These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Friday, 29 October 2010

I know, I know ... A Part of Speech

Happy Birthday to me!
I’m celebrating again today. No, it’s not really my actual birth day but I did receive some birthday presents today. And it seems that the surprises in this week will continue. I’m loving it!
Some time ago I lost something precious to me, today I regained it and I spent a good amount of time this morning just grinning and savouring its pleasure again.
A nephew, who lives and works in Wales, has been telling me for almost three months that he has some gifts for me – and today they arrived. I had forgotten about them in the usual business of daily life, but this morning the postman knocked on the door just as I was getting into the bath and they had arrived. My son opened the door and accepted the post from him. He thought it was something we’d ordered online for him so he was extremely excited to receive the parcel.
Thinking he was right in his assumptions I glanced at the envelope and said he could open it although it was addressed to me. Suddenly I stopped him and took the package back and peered at the post mark for a few seconds. It was then that I started to smile from inside. It was also then that I recognised the handwriting on the envelope. Surprisingly the neat script was now familiar.
Turning the envelope over I saw the single word: Eventually! I laughed and told M that it was from her cousin in Wales and I ripped the envelope open. As I took the items out the smiles tumbled from me as well. The birthday card inside did not bear my name instead he had written “I know, I know” on the front of it. Nina Simone (The very best of), Ella Fitzgerald (Gold) and Aretha Franklin (Respect) CDs sparkled in their pristine cases in my hand, and then an even deeper pleasure washed all over me: Joseph Brodsky – A Part of Speech. At Last. I had it back.
... And so much more as well.
It seems wrong somehow to love the pleasure I get from this book – but I do. I’ll not deny it. For the next thirty minutes I flicked through the pages and delved back into beautiful moments conjured up by the spectacular choice of word combinations. To me this book is pure joy. Pure unadulterated joy. This man who knows me, my nephew, has given me another taste of joy that another man who never knew me, Joseph Brodsky, created.
My original (that I carelessly lost) was a gift given to me by a Russian friend who also loves words. We have been reunited.
In one act of love I have received the very best of respect, gold and joy. Happy Birthday to me!

A Part of Speech
... Life, that no one dares
To appraise, like that gift horse’s mouth,
bares its teeth in a grin at each
encounter. What gets left of a man amounts
to a part. To his spoken part. To a part of speech.
Joseph Brodsky

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The End ... The Beginning

I am afflicted, nay blessed, with double vision. This binocular sight is not in the same sense as one normally thinks of this perception. In my particular case I saw a single end (and beginning) because of my view into my own heart and into the heart of my child.

Just three years ago I made a momentous decision to end my decade-plus long relationship. Today, after years of separation, it is legally finished. There will not be a great celebration, no party or champagne corks popping, just a moment to breathe and exhale as I step from the end of this phase into the beginning of the next one.

I am glad that I looked deeply and made the right choice: I have no regrets.

I have never been one to slate my ex partners. We were together because there was something good between us – usually love. We parted because of many different reasons - all of them based on it being the right time for us to go our separate ways. But today is about closing the door on a part of my history and continuing to create my present with my family. As a unit, we are, as the saying goes “small but perfectly formed”.

By the end of today I will truly be able to say ... “It is finished” in the style of the Master orator. A chapter of my life will be legally over and I am happy in a calm way.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Comment and Summary - Dorothy Parker


Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Roumania.

Dorothy Parker


Every love's the love before
In a duller dress.
That's the measure of my lore-
Here's my bitterness:
Would I knew a little more,
Or very much less!

Dorothy Parker

Sunday, 24 October 2010

There was this piece of dry toast ...

Jokes bring out laughter – well, that’s the desired effect usually.

Jokes sometimes lighten a serious situation by the injection of humour.

Jokes can bring people together or tear groups apart.

Jokes are like a smooth covering of butter on a dry piece of toast when one is following a strict diet: an act of rebellion.

Freud would agree. We need more humorous revolutions.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Float like a butterfly

The butterfly in a field full of flowers alights on the normal species and suck up the familiar nectar. Then they fly off to the next similar plant. The butterfly is happy and satisfied with the nectar it gets and usually it remains this way. However, children are like butterflies that are blown off course and forced to land on a new type of plant. As they look around at this different environment they are enchanted and all thoughts of the old familiar routine disappear from their minds.

