WOTD. Tribute


How do I write a TRIBUTE to you
Who splashed my soul with colour
Filled my heart with gentleness like the moonlight
In your arms you held this shaking container
Of moans and screams
Caressing me until the pain could be released
I had to learn not to fear
And I learned from you
You held in your arms a lifetime of woe
Until in time we sang
Together the song of life
In the softenss of the moonlight I hear your voice
Feel your touch
As the wind sighs your name
And today
I remember you



My hair stood on end, a shiver raced down my spine, and a lump came to my throat when I…

I saw him coming over the bridge. There he was with his long black coat on and his black and brown cowboy hat. I thought he was dead! I was sure he was dead. I had gone to his funeral – not to mourn his passing as in having loved him or cared about him. No, it was to assure myself that he really was dead. Only if he was really dead could I ever ne safe again.

Despite everything he had pursued me. I had been lucky to get away and he had been lucky to get away with what he had done. All that had happened to him was a mild admonishment. But he had captured and imprisoned me. Only problem was, he made it look like I had wanted to be there. Clever, he was. Very clever. I had made that statement at the interview when they were trying to ascertain what had happened.

“Yes, and you are clever too Miss Harding,” they had said to me.

They tried desperatly to put the blame onto me, but it didn’t work. I had far too much evidence. Like the letter he gave to me telling me of his plans. I was to “disappear” and become someone else, with a new name and a new identity. There it was, in black and white, what he had intended to do.

I won in the end, but not much happened to him. Then he died. Or I thought he had. But here he was, walking across the bridge, coming towards me!


Going back to the flat we had found for ourselves to live in, from London, felt rather odd. Kind of a bit of a let down. After all that high emotion, we now found ourselves in a huge house given over to student accommodation. It wasn’t that it was a bad flat – no, it was actually quite nice. The rooms were nice and big, and we could see out over the city. It turned out later though, that we were in the exact area in which the Yorkshire Ripper was operating. I shudder when I think of that!

By now, I was teaching – I was teaching a class of Special needs children, which was certainly challenging. I worked with another teacher – a man – and I was hoping to do some more training in this area. One day, he asked me to go with him after school to look at some special desks for the children. Why he needed me I had no idea, but we got into his car and the next thing I knew was that he was telling me a tale of woe about his marriage and a wife who was uninterested and unresponsive to him. It was obvious what he was after, but I gave him no truck!

Life continued, and eventually we moved to a better area and a better flat. It was here where I made friends with the vicar and his wife who lived just over the road from us. The wife suffered from depression, and I invited them to come and have a meal with us. It was my first try at entertaining. Sadly, it was a complete disaster! I made pork balls in gravy, but for some reason the pork balls did not cook properly, so no one ate them. Then, for afters I made something which normally came out real well – a sort of toffee biscuity thing with nuts in, and cream. The wife took one bite and immediately cried out,

“Oh my teeth. It’s going to break my teeth.”

The toffee had set rather harder than normal, and so the whole meal was a disaster. She began to wail and could not get out of our flat fast enough, much to the embarrassment of her husband. It was, however, the end of a nice friendship!

It felt strange being married, though quite a few of my College friends did it. Some soon had a baby too, despite trying to avoid that particular occurrence. We soon moved again, to a completely different town, as my husband got a job with an oil refinery. We lived in a ground floor flat not far from the beach, which was wonderful. It was a very happy time, and we got a dog, and I spent a lot of time on a deserted part of the beach with the dog. We walked a lot at weekends, and all in all it was a good time. In the flat above us lived a couple and the man was a North Sea fisherman. He would be away for long stretches of time, but then he would come back carrying arms full of absolutely fresh fish that they had just caught. We were the recipients of some of it and I have never tasted fish so good in my life! I loved living there, but soon we had to move again, since my husband only had a temporary contract with the oil refinery, and so we moved back to my hometown where there was a decent job going for my husband. He worked shifts, including night shift, at a place called Nypro that eventually blew up. He was an Industrial Chemist there, and he was due to be on shift at the time of the explosion which killed many of his mates. He had changed shifts with someone else though, and he was not at work at the time. By this time we had bought our own house, but we were at the house of friends at the time of the blast. We were four miles away from the chemical works, but we distinctly felt my friends’ house move. Many houses even miles away were damaged in the explosion, and shop windows in the town were blown out. It was a terrible time for my husband, and for many others as mates were lost, but also he had to go into work and help in the clearing up process. One day, he was doing something and was on a huge mound of something, when he detected an awful smell. It turned out to be a body, and he came home from work traumatised. Eventually they rebuilt the plant, but after a while it went bust and we moved to London for work. That was an experience and a half!


