Category: Events and Outings

We Want Our Alaric Back! (by )

So yesterday Mary tried to bite me - she pulled the bite at the last minute so basically did that thing dogs do when they lay their teeth on your arm and give a warning pressure. She was in full melt down - the issue - we weren't going over the bridge on the way home. She had already pinched Jean hard enough to leave a mark and so had not had her promised ice cream.

I was pretty tired by this point I ended up giving Jean the bags and piggy backing Mary the rest of the way home after she broke down in tears. Daddy has left - I keep explaining he is coming back and she is excited he might bring her a present but in truth she just wants him back.

I've been getting worse and worse as the week has progressed with remembering what needs to be wear. I forgot PE kit and had to do a lightning dash change for Funky Thursday. Mary drew on herself in felt pen yesterday morning and again this morning. But they've been fed and kept clean and had lots of hugs and the same goes for the cats and chickens.

Once home yesterday Mary was still in melt down and threw all my paper work off the desk onto the floor and then broke her heart in sobs saying no one liked her. Someone she wants to be friends with at school doesn't want to be friends (for now) and she thought I'd hate her as she tried to bite me. I explained I love her - I said I wasn't happy with her when she tried to bite me but that I still loved her.

She settled down to sleep and wasn't too bad this morning once she worked out Daddy is coming home but both girls are frustrated with me. I couldn't even say goodbye properly this morning it kept coming out as goodnight - and speech got to the point last night where they were struggling to understand what I was saying. (This is what happens if I don't take all the breaks and things I need due to the head injury)

On the whole I think we've managed ok, last night was always going to be the most taxing part as it was the latest night with the most walking etc... And I think speech starting to go on day four is pretty awesome actually and Al left me and Jean with numbers to call if we got really stuck.

I thought the freezer was broken but it appears to be more about Jean putting her water bottle in the top and the freezer not shutting properly and I remembered that the heater in the attic is actually an aircon unit got during my pregnancy with Jean. So me and Jean sorted that out and that improved Mary's temperament no end!

We went out and watched the starlings begin to flock and that cheered us all up.

Al is currently on a plane - hoping to see him tonight!

Good Solstice :) (by )

Re-reading Women in Roman Britain on the Summer Solsist

Do to the heat I am letting the chickens roam around the garden meaning that they come to see us when ever we are in the garden or stupid enough to leave the kitchen door open. Jean has declared I am an embarrassing parent for calling them Dinosaurs - especially when I do so on social media - parenting achievement UNLOCKED!

Today is the Solstice - it is also a heat wave here in the UK - my attic was getting up to the 40's when I realised that the heater I have up there is the aircon unit we got when I was pregnant with Jean and couldn't breath properly etc... so that went on complete with pipe to the outside - it got the temp down to high 20's when I switched it off this evening - cooling the attic is important as it is a) my art studio and b) it will have a knock on effect with the rest of the house.

I am warm enough - starting to get a bit too warm - mainly worried about kids, cats and chooks!

Means I get to sit in the garden and draw and read and write - re-reading Women in Roman Britain at the moment which I read nearly 20 years ago for my Classical Civilisations A'level course work. I also made myself iced coffee with decaf filter, coconut milk and sugar free dark choc syrup. It tasted pretty good to me 🙂

Writing little snippets of story ideas for The Punks Universe and a kids story and researching the Middle East via podcasts and documentaries.

Jean got to Scouts, Mary had a bath, I cut down and pulled up stinging nettles - remembered to feed everyone - so winning at life.

The Journey (by )

Mary entertained on the train with a fidget spinner

The weekend was complicated - we were down in London visiting family and Alaric was due to fly to the US meaning me and the girls would be heading back on the train - everything was pre-booked.

It was an early start which included Dad cooking pizzas for me and the girls to take on the train and having made us bottles of water in the freezer etc...

Al saying goodbye involved lots of hugs and snugs and in truth we weren't far behind him in leaving the house. Dad gave us a lift to Upminster Station - I had thought the Fenchurch Street Line did not run at the weekend but it did and we would have been in plenty of time for it... if I hadn't had to get Jean a ticket for the underground and the queue was pretty extensive!

