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.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Confident visibility

You have to be who you want to be to be happy; you have to be who you are to really be.

We are, after all, human beings, so we have to continue being ourselves.

Before I was confident in who I really am I was there – everywhere - but I was also invisible. People saw the part of me I projected, but they didn’t see any of the real me. I was cloaked – in the manner of the Star Trek Romulans - like a stealth fighter jet. I would move in and out of people’s lives, do what I needed to then retreat to a safe place where I would unveil myself.

Since I have invested time in getting to really know myself I have achieved confidence in my visibility because I am now standing on solid ground that I have constructed: it feels so good. I have accepted myself, totally. Life is so much better now that it was before.

While hiding vast portions of my identity I did not exist in a plane of freedom or clarity. It was as if I was living my life behind a smoke screen. I no longer live in that manner. I live clearly and freely.

My difference is not comfortable for many others, but I am not about to take on their discomfort. I lived with my own discomfort for many years. It was during those times that I wanted to stay hidden; it was my preference because of the overwhelming fear of being rejected. I would have done anything to melt into the background. Not many people desire to be wallpaper, but there were times in my past that I wished I would be as noticeable as the background wall hanging: invisible. My confidence was low because it had been constructed on shifting sands.

I am now happy and confidently visible.

I am on solid ground.

I am being ... me.

Monday, 29 November 2010


There are some situations we really don’t want to end – because we are enjoying them so much; our pleasure quotient is high.

In these situations we rarely think about any time but the present. We exist in now and revel in pleasure. There is no hint of thinking about an end to these occasions.

There are, however, some situations we can’t wait to be over – we abhor every passing moment; our experience of pain is immense.

In these situations we just want the end to come, and to come quickly. We want the hurt to stop. It may be hard to believe that anything will change when you are present in the pain, but we just have to wait, for a while, and the end will come. We will then be blessed with the wonder of some new situation.

Everything will have an end; the good things will pass, as will the bad things ... even time will end.

Endings come all the time.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


To Have Succeeded

To laugh often and love much:
To win respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give one's self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived...
This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This poem was chosen as part of a gift to me some months ago, and I treasure it each time I read it.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A Part of Speech - Joseph Brodsky

A small portion from the poem “A Part of Speech”

... and when "the future" is uttered, swarms of mice
rush out of the Russian language and gnaw a piece
of ripened memory which is twice
as hole-ridden as real cheese.
After all these years it hardly matters who
or what stands in the corner, hidden by heavy drapes,
and your mind resounds not with a seraphic "doh,"
only their rustle. 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, 24 November 2010

I believe ...

I believe in many things. One thing I believe in is justice. I believe strongly in equality. I expect equality, after all it is a human right, don’t you think? (Going back for a moment I’ve just realised that I wrote ‘believe strongly’ and thinking about it I wonder if anyone can ever believe anything weakly? If there is weak belief then surely there is doubt and it follows that there is no belief at all? So, ‘believe strongly’ must be tautology I think.)

Anyway, as I was saying I believe in justice. And I believe in equality. I do, however, know that justice and equality mean different things to different people and they always have through the ages. We learn about injustice early in life.

From childhood we are used to standing up for our rights. I know that many a time I have pleaded to my parents that the fault that they had discovered or problem they had uncovered wasn’t mine, those world famous words slipped from my lips, “I didn’t do it.” Usually my protests fell on deaf ears, especially if I had been set up as I was one day by my two sisters. I remember pleading to my mother in vain that I was not the only guilty person.

What had happened was I was reading - even as a child I loved to read and get lost in the stories of other people and places - and when I looked outside I saw my younger sister and one of my older sisters playing on the garden bench. They were playing make-believe. There were dolls and a tea set – not my cup of tea (excuse the pun) but really, it wasn’t. Nevertheless I decided it was time to go outside and play with them. They encouraged me to join them, so I did. They had been making mud pies and plastering the long garden bench with their creations; I thought that was a fun thing to do so I started mixing up and slapping on my portion of the mud. Suddenly, I realised I was alone out there and my two sisters were inside laughing at me. This realisation came about because our mum had knocked on the kitchen window. When I looked up I saw that she wasn’t happy with what she saw me doing. The bench, a six foot long wooden structure, was filthy. And I was there gaily splashing the mixture into the tea set.

It didn’t matter how much I tried to explain that I had only just gone out there and that the others had made the most of the mess, I was the only one mum saw out there so I was guilty as far as she was concerned.

