Monday, 13 March 2017

if i had a photograph of you

Do you have a plethora of family photos scattered all over your house?

Or are you one of those organised people who manages to get all your loved ones in one place to pose for a professional shoot?

Are you happy with the obligatory school uniform grimace or have you forgotten what colour your living room is because of all the holiday snaps adorning your walls. 

Or maybe you don't have any; for one reason or another.

I love a good photo. Now this sentence will have my Father chomping at the bit as I spent the greater part of my teens turning the other cheek before the shutter clicked.  I hated my photo being taken.  Still do.

But I do love to see family photos on my walls; meticulously levelled up the staircase, lovingly angled on every spare windowsill, protruding from holiday sand-filled bottles on shelves, perched on any unused flat surface I can find. And I love going into other people's houses and looking at all their family photos too. A physiognomy ancestry before my very eyes.

My goodness, she's the spit of your sister. 

Yes, she has your eyes doesn't she?

Which side of the family is he from?

Is that your childhood house?

And then there's my fridge. Magnets are demoted in favour of old passport photos and random images from disposable cameras that were fortunate enough to be in focus.  

The photos in our home tell of school, yes, and holidays, yes and of course weddings. But they also tell of that day when she wouldn't listen and the day I was glad I carried a change of clothes in the boot of the car and the day when we knew it was serious and the day our lives changed forever. These photos will tell stories when we forget the minutiae of the moments.

If truth be told, in this digital age of disappearing images, I harbour a secret desire to fill one entire wall in a collage of us. But something tells me that it wouldn't just stop there.  

This post was inspired by The Photographer's Gallery:

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

i hope you dance

Credit :
I've always said I'm not raising girls, I'm raising women. The woman I am today is a direct reflection of the women I have come into contact with over the last 40 plus years. Whether the experience is inspirational, heart-warming, frustrating or downright infuriating, I've learnt much from many.

And so on International Women's Day 2017 I cast my mind to my future hopes for my three daughters.

I hope, first and foremost, that they are happy and healthy and look forward to waking up in the morning. But if at anytime, life's path gets too rocky, I hope they have choices to help them through the difficulty days.

I hope they find comfort when they look back on their childhood. That they are warmed by the memory of dancing in the kitchen and re-tell stories of their misdemeanours to the next generation. That the music and the clothes and the photos will be looked upon with smiles because the happy outweighs the sad.

I hope they seek guidance from the women in their family and friendship circles.  That they know who to turn to and to trust when, maybe, I am not enough. Right now, the women who fill our lives are honest and loving and spiritual and hilarious and carry each other in their hearts.

I hope they develop a voice that enables them to speak up for themselves, to speak out against wrongs, to ask for support when they feel downtrodden, to give advice when they are experienced enough to provide it. To say sorry but only if they mean it.

I hope they achieve what they set out to achieve.  That they follow their passions and share their enthusiasms and that they are able to carve escapes out of their ruts.  That they are encouraged by other women to succeed and then, in turn, lower the ladder for others to follow.

And lastly, I hope that they can spend time with each other to smile and laugh and cry and argue. That their sisterly ties become secure over time, distance and life. And I hope they dance together in their kitchens.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

1st of da month

Goodbye February. 

The month where I have shivered at rugby matches wrapped in layers, been buffeted and blown through my supermarket car-park, got pelted by hail-stones as big as my cat, decluttered my shed on a sunshiny Sunday ...and regretted not staying up for this year's Oscars.

Here are my February #smallmercies

What did February do for you?

Hello March!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

too good to be forgotten

Copyright: <a href=''>sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

If I lost my sense of taste tomorrow I would miss the coffee that kick starts my writing day; that takes an age to make it just so - three spoons, no sugar, splash of milk.

I would miss the sneaky Wispa bar that I pop into my Friday morning shopping basket with the milk and bread and fresh fruit and veg before we start the start the weekend, with everyone in the home peering in cupboards for quick snacks. I wave the Change for Life sugar swap app in my family's face smug with the knowledge that I have snaffled the secret chocolate treat in my car on the way home from the supermarket. Savouring each melting mouthful at the traffic lights.

I would miss the big Sunday Roast that has our dining table groaning under the dishes laden with everyone's favourites.  This is the dinner where all plates are scraped clean and no morsel left uneaten.  We rest full bellies in front of the telly waiting for the moment that we can squeeze in dessert.

