Locksmith lock-in

Prison bars

Graham and I have just been released from 5 hours of prison! We were about to take our pre-lunch constitutional walk today – and found the front door wouldn’t open! And we don’t have a back door…

The shop manager next door tried to open it with keys passed through the window but no luck. So we’ve been waiting all day for the emergency locksmith.

In the end he managed to fix it – but only after squeezing through our neighbours’ small stair window and pirouetting onto our balcony to gain access. The poor guy was a man after my own appetite and not the sveltest locksmith in Sussex – or probably even in the street – so I think he’ll have a few stories to tell his kids at Burger King. Which is where he tells me he and his family were about to go before our emergency call…

A magical knot

Knotted band

Once, when I was around 13 or 14, I came across something wondrous and magical. And, as tends to be the case for most of us, but perhaps particularly for a blasé young teenager, I almost, but not quite, failed to recognise its significance.

I was idly playing with an elastic band on the fingers of my hand, performing a cat’s cradle. I was close to my grandmother growing up and so had a raft of skills beloved of the average Georgian schoolgirl. As the band snapped off my fingers I noticed something rather odd. It had formed a simple knot – the simplest form of knot that you might tie in any piece of string – along one side of the band. Continue reading

Under the duvet

Under the duvet
When the world is too much
And your drive has been driven,
When you’ve tired of the rush
And no more damns can be given,
When your snowman is slush
And Santa’s sleigh has been ridden,
There’s just one place that you stay,
Hidden under the duvet.

Its fabric is warm
And its crevasses dark.
You won’t hear the storm
Nor the song of a lark.
There’s no need to perform,
No feat to bench-mark.
There’s no wrong thing that you say,
Hidden under the duvet.

So grab a torch and a teddy-bear
And a well-thumbed book.
Block the door with a chair,
Take the phone off the hook.
Leave your cares elsewhere,
Thumb your nose, cock a snook.
Draw a veil over to-day
With me under the duvet.

Bring it on!

Graham – Would you like one?
Me (tired, hot, and distracted) – Go on then, you’ve brought it now.
Graham – I think you’ll find you mean “bought”.
Me – Pfffffft…

I have taught him too well!!

Care home cares

Country road at sunset

A poem in memory of my grandmother Mary (Muriel) Peacock.
I hope that all you believe has come true.
You deserve it.


The swell of dread arises miles before,
Minutes tick away in jolts of angst.
Regret, guilt, and apprehension,
All throng to the beat of a wheel on tarmac.
A visit of duty, a duty of care.
Is the duty mine and do I
Care enough? The look of pleasure and
Appreciation is too much to bear, too grateful.

Those eyes whose confusion melts
Into a loving glow stoked from years
Lost in quiet and familiar unconditionality
Express too much too freely.
Hands worn smooth by aged cold-creams
Compelled by hiccoughs of the brain to rest withered on the pane
Grip with a strength of eloquence. A war-time
Wedding ring presses the words, I knew you’d come.
Continue reading

A crutch a day keeps the bus away

Broken arm

Now that time is passing – and the swelling, if not the pain, reducing – I can look back on the funnier aspects of the day I broke my arm and snapped the tendons in my knee.

One stand-out is the hospital nurse who fitted my leg splint and gave me crutches. My memory of the encounter is something like this:

Her: Now that your leg’s splinted, here are your crutches. I’d like them both back at the end, please.

Me: Thank you, but as I’ve broken my arm I can only use one.

Her: Yes, I appreciate that, but you must take both.

Me: But I have only one functioning arm. I only need one crutch and, in any case, I can only physically carry one.

Her: Yes, I appreciate that, but you must take both. And I’d like them both back at the end.

Me: But I can’t take both, I have only one functioning arm.

Her: Yes, I appreciate that, but I need them both back at the end and if you only take one I can’t have both of them back at the end.

Me: Fine. Shall I shove the second one up my arse so I can carry it too? (This last only in my head, I must admit).

Her: How did you break your arm?

Me: I tripped running for a bus.

Her: You should never run for a bus. I ran for a bus once and tripped and fell under the wheels and it drove off. I have never run for anything since.

Me: Is that because of all the extra crutches you have to carry?

Her, confused: Hmmm?

Me, to Graham who has just entered the room: Graham can you take this spare crutch please?

Graham: But you only need one, your arm is broken.

Me: I know, I know, please just take it. We can put it in the cupboard – they don’t have any cupboards here. Goodbye!

Her: Goodbye! Don’t run for buses!

Christmas trip

trip sign

Yesterday on my way to work (so no alcohol involved!) I tripped on the curb and came down with a bump. I thought I was OK and went to work, but it got more painful so later on I went to Accident and Emergency – and left with arm in a sling and leg in a splint!

I have a fractured elbow and suspected meniscal tear in the knee cap. Today I can’t move my leg past 20 degrees and so we’ve had to cancel going back to see friends and family for Christmas, and Graham has been out doing an emergency Christmas dinner run at Waitrose.

One small bright spot – what wonderful treatment I got through the NHS. From turning up I had seen a nurse, had x-rays taken, seen a doctor, been fitted with sling and splint and out in 2 hours! Then I had a follow-up call this morning from a junior doctor at the fracture clinic who had reviewed the case with a consultant doctor and was answering any further questions and getting my email address to send further info, as well as booking me a follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks when the swelling has gone down. And all free. The Tory government had better not muck around further with our NHS!