Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

May 1, 2013


A young woman has lost her mother toç. She is my friends and she is bright and vivacious in a way that belies the psychiatric diagnosis that lurks beneath the surface.  My friend was devoted to her mother, in old age at least.  After years of bitter family infighting they had at last arrived at a form of rapprochement.  They parted on good terms

Then she remembered the back handers that left her face momentarily claret coloured.  Her mother took care never to leave bruises.  She recalled the conversations she had had with her, unforeseen, curving, shifting, turning.  You never could tell when she would snap, when she would reach out and push her over the precipice and then you would be falling, falling down some vast canyon.  And still the blows reigned down like bits of masonry and falling stone.  It was not a fair fight.  She was far too small to retaliate.  And then she would detach herself from reality.  She would escape inwards, into a land with valleys and swelling rivers and the sharp peaks of mountains.  A higher land of bent trees and shrunken shrubs. Then in her dream world the banks of the river burst and when she came round her mother would be grabbing her hair and slamming her head against the wall.  And then she was well and truly back in reality once again. She could feel her fondness for her mother fading.  There was a grotesque chasm between them.  They would never be close again.  And that made my friend’s heart feel like it was about to crack open.

But then we must never speak ill of the dead.

Now That’s What I Call a Proper Little Entrepreneur:

April 26, 2012

My adorable little niece: Amelia (After Amelia Earhart not Amelia Jane: The Naughty Doll’.)

My Niece 2

May 8, 2010

Aunt and Niece

I  shall be the best auntie ever.

Small, beautiful and perfectly formed.  Last Saturday I got to hold my baby niece for the first time.  She looks like a small China doll with porcelain skin and thick dark hair that frames her face so neatly that it looked as though it had been styled.  Truthfully, I was a little nervous.  She was so tiny, so delicate that I was afraid I might break her.  ‘She’s tougher than she looks,’ said my brother’s partner.

I hope I will be a good aunt.  The sort of aunt she can confide in.  I’m afraid that I will forever be known as ‘my mad old aunt in Cambridge’ which is a fairly accurate description. Mother had told my brother that she resembled me and dragged out an old photo to prove it.  Poor girl.  I can’t wait until she is old enough for toys.  I love shopping for children.

Protected: Dilemma

April 22, 2010

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My New Niece

March 19, 2010

Time to start buying this little lady some books…

The birth of a child puts everything else into perspective.

The Snow = My Mother

January 20, 2010

The snow we have had recently is like my mother.  When they are here I want them gone but when they are gone I miss them terribly.  I remember waiting for it.  I remember being told ‘The snow is coming, the snow is coming’ and looking to the sky expectantly, hopefully.  Days passed and it never came.  Then one day I awoke and looked out of my bedroom window and there it was like icing on a wedding cake.  I almost felt like I could go out and eat it.  This is how I feel when my mother visits: a lurch of joy and then the novelty wears off.

Both are deceptively appealing.  Both give the illusion of warmth, of comfort of solidity, of comfort, of peace.  Until you touch them.  One of the cliches used to describe snow is ‘blanket’ and that’s what it looks like: a big, old white duvet that you feel like you can crawl beneath and sleep forever.  I’m told that sheep borrow into snow-covered hillsides, seeking solace from the cold. The snow becomes their womb.  Their warm breath creates air holes so they can breathe.  They gnaw at their own wool for protein.  But the snow defeats them eventually.  The ice presses in on them and it becomes their tomb.  Just like my mother.  After a few days she becomes my jailer.  I love both my mother and the snow but sometimes they outstay their welcome.

Yes I am Happy Occasionally

December 24, 2009

At this time of year and against my own will, my spirits are lifted.  A magical feeling that evaded language or definition.  A time when simply being alive, animated was sufficient.  And we awaited blessings and gifts from above.  When I was very little my brother used to wake me up at six in the morning.  He would crawl into bed with me.  We hugged each other in the dark, beneath the duvet.  We whispered excitedly as they made our way downstairs, barefoot, avoiding the loose tread on the bottom step.  Two Santa’s sacks lay beneath the Christmas tree overflowing with gold and silver packages.  They always did.  Later we went to church. These were moments to savour.

Little Chav Brats

January 4, 2009

 Little Chav Brats

I bought my mother an electronic photo frame for Christmas. She unearthed an avalanche of old photographs. The photo above depicts my brother and I, aged nine and three, in the garden of our grandparents’ council house.  The neighbourhood consisted of  ‘streets of ugly 1930s red-brick semis‘.  And no, it’s not in Dewsbury.  They were however similar to the house that my parents spent most of their working lives struggling to buy.  Oh, Mrs Thatcher, you never told us that in your utopia, in your ‘home owning democracy’, you would still be despised if you didn’t own the ‘right’ kind of house. Respectable working class people.  Respectable but most certainly never respected.  Thou shalt not suffer little chav brats to live.

Just an afterthought: the Catholic working classes deter their brats from promiscuity by telling them that God is watching and, if he sees them behaving inappropriately, they’ll roast in the fires of hell for eternity.  Of course, in the long term, this tactic results in some seriously fucked up people but, in the short term, it is highly effective.

Say it loud and say it proud: ich bin ein untermensch.

Finally, oops there goes the neighbourhood.

P.S.  The times they are a changing: illustrated here and here.

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