Build me a padded room,
And build it soon,
I’m going to shout, shout, let it all out,
Paint a room bright red,
Play raucous music on my radio,
With the windows down,
Become a noise polluter.
I’m going to run into Boots and shout Shoes,
I’m going to create non-Newtonian flowers
That hang from the sky and don’t come down.
I’m going to wear Union Jack knickers
And flash them at Dog Obedience class,
I’m going to go bra-less and knickerless through Leek buttermarket,
And buy lavender and pinks and sweet williams for the garden,
I’m going to see Freddie Starr,
And fart and blow raspberries.
I’m going to get a condom
And fill it with His Nibs holy words,
So’s they can’t get into me.
I’m going to bathe in a tin bath in the garden,
Early in the morning,
With the dew on my face.
I’m going to kiss the sky,
And hold a cloud,
And then blow it away – gently.
I’m going to walk on water,
And find – that i can float.
I’m going to go down Baslet market,
And stare Her Nibs in the face,
And dance in front of her.
I shall dance, dance,
Like the yellow on the end of a piece of wood,
Until there is no more pain,
And then i’ll be me,
And everyone will know and hear me,
And i’ll be alive again.
Build me a padded room
And make it soon.


He had always wanted a YACHT. In fact ever since being a child he had been very easily impressed. He watched films and always imagined himself to be the guy who lived the good life. He grew to think it was his right to have the very best in life and he he looked down on his parents for not, in his view, making anything of themselves. Just a working class family he came from. Often, he would taunt them,

“Why didn’t you make good like the other kids’ mums and dads?” he would ask, in a scornful tone.

At school he mixed with the rich kids. It became his aim in life to make money. Nothing else but to make money. And he did. Trampling on many people in the process, including his own family.

As he grew older he was very unhappy. His son took over the business and he became redundant. No longer needed. He had made his money but it did not give him happiness. He had no meaningful relationships and he felt empty inside

Soon he began to experience pain. An X-Ray showed he had bad arthritis all over his body. He could no longer even do up the ZIP on his trousers. He searched in vain for meaning in his life, but never found it. He died, in time, a lonely old man.


I lie here dressed only in my skin,
Stripped bare, inglorious, colourless,
Just like the tree,
All that once I knew,
All that once I displayed,
Gone for ever,
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust………
……….But wait,
Inside me the sap,
It rests,
In my roots,
Safe from the cold winds of winter,
Safe from the storms,
Waiting to rise up
When the storms have passed,
No, I am not dead,
Just waiting.


I am posting as much of this story whilst I still can Part 4 tomorrow

We now know exactly which way things were going to go. I am now completely blind. Not only that, but I developed what is called peripheral polyneuropathy, which affects the motor nerves, and now I am unable to walk. This has also led to loss of feeling in my hands, feet, legs and face, meaning that the normal means of finding things that a blind person utilises is not available to me. I have no sense of touch. I have become totally dependent upon other people, and in this case namely my husband, for even my very basic needs. I am having to attempt new ways of living, in order to survive in any way at all. This is the hardest path I have ever trod in my life. The cancer did not kill me, but the chemotherapy left me like this. The sense of utter dependency is a very hard cross to bear, as it makes me feel that I am no longer a person. I have asked many tines the question as to whether I should ever have gone forwards with the chemotherapy, but I did, and am now here to tell the story. I live in a world of darkness, often confined to bed, cut off from the world abd any sense of being part of life. I hear sounds outside my bedroom window. People talking to each other, car doors slamming shut, children playing, workmen working and I am no longer part of any of it. I long to be. I crave it. But it is not to be. Hours of darkness stretch in front of me each day, with no relief from the boredom and the sense of hardly being human. My husband is my Carer and he too, being a wheelchair user, has far too much to do without having to entertain me. My world became my iPad and connection to people via the internet was vital to me, but even that is going now, as my blindness deepens and I struggle to find ways of dealing with an iPad as a blind person. I am writing in a time of pandemic, and so, even if there were any possible teachers around, I would not be able to have face to face contact, as I am defined as an extremely vulnerable person, meaning that if I caught the virus I almost certainly would die. I am therefore writing this story with extreme difficulty, yet it is one that I feel impelled to tell.
I spoke of the battle raging when I had cancer, and the expectation generally is that once the cancer is defeated, the battle is over. For me, however, the battle continues. The battle to survive mentally, emotionally and physically. Each day I feel as if I am climbing a steep and rugged mountain. I used to climb mountains, and it was always my ambition to climb Everest. In my own mind I was going to do it. Cancer put paid to that but, when I shared this with one of the nurses, she said,

“You are climbing your Everest now.” The trip continues, however as I am still climbing Everest today and every day. The path is hard and there are days when I despair. Days when the physical pain and the darkness gets to me. On those days I wish I had not fought the cancer. But I did, and I am here, and I have to go on.

We had to cut down our beautiful willow tree the other day, as it had grown too big. The birds used to nestle in its branches, but now it is bare and barren looking. In the Spring it should come back to life again, and hopefully the birds will return. I too have been cut down, and I hope that in some way I will begin come back to life. But for now the path is dark, steep and rugged.


“This one will make your bum itch,” said the Ward Sister to me as she hooked a new bag up to the pump. I had become so used to all the weird and wonderful (and downright painful) things that chemo did to you that I greeted this piece of information with a shrug of the shoulders but also a sense of curiosity. An elderly guy in a chair in the main part of the ward heard what she said to me, and piped up,

“It’s the best feeling I get all week.”