Reaching out and testing the new nectar proves that other things hold as much interest and promise as the last experience did. Like their winged counterparts children grow up and they float from one attraction to another. Whenever a child gets a new focus they remain fiercely loyal to it ... until a fresh wind blows then somewhere else.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Living now ... Seeing further

Living Now ... I am living now. If my father had been living now he would be celebrating his 101st birthday today.

My father lived a long, and often hard life. He saw many things people should not see and endured experiences that would make him weep. Sometimes he would take his anger and frustration out on the family. I didn’t understand him for most of my life. It is strange that since he died I have started to understand him a bit more – at least I think I have.

My father worked hard to move from his humble beginnings in Jamaica, where he owned nothing much more than two kid goats, to a comfortable mortgage free home that he lived in for over 25 years after his retirement. His work ethic provided for his retirement.

His legacy to me is greater than a financial one. My father has left me with an enduring example of the benefits (and costs) of consistency, commitment and perseverance.

He lived through times of great social advances and terrible tragedies; he was part of the British war effort in the Caribbean. Michael Morgan helped to rebuild the industry of Britain after WWII when he worked here relentlessly as an engineer. Although we had our many disagreements I retained respect for his journey.

I may never truly appreciate my father but this I do know ... Michael J Morgan was a giant. My parents both facilitated my growing environment. My mother also made a path for me to be who I am in this world. She too was a giant in her own unique way.

My siblings and I are but dwarfs that have been allowed to stand on the shoulders of giants. It is now up to us individually to see further.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Seasonally adjusted

Apparently, the cold spell has arrived, without warning the temperature dropped as did the leaves. The frost fell overnight, it was on the cars and the roads, even the grass was crisp underfoot. A crunch of ice was heard with each fresh step on the pavement. This was my morning wake-up call as I noticed that everything had changed.

I realised that I would have to enter into a new phase of my oh-so-British obsession with the weather for this end of the year. The Americans would call this season 'Fall' - I begin to understand the term now. Everything falls.

Yesterday evening there was a significant drop in temperature to below 8 C. The night dragged the temperature lower still. This morning it had not risen much above 2 C. I knew for sure that the new season had arrived. In a mere twenty four hours the temperature has fallen by over 10 C. My heart dropped with the mercury.

Although the sun is shining brightly in the clear blue sky it is no consolation to my bones. I don't like the cold weather. That is the only reason why I have not yet moved to a country I love so much: Canada (the Canadians do have better systems for dealing with the cold than us Brits do so it is still a serious consideration).

When a cousin first arrived in England from Jamaica he awoke the first morning and looked out of the bedroom window. As I passed by his opened door I saw him stood there with a puzzled look settled on his brow. I asked if he was OK.

"Nah man," he answered. "I see the sun shining but me caant feel it. Me nuh understaand whaa gwann."

"Welcome to the mocking sun," I replied with sardonic laughter. "This is Britain in November. You left the warmth near the equator I’m afraid."

It looked like the same sun he saw every day of his life in Jamaica, and indeed it was but from this different physical perspective the sun did not touch him as it did just one day earlier.

Things are not always as they seem. Things are not always as we are used to them. The familiar things fall away and are replaced by new strange times.

We will adjust – it just takes time.

From my late evening excursions yesterday I began to think about the layers of clothing I will have to wear now. Layers of protection against the persistent pain of the near zero weather. The wind is the worst. It works in conjunction with the sun and creeps upon you unawares. Unsettling you without warning.

There is nothing I can do to stop the weather change. What I can do is to adjust my behaviour to match it and manage my attitude through this fall time. I have to focus on the things I can control; the cold weather is not one of them.

By the time we British have adjusted to the cold weather it will be spring again and the earth will be bringing forth new life. We can have our own spring in our lives at any time. When the autumn or fall visits us we must, like I did today, dress appropriately and plan to suit the current time. There is no point acting like you are in yesterday or tomorrow. We must dress both our bodies and our minds to best equip us to deal with the wind and the frost that may beset us on our paths. We must deal with the present because this is where we are.

