Burnt porridge

6.55 am

Porridge, measuring it out in a cup, pouring the oats into the pan, adding the correct amount of water, lighting the stove. The fire under the pan warming, wooden spoon stirring. The oats thickening and absorbing the water. Stirring. Stirring. Sometimes words can cause harm, so its best to remove the beast from the paragraph. I don’t want this space to be a nasty place of moaning and groaning and complaining and despairing. Perhaps it is just that. I want this space to be a place of mutual understanding. I erased the words I had written about Patrick less it cause him harm. He is mostly supportive of me and my creativity,   about what I write and say though occasionally he struggles and negatively refers to my work in a deep sarcastic tone as “your need to express yourself “. I am sure that it can be irritating to live with an artist. Words, art making, its not just about expression. I hope that there is some comprehension, some  interest for the reader, the viewer, a subject, not just a therapeutic act.

Words are deleted, as the porridge burns in the pan.

The porridge sticks to the bottom, and tastes slightly charred. I will be soaking and scrubbing it later. The glue and the stick of the pan is my guilty conscience manifest. I have been punished by a pan to scrub. Whilst writing I will try to be honest, I will try not to lie, but in the back of my mind I will keep clear the porridge burnt in the pan, so as not to hurt or to be excessively malicious. Nasty words are not worth the disruption that they would bring to the peace of the house.

There are so many conversations that must remain unsaid, so many little frustrations that burn, irritations, living with another adult, living in a relationship is not easy. Little things wind each other up, Patrick hates it when I overfill the compost bin. What does any of this matter, I think. The mold accumulates, the dust covers the tops of picture frames, things that need to be sorted become so.

Naoise spilt milk at the breakfast table. “There is no point in crying over spilt milk.” How I love to sound out this saying. There is no point, especially when the milk creates such beautiful sploshes on the stone floor. I look, Patrick looks, we both get out our cameras and snap it up, later I clear it up.


It is cold, cold, cold. The morning is running better, perhaps because I triumphed at getting Naoise asleep a little earlier in the night. He makes less of a fuss about socks and clothes and brushing his teeth. He is excited about getting out of the door about riding his scooter to school.

The thunder claps behind the rocks and the hills. I don’t see lightening. The thunder rumbles and roars. It is darkening and dramatic as I climb the Pexwood Road. I embrace the weather, the hail stones and the darkness. I can’t quite get to film the pegs because of the car parked underneath them, I try a slightly obscure angle. I am not interested in the car, only the pegs. The pegs that are black and swing to and fro in front of the school that Naoise attends in the valley. What is it, what is it about the black pegs and the swing and the drop into the valley and the lights that shine out from the victorian building that intrigue me. The swing of the pegs. The holding onto the line. The absence of clothes to affix to them.

Snow transforms everything. Cars slow and make brilliant marks. Birds slow and hang in trees. CAWWWW CAWWW sounds on the tops, crow, rook, jackdaw, jay, magpie.


An artist friend of mine who lives in Todmorden witnessed a sparrow hawk in her garden, he caught her eye and then suddenly swooped down and snatched a blackbird from her feeding table. The blackbird squawked and wriggled and protested from its mighty talons.  How amazing, and how frightening, poor blackbird, one moment enjoying a comforting meal, the next a meal itself.


Nature reminds of the fragility. The temporal. The changing of the weather here in winter is fierce. I stand for one minute, my cheeks burn with the cold, the hail falls.


I think, I think of Raif Badawi, no flogging today, the Saudi blogger is too ill, too weak, who last week  withstood 5o lashes out of the 1000 that make up his punishment. I sign the Amnesty International petition. It seems trivial a few passive clicks. I hope, there is hope, that cruelty will end. That barbaric acts of violence cease. Words, words and freedom and fear.


Walking out, walking out on hills and looking. Seeing the wild of these moors. The beauty. The beauty in the grass that wraps itself around metal fences, knotting in the wind, the puddles, the thick of the mud, the heather, the stone walls, some intact others tumbling, and all the plants that grow in-between.  Bird tracks and tire tracks and boot tracks in the snow.


The woods that fall away from the road do so at an extreme angle, dizzying, disorientating, dangerous.


Mum is upstairs she is upstairs all dressed and all awake and waiting for me to finish writing this, and dear Syd is away this weekend. I will miss him, I will miss him. In his week of illness he has thrown his arms around me with hugs and love and affection. He has sat on my lap and pushed his head down onto my shoulder. He has demanded my attention and got it.






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