I waited, in anticipation, wondering when the feeling was going to hit me. This drug had already turned my pee a sort of pretty rosy red colour, so this new experience could only be a bonus. Suddeny, there it was.

“Oooh,” I exclaimed. “My bum’s on fire.”

“It’ll soon go,” said the nurse.

In a sense, anything that happened seemed almost natural. I learned to be surprised by nothing. So, my dwindling eyesight did not really register properly and certainly did not take centre stage. Unlike everyone else in the chemo ward, I was in a bed, being too weak to sit in the leather chairs that lined the walls of the main room. I felt very cut off from everyone else, and was unable to join in any of the conversations that were going on. I attempted to watch what was going on, however, from my half sitting, half lying position. At first, I could see the nurses going to the patients and hooking them up to their drips, changing the drips, and various other things. As the weeks wore on, I was a little disconcerted to find that I could no longer see what was going on. I mentioned this to the haematologist and he seemed unconcerned, telling me that when this was all over I may need to see an optician and get stronger lenses in my glasses. One of the drugs that I was being given could cause some loss of eyesight. This was likely to be minimal though.

I ceased to worry too much about my loss of sight, as there were so many other things to contend with. I simply trusted that if I got through this lot, I would get the glasses that I needed. Undergoing chemotherapy was, in the words of the ward sister, still a “leap of faith.” No one knew which way it was going to go.


Clothed in the scent of summer
I come to the place of my destiny
Where the breeze wafts the blooming poppies
Reminding me of my sacrifice
Too long have I acquiesced
But now it is my time
A time that was waiting
Beneath the church clock
You knew that I would be coming
From your resting place behind the wall
No one knew you were there
And only by accident did I find you
But you knew that I would
Even though I hardly knew you
You knew me
Made promises divinely sanctioned
Then brutally I was ripped away from you
And from my very self
Many years have now passed
But this is the day
Some things can never be eternally broken


“Hi Lorraine,” came the voice from across the corridor in the hospital.

“Who is it? I asked.

“It’s Mandy,” came back the voice.

I am not sure who was the most bewildered, me or her. I knew Mandy well. She it was who had wheeled me out of the hospital to our waiting car in the hospitel car park on the day that I was told I had cancer. As she wheeled me down the corridor I burst into tears. It was the one and only time that I cried.

“We get people better in here,” she had said. I was in too much shock to take it in. I could not believe I could get better. I had just been handed a death sentence. Following that, she it was who took my blood pressure and did all the observations every time I arrived at the chemotherapy ward for my treatment.

Though I could see a blurry figure, I was unable to see who it was. I felt a shock wave go through me as I realised the seriousness of the decline in my eyesight. I had been aware that I was becoming unable to recognise the faces of the nurses in the chemotherapy ward of recent days, but had put it down to needing new glasses. It had seemed unimportant in the general scheme of things. I was busy dealing with cancer, not knowing whether would I live or die.

“Will it kill me?” I had asked the haematologist after he had delivered the news to me that I had cancer. I had expected him to say that they would cure me. I got the shock of my life when he replied,

“i don’t know,” and then said, ominously, “I will always tell you the truth.”

He had no bedside manner at all. He was a very quick, business like man. He did not attempt to soften the blow. He had spoken about daisy chains, and of how our lymph nodes are like them, with one lymph node being linked to another going right round your body. The cancer had thus been able to spread from one lymph node to another, then the next and then the next, and so on. I had pictured myself at my grandparents’ farm as a little girl making daisy chains. But these daisy chains that I was being told about were not the daisy chains of my childhood. They were far from beautiful, and far from innocent.

As the battle to deal with the cancer raged, my failing eyesight seemed to be the least of my problems. And yet it was with shock that I responded to not recognising the nurse whom I knew so well that day.


She knew she was getting low but not how low. Until it happened. There she was at the TOP of the hill that ran down into Buttley Bude, when her car stopped. She realised with a start that her petrol TANK was empty. Fortunately the hill ran straight into Buttley Bude’s High Street, where there was a petrol station. She let the car roll until it got to the bottom of the hill, and then gracefully did a left turn into the petrol station. THANKFULLY she got hold of the pump and filled up the tank with petrol.


They watched the sun STIPPLE the landscape. It had been a STEEP climb to the top of the hill, and they were looking dowb on the forest beneath them. It was the last day of their holiday and what a way to end it. The pine trees reached up to the sky and looked like Gothic STYLE towers. This was to be their last holiday. Soon she would have to go to the hospital. He drew her to him, and they stood there for a long time just looking att the scene. She knew she would remember this until the day she died.


The wooden gates were closed today
Keeping me from the beyond
Many dragons I had to slay
Demons assailed me on the way
Many there were who would naysay
Nothing could break ole death’s strong bond
The wooden gates were closed today
Keeping me from the beyond

#FOWC I have many memories of being in HOSPITAL, but one of my most abiding memories is o when I was in hospital for three months with T.B, The drugs that they gace me caused diarrhoe and to make matters worse I was not allowed out of bed to go to the bathroom so had to be brought a bedpan. Yuk!

Because of the diatthoea I was forbidden to eat fruit. Well, you know what it is when you are told you can’t t have sonething. Yep, you want it more than anything else in the world.

So, when hubby’s mother and father came to see me, knowing of my desperation for fruit, wgat do you think they brought me? Yep, you got it – druit! Nice big soft juicy peaches. I ate them underneath the covers on the bed and everyone was laughing at me but they were the best peac that I ever had in my life.