I had to wash all the mud off the entire bench – on my own – then I had to scrub it down with a hard brush to make sure all the mud was gone. I cried the whole way through. I cried because it wasn’t fair. But all my mum said to me was “Wash it with yu best neck, Miss B.” My sisters stayed inside and laughed at me no matter how much I tried to explain the truth. So I alone took the chastisement having being labelled as Miss Bad.

The injustice of that day stayed with me for a long time. My sisters still find amusement in it. They think it was funny that I got told off and that I got the punishment for the fun they had and the mess they made.

I, on the other hand, still view that memory with a tinge of sadness. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that we all hate injustice against ourselves and we are quick to exclaim “I didn’t do it” when falsely accused. We are immediately distressed and can carry the wound of unfairness for a long time. What this causes me to wonder is why then, when injustice is perpetrated against another human do we stand mute? Surely we should clamour for equality and shout “It’s not fair” as loudly as if it were for us personally? Wouldn’t we appreciate it if someone stood up for us when we were obviously wronged?

We have opportunities every day

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


When travelling we pack our bags and take our luggage with us. The light and easy items we take with us into the body of the plane. This is our hand luggage. However, if we have large amounts of things they go into the hold, often thrown in - sometimes without the slightest modicum of care - by the baggage handlers (but that is another story I’m sure everyone has a tale to tell on that score). We are always moving with something as we travel through life. Something from the past constantly accompanies us as we move forward to the next destination. Be it in the overhead compartment, within easy reach, or in the hold, for retrieval at a later stage, our stuff goes with us.

Sheryl Crow said earlier this month “hey, at my age, [she’s 48] everyone comes with baggage. It’s the baggage that makes it interesting.”

Marie Claire readers have been told that baggage is emotional turmoil caused by some issue in a person’s past. This baggage can pressurise or damage a relationship from the start, so says the wisdom of the Rich Santos writing about sex and the single guy in this magazine. Rich Santos describes many types of baggage such as the ‘white whale baggage’ (Moby Dick reference), the ‘family baggage’ (obviously related to family issues), and the catch all type ‘mystery baggage’. This final grouping is for when you are not sure how to define the irrational behaviour that you are experiencing in your relationship partner. When this type of baggage is foremost in the relationship the advice is that it is easier to dismiss the person and move on because they “have too much baggage.”

Sheryl Crow says that being a 48 year old single mother of two children is seen by some people as a lot of baggage – I see it as a mother with two children: that’s it, nothing else. But then I would say that as a single mother of a similar age with one child, wouldn’t I? I don’t see the single status as baggage, I don’t see parenthood as baggage, and I definitely don’t see children as baggage. I know some people prefer to have less complicated relationships without children involved, but hey, they are part and parcel of people’s lives. To me there is no option not to have them: they are already there. Just like there is no option that people have their own life experiences and memories (aka baggage), just like there is no option that people have their personal relationship history (also known as baggage). What may simply have been defined as personal history in an earlier part of life suddenly, after the age of thirty becomes described as baggage. How strange.

Baggage, as it is commonly known, is not optional in life or relationships. Baggage is part of the tapestry of life. Baggage is life.

I have a family history, I have an emotional history, I have a child, I have life. These things about me are not optional. What I have is not “too much baggage” it is life. However others may view us, I know that we are not baggage.

Monday, 22 November 2010

It's just hell!

When you love something obviously horrible it is usually because that thing is a temporary substitute - a lesser evil, if you will - for something much worse. This could be anything from facing hidden physical and emotional issues to smoking. The loved object (or place) brings a relief that is missing in the other situation. Your mind knows that you always have to return to hell so, as a temporary measure of relief, you focus on enjoying the road to hell instead of remembering hell itself – and, in comparison, it feels just great!

So, how do you leave both degrees of hell behind?

Some things are not as easy to do as just getting up and walking away; if they were we all would have done it many moons before now.

There are many ways to make a change. One way is to do it a step at a time, at your own pace but always in the correct direction: away from hell. Like Lot’s wife you may look back occasionally – I often do because even the terrible things bring some kind of familiar comfort – but you have to keep going. You really have to keep going.

Even in the bleakest of times: the human spirit remains indomitable and in there somewhere is the will to survive and thrive. Each of us has vast untapped resources of courage and strength. We can do it. We deserve to do it.

We deserve the freedom and happiness that really is available to us. We deserve to find something better than hell to love.

I’m doing it.

I’m on my way.

Why do I blog?

Sometimes I ask myself why I do this ... web log, blog, writing online. And the answer is always the same. I do it for myself (but I am not adverse to others reading it as well – hence the reason why I chose this media).

When I write hidden thoughts and feelings find their way to the page. For me writing strips away all tiredness and worry. Writing is like running the 100m race when I was at school: total freedom and expression of my true self.