The next wasn't for ages so we bought some crisps and drinks for our high adventure and went and sat on a District Line Train. We ate pizza that was still hot and due to a chance question by Mary on Gidea Park we ended up deep in the throws of family history which took us pretty much all the way through to zone one!

Now I had been in London on Wednesday and Thursday - I knew the train lines were broken but what with the head injury and things I just kind of forgot (not about the fire but just about trains). I hadn't even registered that the train was only going to South Ken. meaning we ended up at South Ken with me and Jean trying to work things out... back on the district line we went to Embankment were on the way in Mary had asked why everyone was getting off :/

Mary was beginning to get restless - we'd eaten our lunch and the trains were getting more packed so I told her a story - How Mary Became the Gap Toothed Monster! There was giggling and fluroshes added by her toothlessness herself.

I was a bit stressed - I was already struggling with understanding the tannoy and being able to read the signs and Jean was trying her best but just doesn't know the system - between the two of us we managed to get on the Bakerloo Line - all three of us sat on two seats - many were standing because it's the underground. It was hot and airless and Mary began to fret - we put the drinking water on her head and assured her there would be ice cream at some point in the journey.

Oh yeah on the District Line she'd broken out in uber energy and shimmied up the hold on to pole. Fidget Spinner was for the win for getting her to sit down - Jean tried to scare her into sitting by saying trains crash - I snapped at Jean because when you are on the train you don't really want to think about that or at least at that point I didn't.

And the train stopped in the tunnel, the District Line had done this lots too. Mary was excited that we were actually underground. We got into Paddington with 20 mins until our "big train" so we bought ice creams - I couldn't work out the self serve till - I couldn't work out which ticket got us through the barrier - I did get coffee.

I am paranoid about travel so had given myself an extra almost 2 hrs to get across London - good job really!

We found our seats, terfing the poor welsh dude who fortunately got another seat - the train had people packed in the vestibles which made me feel bad when I had to ask them all to move so I could go a loo! But I had been on packed trains for several hours at this point.

The girls ate their ice creams, we had little chats with the welsh guys and the guy next to us offered to lend Jean a charging cable for her phone which was lovely even though we declined.

This is my fidget spinner:

Mystic Flower Fidget Spinner

It kept Mary quiet long enough for me to reset my brain a bit though her and Jean fought over who was going to get to play with it and Jean dismantled it which grumped me!

I love the fidget spinner - Alaric bought it for me - it is a beautiful thing.

We then played the Story Telling Game - were we each say a bit of the story and pass it on - Jean tries to pull the story into scifi and Mary always adds magic and fairies and I have to thread it into something coherant - they often take unexpected twists and Mary really enjoys telling them DRAMATICALLY!

And she had an audience.

We got through to Swindon on origami - Mary loves origami so spends ages folding her own shapes (which she then tries to teach you how to fold!) and I had also made some little modules she can fit together to make bigger structures including a snake 🙂

I was pleased with myself as I managed to fold a tetrahedron or three sided pyramid - I am working on modular origami at the moment as I wish to use it in various workshops.

Pyramid Origami

And then we were at Swindon... were there were no connecting trains :/ There had been nothing about this at Paddignton - as none of the other passengers knew anything about it either! The poor station lady had to explain over and over again the two ways we could all get to Gloucester, Stonehouse etc... depending on where we were going. It would be faster to go to Bristol and get a train back from there - we opted for the bus/coach because it was half an hour till the next train and I wasn't sure I could cope with more changes and platforms and I don't have good previous with getting back from Bristol when tired etc... having found myself heading "up north" on several occassions and the notable time I ended up in Wales.

A fellow passenger - a lady who spoke very little English made sure I knew which bus to get on with the children which was lovely.

There was aircon on the coach - we blasted ourselves with it and ate nibbles... and got stuck in traffic and Mary had a melt down arching her back and thudding into the seat. I managed to calm her down though she wasn't really quiet at all for this journey until she flopped her head on me and dozed a bit. To be fair by this point of the journey I kind of wanted to join her and Jean had retreated into her iPad.