The days are growing shorter, darkness falls,
Wrapping its tendrils around my body,
As they tighten their grip a lone bird calls,
Piercing my heart with its stark melody,
Dead leaves crackle their life now is over,
The bird sings again its funeral song,
Like that of a dying, anguished lover,
Knowing the joy that was is now gone,
As the bird reaches its beak to the sky,
Stars start to twinkle and dance in the night,
A nightingale sings, its song rises high,
Out of the darkness has come a great light,
The spell is broken, i know I will live,
I learned in the dark a new song to give


I sit here numb
Dazed a robot
An automaton I live on
If this is really living
Just beneath the surface
A pain so huge
So black
A monster
Raring to come out
Too big to be born
But pushing



DIARY ENTRY – Boring Day

Yesterday the hours passed slowly. The fog in front of my eyes was thick. As I was experiencing a great deal of physical pain too, it was a day when we stayed in. I have never been so bored in my life! Looking at NOTHING!

How do I cope? I remember. I go back in time. I think of better days, and when I think of those days it is as if they are happening now. I suppose I am in some kind of a daydream. It’s better thann the reality. I think back to friends of the past. Friends I no longer see. Friends who have died or moved on, or whom I have left behind becausecwe moved. I am fortunate to have had many friends in my time. Some of then very colourful. I suppose in many ways I have lived something of a Bohemian lifetstyle. But it was nice.

I see no one now. We know veery few people here, where we live now. All I see is the thick fog. I suppose you can learn to live in fog, but how nice it would be if I could see a face again.


I used to be OK with going blind
Was that real?
Or was it because of the pressure
To see things as others wanted me to?
Or was it maybe that I had no choice?
Only the choice to be OK with it
Or to let the pain overtake me
What was the reality?
Was it a game?
How can you make a game of going blind?
Even as a child I learned
To show no emotion
To bear the utmost pain
Without a murmur
It became a habit
A habit I could not break
Crying was not allowed
Violence was normalised
And so, the violence of blindness
Could not be allowed to find acknowledgement
It was OK to go blind
But now I am lost
I was good at seeing with the eyes of the heart
I was good at making the best of it
I was good at smiling when all was not well
I was a good girl
I gave people what they wanted
While inside my heart was breaking
And fear ran riot
Confusion filled my soul
I wanted to do it well you know
To succeed at being blind
Failure was not even on the menu
I could not be seen to stumble
And fall
And now
This taut ball of humanity
Is breaking
I am not brave
This taut ball of humanity
Wants to scream and scream
And cry out
And I know
That even as I scream and cry
The very stones will cry out with me
For all the Universe is groaning
As if in the pangs of childbirth
But oh, what a birthing this is
If indeed it is a birth
And not a death
And as I give birth
To this thing called blindness
That has lain fallow for so long
Will it kill me?
Is it too big for me?
You wave at me and smile
As you watch this birthing
And call me proud
As I do not wave back
And I know that in your eyes
I must go to Confession
For failing to deliver
Because I was too busy
Delivering blindness
And so you beat me with the stick of blame
As the baby was being born
I had held it within me for so long
But now, it is here,
Born upon this earth,
And I cry
“Lord, I am blind.”


Here is another older poem again, but one of my favourites. My newer readers probably will not have seen it. And if you have, then I hhope it does not bore you lol

A woman cries,
Hunched low,
In rhythmic sway,
Cradles the child
Who danced
In celebration fields
Of gold.

Soft days
In gentle sand
Lapped body’s shore,
While sunny stories
In darkening crook
Of summer’s arm.
A woman moans
Her last goodbye
To childhood’s startled innocence
Then slowly turns,
In ever widening circling dance
To greet
New sunlight’s
Golden dawn


The mourning dove cried out one morn
And I cried too in loud lament
Such grief I knew, my heart was torn
The mourning dove cried out one morn
And as I cried I was forlorn
In agony my garments rent
The mourning dove cried out one morn
And I cried too in loud lament


There is nothing between us now
I am at the edge
Looking in
And suddenly
I am there, part of the picture
But All One
As the sunset enters my soul
No longer a picture
But part of me
I part of it
And in this moment
I know


She had a look of DOGGED determination on her face. At the age of ninety, she could almost be forgiven. But you just couldn’t take her anywhere any more. 

It was a Sunday morning. The morning that her son Pete always took her out. He had come to dread it. Usually she wanted to go to a Garden Centre or something. She was happy amongst plants. She was also happy where she could get up to mischief. And usually there was no shortage of places where mischief could be got up to. Pete was worried. They were going to a real big Garden Centre today. She could cause avsolute chaos.

Pete was right to be worried. Just as they were making their way to the coffee shop, Flo spied a kind of hammock thing that swung backwards and forwards. On it was a Notice which said,

“Do Not Sit Here.”

That was like a red rag to a bull with Flo. How could she possibly resist? She suddenly put on a spurt, and the next thing that Pete knew was that she had gone right up to the hammock thing, removed the Notice and sat down on it. There she was, swinging back and forth, her legs going up into the air. Pete was mortified, yet, underneath, he was having to stifle a giggle.

“Good old Flo,” he thought. “Nothing is going to stop her.” And in a way he was proud of her. This was his mum.


I am considering writing my story of going blind – or at least part of it – here. I am busy when I am well enough to, writing my life story, which is a very different kind of life story, which I am not posting in here. But for various reasons I think it would be good to post some of my story of going blind and what it is like, and how it affects people going blind later in life, in here.