For me, writing is a purity of being – a true expression of me, now.

I do.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Short selling and cheerleading

I think that each time we try something new we go through an initiation routine. We are constantly capable of learning and always gain valuable experiences but we are also so good at selling ourselves short. So often we can see the talent, skill and great personality of any other person, but when it comes to ourselves, we become blind, dumb and deaf to our abilities.

When you value something you look after it. When you value yourself you treat yourself well.

I have decided to become my own cheerleader because I have been guilty of short-selling myself to myself.

I will, from this day forward, give myself credit where it is deserved. I will remember the things I have learned, the things I have experiences and the feats I have accomplished.

Rah rah!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Some days

Some days all you want to feel is that sense of being fully accepted for who you are.

Some days all you want is to feel the tingle of excitement when you think of that significant person.

Some days all you want is to savour the thought, the sound and the feel of that special name in your mind, in your mouth and in your body...

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Discussing love

One of my friends, who I refer to as a beautiful phoenix, recently said to me that generally Christians get a bad press. As with most large religious organisations the central message can often be lost in the politics and hierarchy of the organisation. The negative aspects of organised religion can drown the core meaning: love.

Sat with my phoenix friend we were having a discussion about love as the heart of Christianity, and she said that the last time she discussed love with a Christian she was told that there are five different languages of love:

v Words of affirmation

v Receiving gifts

v Acts of service

v Quality time

v Physical touch

As she revelled in understanding the beauty that she was discovering the joy on her face was plain to see.

Love is not just central to Christianity; I think it is also central to humanity.

It was great to discuss the whole range of opportunities that we have to find a language to express our love so that the person we are communicating with can understand us and we can, in turn, better understand them. Each person we meet may have a different way of understanding love and to determine the best love language you have to find out what works for them and practise expressing in that way to them ... because of love.

What love language do you express in? What language of love do you receive in? Help those who love you by sharing your knowledge and the communication and sharing of love between you will progress for a long time ... just like Christianity.

What love language do you express in? What language of love do you receive in? Help those who love you by sharing your knowledge and the communication and sharing of love between you will progress for a long time ... just like Christianity.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


When the word ‘hunger’ is used I usually tend to imagine starving children in desolate environments. And my heart is again moved to do something to alleviate the distress – and rightly so. Those instances of hunger are as destructive to the immediate sufferer as they are, in the long run, to the observer. Hunger can kill us all. The effects of hunger are globally devastating and at the same time highly individual.

Hunger is personal.

What I am hungry for is different to what you may be hungry for.

Hunger is not just related to food and the satisfaction of the basic bodily need for fuel.

I realise today that hunger is unique to each person.

Depending on what you need at a specific time two disparate items may be as important as each other. In the correct circumstances bread can be as important as friendship, rain can be as important as war, silence can be as important as water, food can be as important as love, drugs can be as important as company: whatever I am hungry for at any given time is essential to me right then.

My hunger cannot be satisfied without the correct feeding.

I am hungry for ...

Monday, 15 November 2010

Merry Christmas

Surely it’s a bit early for Christmas wishes? You may well agree.
However, this morning we received our first Christmas card for the year. It was hand delivered and at first I didn’t know it was a Christmas card, I mean it’s the middle of November. Christmas cards are not the first thoughts that spring to mind when picking up anonymous post.
When I went to the front door, there on the mat sat a small white envelope. My initial thought was that it was an invitation for M to attend someone’s birthday party. Bending to pick it up I went through a list of possible senders. It was addressed to me so I opened the small envelope and extracted the card. The query formed on my brow, “who could this be from?” Quickly I flipped open the card and then I smiled.
It was from an elderly neighbour. She lives alone since her husband died about three years ago. Although she has relatives locally the people on the street, including my son and I, often pause by her window to wave as we pass by or knock on her door for a brief chat on our way home. It was not dementia that caused her to send an early Christmas card; it was something quite different.
A few weeks ago we bought some chocolates and decided to give boxes to some of the ‘mothers of the community’ – she was one of them. As we couldn’t get hold of her when we went delivering chocolates we left her box with a neighbour. So this morning she sent a card saying “Season’s Greetings – thank you for the chocolates, what a lovely surprise. Have a great Christmas ...” Mrs C’s expression of gratitude, as well as our gift to her, reminds me that every day is a good season to greet someone and extend a touch of love.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Ding Dong

Ding ...

It could be spoken words.

It could be a written letter.

It could be a text.

It may be a silent action.


Once created ...

these things exist.