As soon as this season in my life is complete the next one will appear and I will be ready. I will see the signs.

We have today. We have now.

I, for one, am using my fall time to see the beauty around me and find my moments of happiness in each and every day.

I may, however, be doing it wearing a hat, scarf, gloves, thermals ... you get the picture I’m sure.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Passion is ... attractive

Laws of Attraction

Feeling attracted to someone can come upon you suddenly. The psychologists say that you decide within a matter of seconds whether or not you are attracted to someone.

It can be a word.

It can be a look.

It can be a picture.

All it takes is a moment of a moment and the process begins.

It may be a mere glance. But with the connection the computer centre of the body feels the pull towards the source of delight. The engines are fired and the wings are unfurled as the heart takes flight towards the goal.

I was not expected anything, so it was a very pleasant surprise as my heart started to beat faster when this attraction grabbed me. I could not focus on the matter in hand. All I wanted to do was to have my attraction verified and reciprocated.

I scanned for any clues that would indicate if this person could sense my attraction and if they had been struck by it too. In the mean time I tried not to be too obvious. I knew my body was betraying me. I could feel every part of my body glowing and the pheromones were firing like the guns on a practice range. Intensity filled the air and I struggled to breathe.

Attraction is beautifully enchanting.

It is always a great feeling of superb and delightful intensity.

Passion is urgency.

Black Coral - Amryl Johnson

Rare to this flesh-eating scenery

which devours the evening

at Morne Rouge

with a sun which sets

as if falling from the sky

you would stand with a mirror to your thoughts

deflecting the rays which bounced

off you

proud, exquisite African


I would watch

as you stripped

the coral

curving its black form



I wanted

to bend time

and take you

take you

back to your kingdom

One day

you came out of the sea

clutching a branch which as not

black coral

Smooth as ivory

it was naked as bone

You held it out to me


Taken aback

my gaze fell from it to you

it to you

and then back again

I thought of skeletons, piranhas

and your own shrinking will

I could not answer when you called

You called my name again

I did not turn

I walked away without a backward glance

The urgency had gone


of the longing

(Collection: Long Road to Nowhere)

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Charades and Impressions

I know how uncomfortable I am with standing in front of people and talking. This fact was confirmed yesterday when at a friend’s house. Someone suggested that we play a game called ‘Impressions’ where we imitate how we see each other; all the children readily agreed and eagerly jostled for their turn to take centre stage and do their acting bit.

It was fun to watch them as they all exaggerated the behaviour of us all, but when my turn came I was without an ounce of confidence. The same thing happens when I play charades – even with a small intimate group of people. I find myself floundering and immediately unable to think clearly. I am sure, in that moment, that I sound and look stupid so I feel myself becoming jelly-like in my actions. I’m standing there, smile nervously placed on my face just wanting my turn to be over. Scared that if I refuse to take my turn that more attention will be focused on me than currently is. I’m already convinced that if there is any positive response to my act within an act it will only be because of the sympathy vote. I know I am dying on my feet.

Let me contrast this dread with an earlier incident. I still don’t believe it was really the same person: me.

This time ... I spoke without hesitation on a subject I believed in and I did not shake or worry what the listeners thought of me; there were many more people present on this occasion – most of them I didn’t even know at all well.

I know that this time, when I was talking in front of people that it was the belief that made the difference. Believing made it possible for me to eliminate any desire to waiver or back out early of the interaction.

In the first situation I was acting as somebody I was not, and I was totally unsure if my impression would be shared or received with charity. In the second case I had no doubt about my position. I was strong and had a firm foundation. Nothing could shake me, not even my usual ever-present self doubt – it had been silenced by my belief.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Keeping time

I got my watch fixed today. That may not sound like a big deal to you but it meant me going back into the world of time keeping. You see, for the past three years I have be largely watch-less. I do, as most people, have a mobile phone that I use to refer to for the time, but it is not quite the same as a watch.

As I left the watchmakers with the newly repaired timepiece loosely strapped on to my wrist I was immediately conscious of the time. The woman in the shop said to me, “I’ve set the date and time for you.” I, in the usual ritual of shop transactions, said “thank you” several times as I handed over the watch, then the money, then took the guarantee. I repeated my thanks one last time as I left the shop and looked at the time on my hand.