I have often been compared with other blind people (often unfavourably), because most blind people seem to manage. I was often compared with another blind lady at a group I used to go to, but she was much younger than me and had the constant help of her able bodied husband. She could also walk, and was not ill in any other way. When that happens I remain silent because what point is there in saying anything else?

My husband and I have worked very very hard at finding ways through. Of finding aids. Of learning Apps on the iPad (I can’t use a laptop because I am unable to get into the ohysical position necessary to use it). There are other issues too. The pandemic has not helped, though, there is little if any help available in our area. We live in a backwater and even the RNIB has no voulnteers in our area.

We are left to deal with the problem – which we try to do.

However, there have been a few people who have wanted to know my story of going blnd. I intend to post some things. Until this last week I could still just about see in a very faint, blurred fashion, on my iPad if I held it only about three inches from my eyes. Now, I can’t even do that. I am using a variety of methods – dictating to hubby and him doing the typing. Dictation ,which regularly picks up my words wrongly, and various other Apps. I have Dream Writer installed,which reads every word after you have typed it, but I cannot see the letters on the keyboard on the iPad so that causes problems.

All in all, I am struggling, but want to still write .

I want to write my story of going blind. So if it appears here and you want to give it a miss, please do so. I know that some people want to read it. I will write the raw truth. I can only be honest. Even if it is unpopular. So, if and when it appears you can choose whether to read it or not.bxx

GOING BLIND – A Poem of sorts

Staring into the fog that assaults my eyes
I become disorientated
I know not
Which way I am facing
Or where I am
I become confused
Like being lost on a mountain
Desperate for rescue
But knowing there is none
This is it
My life now
I wish to sleep
In the hypothermic fog
No warm blankets of comfort
Just the cold reality
I cannot see
My mind is active
Full of thoughts
Full of poems
Full of books
But there they stay
In my mind
I feel a scream rising
Someone hear me
Someone hear me
And yet i am afraid to let the scream out
For fear
It will drive people away
And so the scream strangles me
I reach out my hand
Please take my hand someone
In this awful blindness
Soothe my tears
Let me know you are there
In this fog that will never lift
But only intensify
Will the fog smother me?
Will I suffocate?
Please hold me
Guide me through the fog


I am thinking a lot about light and dark at the moment, and of the interplay between the two. This is an old poem that I have posted before, but it says what I feel about light and darkness.

Two sides,
Light, dark, hold hands,
Both are part of the whole,
Each one is the truth in one soul,
My friend
For the soul’s good health, combined they
Make us whole, authentic,
A living light,


The MELODY rang out from the old wireless. All was still as we listened. The air was electric. It was her favourite piece of music – and MINE too. Every Sunday night, this was how we would MAKE our entertainment. The old wireless crackled, sometimes wavering and sliding off the station. Fading and coming back, fading and coming back. But we could still hear the tune – Nimrod. It was my grandmother’s favourite. Pop was sat in the corner by the fire puffing on his pipe after a hard day on the farm. Perfect. A perfect evening.


This post was inspired by Val’s post on her blog, “A Different Perspective” about meeting up with internet friends. I would like to tell you an hysterically funny story about how I met a person from a forum I used to frequent. She revealed where she lived, and it was not far from where I lived. We became friendly within the forum, and so agreed to meet. I insisted, for safety’s sake that we met in a coffee shop.

I had no idea what this person looked like, but I knew that she had a disabled son. She seemed absolutely fine.

As we chatted over coffee in the coffee shop she revealed, to my consternation, that she used to steal people’s purses! However, she had realised how wrong this was and had turned over a new leaf and had become a Eucharistic minister in the Catholic Church. It was many years since she had stolen purses.

I felt a bit bombed out by this meeting, but apart from that we got on well. I will call her Rosemary.

I must admit that I did surreptitiously search to see if I was still in possession of my purse. All was well, much to my relief. We agreed to meet at a local nature park with our husbands there too, and she said she would bring her disabled son as well. He was in a wheelchair. We had a great time, and there followed quite a few meetings at the nature park. Eventually we felt comfortable enough to visit each other’s homes. My husband and I visited her first in her home, and everything was O.K. Next, it was my turn to have her visit me in my home.

She arrived, and I had bought some cream cakes as a special surprise. I m not sure that I can describe well enough how funny it all was, but Rosemary was like a child with the cream cakes. She ended up with cream all over her fingers and her face, right up to her eyebrows. Then she said to me, “You should see me with a cream horn.” My mind boggled!

After that, she said that all the furniture in the front part of the through lounge should be in the back part so that we could sit and look out through the patio window at the back. I just said that it wouldn’t all fit that way round. With that, she was up, and started moving all the furniture round. I looked, aghast, but was so intrigued that I did not stop her. She moved every bit of furniture including the piano and sideboard. The dining table was now in the front half too. She plonked two chairs right in front of the patio window and told me to go and sit there with her.

You might wonder why I did not stop all this but, secretly, I wondered if she could do it. It looked awful! Everything was everywhere and it was horrible. Anyway, once done, she asked me if there were any more cream cakes. There weren’t.

Rosemary went home that day leaving me with all the furniture to put back in its place.

The worst of it was that after that she sent me a message in the forum saying we would not bother with the friendship any more.

I found it all hysterically funny. Most people probably wouldn’t but I have a strange sense of humour. I can still see her sitting there with all that cream on her face!