In whatever you do remember ... you can’t unring a bell.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Anglian Water gives me a husband

I answered the phone.


“Hello, Mrs Morgan?”

“Ms Morgan,” I reply.

“Sorry? Mrs Morgan?” The caller queries again, “This is Anglian Water.”

“OK,” I reply giving up the desire to insist on my Ms-terious status title, I pause and wait for the caller to explain the reason for the call.

“I’m calling about the order your husband placed for the plumber service...”

“I don’t have a husband.” I reply - rather too forcefully I think.

“We have the details here,” I hear clicking in the background, “Mr Morgan contacted us regarding our water efficiency service...”

“I don’t have a husband,” I repeat.

The silence from the other end of the line conveys confusion. Then there is a low mumble.

“I think,” I start to speak at the same time as the caller does a uncomfortable throat clearance so I hesitate and start again after taking a deep breath of resignation, “I think that maybe you have put the name down incorrectly.”

“Excuse me?”

“I made the order myself,” I explain “and I definitely did not put anybody else’s name down.”

“Oh! The information we have says ‘Mr Morgan’.,. I just thought it was your husband who ordered the plumber.”

“No,” I am now trying my hardest to stay calm as this caller, who is distressingly a woman, seems intent on giving me a husband, “I contacted you via your website yesterday and left my details.”

“Will you please correct the information that you have?” I ask.

She does not reply directly instead she tells me when the plumber will be in the area and asks if I (or my husband?) will be around on that date.

I wish she could have seen me shaking my head in exasperation.

I don’t need (or want) a husband I only want a plumber!


Monday, 8 November 2010

Dr Martens and me

I do most things late in life – compared with the general trends. I am a late bloomer.

Love, travel, family – all came after my age peers were settled well into their second or third decade of each experience.

I am, however, very happy with my progress. My timing is just perfect – for me.

My ‘teenage’ years took place in my late 20s and early 30s. This is the time when I first got involved with Doc Martens.

To me the Doc was a symbol of my finding my own strength as I floated on air cushions. I was at once comfortable and free from normal restraints of behaviour. I was a newly liberated woman and I stepped out with my Doc Martens and a large dose of pride in who I was. Doc Martens did not make me into who I was – just supported my minor acts of rebellion against the status quo.

Of course, through thick and thin, Doc Martens has stayed with me and, even now, occasionally brings me great comfort and reassurance.

When I look at Doc Martens I feel a sense of pride and ‘rightness’ about myself.

I think now is a good time to walk talk again with Doc Martens.

Think I’m past it and should know better? Can I hear phrases such as “Act your age” or “Grow up” (Just what do they mean, anyhow?)

Tony Benn is still wearing them and he’s 85!

I have a way to go yet ...

Friday, 5 November 2010

Paper Skin

There is a lot of pain in the world. You do not have to look very far to find someone in some kind of pain. That is a sad, sad fact. It is all around us, constantly. In order to balance the negativity I like to spread joy and love to those I meet. I take my portion of love, joy and happiness each morning when I awaken. They are my antidote to the misery and pain in this world. But these emotional vitamins that I absorb each day do not deaden me to the harsh reality around me. In fact, they heighten my ability to see the difference.
I do not like pain. I do not like to either personally experience or to watch other people experience pain. It is because of this fragility of being that my mother used to call me “paper skin” when I was a child.
Coming from a large family there were always some kind of knocks and bruises with all the sibling games – some were, in the way of children, really cruel. There were also the reprimands from my parents; they were in a totally different league. After a few serious bouts of childhood discipline – for my siblings, and on occasion my own – I decided never to repeat those experiences. When I was the direct recipient of discipline or rough play I wore the bruises for days and I really didn’t like it.
I was explaining my reasoning and my experiences to my son the other day after he said to me that I cry or express sadness even when somebody I don’t know is hurt.
As I finished retelling a short story about a part of my life where I decided to avoid pain I concluded “Maybe it’s not just that I have a paper skin as my mother used to say, maybe it’s also that I have a paper heart – any pressure causes it to crumple, even if the pain is not directed at me.”

I have the misfortune to break bones that have failed to heal properly and as such I realise that I have both paper skin and bones of crystal. It is, however, my heart that aches the most from the hurt that we continually do to one another. In all my experience (now that makes me sound really old!) I have found that sharing love is always a better option than inflicting pain. But, maybe that’s just me ... and my crumpled paper heart speaking.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Good times and bad times

Recently it must be said that I have been feeling sorry for myself because I had a cold. Yes, that’s all it was, a cold. It was at times difficult to function because I couldn’t breathe or see properly but, as with all things, I knew that it would pass. You see, I’ve had colds before and they have also passed. Anyway, this one day I was finding it particularly difficult to concentrate and I felt like I had a bit of a temperature but regardless I needed to get some groceries so I went to the supermarket and selected the few essentials that would keep us going for a few days.

