It was the tenth of never, and no one had ever seen anything like it before. Everyone was going round in the nuddy because on the ninth of never something really strange had happened and everyone’s clothes had disappeared.

In some ways it was a good thing because now there was no competition over clothes. Everyone wore the same fashion – bare skin. Life had become a lot more HOMELY. Everyone became WELCOME everywhere, and everyone was SMILING.

It was revolutionary, as the whole nature of society changed. It became more egalitarian and everyone worked together for the common good. Until someone found a fig leaf.


It was the ninth of never, and all the PEOPLE in the town had gathered together to celebrate. It had never ever been the ninth of never before, so everyone was really excited. What was going to happen?

It was all really quite SUDDEN. One minute everyone was standing there with their clothes on and suddenly all their clothes had gone, and there they were, all standing in the nuddy.

A great cry went up. The whole town was AGHAST. But they shouldn’t have been. After all, it was the ninth of never.


It has been a bad week! At this moment I am in a lot of pain and have been for some days now. I think I have said it before, but though I have survived the cancer, I have been left in a poor way, and though many might admonish me for this, I have often felt that I would have preferred for the cancer to take me than to have to live the nightmare that i am living now. And it is getting worse. The detwrioration of my body that is taking place, making life almost impossible at times. It is not only the blindness though that is bad enough – it is the pain auch that every movement I make sends pain coursing through my body, and finding a comfortable position to sit or lie in is impossible for there is pain whichever position I am in.

I have been feeling depressed, distressed, and at the end of my tether this past week, and today so far is no better. Just constant pain. And yesterday the cleaning company that provides our cleaner folded up. So we have problems there now. Finding Carers and Cleaners is a nightmare, and so me and hubby manage akine. He keeps falling out of his wheelchair, he can’t talk much due to a speech problemthat as deceloped from his post polio syndrome. I am on the wAITING LIST to be assessed by Social Services for a personal assistant, which we WILL have to pay a LOT of money for. You don’t get them for free. And the waiting list is miles long so it could be a year or more before i even get assessed and then it has to go to a panel.
My husband is having problems cooking or even doing anything minor, but he does just about cope. It is ridiculous that we are being left in this position. If we had MS or something we would most likely get help straight away, like my friend did. Yet our need is just as great, though differently.

So all in all it has not been a good week, and I am struggling.

However, i have managed to keep writing the book, though it is hard work.

I am hoping for a much better week next week!


Beyond what is possible
Comes the impossible
Trying to go beyond
You broke today
For so long
You kept it together
But today
You let it go
And ripped your heart in two
Tried beyond bearing
And now
I have to pick you up
Off the floor
Put you together again
And see your fragility
Soon will come
The breaking of all time
And who then
Will pick you up?


She rode on the hill where the rowan bloomed
On a horse that spoke of bygone days
The ancient tree a guard for all souls
And all who would enter the churchyard
The graves bore stories all secret now
Did the headstone say it all?

Secrets dwelled in the old churchyard

Buried there her ancestors
Whose mouths by death now were sealed
None could know the truth of their lives
Not make them live in the present
She longed to know her story
Connected with the past
But all she had was an ancient horse
She imagined bygone days

Secrets dwelled in the old churchyard

The sun began to set as she rode
Dying in the western sky
Looking to the horizon she knew
One day she might be with them
For she too would die just like the sun
And rise to eternity

Secrets dwelled in the old churchyard


I am having some terrible problems liking and commenting on other peoples blogs. I think it is an issue with WordPress as it didn’t used to be like this. Some blogs I cannot even click the like button on and some blogs I can’t click the like button but not comment. Some blocks I can do neither. It is most frustrating because many times I wish to make a comment and am unable to. It is so frustrating.


One day the path was too hard to walk
Exhausted she perched on a cold hard grave
Thinking back to times she had known
When walking was done without thinking
She thought of the souls that were buried here
Knowing that their lives too were hard

The birds in the trees sang sad songs that night

She looked at the fields beyond the path
The clumps of trees that barred her way
She wanted her freedom back again
Release from the box she was living in
Her muscles ached with the effort she’d made
Her breathing laboured irregular
She felt she would die in that windswept place
Her past was behind her no future before

The birds in the trees sang sad songs that night

She thought of the times she had leapt and danced
In the gentle moonlight under the stars
Her soul refreshed by the singing breeze
Such nights of delight she had known way back then
She felt her soul stir could those good times return

The birds in the trees sang their sad song that night


Many of my experiences in Derbyshire centred around my various writing groups. I met a man in my writing group whom I will call Bill. It was actually really a writing class rather than a group. We met in the evenings at the local University, and one night Bill rep said to me, looking longingly at me,

“Ooh, those eyes!”

