The feet that inspire me

The feet that inspire me
My little angel and my little mischief

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Leisure by W H Davies

I came across this poem on my Future Learn course. It is beautiful and perfect for taking a moment to contemplate the day either ahead or behind or both.

What is this life if, full of care, 
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs 
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass, 
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight, 
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance, 
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can 
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care, 
We have no time to stand and stare.
W. H. Davies (1871-1940)

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Secret - a short story

The Secret

I do not like secrets but I have held one for 36 years now. At first it was not something I wanted to talk about.  I felt it was intensely private and something for my husband George and I.  How I love him.  I would do anything for him. When we first started to date, he walked into a room my soul would lift.  He asked me to keep this one secret not to tell the world or even our close friends and family.

It meant in the early days that I did not have any support except from him.  As time progressed, it felt like a black cloud hanging over me.  I always wondered what happens if I just blurted it.  Just like vomit “what happens if I just say it?”.  I would picture his face and decide I could not break his heart.

As our children Michael and Sarah got older the secret changed, I knew I was actively keeping it from them.  After all it affected them the most. 

Every time I would try and discuss it with George, he would say “Not now Evelyn, you know we cannot tell them, we agreed.  What happens if they do not want to know me anymore?  They would disown us both for lying”. 

It started to seep into my confidence, chipping away at it every day.  I began to think if I tell the children I will lose him and them, and then my life would be destroyed for ever.

One day I went outside and just ran.  I do not know where, but I just did.  My mind was always exhausted but now my body was too.

From that day to now, I run.  It helps me to clear my mind of my anxiousness and occasionally brings me joy.  I regularly entered running events as George would question why all the running.  I could not bring myself to tell him that my soul was broken by the secret. It meant keeping another secret but this one was just mine.  I felt I had learnt to keep the secrets and my love for George separate but truthfully they had started to tarnish our relationship.

That day, the sun was shining, birds were tweeting and the air smelt of the sea salt, I started to feel content again but that was all about to change. I walked back in from my run and my mobile phone rang.  It was an anonymous number.  I answered with a sharp tone expecting a salesperson “Yes?”

“Is that Mrs Evelyn Jones?”. There was a serious voice on the other end.

“Yes, may I ask who is speaking?”.  I began to realise this was a serious voice.

“Yes, my name is Sergeant Matthews; your husband has been injured in a car accident about 7am this morning.  He has been taken to Christchurch Hospital and it being treated. 

“Is he seriously hurt?” I interrupted. My mind was racing.  Where was the car key, I need to get there and be with him. I need to ring the children and tell them.  Where will they be?”.

“I am afraid I do not have that information.  We will send a vehicle to collect you and take you to the hospital”.  I could sense he knew more but was not telling me.  His voice was wobbling, like he had seen the whole thing.

I was shaking; I knew I needed to be with him. 

The next few hours were a blur; there were police, doctors, and the children were crying. I was numb.  They sat me down and told me that George died on the way to the hospital.  I kept thinking of the phrase on the television “dead on arrival”.  It was too surreal. I was sure I would get home, he would be sitting at the dining table reading the paper, telling me the kettle is on and it has all been a sick joke. Instead they told me when and where I pick up the medical death certificate so I could register his death. I suddenly felt very alone and it dawned on me the secret is now only mine.

The next ten days passed in a blur of visitors.  Telling me they have no words, what a wonderful man he was, funny stories about him that I had not known, and hugs.  They were one way hugs.  I had no capacity.  I just knew this was our punishment for the secret; I understood then that I must tell the children. The weight of it was getting too heavy.

I had cooked dinner and arranged for Michael and Sarah to come.  We were sitting around the dining room table and I felt George sitting at the opposite end.  I was looking at his empty chair.  I could see him shaking his head at me, begging me not to do this.

“I have something to tell you and this is going to come as a shock” I said in a hurry as I was serving the peas. I knew I needed to say it fast otherwise my courage would disappear.

“Mum is everything ok?” Sarah interrupted.

“No it is not.  Your father was a wonderful man but he insisted I kept a secret from you both and I cannot do it any longer”.

“Mum what is it?” She looked scared and tears started to well up in my eyes.

“Your father and I were married for seven years before you Michael came into our lives and then Sarah you came 18 months later.  We started trying for children a year after we got married.  First your grandfather died and then your grandmother got breast cancer and died too.  We thought it was not happening for us due to all the stress. On top I was doing a long commute and your dad was working two jobs to help us save for this house.  We then realised that we had been trying for five years and nothing had yet happened so our GP suggested we go for some tests to check it was not anything else.  Your father came back completely infertile.  We were obviously both shocked.”

