Tag Archives: story

In a flash – I’m back

Sometimes I’m still there.

Suddenly.

Unexpectedly

Without warning.

A smell, a taste, a song.

Catapulted at the speed of light.

Flick of a switch.

A blink of an eye

A tactile cine film begins.

It’s running inside my head in high definition

I’m suspended in time.

Back in time.

A prism of light of dark of terror.

A different dimension a parallel world.

It will always be there never very far away.

Operating on a different frequency

Like an old valve radio slightly out of tune.

Then that something, anything turns the knob,

Adjusts that channel pulls the two dimensions together

Past and present become one

Jolting me back into the nightmare

Silently I’m screaming but I know that no one can hear me.

What makes us?

I will show you tiny pieces of myself.
If you are patient and kind I may trust you.
I will open up boxes, take of lids that I often choose to keep closed.
There are places, memories
Where I began this journey.
Of people and things, Sounds and smells.
Pieces that make up my memories.

Make me.
I have had loves, and sadness.
Hopes and fears.
Pieces of a jumbled old jigsaw puzzle.
Time and trust will show a clear picture.
Five decades that are my colourful life.
Of me.
Still moving forward, growing, changing, always eagly learning.
Happy, sad, Hopeful joyous sometimes scared.

Running, skipping, walking slowly making

More memories to treasure.
Carved out. what you see before you
Multi-faceted many things

Altogether they are I.
Please do not judge a small piece.
For without the tiniest splinter
Who I have become would be incomplete
I would not be standing before you in this place here and now.

Home brew Shenanigans

home brew

Everyone on Dad’s side of the family drank heavily raced grey hounds and bet on horses. Even the women!

So to us kids that was just the norm.

My Dads youngest brother (our Peter) was no exception.

He was married to Auntie Aggie they were real characters. Aggie never wore her false teeth although she had been known to cut the edge of a pastry crust with them when baking and she did look a lot older than her years.

The creases on her face always reminded me of yesterdays screwed up chip shop paper. She wore odd sized plastic sponge rollers under a head scarf tied in a neat knot in the middle of her forehead. She swore a lot mostly at Peter. She always had a ciggie in the corner of her mouth which when was finished she would use to light another one from. She always wore her pinny and faded pink slippers the ones with that you slipped over your toes with a fluffy bobbly thing stuck on the front, well I say fluffy maybe when they were new which Aggies weren’t so it was anything but fluffy sort of knotted in need of going in the bin.

Uncle Peter could be found in one of three places. In Rain hill psychiatric hospital drying out from the booze. At home brewing home brew in the kitchen. (Or drinking it!) Or out with my Dad down the club.

I really liked him he was like a younger funny nice version of my dad, he smiled a lot and when he wasn’t smiling he was laughing mostly at Aggie.

Auntie Aggie reckoned if we looked in all three places and didn’t find him he then he definitely was dead! We always managed to find him.

He would get out of bed light a cig and pour a pint. His hair sticking up like a mad professor holes in his jumper from fag burns

The kitchen pantry, under the stairs and the spare bedroom was full of home brew.

Lines of sterilised milk bottles with plastic snap on caps.

I remember him running out of bottles in the middle of a barley wine brew and flagging down the Alpine pop man outside the shop.

Getting him to drop off two crates of bottles in exchange for some of his famous home brew!

He and Dad were well known for their beer. Mam swore they only brewed their own as they had been banned from most of the alehouses in town.

As well as their beer the other thing that was famous was Aggie and Peter’s fights.

I remember vividly walking up the grove were they lived early Saturday morning and being able to hear them three houses away!

I cautiously  pushed open the back door to hear Uncle Peter shouting at Aggie to move all the rubbish from under the bloody sink so he can fit his new batch of brew in.

‘RUBBISH! RUBBISH!’ she yells back. ‘That’s me best pots and pans!’

She is in full swing now and I just manage to duck out of the way as a handle less pan, which finds its target catching uncle Peter with a loud thud on his head!

‘You bloody madwoman! Luna-bloody tic!

‘You want locking up you do your pots for bloody rags!’ he’s standing there rubbing the side of his head!

‘Oh its me that’s pots for rags is it!’

She’s nearer now and she belts him on the other side with another pan!

I manage to duck under her raised arm into the living room were Colin and Phil sit obliviously in front of the telly.