I wondered what on earth he meant. I mean, I know my mother didn’t like my eyes because they were like my father’s, but I didn’t somehow think that Bill was saying something bad about them. No! Just the opposite,

I was not sure how to react, but he was much much older than me, and he asked me if I would like him to show me one of the walks round the reservoir near to where we lived. I didn’t see anything wrong in doing that and so I accepted the offer being new to the area.

Bill and I met on the appointed day and we set off round the reservoir. We had not been going too long when Bill spied some blackberries on a blackberry bush at the side of the path. I was caught off guard when he went and picked a blackberry off the bush and tried to get me to open my mouth for him to put it in. I refused! However, he was very insistent, and in the ebd I let him pop tha blackberry into my mouth just to stop him carrying on. Having got what he wanted, he almost collapsed on the ground laughing like a school kid!

Then there was Graham who thought he could levitate! And he had the photograph to prove it! He brought in one night a photo of him at church, with his feet slightly off the ground, looking like he was suspended in the air. I have absolutely no idea how this illusion was created but he swore blind that he had levitated!


My words will carry me through……
They are all that I have……
I wish for the wind
Laughing and roaring through the trees
Like my agony
Wreaking havoc
Just like you did in my life
Carry me oh wind
On your devastating journey
Carry me
For I only have words


By the old wooden bridge she sat
Looking over into the beyond
A new world called she longed to answer
But did not know how to get across
Her limbs were useless she could not walk
She yearned to get over the old wooden bridge

Come my friend I will help you across

She knew such pain as she looked at the bridge
How could she ever get across
She felt so stifled an empty shell
Over the bridge she could find new life
But nothing could help her to get across
A scream was forming in her throat
Desperate was she to find new life
She felt like a puppet dangling on a string

Come my friend I will help you across

Just then she felt the breeze on her face
As it sang a beautiful song in the trees
Gentle and calm caressing her body
“Put your foot forwards I’ll help you to walk
Trust me and put your sweet hand in mine
I’ll take you with me to that brand new land”

Come my friend I will help you across

ECERPT FROM MY BOOK – Fun Times in Derbyshire

It was after my father died that I can honestly say I was at my happiest. It was an incredibly amazing time of my life, and I look back on it now wth both happiness and grief, for we only got eight years there before we had to move back to my home county due to my husband’s declining health. He had had polio as a four year old child, and started suffering from post polio syndrome. He had to give up work and it was no longer possible for us to afford to live there. Since going camping and hill walking in the Lake District we had always wanted to live amongst the hills and indeed intended to do so once my husband retired. For us, it would be a dream come true. However, when my father died, we realised how short life was, and decided to take a risk and move, not to the Lake District, but to Derbyshire. Maybe the hills were not quite as spectacular as those in the Lake District, but they were good enough for us. And so, the August of 2001 saw us moving to a rented cottage in a village not far from Bakewell. We had often visited Bakewell on days out, and could hardly believe that we were now living only a few short miles from there. Within twenty minutes in the car we could be in the centre of Bakewell. Going in the opposite direction we could also soon be amongst the highest hills. Perfect!

Though I knew no one there, and my husband being at work from early in the morning until late at night, I was happy. Grief stricken over my father’s death, but still happy. There were wonderful places to explore and wonderful, colourful people to get to know. It felt like a most magical place and I felt bewitched by it. I had left behind many bad memories and experiences, and was truly free for the first time in my life.

I had been working as a Distance Learning Tutor and Mentor for a College in Derbyshire for some years, but now that I was actually living there, I could be at the College as much as I wanted to be, and became part of the Steering Committee for the National Open Learning Centre. I also was working on designing courses, which were at degree level, so much of my time was taken up with that. Additionally, I was doing a Ph.D. at the University of Manchester, and so was also travelling regularly to Manchester. Sadly, for various reasons I had to give that up not long before completion, but I had had so much happiness during the time I had been doing it. I loved the cut and thrust of the academic world. I was in my element there.

Writing too had always been a huge part of my life, and I joined many different writing groups where I met some amazing if very colourful people, of whom I will write later on.

For the first time in my life I had many friends. I was deliriously happy and found myself in some very strange places, like being holed up in a tiny stable with a yellow eyed goat who, fortunately, was very friendly. I must admit that I had never seen a goat close up before, and had no idea that they had yellow eyes, so this was a bit of an eerie surprise to me. Brenda was the owner of the goat and she had an isolated farm high up in the hills. We had met her at the Leek Show, perusing one of the stalls. She had her rough collie dog, Champ, with her, and we had our two rough collies, Jade and Asha with us. We had both been watching the various Rough Collie classes, and we became immediate friends. Brenda invited us to visit her on her farm, which she ran single handedly. On this farm she bred Palimino horses, housed a few rough collies, some other horses, some chickens, and the yellow eyed goat. I took to taking her out with me sometimes on an afternoon. I say afternoon, but we would go for lunch at a farm café, spend some time chatting with the owners of the farm, and then go back to Brenda’s place. On this remarkable occasion, as we were approaching Brenda’s farm, she saw that one of her horses was running free when it shouldn’t have been. At least, I think that was what had happened, though I was never quite sure. All I know is that Brenda let out a great cry, and, when we got out of the car she pushed me roughly and urgently into the tiny stable with the yellow eyed goat. I had no idea at all what was happening, and was not sure whether the goat did either, but Brenda was running hell for leather around the field after the rebel horse that just would NOT be caught. Me and the goat, standing there close to each other, side by side, stared out over the little low stable door, together, wondering what was going on. Brenda was giving out ever increasing angry cries at the horse, and me and the goat looked at each other, both glad that we were not out there. Eventually, Brenda did manage to get the horse into its stable, and I was let OUT of the stable. I said “Goodbye” to the goat, adding that it was nice to have met him, and saying that I hoped to see him again soon. The goat just looked up at me with its yellow eyes!