I checked the time several times before I reached the end of the shopping parade. As I did so I reflected back into the past. The watch no longer reminds me of a time when I was tied to time. Although my days are still regulated in a ritualistic fashion goverened by the school time-table, I still have a fair amount of flexibility in my working day. A few years ago everything was strictly limited by what time it was; it was not, however, my timetable. Back then I was marching to the beat of somebody else’s schedule. My time was not my own.

Now, with the watch again on my wrist I feel that I have been sucked into the mainstream of society again. But, this time, I can – in some small way – better control the use of my time to suit me.

It was my choice to get it fixed, but I have doubts about how much I will be wearing it in the coming days.

Maybe it is just a case of getting used to the feel of it on my wrist again ... who knows? I’ll see how I feel about keeping time in a week or so.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

"Speaking as a mother ..."

Does that phrase qualify any woman with any special abilities of perception or understanding of ... anything? Why do people believe that by giving birth, having children, nurturing small humans that they are any more qualified than any other person to spout forth on any topic?

Many women have used this phrase to dismiss the opinions of other people – especially childless women. All the hearer gets is an opinion that the speaker is being reactionary and possibly unethical. Using one’s status as a mother cannot usually justify any personal claims to knowledge on any subject: for example, the distribution of AIDS medication in sub-Saharan Africa, or the deployment of troops into Afghanistan, or the veracity of presidential comments regarding the deforestation of the Amazon.

It is true that motherhood does open you up to a whole range of particular experiences, fears, hopes and expectations from yourself and those immediately around you and your brood, however, being an adult carer for the younger generation is not a magical key to worldwide knowledge.

Speaking as a mother is generally regarded as a euphemism for someone who has abandoned all vestiges of rational thought and regards everything outside of their immediate control as the evil “other” that needs to be eliminated without further ado. I wonder what would happen to people’s credibility if they all started sentences with “Speaking as a ...”? Would the bedrock of society crumble and people start wailing in the streets?

Speaking as a ...cyclist I believe that motivating and encouraging people allows them to develop and grow.”

Speaking as a ...stonemason I know that it is essential to situate the bath and the shower in close proximity to each other.”

Speaking as a ...teacher I promise to build bridges even where no rivers exist.”

Speaking as a ...plumber I believe that with the right bike, training and confidence you can ride on any terrain.”

Speaking as a ...fisherman I know that learning the formulae for the equations will help you in the examinations.”

Speaking as a ...politician I am sure that if you strike a stone often it is better than if you strike it once very hard.”

Speaking as a ...writer I believe that with the right bait you can catch a fish, land it, clean it and eat it in a short period of time.”

You get my drift I’m sure... speaking as a mother, I mean.

Monday, 11 October 2010

New day, new me

Change is constant. Nothing new in that statement, I’m sure you will agree. After all we are all aware that everything is changing around us all the time.
What I have found is that there is a more dramatic change occurring inside each of us, each day. This is especially true when something big happens.
This “something big” is relative to each person. For me, this month, it is the legal return to my individual status. I will no longer be associated with one particular person: my divorce (dissolution – to give it its correct legal term) is being finalised. The solicitor sent me a letter giving me the date when all will be returned to normal. I say “normal”, but I am aware that the normality that I had before I entered into my civil partnership has passed and I will be going forward, not backward, to a new normality. Nothing about me is being dissolved although something new is definitely emerging. Phoenix-like I am rising.

I am at the same time excited and nervous. I know that externally nothing about me will have changed. I separated from my ex-partner over three years ago and I have since been blessed with new and beautiful experiences of love. In the interim period I have grown in so many ways. I have been blessed with the constant love from a wonderful child and I have met so many new friends. My mind has reached a place of peace that I had once thought unattainable. Each day I gain more blessings by being able to live my dream. I am constantly experiencing change and coming face to face with opportunities that can be described as “something big”.
I believe that each time we experience dramatic events in our lives we have an absolute alteration within ourselves. This is sometime linked to a sense of agitation and a perception of whirling on blankness.
Each time the rotation ceases I can step forward into a new day and a new me.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Langston Hughes - for National Poetry Day 7th October 2010


I would liken you

To a night without stars

Were it not for your eyes.

