through, though I knew that the girl groups were the weakest of the bunch; individually they’re good but they’re all over the place. I feel a bit like that. I was driving home from Asda last night and suddenly Anne’s death hit me; we’ve all been a little matter-of-fact about it and haven’t taken the time to really think. I found myself crying in the car as I turned into my street, and it wasn’t the music, it was just time it caught up with me. Oh the weeping and wailing will turn up smack on time tomorrow morning at ten o’clock.

My sister-in-law, Sid, said she can’t drive; she is quite aware of how grief bounces back and back. Her driving test triumph was only a fortnight ago so it wouldn’t be a good idea for her. I bought my son, Musician, a new black jacket. TocToc will be stuck in Loch Lomond, his kids are off this week. Musician came out with age-old complaint, ‘Why is it we only see people at funerals?’ It is an awful truth.

My 19yr old niece is labouring as we speak – one in and one out, isn’t that always the way? And tomorrow is my eldest child’s birthday; that’s another reason why he doesn’t want to come to the funeral; he wants to spend his birthday with his family, and he hasn’t seen Anne for a couple of years. I won’t be able to forget the date of this funeral. Just think of the mixed tears from that birth and death, and Anne’s son left alone in the world – though he’s still got all of us, but is now forced to be a man on his own at twenty-seven. Whoever said life was easy?


It's a girl - it was difficult - dangerous; pre-eclampsia but i think all is well, for now.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I have moved out of my hermit phase, at last, and am now trawling the roads with Clio, the lovely wee car. I even went visiting the Pollok mob today and turned back into the wonderful sister-in-law I used to be; picking people up, dropping them off, chatting to small great nephews and neices - taking part in this life. A fabulous day wrapped itself around me: we gossipped, laughed, complemented, lied and were forced to keep crying at bay; the crying will have to wait for the funeral.

A sister-in-law died last night. She's been fighting cancer all year but it brought her down in a real hurry. I didn't know she was ill, and we're all feeling guilty because we thought time was infinite and that she'd always be there - no-one had given the cancer any importance. She was only forty-six. Like me, she was an ex-sister-in-law; the family can't get rid of the ex-wives the brothers collect. In this family, you're included from the beginning and you stay as long as you want, but you're always family, and the children multiply like rabbits.

I really hate funerals and am not a death-visitor in general; I've got to be very attached to attend them these days - there have been far too many in my life. So, we're glad of the two extra drivers and cars of the past week; I just got my wee Clio on Wednesday and a sister-in-law, Sid, just passed her driving test, so she's running around in her Micra now, free as a bird - well one with a husband and two kids!

And now we wait. I don't think we're in full-death-throes; the usual search for mass-black-suits for the boys and black ties. One year I had to make a dozen black ties; we were too poor to buy them. I suppose some of them will leak out of cupboards. I think we're saving the hysterics for the day of the service; usually the first sight of a hearse and we're off. God I hate crying in public. I just hate crying; I want to make peace, make everything and everyone better. The years fly by and the deaths pile up; we've had four years free of them, something had to give.