I feel far removed from this life, and even this place. I am in a different world, on a different journey – and that’s where the screaming begins.

I am not sure when I left the life that I knew. I just know that one day everything was silent. I could no longer see people or faces. I was spinning around trying to make myself heard. But no one heard, and maybe there was no one there. I think I must have floated up into space, through a veil. Though I was not aware of its happening. I do remember pain – a lot of it. I remember fear, and not being able to breathe. I think I remember the life actually going out of me. But part of me wanted to live. To be heard. Yet no one did, and there was no one there. And that’s probably the moment when the screaming began. In my head, if it still exists, I am a bit confused. Where am I?


Some of you have read parts of my book that tell of my terrible childhood with my mother, but here is another side to it. I was fortunate enough to be able to go from time to time to my grandparents farm which was a place of the most wonderful safety and security. It was like a magical place to me. I would like to write more about this wonderful place but here is a little bit just for starters. I am not sure if I have posted the space before so please forgive me if I have.

The days are gone now, and so is the farmhouse. The people who gave life in that place are also gone. I alone am left. Only I carry the story of that place. Only I carry it’s goodness.

The day they tried to knock it down, it still stood there defiant.

“It’s unsafe,” they said. “It needs knocking down.”

Even my grandfather said that – Pop, we called him. He had been around the world, ending up on a cattle ranch in Argentina. On returning to England he had purchased the farm. He knew all that there was to know about cattle – beast, as he often called them. But they were more than best to him. He could be seen most evenings leaning on the gate to the field, stroking the heads of the beast as they came to him. Smoking his pipe and surveying the fields he was at peace.

A very taciturn man, he would sit by the fire in the range, that was lit every day in both summer and winter, with his beloved pipe. Occasionally he would press down the tobacco, and add more, tapping it as he did so. My grandmother and I would be sat in chairs at the side of him, my grandmother occasionally patting his leg in a gesture of affection. Every night, dead on nine o’ clock, the News and then the all- important weather forecast would be on the wireless, as it was called in those days. Occasionally my grandmother would poke the fire, and sparks would fly up the chimney. A kettle would be on the boil, ready for supper, which always consisted of cheese sandwiches that my grandmother made on the huge wooden table, always resplendent in a starched wire cloth. Then would come the filling of the hot water bottles ready for bed.

This was how it was, every single night. Never a variation. Candles would be lit, and the oil lamp put out.

As a child, this was a wondrous place to me. It felt so firm, so solid and secure. And so, on the day that the farmhouse was pulled down, it seemed in keeping that it refused to go. It took numerous attempts with the hugecwrecking ball, to get it to fall down. In fact the men thought they were not going to get it down.

This place had become, for me my only home. This was my only solid base, to which I returned as often as I could. I was at my happiest when I was there.


She looked at the stars with unseeing eyes
In the inky blackness of night
In her heart she knew that no one was there
Though the stars were twinkling above
Fear rose in her throat as she screamed out in pain
Take me oh darkness and let me be gone

No one answered her screams that dark night

Her body was broken and so was her mind
She’d struggled so long with the cards she’d been dealt
Now on her own she bore her deep pain
Her scream lying dead on the cold hard floor
In anguish she reached for the knife in the drawer
Trembling she felt its cold hard edge
How could she do this most terrible thing
Her eyes filled with tears she beat the floor

No one answered her screams that dark night

In the daylight she knew that the stars had all gone
She prayed for the void inside to be filled
But still her aloneness scrambled her brain
How could she fight this terrible fate
For want of a human soul she died
Now she’s buried alone in the graveyard

No one answered her screams that dark night


She sat on the hill of memories
Connecting with her past
Stripped of so much that made her human
Remembering happier times
Yearning to return to that place for ever
Knowing she never could

Bring me here at the end saying “Home at Last”

With an ache she remembered the sun
Beating down on the harvest
The celebration on gathering in
The wonderful fruits of their labour
The stars as she walked down the lane
And the love that walked with her there
No she could never go back to that
Deep grief welled up in her heart