‘Who do you think you are Greenall’s bloody brewery?’

‘Get out of this house and take all those bottles with you your nothing but a piss artist!’

The back door opens again and there is the sound of glass smashing!

‘Are you coming out?’ I ask? Colin

He raises his eyes to the ceiling and stretches. ‘Aye I may as well they are at it AGAIN!’

‘Well at least they talk to each other’ I hear myself say feebly.

‘My Mam and Dad won’t even speak to each other’

He laughs ‘I wish they wouldn’t maybe we could all have some bloody Peace.’ He sits up takes one of Aggies fags and lights it. ‘Want a drag?’

‘No! it stinks!’ I say pulling my face he laughs ‘Come on soft arse.’

The back door bangs and we watch Aggie scurrying down the front path still chunnering as she goes. Uncle Peter sticks his head down round the living room door. ‘Here you two get in here and help me finish these bottles afore she gets back. She’s gone down the shop for fags.’

‘Good laughs Colin I smoked the last one!’

Phil goes reluctantly into the kitchen I follow perching myself on a stool in

The corner.

Uncle Peter had made a massive vat of barley wine and is siphoning it into sterilised bottles. Taking great care not to screw on the tops too tight so that the gas had room to escape as the wine continued to ferment in the bottle

He is shouting at Phil to hurry up and make some space at the back of the pantry so that Aggie won’t realise there was more brew in there.

Colin hands the bottles to Phil who put the bottles into the back of the pantry. He winked at me and nodded at the bottle as he tightened the cap as he moved them.

I laughed nervously!

‘She’ll never know!’ laughs Uncle Peter rubbing his head were the pan had hit him earlier.

He had just moved the last of the bottles as Aggie walked in the back door.

‘Hiya Mam’ piped up our Colin. ‘Brought us any toffee’s?’

‘Never mind bloody toffees where’s me cig packet you little thief.’ she clipped

him before he can answer.

Phil laughs

‘And what have you done with all that ale you pissing alcoholic!’ she carried on where she had left off before the trip to the shop.

Peter is standing there grinning like a Cheshire cat!

‘I’ve poured it down the sink my bloody Queen!’

‘Your right my love no more ale.

I’m brewing no more.

When we’ve drunk what we’ve got my love that’s it!’

‘You awful bloody liar!’

‘You pour ale down the sink bloody never!’

‘I know your lying I can smell it now where is it!’

Peter is belly laughing now I  try not to giggle. ‘You can smell what?’ he says theatrically.

‘It must be your top lip rotting my love!

That’s what you get for not wearing your bloody teeth!’

Its no good I heard myself laugh.

Aggie flies at him hitting him with anything that’s handy.

We stand in the doorway shaking laughing.

Before I know what had hit me she had spun round and clipped us too!

We are down the path and out of the street like a shot!

Id rather fight next doors bull terrier than have a slap of me Mam says our Phil as we collapse on the grass laughing and I have to agree.

Take me home.

m27-3

It was 1964 on a bright summers afternoon the sky was blue and not a cloud could be seen.

Paula was seventeen she sat dangling her feet in the cool water on the banks of the stream day dreaming she was a loner and loved nothing more than being outdoors wondering through woodlands always bare foot the breeze in her hair book in her hand she watched the willow tree on the opposite bank of the stream sway lazily water bubbling across the rocks and pebbles her feet cold and her back hot as sun shone down so brightly she found it hard to concentrate on her book so instead she watched the water it seemed to glisten and shine in the sunlight as she looked up across to the other side she caught her breath for there watching her beside the willow tree was something at first she couldn’t quite make sense of.

She rubbed her eyes and squinted. Then rubbed them again. A being something watching or was it?

It was sparkling almost iridescent crystal like.

The being seemed to fade in and out of focus flickering like a lamp, blending in and out of the surrounding almost camouflaged. She blinked hard. But it was most definitely  still there.

It was much taller than Paula longer arms and fingers beautiful.

Paula stood up slowly and bravely began to paddle across towards the willow tree. The water wasn’t deep just past her calves, but she waded cautiously so as not to startle or frighten the being. Somehow she felt they were destined to meet. As she drew closer the being began to come into focus still almost transparent swirling colours reminding her of the translucent bubbles she had blown and loved as a child

‘Who are you?’  asked Paula in almost a whisper as she watched a bright blue dragonfly glide through not around the being, yet she didn’t feel afraid just more and more curious. Tall and slender long iridescent hair with a definite air of femininity

The being reached slowly over and placed her fingers gently on Paula’s forehead the finger felt definitely solid despite her translucent appearance

Standing there together barefoot on a grassy bank breeze blowing in their hair

visions started to flood between them.