Since my last entry a good deal of my pain has eased. It is still there but not as excruciating as it was. I reached an all-time low the other week because I could not see hope of life improving for me since I had been told by the medical rehabilitation consultant that things were going to deteriorate and not get better. I was on the downward slope. The depression that this caused was very deep as you can probably imagine and I was plagued by a lot of deep fear.

I attempted to keep going however and not to allow the fear to take me over, this was very difficult. Fear can still plague me, as I think is natural in these conditions. The pandemic is not helping as we are having to keep away from people and keep people away from us. A letter from the NHS to me did not help much either, but raised my fear levels.

However, the one thing above all that has frightened, distressed, and caused much depression in me has been the final stage in the loss of my eyesight. I have been legally blind for a long time but I am in the final stages of sight loss now and finding it terrifying. I used to be able to just about manage with my iPad – I cannot use a laptop as I cannot sit in a position to use it without pain. So I used to hold my iPad right in front of my eyes. Now, I can no longer do that. Each day a little bit more sight has gone.

I do have various applications on my iPad and to use them when I can but as I have said before, without someone to physically sit beside you and teach you it is virtually impossible to fathom it out for yourself. I am doing my best with them but often becoming frustrated.

The thoughts of losing my ability to write scares me beyond measure, for it is my only means of communication with the world, and writing has always been my life. One thing that I find very difficult is that the one sense that blind people use to help them is that of touch. I have lost that completely. I can feel nothing with my fingers and hands. Neither can I feel anything with my feet and legs.

Someone did once ask me to write a book about going blind and going into the state in which I am now, and if I did write such a book I would want to be able to put some hope into it. I would want it not to be completely dark although there would be many dark bits in it. I have attempted to do this and have done quite a bit of it, but don’t know if it is quite as I want it yet. Much of the raw pain is there as well as the bright gems, and I don’t know whether it is something that people would really want to read or not.

I am trying very hard indeed to overcome all the things that are besieging me right now and yesterday as we went past the horse chestnut tree by the war memorial in the village where I was born I went back in time and remembered the happiness I used to know in that place. In a way it was bittersweet, but I love that old chestnut tree.


I am finding it harder and harder to write poetry because with being blind I cannot see the line I have just written or keep lines in my head that I have written. However, this is an attempt at a sonnet. If there are any blind poets out there, I would welcome your telling me how you write poetry. But here is mine for now:

Put out the light and still there will be light
For this one thing the darkness cannot quench
Love’s light will push through ee’n the darkest night
Pure glory from the smallest pinpoint drench
Our souls and bodies cry out in deep pain
All hope seems gone our spirits start to die
We feel that we will never live again
Upon our lips the starkest question “why”
In our deep pit the answer will not come
We scrabble with our hands and claw in vain
In deepest depths our freedom will be won
Towards the light we push in anguished pain
We find a way to climb towards the sun
Its light shines on our dark night will be gone


Surrounds the one
Who truly does Love’s will,
Love is not a clanging cymbal,
Announcing your prowess, seeking
For glorification,
I hear it all,
And cringe

Love is
Gentle, seeks not
To boast, nor dwells in pride,
Real love does not attack the weak,
Nor masks
The truth,
But lives in dying to the Self,
Steps back from the limelight,
Silently waits,


Jo looked sadly at the iron railings alongside the washdyke, remembering days as a child when everything was different. Kids used to play in the washdyke, fishing, collecting frogspawn and then going into the church and putting it in the font, and generally mucking about. She remembered her grandmother holding onto her hand tightly, occasionally pulling her roughly away from the edge of the bank that led down to the washdyke.

“Watch it or you’ll SLIP in,” she kept saying.

And then there was Mr. Cattle. Every Sunday morning he would be found in the washdyke after a Saturday night at the Working Men’s Club.

“Poor little Mrs. Cattle,” everyone used to say.

Now, there were no kids playing in the street. Everyone had cars and you were lucky if you ever got to talk to your neighbours. There was never any forgspawn in the font, and Mr. Cattle had been dead for years now.

Jo brushed aside a tear. Life was just not what it used to be. R


Soft rays fall gently as I remember
Days in your presence
When my heart was full
And birdsong filled the air
The warmth of summer’s breeze
Danced on my skin
Until the whole of my body danced too
Hearing the cries of love
In the calling of the birds
“Come my sweet one come,
Follow me wither I go,
Across the sky
Onto the sea
Soaring above the mountains
Follow, follow,
Let me hear your sweet voice sing
As we become One with the Universe
I love you, I love you,”
And I believed
And followed
Emptied myself of all but you
Together we danced the Dance of Love
Ate at a banquet for kings and queens
Bathed in the gently flowing water
Drank from the water that gushed from the rock
But now the soft rays turn to darkness
The wind blows cold
No longer do I hear your voice
Calling, calling,
I am alone,
No longer can my feet dance
No longer do we twist and twirl together
In the Dance of Life
For now I live in darkness
Unable even to tie my own belt
In a place where I did not want to go
And in this place
I cry out your name
“Come to me, Come to me”
But there is no answer
“Where are you? Where are You?” I cry
The wind blows the sound of my voice back at me
I look up
See my name in the sky
And in that moment
Know that you are with me


It happened between Adoration and Mass. I ran away! It must have been something to do with the shocking pink socks that I was wearing. Glaring at me from out of my open toed sandals. Daring me. As if to say,

“Go on. You chose me for a reason. You WANT to break out. You WANT to shout.”