Bring me here at the end saying “Home at Last”

With a sigh she turned to the life she had now
Taking with her the memories
That would feed her soul in the coming days
As she grappled with life once again
Knowing those times had made her strong
Strength made perfect in weakness

Bring me here at the end saying “Home at Last”


Willow weeps sad tears
When autumn’s glory passes
Winter undresses

Tears turn to joy Spring
Begins to clothe the branches
Life returns again

Full summer’s heat leaves
Thick with the fullness of life
Joy in abundance

Colours glowing leaves
Filling us with the delights
That autumn brings us

Soon leaves die and fall
Becoming dust on the ground
Saying we are dust


In all that I have written about my life, I want it to be clear that the days I am writing about were a long long time ago. Yep, I am a bit long in the tooth now!

We can get through all kinds of things, hard though they might seem. I guess we all have different ways of doing it. We may even try different ways. There are no hard and fast rules. What works for one might not work for another.

None of us need be defined by what happened to us in the past, but it can be a very hard road. For me, becoming part of something totally different saved me. Studying, researching, learning. Eventually despite everything I became the person I really was inside. I ended up lecturing, writing academically about these issues, and generally feeling fulfilled. The questions never end. There are always questions. And questions are necessary. They are part of growth. Questioning shows we are alive. Nothing can truly kill the spirit within us.

As most of you know, I am blind now. This is a very hard road to travel. We approach the end of our lives hoping that in some way we have done something good. I hope I have anyway. I hope my story helped someone in some way.


The field offered its soul tonight
Raw, unadulterated,
White with the innocence of promise
Now silent after busyness
A moment of contemplation
A waiting time
When nature can be still, rest,
And in the silent peace
A family
Of Little Egrets wandered
But this was just a moment
Soon the ploughing will begin
New seeds sown
The silence broken
The cycle will begin again

ANOTHER EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK – My Mother and the Police

(Apologies for the mistakes. I have tried to alter them but the box keeps slipping away from me)

Many people have asked why I did not cut my mother completely out of my life. The answer to that is, life is never that simple. In fact, having survived some of the worst abuse a teenage girl could undergo, through a faith that I had found at the age of 13, (that I have since questioned a lot and still question today) I did attempt to cut myself off from her when I was 18 years old and went to College in a different town. I was training to be a teacher, having got through my ‘A’ levels but flunking the lot of them – on purpose! No longer could I stand the strain of exams, having spent most of my time at Grammar School doing my exams in the Sick Room. I had had it, and wanted it no more. Though everyone expected me to gain three ‘A’ levels I excelled spectacularly in failing them all. However, I was still able to go to Teacher Training College. I had always wanted to teach, since being about eight years old. And so, I left home. During that time in College some issues raised their heads concerning my mother and I was given professional advice to cut off entirely from her. I did so. It happened to be Christmas time, and one of my friends kindly offered to let me go home with her for Christmas. She lived a long way away on the south coast of England.

I don’t think I have ever felt so much guilt in my life as I did then. Yes, I had been advised to cut off from my mother completely, but that meant cutting off from the rest of my family, like my beloved grandmother, who had given me love and friendship when my mother had given me none. She had no idea at all of what had been happening to me at home at the hands of my mother, and I could not tell her. So, cutting off from my mother was very difficult. Also, one of the main tactics used by abusive mothers is fear in order to induce brainwashing. I can honestly say that my mother did brainwash me, and instilled such guilt in me that it was hard to separate everything out in my brain. However, that Christmas, I did cut myself off, in my head, and went through so much guilt that my life felt like hell. Don’t get me wrong, a huge part of me was just so glad to be able to get away from the abuse that had nearly taken my life from me. Had the same things happened to me today as happened to me then, and had it become known, I would have been taken away from my parents.

However, I am 73 years old now, as I write, and child abuse was not so well known about in those days. Certainly not the kind that I endured. Indeed, when I was 14 I attempted telling the Deaconess at my church about it, in desperation, but was told,

“You must not say things like that about your mother. You are not a Christian for saying them.” My heart was broken, and after having told the Deaconess this and being told that, I set off towards the river to drown myself.

I was 14 years old, and this was the first time of many, in my life, when I  felt seriously suicidal. However, as I walked towards the river, something inside me told me that what the Deaconess had said was not true. Something inside me turned me around, towards home, such as it was, and I learned to keep quiet about what was happening to me. The abuse that my mother meted out to me struck at my very essence as a woman. It struck at the heart of who and what I was. Thus, on the day that I started to menstruate, she got hold of me roughly and viciously and pushed my head into the water in the twin tub washing machine, spitting out the words,

“You DIRTY little bugger. I’ll get you ClEAN”.