We met at College. Well, I was. He was at University in the same city. I was training to teach, and he was training to be a chemical engineer. It was a strange world that I was inhabiting then. So different to the world that I had left. Life in Halls was strange, but nice in an odd kind of a way. One thing was, you were never alone in Halls. There was always someone’s door to go knocking on, and someone always knocking on your door. It kind of made me feel safe and secure. I was surrounded by friends, and there was always something to do. It was the end of the sixties era, and College students certainly lived it up, and made the most of it. I would say it was a great time in many ways but a confusing one in others. One of my more vivid memories is of a pile of us girls all being in one room drinking, and for some reason, just for the hell of it, I mixed pale ale, sherry and cider in one big drink. There we all were, piled one on top of the other on the bed, and I was the one on top of the pile, so I was the one to fall off onto the floor. I then got up and opened the window and yelled at the top of my voice to the whole world. They would not let me forget it the next morning! It was a good time though.

He belonged to my best friend actually. Well, kind of! Barbara. They were always together. They boasted about having been to a Joan Baez concert. Both of them smoked, and both were trying, without much success, to stop smoking. I am not sure they really wanted to anyway! There was a fair bit of ribbing going on!

There didn’t seem to be much softness or gentleness between them – in fact Barbara didn’t seem to really like him that much. I reckoned she was just using him as someone to go out and have a good time with. One night, there were a few of us all in a room in Halls together, and there was some joking going on. I looked at him and he looked at me, and we both knew it – there was something there for each other. I jokingly went and sat on his knee. Barbara wasn’t bothered at all. It was almost Christmas, and Barbara gave him to me as a Christmas present! Problem was, we all had to go home for Christmas then, so we didn’t see each other for a while. When we got back to College and University however, we went on a twenty mile night hike. I figured that if we could stand doing that together we could stand anything. Except that Anne got in the way. We went to an event together and he spent the whole time with Anne! I have to admit she wore a shorter skirt than me – but not much! However, he repented and came back to me, tail between legs. I never did understand what went on that day, but he never strayed again.

He was on what was called a Sandwich Course, which meant he was six months at the University and six months working in industry. So off he went, and every day we wrote each other a love letter! I still have some of those letters, only I can’t see them now. He was an expert at the flattering and romantic phrase or sentence, and I fell for him big time. He asked me to marry him, and of course I said “Yes” immediately. I went with him to meet his parents and his brother and sister, and I remember to this day them warning me about his temper, and that he was stubborn. I made nothing of it however. It hadn’t been a problem between us so I ignored it. We planned a conventional wedding back in my home town, but we toyed with the idea of running away to Gretna Green to wed, just for the hell of it. He was not yet 21 anyway, and in those days you needed your parents’ consent below the age of 21, except in Gretna Green! I still regret not doing that, as it was in the end a tense, miserable day, partly courtesy of my mother and partly because I hate being on show and being stared at. I remember at the rehearsal the night before being told,

“Whatever you do, don’t look down when you are walking down the aisle at the end.” So what did I do? I looked down! It was a terrible day to me and I wondered why we had to go through all that palava! All that I wanted to do was sign a bit of paper and have done with it! What we did do was go down to London on the train afterwards. We only stayed one night as it was all we could afford, and spent just one day looking round London, mostly trying to find food!



