Stones, potatoes, mud and rain

6.20 am

Last night (28/01/15)

Blue electric light flashes at the skylights. I am reading to both children, a funny book of Syd’s choice about a family of abominable snowmen. The children are like the storm. Syd cannot settle and keeps farting and jumping up and making Naoise giggle and resting his head a little to close to my breast for my comfort. Always a battle of wills. I am the thunder. I shout. The skylight is now all completely white with snow.

I really cannot stand it when they get giddy at night. I cannot express how tired I am come the evening after eight. Perhaps it is the diet, but I am totally worn out and at my wits end. Why won’t my boys sleep. All they want to do is music music music draw draw draw. Ahhhhh what have I done. Oh and watch rubbish TV. Even I have started to watch Power Rangers, I must be loosing it.

The diet is boring. Corn crackers and rice cakes suck. They taste nothing as good as homemade bread.  I made them a lovely chocolate loaf cake from all the left over christmas chocolate.It is torture to make the children cakes. It smelt so delicious. I cut a slice. I got Patrick to take some around to my neighbour. May as well spread the love far and wide, or at least around the corner, if I cannot eat it….

The evening did not go well. A conversation about Syd’s GCSE options deteriorated into a fall out between me and Patrick because he barged in on the discussion that I had initiated and I couldn’t get a word in edgeways. I snapped. I snap sometimes. I am no saint, far, far from it. I am no mother monster. I am no good mother. I am just roughing it, doing the best that I can. I have given up trying to live up to perfect. I am a little bit milk on the turn. Negotiating the emotional landscape of step parents and their children is hard.  Syd immediately defends Patrick. I am the ogress. So maybe I do fit the mother monster frame. It is best that parents do not argue or disagree in front of their children. I know this. I know. But I just cannot keep my mouth closed all the time. It is maddening. Resentment, disappointment, bad communication, loneliness. It is so lonely being a parent.

I just feel like running away, far away. Instead I opt for a bath and shaving my winter coat of hair on legs and armpits. This shaving is some way towards a purification of the stress that has built up. Hot bath. Hot bath. Release the tension. Its not long before I am visited by Syd apologising, then by a very fascinated Naoise. He wants to help me by shaving my legs, I decline, explaining that the blade of the razor is very sharp. He asks if I am going to shave off my pubic hair or that as he refers to it pointing. “No I am not going to shave off that” Naoise, “it would be very itchy and sore if I did so. ” Then Naoise says “and you would look like a man” !


Earlier in the day ( after the school run and a walk up to the tops via The Pexwood Road)

A stone. A stone. One on top of another.

A stone from the playground that Naoise has pushed inside my coat pocket.

A stone balanced on top of a grave stone.

A flat stone selected from the river bank to be skimmed across the waters surface.

A stone wall with lichen, foxglove, moss and a bird sheltering within.

Pour coffee

Artists break rules. I shouldn’t be writing this now. I’ve broken my own rules. I’m only meant to wtrite first thing, in the morning, when I wake. I’m allowing myself this extra thirty minutes.

The weather is foul. Foul. I walk up the Pexwood road in all weathers, It will not defeat me.


I am drenched through to knickers, I like being drenched through. The rain turned to hail, then back to rain, then hail and a little snow. Great sheets of rain blowing across the valley. I struggled to walk in the mud. I sued the umbrella as a stick so I didn’t slip over. The earth is sodden. I can see cuts in the turf where sledges have been driven through the snow.

Its nostalgic to remember moments from being a child. I’m thinking of the quaker burial ground behind my grannies house. Scaling the wall. Crawling along the top.


I remember walking along alone to the next village across fields and through stone step stiles, meeting my auntie at the pub.

There was more that I wanted to say.

The mud, stones on graves, walls, domestic, agricultural, to keep in and to keep out. To protect and to violate.

An image. I am wearing my new blue dress, madonna blue and I am holding my arms out wide, you know like that Yves Klein image is it called Jumping into the void. It is photographed here on the tops. Another cliche. Always cliches. Perhaps not.

I need to organise all the standing still for one minute videos. I am not sure why I am standing still. It isn’t a mediataion on motherhood. I am just standing in the elements watching one minute go past on my mobile phone video camera. Thats all, there is no other meaning to it. I guess its saying I am here, I am here in this place. I am standing in this weather, in this place, on this day. Each day the same, each day feeling different Perhaps hoping that my face will shrink and change with my weight loss, perhaps it will document a change. Perhaps.

Keep thinking of the butterfly. The butterfly caught between the net curtain in my studio, battling against it, trapped.

Am I trapped ?

Motherhood- the wild, the untamed nature. Motherhood as a journey, an expedition.

Listen to the lark ascending………look up the work of the poet form portugal writing about the love of her daughter.

Krishna is coming on Friday to film. He wants a handwritten story. Here it is. Its not really a story, there is no clear lineage or narrative. I jump cut back and forth. There is just a flow of thoughts. Sometimes connected. Sometimes not. Notes to myself. Notes to my guilty self. Notes of hope and of hopefully transformation.

There are stones and potatoes and mud and rain

And guilt.

Naoise wanted me to stay at school and make cardboard aeroplanes. I probably could have stayed. I didn’t. Tomorrow me and Patrick will both help at his school. We will make kites.

I feel guilty. But I just need some time and space. Aloneness.

We got to school early. I can’t believe we were the first into the classroom. Naoise coat was soaked. I removed plastic cups of PVA glue from the radiator and placed his coat to dry upon it.

Its not been thirty minutes, but its been long enough. I won’t wait for the beep of the oven buzzer.



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