It felt all the more painful to me for the fact that I had done nothing except grow up, my body simply doing what was natural. I went into shock, and withdrew into myself for s long time. It silenced me. The hurt and pain was almost unbearable but there was nothing I could do about it. Many more things happened after that. It was obvious that my mother despised me deeply, but I had no idea why.

I was therefore glad to get away to College in the end. I was free of her now. It was here where I met my husband. He was at the University, and we gurls from the College mixed with the boys from the Univesrsity. I got given the man who was in time to be my husband, as a Christmas present! My best friend, Barbara, was going out with him, but they were both going a bit cool on each other, whilst at the same time he and I kept looking at each other, and something was growing. Barbara was not at all bothered by this, as ber interest in him had waned, and one night we all three went out to the cunema to see the film “A Man for All Seasons,” and my soon to be husband was skipping along with two gurls on his arm – one either side of him. It was just all very friendly, and at Christmas Barbara announced that she was giving him to me as a Christmas present. Everything was lighthearted and fun, but there was also a serious side to it and so thus began my relationship with the man who was to be my husband.

In those days we had a lot of fun, though there was a side to College that I hated. We went on long night hikes together, and joined in all kinds of activities. But my mind was taken up with my family a lot. Could I REALLY leave them all behind? I wanted to have a relationship with my grandmother still, and with my two Uncles. I also had friends back home whom I missed greatly.

Meanwhile, our romance was blossoming, but my College work was suffering due to problems that my mother’s continued abuse of me throughout my life had caused. As far as teaching went, I was told that I would make a brilliant teacher. I had done two Teaching Practices so far.

Because of the problems I was undergoing, it was decided that I should go home for a break for a while – this was the worst decision that could have been made, and it was completely contrary to the one that the psychiatrist had advocated. I was finished with him by now, only having seen him a couple of times. And so, I returned home to think about my future, whereupon my mother’s abuse started up big time again. It was hell on earth, and one day, whilst my mother was out at work as a dinner lady at a school, I RAN like the wind, in exactly what I stood up in, not even stopping to pick up a coat, and headed for the train station. I was in terror of being found out and of my mother coming up behind me and forcing me back home again. However, I reached the train station safely, and fortunately there was a train due that would take me to the next town where I could then change and take another train to the city.

I knew exactly where I was going. Two friends of mine from College were sharing a flat together, and they always said I could go there. Once at the door, they welcomed me, saying,

“What took you so long?”

I should have expected what happened next, but I did not. Later that day there was a knock at the door and my two friends opened the door, having realised what would happen. They knew better than I did! It was my mother at the door. She had rooted through my letters, and found the likely address of where I had gone. My father had driven her there, and now, here she was at the door, trying to force me back home. My rwo friends had it in hand, however, and one of them gave a nod to the other, who then disappeared down the stone steps to the flat. Within a very short space of time, the police arrived, and they asked me how old I was, and if I was there of my own volition. Having satisfied themselves that everything was O.K. They told my mother that I was of age and that she had to leave. Thus, she was forcibly ejected from the premises.

#FOWC. Flutter

Jodie heard them FLUTTER around in the gutter. Sparrows! Baby ones. She used to be able to see them, and had spent many hours in the past watching them lined up on the back fence learning to fly. But now she could only imagine them. Like everything else. She relied on her memory for most things now. But the one thing she missed most was faces. She could no longer see her husband’s face – and he must have aged during the last seven years since she started going blind. Indeed he had – he told her he felt like an old man now. She wished with all her heart that she could see him.

It was the same with her dog. She could no longer see Jade’s face. Sometimes her heart felt as if it was breaking. All these faces that she could no longer see. As she thought about it she imagined her wings beginning to flutter too, and then spread out and take her to new places in the beyond


There were some very humorous and interesting experiences in the T.B. hospital! I had never really been in hospital before, except for very minor things. So this was a whole new learning experience. The first thing that I learnt was that they stick needles in you in hospital at every touch and turn, and indeed that they take great delight in it. On my way to hospital, speeding along with the blue lights flashing, all that I could think of was needles! I hated needles, and voided them where at all possible, but I had a real sense of foreboding this time.

“They won’t stick needles in me will they?” I asked the ambulance man, praying for the answer that I wanted to hear. And I got it.

“Oh no love, don’t worry about that,” he replied.

He was a liar! The first thing they did when I got to the hospital and into a bed in a private room was stick a needle in me. They had to take some blood, they said. Well, there’s plenty in there, I thought, as I looked at the container by the side of my bed that I had been given to spit my blood into! But no, that would not suffice. They HAD to stick their needle into me.

I often wonder, when I look back, why I was not frighrened, but I wasn’t, despite seeming to cough up enough blood to float a boat! I was made comfortable – well, kind of- for the night. I had no idea at all what was going to happen to me the next morning. I soon found out.

“You’ve got T.B.” They said to me, “You’ll be in here for three months and it’s an infectious disease notifiable by law, so you won’t be allowed to leave.”
Heck, I thought. That’s put paid to decorating the bedroom!