The walk home was hot - there was more water poured on heads and Mary had her second melt down when she realised we were walking home via the "stone bridge" as she just did not want to go that way. She was throwing a massive wobble shouting and flouncing and then I said "do you need a hug" and she nodded and climbed up me for a hug and... burst into tears... she wanted her daddy back.

We all walked together - Jean had been going to go on a head but a) realised she had a "kids" rucksack on and b) felt Mary needed big sis to hold her hand. We bought second ice cream from the corner shop and were home.

Refugee Week and Poetry (by )

I found this podcast which explores the refugee crisis etc... through poetry and musical expression. It contains an amazingly beautiful and sad Wade in the Water which has been cleverly adapted. For those of you who don't know the history of Wade in the Wader it was part of the Slave/Freedom Train in the US before the full abolition of slavery (and in some cases even after it). It was a sung code as were a few other songs.

This is something else that has been breaking my heart over the last few years - when we were trying to adopt (on hold now due to head injury) I felt I was doing something to help because we'd been told that refugee kids were the largest group and I don't care where a child comes from a child is a child and I just want to keep as many safe as possible weather from here or abroad. But obviously that didn't happen and now I sit in my house with spare rooms... and all any one tells me is that it would have been dangerous for my kids :/

I wonder if the households that took in the evacuees and the jewish kids in the second world war had the same sort of issues?

A few years ago Neil Gaiman made this video whilst visiting a refugee camp and highlighted the efforts that are being made and also the plight. He like many in the UK is descended in one branch of his family from refugees - pretty much anyone is going to find foriegn links if they actually bother to look and investigate and just ask. Many families have tended to keep that sort of ancestory secret but not all.

You can read his write up about here on the UN Refugee Agency website.

Currently I am putting together some more political poetry pamphlets/zines just my poetry at the moment - within which I have a few poems about refugees. This one is called The Journey and shamefully I can not even remember which group or news report it is about because there have been so many - so many little bodies and big bodies and just people - washed up along the shores - lives gone and wasted.

A Journey

The journey was across the water
And was flimsy with grief
The crowds swarmed
Desperation palatable
In the tang of stale sweat

Grey waters ebbed to black
Hiding those who could not make it
Or were Unwanted
Thrown to the cold placid stillness
Breath gone

Bodies bloated and rotting
Effluent choked to the fish
So they could no longer
Nibble the corpses
And still the people came
Fleeing, frightened
Seeking sanctuary
That so many of them
Would never reach
The waters filmed with grief

.....

Years ago now I remember sitting in the Wilson Museum and Art Gallery at an event where the guest poet was a refugee - I wish I could remember the mans name - he was seeking asylum at the time - in many places poetry is outlawed, poets especially political poets are actually risking their lives for something that gets seen as "a bit prissy" in this country.

I think that for next year I will try and get the Gloucester Poetry Society to organise an event.

For more information on Refugee Week go here.

More Death :'( (by )

Last night I awoke crying - my brain had only just worked out why the trainlines we wanted weren't working - it had been a long day getting from Essex through London and out to Gloucester with the final walk home. I should have realised as I was there on Wednesday and knew those lines were shut then but... head injury - Jean was having to read signs and things for me in the end.

Also I know too many firefighters, nurses and police, I know too many people in council flats/housing, I over heard conversations I wish I hadn't on Wednesday - I can't bring the dead back - life is so easily snuffed out - we are so vulnerable. Horrible accidents, natural disasters and disease... you'd think we'd all huddle together against the nightmares.

The fire would have claimed more lives if it hadn't been for Ramadan, if the diversity of the city was less more people would have died. People were up observing their religion and so spotted the danger and warned others.

But still I awake to the sicken news that a van has ploughed into people outside a Mosque, more senseless death, more retribution agains the many for the actions of the few. More people killing people when we are all on the edge of annhilation anyway.

There are horrors happening all around the world - so much of it and we only hear a fraction... often I can not cope with it all - all the pain and hurt and grieving - the utter utter waste of life, of mind. And this time it is my home. London.

Grief is out pouring in the Capital - that is what the "riots" are, people feel powerless and they are angry and rightly so.

And then this... this attack on people going to pray.

I feel sick.

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