I paused and took a deep long breath.  I could not look at their faces but knew I needed to.  I saw it in their eyes they knew what was coming next.

“So we did a three month tour of Europe to think about what we wanted to do.  During that trip we decided that it was nurture over nature and it would be better if you were at least 50% biological ours and we would use a sperm donor.  So that is what we did.”

 I explained “I have always wanted to tell you but your father was adamant, but now he has gone I know you had to know.”

Michael got up from the table and walked out through the hall and slammed the front door shut.  Sarah sat and looked at me as tears streamed down her face.  She screamed “why, just why would you not tell us he is not our dad?  Who is our dad? This is our life and this is fundamental to who we are.”

I started to explain “He is your father, he was there when you were born, he went to every school play, he came to your ballet shows, he kissed you goodnight.  He loved you more than anything.  Your dad is more than biology” 
But I knew she was absolutely right.  This was no longer a secret but now we were all broken.  The consequences of George’s wish were now only just manifesting.

Sarah looked at me and said “this should not have been a secret.  I do not know how to look at you mum. We have lost our dad and now you want to confess.  You are so selfish.” With that she followed Michael out the door.

I was now all alone. I saw George just sitting there saying “I told you so”.  With that I chucked my plate across the room where his head would be and shouted “you ruined it all”. 

Sir Ian McKellen reading Wordsworth

I am currently doing a course on Future Learn called Literature and Mental Health. This weeks topic is all about stress.

Stress is something I am currently facing in my life. I have a 6 and a half month old daughter who fails to sleep during the day.  It is very frustrating and I find her behaviour challenging.

I have normally faced stress with work and studying.  This tiny human is relying on me for everything in her life. I love her beyond words however a constant battle to insist that she sleeps is not fun.

The course talks about taking time out with words.  Particular poems can enforce calm.  Sadly this affect does not apply to my baby girl but it does work for me. 

This is a beautiful poem by Wordsworth.

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still.
W. Wordsworth (1770–1850)

Sunday, 29 January 2017

On Your Christening Day

Earlier this month on our travels in the UK we were lucky enough to be allowed to get our daughter christened. This was done in a beautiful little church in the Pembrokeshire countryside. 

On our travels down to Wales it was a dark miserable January night so on the M4 I thought I must use this night well and write a poem for our daughter when she grows up. 

This is it ...

Your smile shines bright with your toothless grin
Your eyes beam and glisten with the light of innocence 
You kick your feet to say I'm excited to see you
We kiss your cheeks and hands and you return with tiny bear hugs 
You chatter exercising your new voice joining in the conversation 
You demand our attention and thrive with it
Your future is out ahead with endless possibilities
You make everyday better for being in it for all those that love you
You are our special girl 

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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Making Holly Wreaths

My mum and I sat up tonight and made two wreaths. One for my Granny and my husband's Granny. They both live in Wales and we are going to visit for the weekend. The total cost came to about £8.00 per wreath. 

Process was:-

1. Soak the oasis ring in water for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy a glass of wine while you wait! 
2. Get some pot pourri and some flower wire and bind some of the pine cones, dried oranges and big pieces ready.
3. Cut some Holly into small pieces with stalks and other pretty foliage from the garden.
4. Once you are ready to start mentally divide the oasis into thirds. Cover using plain green foliage, add the holly and then feature flowers and pine cones etc.
5. Place on a plate. Put a candle into the middle and admire your work! 
6. Give away as presents and always keep one for yourself. 
7. As maintenance just dribble water into the oasis.

Tip- always make sure you can't see any oasis and enjoy the wine! 

Alternative The Night Before Christmas

It was the night before Christmas when all through the house 
Everything stirred as you screamed and not like a mouse
The snot was running down onto your lip 
And the tears were pouring and your hands were in a tight fist
The sound of Father Christmas tucking into his mince pie 
Had woken you and you started to cry 
Ruldoph and the other reindeer were startled up on the roof
The lights came on as mummy and daddy were woken by their prancing hooves
You realised Father Christmas was there and started to dance and sing  
When I looked at daddy and said "where is the gin?"
I asked Father Christmas "a little quieter next year is my only wish"
He replied "well you best make sure you are no longer on my naughty list"

Monday, 14 November 2016

The Earthquake

Now been 24 hours since the big earthquake. Our thoughts are with everyone affected.

A new poem about the events

The Earthquake 

The earth begins to rumble
The walls shake and chimneys tumble
We duck cover and hold
Hoping nature will soon stop being so bold 
Our lives are smashed on the floor
Plates, glasses, the clock hanging above the door
We look for each other checking are you okay
As our thoughts spread to others we pray
We walk out and go into the night
Trying not to let each other go with all our might