And so began my three month stay in isolation, being barrier nursed, and never ever seeing any other patients. It certainly was the strangest experience of my life so far! I was not allowed out of bed at all, and each day I had an injection of streptomycin. It could be a rather painful injection, into the muscle in my buttocks, and there ensued a competition between the nurses to see who could give me the most pain free injection. It was gauged by how high unto the air I leapt! Some of the nurses really prided themselves on being able to give virtually pain free injections. It seemed that the idea was to throw the needle at you, like at a darts board. One nurse came along claiming great prowess at giving pain free injections and they say that pride comes before a fall and it certainly did with her, for Inyelped when she gave me the injection and almost hit the ceiling!

Apart from the injections there was the diarrhoea! And the peaches ! With all the drugs I was being given I did get rather a lot of diarrhoea, and it was rather t ire some for both me and the nurses as I was not allowed out of bed and so had to be brought a bedpan. This, to me, was just so awful and undignified but there was nothing I could do about it. I had to get used to it. I was prescribed a bland diet, with which I got thoroughly bored. My husband’s parents came to see me one weekend, and on the Friday night I had a jolly good moan about the diet and said how much. I longed for some fruit, which of course I was not allowed. They returned the following day with a big bag of juicy peaches. Yum! I hid under the bed covers so that the nurses did not see me, and wolfed down the peaches. The next day – no diarrgoea! And no, I was not found out!

I was allowed newspapers but, like everything else, they had to be burned immediately I had read them!

And so life went on in the T.B. hospital. I got to know the nurses rather intimately – too intimately at times! But I survived and am here to tell the tale!


As many of you know, I am writing about Mother’s and about my life and my own mother.

I was not sure whether to post any of this originally, but something urged me to.

I have been reading a book just lately called “Bad Mothers,” and in it, there are none like mine. I have not written even half of the stuff about my mother yet, or the story of how I dealt with it and went on to make a reasonably good life. I was in the academic world for a long time, which gave me great satisfaction, but I had to overcome a great deal to get there. It was well worth it though.

In the book that I have been reading, there is a discussion about how mothers are treated as sacred, and how you should not speak ill of your mother, according to much of society. But some mothers really ARE bad, and some of us have had to try and find a way through. We will not all have chosen the same way as we are all different, and some just don’t make it at all.

My mother was in fact almost unbelievable in what she did and how she was. There is no explanation for the depths of it. We just have to deal with it.

So, not all mothers ARE good! Though my book is also about other things as well!

MORE OF MY BOOK – Warning as this may trigger some people

It was the middle of the night, and from my bed in the Isolation Hospital I heard a baby crying. My heart went out to it, and I longed to go and pick it up and comfort it. It had to be a sick baby because it was a hospital for infectious diseases. I was suffering from tuberculosis. My right lung had a huge hole in it, but fortunately it had not collapsed. The baby’s cries went deep into my heart, as I wanted so badly to be a mother. There had been problems during our marriage due to my mother’s obsession with me never having children. I never understood it, but it was something that I had been brought up with from being a small child. If ever I went, as was natural for a little girl, to look at a baby in a pram, she would pull me roughly away saying, with disgust and repulsion in her voice, “Babies are dirty.” I could never understand why this was, but I knew better than to go and look at babies in prams after a time, for it would be to incur her wrath. Just as it incurred her wrath when I did become pregnant about two years into my marriage. Despite all that my mother had said and done to brainwash me into not having children, I was deliriously happy, and was knitting clothes for the baby. One morning my husband came home from working a night shift as a chemist, and we snuggled down in bed together and chose names for the baby. A boy’s name and a girl’s name, since in those days couples did not know the sex of the baby until it was born. My mother and father had arranged to pick me up in their car that morning and take me to the market with them. I had not told my mother anything about a baby, as I knew what her reaction would be. It was bound to be violent. On this morning, however, she guessed something. How, I do not know, but she swung round in the car after I had got in, screaming,

“You are pregnant aren’t you,” and as I said, “Yes,” she hit me ferociously, on the face and head, spitting out the words, “You DIRTY little bugger.” I was horrified, and the pain inside me knew no bounds. But my father chimed in, “Why? She’s married.” But the shock for me was almost too much. For her to have actually hit me. I did not know it, but worse was to come. Suffice it to say that she was brutal, and in the end there was no baby. I never forgot this, and became terrified of ever becoming pregnant again, yet I longed to be. I ached inside. I ached for what I had lost, but also for what could be but couldn’t. There followed a heart rending time that to this day I can hardly bear to think about, for the deep pain that it causes. I wanted to be pregnant And so when I heard that baby crying in the hospital I vowed that once I was better the first thing I would do was give my husband a baby. It was what he had always wanted, and I imagined many times just having given birth and placing the baby in my husband’s arms as a wonderful gift to him. It would be a little while before I could do it however, for I had to be in hospital for three months on complete bed rest, and isolated from everyone. I was barrier nursed and I often used to look at the grille in the wall, through which I felt I could crawl, out into the fresh air. I felt caged up and suffocated. But I longed for the time when I could leave the hospital and give my husband the baby. Each night I heard that baby crying and each night it tore at my heart.