It didn’t take long for the plot to hatch. It happened in an instant. Unobtrusively I turned my powered wheelchair round, and faced the set of heavy double doors that blocked my way out. Determinedly I felt my way to them with my white blind stick. The pink socks were shouting at me,

“Go on. You can do it.”

Reaching the doors, I pushed on them with my foot. The shocking pink sock must have been proud of me as it entered the fray. I grabbed the door with my left had, my right hand being engaged in holding the joy stick of my wheelchair in the Forward position. All was well until my wheelchair’s rear end came almost level with the outer edge of the door. At that point I had to let go of the door, in order to go any further, and it came crashing back heavily onto my wheelchair.

“Ouch!” yelled the shocking pink socks.

“I don’t know what you’re yelling for,” I said. “You got me into this.”

Gradually inch by inch, I made my way beyond the door, into the corridor, feeling my way along with my blind stick.
Immediately in front of me was another set of heavy double doors. The same process was repeated, until eventually I reached the doors that led out into the church car park.

“Go for it,” shouted the pink socks.

Out in the car park, I breathed fresh air. At last, I was alone. No one to smother me. No one to encroach upon my being. I breathed deeply. Freedom!


What has been the most difficult, hardest, or most painful decision you’ve ever had to make in your life?

In answering the above question, I know that I might be a bit controversial. However, the most difficult and painful decision I ever had to make was to go forwards with chemotherapy when I was diagnosed with very advanced cancer. It was a blood cancer that affects the immune system and all the lymph nodes. But it had produced huge tumours all over my body and in critical places too. I was literally at death’s door. Something inside me did not want to fight, but wanted to give in to the inevitable and get it over with quickly. It was as the Ward Sister said to me, a “leap of faith” anyway. Not bound to work for me. The thoughts of going through gruelling chemotgerapy did not appeal. No, I had a chance to be at rest now, after a very, very painful and difficult life. However, in the end I did decide to fight. I have no idea if I would have made the same decision had I known how I would end up – blind, unable to walk and in constant pain, with lung and heart problems. But I am still here, and I have written so much in these last years, and there is so much more that I want to write.


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!


Liza did not relish her visit to Radchester. Too much was swilling around in her head. How come Susan Wray had been murdered at the exact same time as her mother’s murder case of years ago had been re-opened. Were the two murders linked? It seemed almost impossible that they weren’t. The big question was, were they both murdered by the same person and if so, who was it? And what was Susan Wray doing being at the back of the Church of the Holy Name?

Liza realised that she had to get all these thoughts out of her head, as she had important business to attend to, namely the status of her Ph.D. and the problem of her disappearing supervisor. She was beginning to feel that she might like to do a disappearing act herself. Life was becoming far too complicated and actually frightening. Her idyllic new life in the tiny cottage amongst the hills was sadly disappearing. She thought of Lisbet and the good times they used to have. All the escapades and the giggles. Maybe her escape act could take her to Sweden Stockholm. Yes, that would be good. Stockholm! Had Lisbet managed to devour all the men in Stockholm yet?

She was nearly at the University. She parked her car on one of the roads behind it. Slowly, she walked through the University grounds, looking at the various trees and plants. It was quite beautiful actually. Soon she was mounting the steps up into the University. The pleasant walk through the grounds had relaxed her a little. She walked down the corridor to the coffee shop where she was to meet the esteemed Canon Goodenough. She had no idea what to expect. All that she knew about him was that he specialised in the Reformation Music of Henry VIII. He had told her that he would be sitting in the corner of the coffee shop by the window. As she entered, she found herself looking at a very small man, with thick framed glasses, and very dark hair that seemed to fall all over his face. He was lounging comfortably on a chair near to the window. Tentatively she made her way across to him.

“Hello, i’m Liza Ward,” she said. “Are you Canon Basil Goodenough?”

“Indeed I am,” replied the man. He got up off his chair and held out his hand to Liza.

“I’ll go and get you a coffee,” he said.

“Oh, oh, thankyou,” said Liza, a little nervously.

“Call me Basil,” he said, when he returned with the coffee. “I can’t be doing with titles. I gather you’re having a spot of trouble with some of them academics.”

“Too true,” said Liza. “They’ve messed my life up good and proper.”

“Tell me about it,” said Basil. “When I was doing my Ph.D. I had four different supervisors. Kept doing disappearing acts. It’s a wonder I ever got to the end of it. They pop up in all sorts of places. Found one of mine at the University of Katmandu!”

“Oh my God,” said Liza.

“Yes indeed,” said Basil. “He recognised me and treated me like I was some kind of buddy, and nothing had gone wrong really.”

“Hmm,” said Liza. “Well I’m not planning on going to Katmandu” she laughed.

“No, neither was I,” said Basil. “But somehow or other I found myself on the wrong plane. God only knows how it happened. Anyway, I decided to take a look at the University while I was there.”

“Well anyway, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me,” said Liza. “I just feel like giving the whole thing up now. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done and I was never in it for the letters attached to my name anyway.”

“Maybe it’s time to turn to something else now then. Use what you’ve done so far in some practical way. Maybe do a bit of tutoring yourself.”

“Oh I’ve already done a few lectures,” said Liza.”

“Well there you are then. Build on that. Keep researching in your own way. I think you’ll find you are happy doing that. Kind of like being your own boss. And much cheaper too.”

“That’s for sure,” said Liza. “I’m certainly much poorer in financial terms from pursuing this Ph.D.”.