Visions of a beautiful place a planet light years away a race of star people. Peaceful tribes healers teachers, purple topped mountains, waterfalls lush green valley’s huge trees and an array of beautiful animals. Paula had never seen before she gasped and whispered Koraki that is your name?. The being glowed even brighter. Her eyes now visible where the most beautiful shade of green like the purest Jade.

Why are you here? Paula thought. Koraki answered her questions yet no words were spoken.

She was a traveller explorer of the universe a bringer of light collecting samples of plants and herbs she had been to earth many times it was not unlike her own planet but our species caused her sadness primitive behaviour killing each other and the planet they live on.

She and others like her where also here to plant seeds of hope and enlightenment to help awaken humans to a new way of life to enlighten them to save their beautiful planet.

As the sun set and darkness fell giving way to a dark moon in an ink black sky stars twinkled like Koraki iridescent skin.

She pointed up to the sky to a small cluster of stars barely visible.

‘Is that your home where you come from?’ Asked Paula.

She sighed, ‘Can I come with you?’

Koraki gently touched her forehead again.

‘No spaceships, these beautiful beings travelled through consciousness in the blink of an eye speed of light. Like beautiful white Ravens

‘She then showed Paula a vision of herself holding a baby girl a star seed.

‘How’? Asked Paula.

They stood opposite each other Koraki held up the palms of her hands the palms seemed to swirl spiral iridescent pure white shining light.

Paula held up her hands much smaller against Koraki a ball of lights around them glowed she had never felt such pure love and hope.

Paula slept peacefully on mossy grass that warm summer’s night under the willow tree by the stream.

She was woken by the warmth of the sun on her face and the babbling of the stream a Raven cawed above her and she thought she heard Koraki whisper that she would see her again.

The following spring the baby girl Koraki had gifted to her was born seed of the star people. She was tiny perfect dark brown eyes and an almost translucent aura about her.

Outside the window a raven cawed loudly as my mother Paula cradled me in her arms.

My love for healing for herbs and fascination with the stars and the universe and affinity with animals I’m sure comes from Koraki.

Living by water walking barefoot and love of books comes from my rebel mother Paula.

‘I’m a mountain wondering lover of Ravens and all things magical.

On a dark moon you will find me barefoot on the mountain crossroads by the stream looking up to a tiny constellation of stars home of Koraki beautiful iridescent bringer of light hope and love.

A basket of stories.

I’m sitting on my bed, surrounded with paper, pieces of a new book.

Contemplating a re write more detail. Shall I start over again? Colours, smells descriptions painting the picture to make things visible for the reader.

The autumn sun is shining the sky is blue and the trees on the bank seem to dance around the silver bark beckoning me to go outside

I’m distracted by silly things the glass is blown we need a new tilt and turn window.

It opens onto the grey flat roof of the kitchen extension. Next doors fat black tail less cat Charlie sits looking thoughtful on the edge of the roof.

I have locked the door. Turned off my phone.

Today is mine I needed to just be. To be gentle with myself its been a hard week.

To be here in our cottage by this window finishing the book that was supposed to be finished in June.

I love this place this house I muse about my journey what brought me here.

To this canal this cottage.

The small circle of friends I hold dear.

The girl that I was, has stopped running and is now settled happy I am content with my lot.

Itchy feet the gypsy wonderer has pushed down roots deep into this magical place.

I’ve never been materialistic food in the cupboards diesel in my little car and mine and my family’s health that is enough. Anything else is a bonus.

A good friend of mine and I were talking on what’s app and referred to a job we both did previously which involved caring for vulnerable adults. She used the term carrying their stories.Boomthat really struck a chord.

Story carrier….

It was true. Very.

I have always been drawn to work that involved caring, nursing supporting vulnerable people it’s what I do best.

Disadvantaged children, Learning disabilities, Homeless, Addicts Mental health.

Now I’m a Soulmidwife Holistic Therapist .

The common thread in all of this is the stories.

I believe that that is the key to genuinely helping someone who is in a vulnerable position is listening.