It is soon to be our 52nd. Wedding Anniversary. September 13th. 1969 was a day that was to define the rest of my life. It was a day that both ruined me and made me. As I write, he is sitting in the corner of the room, disconnected from me and the rest of the world. This is how he has been for 52 years, to a greater or lesser extent. The room is a bedroom, and I am in the bed, fastened there by all that has happened to me. I am blind now, so I cannot see him. He is silent, so I hardly know he is there or what he is doing. Just an occasional movement in his wheelchair tells me he is still there- physically anyway. If I were to get up, I too would be in a wheelchair though I can still walk short distances on my walking frame. I cannot feel much, for my hands, feet, face and legs are affected by neuropathy. I had cancer you see. In 2013. I am cleared now, but it and the drugs left their mark on me, and now I am like this. Totally dependent on others – mainly him.

Last night I asked him to hold my hand. To touch me. To connect with me. We have not had connection for so long now. Either physical or emotional. I am not talking sex, but something far deeper. I am talking about a meeting of souls. A joining of spirits. Things of the heart. Sometimes, if I am honest, I feel he hasn’t got a heart. I think he would disagree. But then he disagrees with most of what I say.

I was frightened this morning. I woke, as I often do, feeling unwell. Today it was worse than usual. It seems to be getting worse all the time now. I knew there was no one there. Not really. Yes, he was there physically, but not mentally. I feel afraid when I wake alone – when I find he is not there, even physically. I am left alone with my fears and worries. And there are many. Our lives have descended into a witches brew of all kinds of emotions, all bubbling round. It is hard to deal with or contain them all, and so they bubble out onto each other. Most of it is anger and frustration. For me it is fear too. For we are being left like this, with no help whatsoever. Not that we haven’t asked for it! Sometimes there is screaming – from me that is. This morning there was no screaming, except the silent screaming inside. I was too weak to scream. I could hardly drag myself to the bathroom and once there, I almost passed out. I returned to bed feeling as if I might be dying. I wanted to communicate it. But communication is dead between us. Something stops him being “there.” He lives in his own world. Always has. If I speak he does not hear me. He is good at “disappearing.” This is the story of my life. Disappearing acts!

I have had to be strong. Self sufficient. Right through my life, from being a child, that is. My father was hardly ever there really, having disappeared to God knows where once again. Sometimes it was to another place, following some dream of his own. Sometimes it was to another woman. One said he had made her pregnant. I don’t know the truth of that. No one does – except the woman herself, and God knows where she is. Probably dead now. Like he is – and my mother too. She was absent as well, not having wanted me. You do one of two things to things that you don’t want – you either ignore them or punish them. She did both. I suppose he did that too – my husband that is, but for different reasons. He was once told by a counsellor that he was on the autistic scale. Is that what has been wrong with him all these years? Some things do seem to suggest it. But whatever it is, I have suffered, and suffered greatly. But I am ill now, and cannot take it. Like this morning – I needed him. I know his life is hard though. Both our lives are hard. All I ever wanted though was to love and be loved. It just wasn’t to be. He said he loved me, in the beginning. That was what drew me to him. I am a sucker for love. Probably because I didn’t experience it at home as a child, but rather, just the opposite. So when he said he loved me, that was it! But what is love anyway? Maybe he does love me, in his own way. But I am looking back now, and remembering, as I try to think what brought me to this place. This place of utter desolation. This place that no one else can connect to.



He was an ORGAN builder, and a very accomplished musician. Not that he had much chance to give himself to it these days, tending more to being up on the church roof. One might wonder what a vicar was doing up on a church roof, his place normally being behind the altar or the pulpit, but church rooves do tend to leak rather a lot.

“I don’t suppose anyone will want to take a PHOTOGRAPH of me like this,” he said to himself. He was more used to having his photograph taken with the happy couple at weddings, or holding a baby at baptisms.

A bit of a maverick, he stood by the compost heap in the garden, MUG in hand, contemplating his next sermon. He had been known to talk about death at weddings, much to everyone’s consternation. He glanced around the garden and, spying a heap of rubbish, he became suddenly inspired. What rubbish could he come up with in his next sermon?



He was a taciturn man, sitting there night after night by the fire in the range. More used to animals than people he displayed little in the way of emotion or affection. Often he could be seen standing by the gate to the field patting he cattle. They knew him well, and would gather in a bunch at the gate when they saw him coming.

