The jungle in my front room

Yoda and me are up and enjoying the peace of a candle lit boxing day morning. Fire on grey wet damp foggy outside. The force was with me. First Christmas with my folks as an adult with children. A walk up the hill and my mum didn’t stumble, fall or trip in the mud, the gates could be unbolted so that she didn’t have to negotiate the stiles. It was like “going on a bear hunt” squishy squashy squishy squashy.


Dad’s slides, Mum & Dad’s house, Borneo, 1962

The sound of the gas  lighting the four bars of the fire. The zip clanging against the metal drum of the washing machine. An occasional car passing outside. Coloured snowflakes blue tacked to the window. Branch of the Christmas tree stroking my leg.

Empty party popper canister. Kitchen roll. A pink stuffed pixel pig. A box of matches with penguins huddled together. An orange paper tissue hat resting on the side. The white sheet attached by clothes pegs covering magnetic board and pictures that created a temporary projection screen.

The slides. My dad. My mum. Glimpses into the past, our collective memories. Myself then. Myself now. Naoise star wars lego, held in his hand, flying, occasionally breaking the light from the projector.


Dad’s slides, Mum (pregnant with me) my brother, eldest sister and grandmother, 1971

First, second, third, forth child, documented in 1970’s colour, patterns, and places that they lived and before. Borneo, Orpington, Bromley, Matlock, Etwall….then nothing.

Mum so slim so glamorous. Dad’s keen eye and orchestration of space. Prams and grandparents and parties and cakes dripping with white icing and silver balls. Dad collecting his degree from Oxford. Why was dad collecting his degree from Oxford when I was five years old ?


Dad’s Slides, Me, Bromley, 1972

My parents were amazing. In the early 1960’s they did VSO in borneo. Lived on the edge of the jungle. From Oxford to Borneo. They married out there. Mum in her white silk shift dress dad in slacks and a white shirt, no tie ? His glasses thick rimmed at the top, kinda cool. What year 1962 ? Need to check. A pink house with a corrugated roof and the washing all hung outside. Images of dad typing with his top off. Its hot humid. So this was mum’s picture, but mostly its him looking on. Him looking at mum, then mum with his children. Looking on, framing, assessing, pressing the shoot button on his old 35mm camera. The camera I remember, kept safe inside a brown leather case.

Washing machine on spin.


Dad’s slides, Mum, me, brother, eldest sister, Matlock, 1973

Tea with soya milk, trying to shift the weight again. Wanting to be slim and trim like mum in the slides projected on the wall in my front room.

And outside. Outside severe weather forecast, snow to arrive today or tomorrow. The love activists had to serve up the food for the homeless outside their headquarters despite a high court ruling that they could use the inside of the building that they had squatted. Polar icecaps melting, an election year upcoming, the beeper on the oven sounding. Twenty minutes has past. I gave myself only 20 minutes. I’ll press it and end this.

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