Getting to know their story. Not just their diagnosis or their addiction or situation. How did they arrive at this point?

Each person I have worked with has their own complex story listening is the best gift I have given.

I have heard some horrendous stories, some sad some disturbing. But they are all pieces of a puzzle that makes a whole.

Now as a soul midwife I listen to wishes regrets and plans of patients who are end of life.

I have heard of baby boy given up for adoption in the war and a life then spent teaching and caring for other people’s children and a choice to never marry or have another child after a strict father forbid her to ever speak of her baby again. Sadly, she never got to find him. But the day after she told his story I sat held her hand as she passed peacefully knowing she had spoken his name and someone had listened.

I have contacted estranged siblings and listened to stories of lives that have been so similar apart regrets that family feuds hadn’t been resolved earlier.

I have listened to stories of abuse, rape self-loathing and harm. Reassured not judged held shaking hands

A hug a hand to hold sometimes reassurance that ‘you can get through this ‘the simplest things are the greatest gift.

So next time you walk by that homeless person or sit next to that old lady/man on a bench remember that every one of us has a story. Many stories that entwine into one life we collect along this path our journey.

Listening hearing and genuine acceptance are greatest gifts you can give.

Life before mobile phones and I pads


Were our summers longer?
In the days when there were no mobile phone or games consoles
As a child I all through the school holidays i would leave the house after rushing breakfast or taking it with me,
Running through the woods with a piece of burnt toast in my hand
Toby my dog at my heel
Heading for the huge oak tree at the top of the hill that held our rope swing.

Huge and beautiful ever changing I loved that tree swinging climbing sitting in it’s branches with a book. When we had rope for a swing and a good strong stick I’d sit with my back pressed against it huge trunk at least five feet wide watching as friends swung out over the high drop where the stream ran below.
Bright pink rhodadendron bushes and spiky Holly would break our fall if we fell.
Red Sandy soil tall green grass bright blue sky.
It wasn’t a massive woodland and it was in the middle of a council estate but it was our paradise I loved it.
When it was my turn I’d grab the thick blue rope and swing as high as I could. Legs strieght out leaning back, long hair blowing in the warm summer breeze and for a few minutes I was free, I was flying.

The stream meandered below we would build dams from large stones and sticks the lads would steal cargo nets off the lorries that would park up on east lancs road
Then they would tie them high up between four trees we would bounce about up there it was more luck than our knot tying skills that prevented us from falling!
Crank caverns we’re a few miles from the estate another favourite place I loved it there I’d often set off with a Terry prachett book a bottle of water and walk the few miles spend the day up there.
The lane to the caverns started between two old farm houses Mrs Hewitt one of our teachers lived in one with her daughter Sally she would wave as I passed by. Behind her house where the horses fields and the most beautiful Chestnut mare I’d stop for a chat feeding her handfuls of lush green grass from my side of the fence she couldn’t quite reach. Her warm breath and soft nuzzle rubbing against my face
If I was lucky enough to have custard cream buiscuits I’d share them too and she would rest her huge head on my shoulder and I’d tell her anything and everything. Dogs and horses were always my confidants.
The next part of the walk was through beautiful golden fields thin strieght path through swaying wheat fields I’d sometimes walk into the field and lie down in a cocoon of earthy smelling golden wheat corn or barley reading my book I never felt alone or afraid.
Often falling asleep book in hand . Thankfully never when the combine was working
The caverns (caves) we’re in a small valley surrounded by a small dence disiduous woodland
Trees so close there was places that where almost darkness then another few steps bright sunlight flooded in. I would try to have one food in dark the other in light. Shady and cool on a hot summers day
It was said that the caves were once connected to a hall in Rainford the next village over the years they had become blocked but I would still venture inside as far as I could go.
Feeling my way along the cold stone graffitied walls.

The energy inside there was palpable.
They fasanated me.
I’d stay as long as possible lighting a small fire as night closed in.