Farming had been his life. Brought up on a farm, it was all he knew. As a young man he had gone off first to do logging in Canada, to make some money, then he had, with his brother, bought a farm in Argentina, where he learned all that there was to know about cattle. For many years they, together, farmed a ranch style farm, ultimately returning to England, where he bought another farm, and gained a wife. It was a business arrangement. He would give her and her little girl a home if she married him and provided him with an heir. The woman had lost her husband to a brain tumour when the little girl was only one year old. She was glad to be offered a home and security, for a woman in this position in 1920’s England did not stand much of a chance of survival.

It seemed a loveless marriage, but she provided him with two boys and a girl. Joan, his step daughter, never liked him. Neither did her daughter, Katie. Or, more to the point, she was frightened of him. He never spoke to her. Often, she would go and stay at the farm. She loved it there – but he was the one problem. He was so AUSTERE. Or so it seemed, until one day he stood in front of her by the huge wooden kitchen table, and emptied his pockets of all the money that was in them and gave it to Katie. Katie had never been more surprised in her life. From then on she thought differently about him,, and knew that inside, he was a good and kind man.



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



Helen felt NUMB. Had she really been told that? O.K. she hadn’t felt good for a whole year, and Christmas had been a nightmare. Often at nights she would wake up in a cold SWEAT. All the bed sheets were soaking. Butcshe was never one to think of anything as really serious. She had been brought up to be very Stoic, and so even though at times she had had trouble breathing she still didn’t make very much of it.

Helen turned the words over and over in her head as the nurse pushed her along the corridor.

“That’s the treatment room” she said, pointing to a room on the left. Through the glass in the door and the large window she could see a very frail looking person, as pale as the moon, with no hair, looking half dead, hitched up to a drip. She shuddered, knowing that that was going to be her very soon.

She got a TISSUE out of her bag as the tears started to pour down her face.


More and more my blindness is biting and life becoming more difficult. I am finding that that, combined with the effects of the pandemic and the need for social distancing has made my world so very small. Having little contact with other people and being trapped in this world of blindness has made my writing even more important to me, and blogging too, for that gives me some kind of contact with people. I am finding blogging even harder now though, as keeping up the interaction with others is really hard for me. This naturally makes people go away which I completely understand.because sometimes I simply cannot read another person’s blog even though I desperately want to. Then sometimes, even if I can read it, WordPress won’t let me Like and Comment on some blogs because of a technical glitch. I know others have had this problem too, so I am not the only one!

I am attempting to keep my pecker up by writing my book (s) but this too is becoming more difficult. Learning the skills that I need to continue living as a blind person is so hard when you are older. So occasionally I sink into despair, and then I don’t post much anyway. I use an iPad rather than a laptop since I cannot feel the keys on a laptop due to neuropathy, and am still trying to work out how to do things on the iPad as a blind person. If there are any blind people out there who could help me I would be so grateful. I am able to communicate with people via email if that helps. We just have to continue on, as much as possible don’t we!




The noonday sun
Brought light and warmth
A cat chased a squirrel

I looked up at the squirrel
In the branches hidden from the sun
The cat enjoying the warmth

The squirrel eyed up the cat in the warmth
He was such a beautiful squirrel
Sleeky grey in the sun

When the sun gave warmth the squirrel was chased



I looked round today and
all I saw was ash,
The ash of my life, spent,
The flame gone out, dead dreams on the ground in rubble.

The scene was bleak, my eyes
Beheld no beauty,
All was ugly, spent now,
I stood there stripped, knowing I could not pick up ash.

Dreams disintegrated,
Hope gone for ever,
Nothing to re-ignite,
Barrenness was my empty companion today.

But suddenly I heard
A voice, saying “Sing,”
What song could I sing now,
Here in this strangest of strange lands, alien now?

The voice insisted, “Sing”
I opened my mouth,
But no sound would come out,
“ Tell me how to sing,”
“Caged birds can sing, but you don’t have a cage, just sing.”

I looked around again,
I couldn’t see ash,
I saw the makings of
A new world, building bricks,
Beauty from ashes, I opened my mouth and sang.