I would liken you

To a sleep without dreams

Were it not for your songs.

Langston Hughes

Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over--like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

Collateral Damage

I live with my child. We are, what is generally termed, a single parent family. Soon after our separation a few years ago my ex-partner decided that she did not want continued contact with my son or me because it was causing her too much distress and she felt that she could best move on with her life if we did not feature in it. With that message received - passed to me via a third party - Morgan and I started a new chapter of our existence.
As I approach the time when the official decree of my separation is written in the legal records I have begun to wonder what it is like for those parents who still want contact with their children once they have separated from their adult partner.
The majority of the time when families separate the children have to stay with one person. This can cause huge problems of contact and continuity with the departing parent.
What is their life like when they leave the family home? How do they get used to the silence of single life? Is it immediately filled with socialising or does the lone alone parent spend their hours remembering the laughter and the chaotic noise of family life? Do they wander through tidy alien spaces wishing for the mess and disruption of family life?
The alone parent has to deal with the empty rooms and the desperation of planned interactions with their own family. Returning to the shared family home as a stranger having to request access must be a horrible experience. The familiar door is now a drawbridge to a past life. No keys are allowed. As an interloper they wait on the threshold anticipating and hoping for a friendly greeting. Love had brought them back to this spot. It was the loss of a different love that drove them away.
Temporarily reunited it is time to exhale. Time begins to play tricks on the mind. Each allotted moment together is like a plummeting lift. Life is suspended in fear that the best moments will be lost in the rush and the separation will begin again all too soon.
Family life is provisionally recreated as the estranged parent shares uncomfortable time and space where they feel clothed in a sense of no longer belonging in their own children’s lives. Things that they knew on a daily basis now become lists of activities and achievements that were usually shared with distant aunts at Christmas time.
When they part, again, and again, the parent crumbles as they are destroyed by the desolation of separation.
Maybe it’s not just the children who suffer collateral damage.
M and I have had our process of dealing with the separation, and we have done it together. Although I didn’t appreciate the abrupt and sudden rejection of contact that my ex partner had with M, I realise that sometimes these complete breaks are for the best. The slow poison of continual contact can be more destructive in the long run.
And I know that it was also the best decision for us. We are in a better place now. As I’m sure my ex partner is.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Each person ‘reads’ a situation differently. A certain action may appear neutral to one person yet to another person this same action is incendiary. This is because of our different experiences and histories.

How do you ‘read’ me?

How do you ‘read’ yourself?

Advertising is all about how people read certain symbols and signs. You can advertise yourself (or others) in a positive, negative or neutral way.

Consider these two pictures (and associated text) used by the BBC relating to the potential election of MPs to the shadow cabinet.

28th September 2010. Diane Abbott.

How did you read these pictures? Did you managed to concentrate on the attached text or were you swayed by the image?

‘Reading’ each other is something we do all the time. It is also a way that others can persuade us to view someone in a different light.

I think it’s important to be conscious of what you read and accept or reject views that do not fit well with you.

Be careful how you read today.

Monday, 4 October 2010

National Poetry Day - Just for a Time by Maya Angelou

Poetry is pure joy. Poetry is bottled beauty. Poetry is love.

Poetry, according to Lucy Mangan, has the “power to move you at such a visceral level ...It gets under your defences, all those beautiful, perfect lines, refined, honed over weeks and months and years, smelted down by their writers from the bulky emotional ore with which we ordinary people customarily make do, so that only the purest form remains.

The theme for the British National Poetry Day on 7th October 2010 is ‘Home’.

Sometimes a person reminds you of what it is like to feel at home. That may last ‘just for a time’ ...

Just for a Time

Oh how you used to walk
With that insouciant smile
I liked to hear you talk
And your style
Pleased me for a while.

You were my early love
New as a day breaking in Spring
You were the image of
That caused me to sing.

I don't like reminiscing
Nostalgia is not my forte
I don't spill tears
On yesterday's years
But honesty makes me say,
You were a precious pearl
How I loved to see you shine,
You were the perfect girl.
And you were mine.
For a time.
For a time.
Just for a time.

Maya Angelou

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