“Hear that?” asked Basil.

“What?” replied Liza.

“That pop music.”

“Oh that,” said Liza. “I try to ignore it.”

“Well I could tell you something about the pop music of Henry VIII.”

“Oh yes, I’m intrigued,” said Liza.

Basil started to go into full flow about his pet subject.
Suddenly he stopped, as if an arrow had struck him. “Oh my goodness,” he exclaimed. “Did you know about our local murder.”

Liza gulped.

“Yes,” she said.

All of a sudden it was as if all her controls had gone.

“And we’ve got our own local murder where I live too. And guess what. The young girl murdered here is the daughter of the woman who was murdered in the place where I live. It was some years ago now though, and they got the wrong man for it. The case has just been re-opened.”

“Where do you live?” asked Basil.

“Grimswell,” replied Liza.

Basil gave out a kind of roar that seemed almost too loud for such a tiny man.

“Whoa, I used to know the vicar there. Knew him quite well actually. And now I come to think of it, there was a murder took place while he was there. Some woman escaping from domestic violence. She lived at The Oaks whilst trying to sort her life out. My friend used to visit up there. Felt very sorry for the poor women. Cedric, his name was. Cedric Johnston.”

“What a small world it is,” remarked Liza.

“Yes, even stretching to Katmandu,” observed Basil.

“Apparently she was bludgeoned to death,” said Basil. “Susan Wray was her name. Poor girl. Had something to do with that monstrosity over the road. Church of the Holy Name or something. Wasn’t very holy what happened to her though. Seems she was a bit of a candlestick thief.”

Liza gasped.

“Oh my God,” she said.

“Did you know her?” asked Basil.

“Well, kind of,” said Liza. “It’s a long story. All to do with a bell. “I wonder who murdered her?”

“Why don’t you come back and see me again next week,” said Basil. “We’ll do a bit of digging before then. I’ll see if I can find Cedric and have a chat with him.

“O.K.” Said Liza. “See you next week then.”


Jack never won anything. Until he won the JACKPOT.

Now it might sound strange, but the jackpot consisted of massive sacks of carrots, potatoes, and various other vegetables. Jack didn’t go out much really. Until he decided to go on a JAUNT to the local Sale of harvest produce. Nothing too exciting really.

It was quite an event. You bought a raffle ticket on the way in – well, most people did anyway. Jack followed suit without thinking much about it.

The church hall was bursting with people. It was one of the main events of the year in the village. Although Jack was a bit of a recluse, he found he quite enjoyed being with a few people.

The evening wore on, until at the end the winner of the raffle was announced. Jack gasped as he heard his number read out. He had won the jackpot. Some viewed him with JEALOUSY. Why should someone like him win the jackpot? He never went near the church whilst they went every week. It should have been one of them who won the jackpot.

Jack looked at the huge sack of potatoes and carrots and wondered what on earth he was going to do with them. He began to wonder if it had been a good idea to come after all. He imaginedd himself consuming carrot and potato soup for the rest of the year! And how was he going to get the sack home anyway.

Suddenly he kicked the sack and then tore it open. All the vegetables poured out onto the floor. He had been aware of the jealousy and pettiness of the people around him.

“There” he said. “It’s yours. Take your pick oof that lot.” And with that he stalked out of the hall.


I wrote this some years ago and have never forgotten the experience. As we wait for the Spring I turn my mind to better days, and though I will never see the kingfisher again I have this memory. Strange to say, things become dimmer in your mind as you go deeper into blindness and you can no longer remember what things look like! An older poem but a lovely memory:

I sit one day looking at the fields,
A flash of colour takes my eye,
It darts so fast across the water,
I am mesmerised by such deep, rich colour,
It lands quite suddenly on a branch,
A beautiful tiny kingfisher.

For the very first time I see the kingfisher,
In a dyke surrounding the fields,
So close it sits on the swaying branch,
I see it clearly in my eye,
I am entranced by its wonderful colour,
Gently flows the water.

It sits looking at the moving water,
Containing fish for the kingfisher,
How amazing is its colour,
Matching the green of the fields,
Showing up on the grey-brown branch,
I can hardly move my eye.

I see it fluttering in my eye,
It starts to dart across the water,
Flying off the swaying branch,
This beautiful little kingfisher,
The wind blows gently on the fields,
The grass a shimmering green in colour.

I become aware of deeper colour,
Wherever I cast my eye,
Whether it be on the sky or on the water,
On the wild flowers in the fields,
Or on the little kingfisher,
That fluttered off the grey-brown branch.

Inside I thank God for that grey-brown branch,
My life now is full of deeper colour,
Brought into being by the kingfisher,
On which I feasted my eye,
As I look at the colours in the field,
I thank God for the moving water.

The sun shines on the water enhancing dancing colour ,
Even the brown-grey branch, that draws my eye,
Catching the shimmering green of the field, reflected in kingfishers wing.


She stared at the world through blinded eyes,
From many different places,
In the warmth, the cold, the rain, the wind,
From her bed, the car, the seashore,
Saw forests, flowers and birds,
She smelled and tasted and felt
The weight of her grief
But also a wealth of joy,
Though now she had to remember,
But as time passed she realised
That she could no longer remember,
Even the faces of those she loved,
And so she said “Goodbye”
Made a new relationship with the world,
One that only she knew
And felt,
A place where she dwelt alone,
Sometimes lonely, sometimes sad,
But sometimes glorious in her insight,
Would she change it?
Ask her


I am, thankfully, managing to write a bit more now. It is an effort but to give in is not good. I still have bad pain, which frightens me. It is still an uphill battle to get through each day. Sometimes it is still a matter of getting through each minute at a time.