Though there were other problems in our marriage due to my husband’s insecurities, which I had been warned about by his family before I married him, babies was one of the main areas of struggle. My mother was determined that I was not going to have any babies. There were many times in my marriage when I had my mother hitting me for being pregnant and my husband hitting me for not being pregnant. My head was in a spin and my emotions all over the place. How could I ever maintain a balance in my life like this? How could I ever feel peace and calm?

On the day that I was rushed into hospital with tuberculosis my husband had knocked me down onto the bottom step of the stairs and was thumping me hard on the back. I had been laid on the settee not feeling well, and I needed to go to the bathroom. As he was thumping me over and over again, blood started pouring out of my mouth. I could feel it bubbling and gurgling in my lungs, and it frothed out of my mouth. It kept on gurgling and frothing and would not stop.

In a panic, my husband rang the doctor. He came immediately, and ordered me to bed, saying that he would come back the next morning. I went to bed, but the blood would not stop coming out of my lungs. My husband rang the doctor back, and he came to the house again. The bed sheets were soaked in blood. The doctor immediately rang for an emergency ambulance, and I was rushed into hospital. The ambulance men had wrapped me in a lovely pale blue blanket, and all that I was bothered about was messing up their blanket. I apologised profusely, and they told me jokingly they would send the cleaning bill to me. Then they comforted me and told me not to worry.

I thought that my husband had done me some serious internal damage through thumping my back so violently, but it turned out that I actually had advanced tuberculosis and I was to have daily injections of streptomycin, along with a cocktail of other drugs.


One day the darkness overcame her
The earth covered her
The dampness ate into her,
Stifled, she tried to scream
But there was no breath in her body
Lifeless she lay there
This could not be it
Her soul still lived
This could not be her final breath
Slowly she began to move her fingers
Stiffened by the dank earth
They struggled to move
The resistance of the earth
Held them
She remembered she was dust
But in the dust
The Valley of dry bones
Life lived again
Her fingers curled around a tiny stone
She felt its sharp edges
And knew she was not dead
And that life could live again
And suddenly her scream was born
And in the screaming
She was brought to life again
The darkness pierced


I started life in a rather unattractive village, as villages go. We lived in a romantically named cottage called Pear Tree Cottage, which in fact was far from being romantic Unusually I have memories going back to when I was in my pram, and my earliest memory is of a fight going on between my parents, the subject of the fight being a wonky wheel on my pram. My father and mother were stood either side of the fireplace in the tiny room of the cottage, their fists raised at each other, occasionally pointing a finger at the offending wheel. Their voices were raised and I wondered what was happening. This event was the first of many similar events, and it typified what my future life was to be. I was to live a life of constant turmoil, fights, turbulence, and fear. I was never to know home, or what it was to be settled and at peace. I knew nothing of safety and security and all those things that a child needs. In a strange way, however, all of this was normal to me. I knew nothing else.

On this occasion, after much shouting and gesturing on the part of my parents, I was bundled up and my mother carried me out of the cottage, and up the main street of the village. Of course, as a small child I had no idea that this was what it was. I was simply aware of being carried. After being carried for a while, suddenly there was a person coming towards us. My mother greeted this person, and after speaking to her for a few moments she pushed me into her arms. I had no idea at all who she was, or where I was going to be taken, but my mother left me, and I experienced real fear, probably for the first time. My mother was going away and leaving me in the arms of a stranger. The stranger carried me for a while, with me kicking and screaming, and eventually we arrived somewhere. It was the farmhouse that was to become my place of refuge and security throughout my life, though at that time I did not know it. As I was carried into the farmhouse I was taken by someone who immediately made me feel better. Though I did not know it at the time, this was my grandmother, and the person who carried me to the farmhouse was my aunt, who was only 12 years old at the time.

My only other memory of that cottage is of crawling out of the gate and up to the main road where I perched myself on the kerbside, looking across the road at another child. The child encouraged me to start picking up pebbles from the edge of the road and throw them over the road and thus began a rather dangerous game of throwing 9pebbles at each other and catching them. The idea was to do it in between the times when cars raced past, and at that point I had no idea at all of the danger I was in as I began to edge my way forwards, crawling across the road in an attempt to get the pebble over to the other child. Suddenly, I was scooped up by someone and taken back to my mother at the cottage, where I was chastised for going through the open gate.