No light pollution the sky on a clear night was light a black stary blanket only the sound of crickets and shuffle of nocturnal creatures hedgehogs foxes Badgers
Earthy smell of fallen leaves and thick grass that seemed to grow moss like that was often my bed.
I always slept well outside.
I’m sure this magical place sparked my absolute love of camping, walking and being outside any chance I have.
If you have ever been woken gently by the dawn chorus around you, you’ll know what I mean.
All this magic I was around eleven years old no one missed me whilst I was gone and I know look on that as a blessing.
I always had my dog and carried a small folding pen knife gifted to me by my Nan.
She gave it to me with a wink and a ‘dont tell your mam.’
I’d pull up a swede or carrots peel and eat vegetables taste amazing when eaten as you pick them .
In the next village Rainford there was a huge field of peas
They are one of nicest sweetest things I’ve ever eaten. I’d walk home with my pockets full.
Do my chores then leave again for another adventure.
I’m so very glad I was a sixty’s child
For life was and continues to be beautiful if you go outside look at the sky walk touch the earth talk to animas connect with guardian trees lie in fields of gold
It’s never too late. What are you waiting for?

Old weathered hands and treadle sewing machine


Old Weathered Hands.
I think its human nature when we lose someone we love our greatest fear is forgetting the simple things about them.
The sound of their voice, their smell, precious memories.
However in reality I’ve discovered as I have grown older I’ve remember more not less.
Lizzie my Nan I remember her long thin silver hair.
Gold heavy creole earrings weighing down her tiny earlobes, her faded blue apron my little Nanny.
Little but loud, northern salt of the earth she always said it exactly as it was.
Most of all I remember her smile.
How she would pretend to be annoyed when I’d shout Nanny at the top of my voice through the letterbox at all hours of the day and night. Her house was my sanctuary the smell of furniture polish and hotpot.
I’d watch her as I held up the flap of the letterbox as she hurried down the hall exclaiming ‘Jesus, Mary and bloody Joseph, I hear you calling in my bloody sleep! I’m changing my bloody name to Rumplestitskin!
I remember her baking cheese onion and bacon pies on tin plates and egg custard tarts on a Sunday.
She would send me to the outdoor at the flying horse pub with a empty jug to have filled with stout old tea towel to cover the jug. Id try to walk back without spilling it sneaking a mouthful as I walked.
Our trips round to the shops she would carefully apply her tangerine lipstick and tie her checked hair scarf the we would call into the bookies for her each way bet then the butchers for bacon ribs and the paper shop for twenty John player specials.
Bingo was on a Friday night down in the church hall park street in fingerpost
Me and my cousins Gary and Phillip on one side of the table nan and her friend Lizzie Ducker on the other.
She would give me a card to mark.
‘Nudge me if your sweating’.. she would say.
I’d be terrified!
Smokey church hall jesus on his cross watching the bingo. Womens eyes fixed on bingo tickets biros moving quickly scribbling out numbers.
‘House’! Someone would shout and there would be a sigh from everyone else.
Walking home we would call in the chippy bag of salty chips in yesterday’s newspaper between us.
Then home tired ready for bed my cousins in back bedroom, I would be snuggled up warm in Nanny’s bed beside her. The weight of old blankets and coats with silk lining to keep us warm.
I still have a piece of that overcoat lining.
Silhouette of leaded windows on the wall beside the bed reflected from the old street light on the peeling blue flowered wallpaper.
Sometimes I’d go to bed before Nanny. Lying there listening in the dark whilst she stayed up late to sew on her old Jones treadle sewing machine.
The sound of that treadle was magical as she worked to make me dresses it often lulled me to sleep.
The simple things. Her old biscuit boxes one full of photos. The other full of buttons both full of stories.
Stories of her family friends the man across the street who had got stuck in a tin bath.
A big faded button from a coat she had worn that my grandfather had bought her she held it in her hand like a diamond eyes closed smile on her face transported back to him.
Photos of child she had raised and loved as her own as well as her own three sons.
Photos of my grandfather who I knew from her story telling not from memory as he’d died when I was too young to remember.
She taught me many things my Nan, pastry making, sewing, names of plants herbs, that when I got nettled there would be a dock leaf to fix the sting not far from the nettle. To star gaze fortune tell and to always bide time never to act on temper.
How to win at cards although I never managed to win her once.
I remember combing her hair and sitting running my finger along the back of her brown weathered hand, tracing the blue veins of her old working hands grafters hands.
As I sit her now holding my granddaughters hands looking at my own hand in hers it is brown weathered blue veins meander and they tell my story.
Beautiful childen Tamika Tiger and Emilia Willow I wonder what your memories of me your Nanny will be?
I hope you will remember my old weathered hands and how much you made me smile.