If I lost my sense of taste tomorrow I would miss the cakes and cookies my middle daughter likes to bake on quiet Saturdays; the sweeties from my youngest daughter's party bag sweetie box that never seems to empty; the dishes that my eldest daughter presents with pride, hot from the home ec room, onto our kitchen counter.  These are their tastebud heavens and they share them with me.

I would miss the tiny bones that disappear in the saltfish salad, that detract me, momentarily from the sun-yellow plantain and the golden brown bakes. The food of my childhood. The meal that brings love.

I would miss cardboard boxed fries dipped in banana milkshake and the greasy wrapped chips shared on seaside seafronts and the first slurp of a cuppa getting home after dark and the silk of a rum punch in the garden, in the sun.

If I lost my sense of taste tomorrow I'd miss the way a bite or nibble or swallow or chew can take me to a moment that sparks a memory; a meal that creates a story.

This post is in response to a #Post40Bloggers : Writing Prompt no72 : Lose your sense of taste tomorrow

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

1st of da month

Goodbye January. 

 The month where I have woken up every morning to the words 'Today, Donald Trump..' on the six o'clock news.  Followed by my immediate thought of ...What now?

Here are my January #smallmercies


What did January do for you?

Hello February!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

last dance

Copyright: <a href=''>a41cats / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Two thousand, zero, zero, party over, oops, out of time. Tonight we gonna party like it's 1999.

That's the song on repeat in my head every time I get to go out.  Which isn't often. I mean the real go out, not the going out to the shops to fill up my cupboards out, I mean out out. Handbag, phone, keys, purse, nail varnish, lippy (and inhaler) out.

These nights are few and far between. And I'm beginning to understand why.

My knowledge of where to have a good night has disappeared.

Now I'm not looking for the nights of the past where I'd be stepping out when everyone else is heading home; freezing my ass off because queuing up for the cloakroom wastes valuable dancing time; leaving someone mid-conversation because the DJ is playing a 'Tune' - cue one hand up in the air.

No that's not me anymore. But not through want of trying. It's because I simply don't know where to find a decent venue to groove, rave or mash it up on the dancefloor, anymore.  There are bars and clubs aplenty in this city but none offering a night with the music that'll make me get off my coveted bar stool.  When I've tried a 70s/80s / soul night before, the best tracks are played pre 7.30 to a few bar huggers and then ditched for chart noise when the young 'uns arrive. Time to queue up to collect my coat.

I refuse to believe that there isn't a disco night out there that conjures up the spirit of Studio 54 or a funk night to raise the ghosts of soul groovers or... I know, I know a ska night - where you skank 'til you can't skank no more.

Don't get me wrong, I'm partial to a bit of the stuff my girls listen to but if I get the chance to be out dancing, I need to be among my crowd; my tribe; my people who wanna get on the good foot.

I long for a club where you enter like the Soul Train dance line. Or failing that, I am invited a Blues house party, that my parents used to talk about, where you'd feel the bass of the music in the walls and in your chest. I've considered holding one myself but doubt my neighbours here at Twickers Towers would approve.

I'm determined so I'll keep looking and be content with that one 'tune' on a night out that I know all the words and dance moves to.  Or just save my shapes for the kitchen where I hear the resident DJ spins tunes to make you cut a rug.*  

*I was referring to me...with my own my kitchen...alone.

Friday, 27 January 2017

a little peace

Copyright: <a href=''>doomu / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

I've only written about the glorious Eurovision Song Contest once on my blog, I know - a travesty, right? I need to write about it so much more.

For those of you who aren't in the know, I love it. Me and my sis were raised on it and make no apologies for loving our annual Eurovision tradition. It's one of the few things we look forward to passing onto our daughters - they simply won't have a choice.

In the run up to this year's contest, things are looking a little bitter sweet.

Sweet that I'll be attending my first ever actual, live Eurovision event. Cue sequins and glitter. Bitter that this is the inaugural post-Brexit Eurovision. Cue side eye at the already Brit hating judges.

Luckily this isn't that actual Eurovision Final, it's Eurovision You Decide - the contest that decides who represents Britain in May.  So at least we're guaranteed a home win!

I'll be honest since the decision in June I've been a little unbalanced about my Britishness, it hasn't sat well; I'm not going to delve into that now, you can read about it here. Suffice to say I did bin the  Union Jack flags I own, the ones that only make a Eurovision or Olympic appearance, but I was hurting, I wonder whether I acted in haste. 

So I'm hoping that tonight's show will restore a little peace with my country and that we choose a song to proclaim our love of all things European.  Before the sharpening of Euro knives in Ukraine at the next stage.