Though I did not know it, much was going on for my parents at this time. I was to discover, much later in life, that my mother had not wanted me and had attempted to abort me. Upon failing, she was going to use a method that another pregnant woman used to get rid of her baby, but the woman almost lost her life and so my mother did not attempt another abortion. Thus, I was born on April 26th. 1948. My mother told me later in time that she went into labour with me in the middle of Woolworths in the nearby town one afternoon, and that I could not wait to get into the world, as I was born by 4.30 p.m. just two hours later. The baby she never wanted interrupted her in her favourite pastime – going round the shops! I have a feeling that she never forgave me. It was a Monday, and in those days all the shops shut on a Sunday, and my mother would have been deprived of her beloved shops for a whole day, and she would have been desperate to get back to them. No matter that she was heavily pregnant and I was due any time. That was just an inconvenience to her. A quite unimportant matter! What mattered to her most of all was the shops and this remained the case until she died in 2019 at the age of 93. Right up until the end almost, she could be seen, a wizened old lady, wending her way slowly down the High Street, leaning on her shopping trolley. Her shopping trolley was her lifeline as she could not bear to be indoors, and she loved it so much that we always said that we would bury her shopping trolley with her. Only in the event she refused to allow a funeral, and now she resides tied up tightly in seven carrier bags in the drawer in my sister’s bedroom. Following her death one horrible dark, rainy November evening, she went on a quick trip from her front room where she died, to the undertakers, and from thence to the crematorium where, without ceremony, she was cremated. Following that she was put into a plastic bottle and taken back home again, where she resided on the mantlepiece for a while, until my sister decided she needed to be kept under control tied up in seven plastic bags and held in a drawer. We still have not had chance to say Goodbye to her properly but I would guess that she might have approved of the trip!


I do not remember my mother ever looking into my eyes, though my eyes were always treated by her with disgust.

“You have your father’s eyes,” she used to say to me. I never had any idea what was wrong with my father’s eyes or what was so hateful about them. For when she said these words she said them with hatred.

I was brought up with hatred. Hatred seemed to be the most overwhelming emotion in my family. It bred. My father was hated, though I never knew why, and I was hated too, ostensibly because I looked like him. I was dark. Dark skinned and dark haired. Fair was always best, according to my mother. Fair was to be loved and cherished, and thus, when my brother was born with fair hair and blue eyes he immediately became the golden boy.

It is impossible to describe the atmosphere of hatred that I grew up in. What does that do to a child? What is the most natural reaction to being hated? It is yo recoil. To withdraw into oneself. To hide. To want to hide. Even to disappear. And that is what I tried to do – to disappear. I must not be seen, and I must have no needs. Certainly not a need for love. And so I grew up neither seeking nor finding love. I was treated as if I was repulsive, and as if I should not be there because I was so repulsive. I therefore also grew up with a sense of guilt. Guilt at just being alive. I always knew that I could never please, that I could never promote a desire for me within my mother. Nothing I ever did could change her. Nothing could make her like me, much less love me. I therefore felt that I should not be in this world, and the best I could do was remain quiet and unseen.

Did I hate myself as a result of all this? I have no idea. I know that I felt I could never do right or be right. I once had a friend who used to dream that she was a question Mark. Well I dreamt that I was an apology. An apology for being born. An apology for being around. An apology for existing. And yes, I have always felt that my death would put the whole order of things right, so terrible was the fact that I was on this earth.

As a child and indeed as a teenager too, I must have no needs. To exist is to have needs. A need for food. A need for warmth. A need to be allowed to sleep, in peace. But if ever I showed tiredness or hunger, then I should be erased. Taken off the face of the earth. To need something was to be naughty – it was disgusting. I was a nuisance, a burden. To need something was to require something of my mother, as a small child. And she did not want to give. In fact, giving was most definitely NOT part of my mother’s nature. She withheld herself and everything else from me. In withholding THINGS, like food, from me, she was achieving her deepest desire – to withhold herSELF from me. She had nor wanted to GIVE birth in the first place. That was asking too much of her in the realms of giving. She could not give because she thought only of herself and HER needs. Her needs were the ones that must be met. Thus she ate, she slept, she found things to enjoy doing. I, however, must enjoy nothing, and if ever I did enjoy anything, that enjoyment was always quashed immediately. I do not think she could bear to see me happy. It angered her. I learned well not to be happy. I learned to take nothing for myself. I learned not to need – that my needs were unimportant.


When the door opens we see what is behind it. We know what is in front of it before we see behind it. But which is the in front and which is the behind? On one side the front is the behind and the behind is the in front. On the other side the behind is the in front and the in front is the behind. So how do we know which is which? I suppose when we get a kick up the behind. From either the front or the behind, depending.


If we open a door and go inside, some of the outside goes inside as well. So then we have the outside inside. How do we get the outsde back outside again without some of the inside going outside? We can’t. Some of the inside will go outside. So then we will not know which was the inside and which was the outside. And everything will be inside out!