I was minding my own business. I was in my own world. I was wallowing, quite happily, when a chain of events happened that altered my view of my situation.

I held the corner of the magazine in the tips of my fingers. I had seen it slipping off the conveyer belt as the purchases of the woman in from of me inched towards the cashier. I didn’t plan to catch it. I just did.

There was a split second between me catching sight of it and the catch. I moved quickly and precisely. Both the cashier and the shopper ahead of me turned with looks of wonder on their faces.

“Good catch!” the mystery woman with the bright blue eyes exclaimed. She smiled at me.

I shrugged and placed the magazine back on the belt.

The cashier turned to me and questioned, “Are your reflexes always that quick?”

I hesitated and mumbled a reply. I didn’t know. I just caught something that was falling. To me it was no big deal. But to them it was a matter of wonder and conversation. People were looking at me and smiling. I just wanted to get the few items of shopping and leave. Despite my reluctance to draw attention to this small feat – it was after all a magazine and not a baby that I caught – I spoke to the cashier as he was scanning my items. He was very friendly and wanted to talk to all his customers.

When I reached for my receipt and change I caught a glimpse of his name badge; I had never seen that name before: Awaab.

“That’s a name I’m not familiar with,” I said as I tried to pronounce it.

My efforts were greeted with another broad smile. “That’s right,” he grinned, “you said it right.”

“Where does your name originate?” I asked as I put my things away.

“The Koran.” His answer was short and succinct.

I pressed him for more information while the customer behind me was unloading his purchases from his basket.

“What does it mean?” I gently questioned as I could sense that he anticipated a lack of interest once he had mentioned a Muslim name. He was obviously reluctant to say more without some feeling safe.

The relief on his face was clear when he realised that I was genuinely interested.

“It means that means you remember God in good times ... and in bad,” he smiled.

“I like that,” I responded, “something to really remember. Thank you.”

With that I said goodbye and let the next customer pay for his goods. As I picked up my bag Awabb turned back to me and gave me the thumbs up sign.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Mansized Tissues

Kleenex make Mansize Tissues. I’ve been using a lot of them lately. As I looked at the new box I’d just opened I wondered what is Mansized about them and is there a woman-sized alternative?

Yes, this is what my brain is reduced to thinking about while I lay suffering: the naming and sizing of tissues!

I decided to investigate further mansized items to see if I could get any sense of a correlation between the mansized tissues and the non-existent woman-sized alternative (well, it may exist but it is not named as woman-sized).

Google reveals the following mansize options:

  • Mansize Menswear – a Canadian shops that specialises in ‘fine apparel for men of an above average stature’.
  • Man size boys t-shirts aka fat (advertised as “seriously cool”).
  • A shop in Manchester, England provides ‘exclusive clothing for the larger man, with the unique Mansize range’.
  • Mansize Rooster – song by Supergrass (no mention in the lyrics of a rooster or anything mansized)
  • Mansized target – for army shooting practice (can you hit one at 400 yards?)
  • “I’m man-sized no need to shout” – Man-sized lyrics from PJ Harvey
  • an online lifestyle website ... perhaps the Italian Prime Minister should join, then they can all see whose is bigger. Foot-in-the-mouth “joke” I mean.

The Mansize tissues that I’ve been using are soft and comfortable and gentle on your nose. They are also big enough so you don’t have to use many each time you sneeze. Mansized tissues are not just for men!

Men always need ... so much more than anything found in a neat cardboard box.

[Aside ... I wonder what size egos come in, or pride, or rage, or dominance, or antagonism for that matter? I may as well check out portions of mansized aggression, courage, and force while I’m here.

That’ll be over there on the top shelf I think. I’ll just get a man to get that for you madam.]

(Apologies to anyone offended by my flu-induced ranting ... well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.)

I may just have to revert to my neat, lady-sized, pocket tissues after today. It’s been a painful journey.

Monday, 1 November 2010



If I were a man I could claim I had manflu. Men even have a support websites with paypal!

As it is I am a woman, a mother, and I have work to do... so I just have to get on with it.

Oh, to have the excuses that the weaker XY chromosome holders have. Then I could open this package.

As with my male counterparts all sympathy and offers of tea, chicken-soup or the like are welcome.


In the meantime I’ll just be unwell between my chores ... or when I’m sleeping.

Now that’s a good idea. Zzzzz

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