I wish that I could report something better. I am trying to get the murder mystery back on track again, for that gives me something to focus on.

I am looking at my goals for this year, and one of them is to get my book finished. It might sound like a tall order, but I really want to do it.

If any of you read my piece about Jade and the beetle, that was our old dog who has now passed on. She was a complete nutter! To match her mum lol. I might write a little bit more about her, and maybe our other dogs too. We have always had rough collies – you know, the Lassie type ones. We have Hope at the moment and she is now 6 so quite a handful. We’d hoped for a queter dog as we got older, but no chance!

So that is my Diary Update for today! Xx


The whole congregation gasped as she walked in, head held high. All the women were dressed in long grey skirts, with a grey head covering on their heads. She had on a short tight fitting red dress and as she walked confidently down the aisle her high heels clicked on the tiled floor of the church. Her black hair was long and flowing.

“Look at her,” one of the congregation was heard to say.

“It’s disgusting,” said another.

“She’s IMPURE” said yet another.

“INDEED,” said another.

“Hush, you’re being UNFAIR” came a voice from the back. “Don’t you know, it says in the Bible that nothing is impure really, only if we make it so.”

Carly went and took a seat at the front of the church. The priest entered, stood in front of the congregation and said,

“This is Carly. I wondered how you would react when she came into the church like this. I guessed that you might judge her without knowing anything about her, and you have.”

Another gasp went up from the congregation.

Then, in an onerous voice the priest said,

“Judge not that ye be not judged. You do this at your own peril.”


I don’t remember absolutely everything that happened leading up to my being there, but there I was. For a while they had been taking me to a big hall where there were lots of other dogs. We had to do things that dogs don’t normally do, like being obedient. Obedient was something I had never been. I was always rather wayward and where I was born me and my sister used to play rough and fast. My sister was called Enya. Then these people came to look at me and after that they decided that they were going to take me home with them. They were my new mum and dad. From the very beginning I led them a dance. They didn’t really seem to mind though and they found it quite funny. I could do almost anything and they still loved me. But being obedient was something different. I wondered what it was all about but all the other dogs there were being obedient as well and they all seemed to take great pride in being obedient. Then one day I found myself with mum and dad in a big field where there were lots and lots of other dogs and lots of strange things going on. Mum and dad got dressed up in some strange clothes and they kept on and on brushing me. It seemed they could not brush me enough. They messed around with my hair and kept making sure that my hairstyle was okay. It was not to my liking though. I hated being kempt. and all I wanted was to be unkempt with my hair all over the place. The wilder the better. It did not become a dog to be neat and tidy and for the hair to be all smooth and unruffled. No decent dog would want to look like that.

Anyway, lots of things were going on in the middle of the field and there were lots of dogs with their mummies or daddies running round in a circle and there seemed to be some person in charge watching everything that was happening. That person then went to each dog in turn and started tickling and feeling it. Then that person made the mummy or daddy run the dog round the field on its own without the other dogs. In the end there seemed to be one special dog that was made a real big fuss of and it looked very chuffed. It was really proud of itself and its mummy and daddy were also looking very chuffed.

Then my mummy took me into the middle of the field and we ran round in a big circle as well. Eventually we all had to stand still for awhile and it was then that it happened. I spied a beetle. Now how could any respectable dog stand still when there is a beetle around. I certainly couldn’t and I suddenly started pawing at the beetle. I was jumping around excitedly. No one could do anything with me. Secretly mummy and daddy thought it was funny but they were not allowed to laugh. This was all very serious and I would not let the person in charge tickle or feel me at all. I just refused to stand still as I was determined to catch that beetle. Then I heard a word. It was “disqualified.” I don’t think it was a very popular word, and mum and dad had to take me away. I thought though, that if there was one beetle there would be lots more, and I dug my claws into the ground, and refused to be pulled away. Then J kept pouncing on the ground thinking I had got a beetle. But I hadn’t. Mum and dad weren’t cross with me though, and they ended up laughing and saying, “Let a dog be a dog. Natural like. Not all ponced up for them dog shows. It’s unnatural.” And I never got taken to a dog show agan, and I have never been obedient since.


One day
They were all gone
Berries plump with new life
Already their life had journeyed
Plucked from
Green tree
As the summer sun died in skies
Now grey, winter waiting
Offstage, while birds
Feast, store…….

To see them through
Dark days and raging storms
We too have a banquet prepared
Take, eat,
The delights there for the taking
Your soul
And live through the darkest of nights
Sustained by Love offered
Freely, just take
And liveR


The tree is stripped now,
Ready to rest,
After giving of its all,
Now it stands there in its stark beauty,
Exposed, bare,
Now no birds can feed,
Nor rest hidden in its leaves,
It has nothing to offer,
Except its stillness,
Its quietude,
Saying, “I’m still here,
But my surface beauty has gone,
I no longer hold secrets within,
All that I am you can see,
Yet in my starkness is my real beauty,
For it speaks the truth,
In sharpness,
In directness,
Now you see my essence,
That still through the cold and the dark,
Will survive,
And with my strength,
One day I will bear leaves again,
And fruit aplenty,
Give of my abundance,
And like me,
You too will survive,
And bear fruit in abundance,
But now is the time to rest,
Just rest,
And you will be revived.”