This is the leg

This is the leg that had a cut
and this is the germ that crawled right in
This is the fever that came on fast
and this is the bed of hot and cold
This is the dash for help at dawn
and this is the Doctor who acted quick
This is the blip he expertly spots
and this is the query? a bad surprise
This is the Doctor who ordered a scan
and this is the specialist and her machine
This is the findings in black and white
and this is me, reluctant to hear it

This is the waiting.

This is the fun, I thought on the way
and this is the town I’ve never been to
This is the map I followed along
and this is the clinic here, at 3
This is the waiting room, hot and full
and this is the baby crawling about
This is the consultant, halfway through
and this is his list of people to see
This is my turn, ushered in
and this is the battle of wills he wasn’t expecting

This is the way he lays it out
and this is the way I scrumple that up
This is the reasoning he tries after that
and this is the stare I give him.
This is the way he doesn’t flinch
and this is the way I keep on looking
This is the moment I almost break
and this is him, looking down first, shuffling his papers

This is the victory.

This is the part when he offers to tell me a story
and this is me bluntly saying I don’t need a story.
This is my questioning, the need to know the long words
and this is him almost dismissive.
This is my insistence,
and this is his acceptance and then a thorough explanation

This is the professional covert glance at the clock.

This is the moment of me expressing how I feel about it all emotionally
and this is him spitting it out.
This is his bald outline of how the facts are totally different to how I feel about it.

This is me staring him down (again),
and this is me not crying not crying not crying.

For Gods’ sake, do not cry, you fool.

This is my question of ‘what ifs’, the prospect of not doing anything, nothing at all
and this is the outcome: death
This is the low blow about seeing my children grow up

and therefore

This, this is my consent.

This is me poised and tall until the exit and down the stairs and out the door and round the corner
and this is me on a bench in the churchyard, crying.

This is the pub where I stop and consider a drink
and this is the courtyard of builders
This is the reality – do I really think I’m going to sit in there with a drink by myself and not pique their attention?
This is what usually happens to me.
And so this is the bus home.

This is the mac and this is the desk and these are the paints and here are the words
and this is the haven I’ve built.

And this poem is the furious revenge.






when you pushed your green plastic wheelbarrow
out of the door
in protest at the new baby
and marched off down the street
and right round the corner,
I didn’t realise at first.
A woman had found you
and had a hold of you
by the time I flew up there,
clutching a nappy
and an astonished newborn.
I had a baby last week
I panted,
I think he’s upset.
Age 2, you said:
I’m not upset. I’m just leaving you.
The woman let you go and still you wouldn’t
come back to me.
I called your bluff and walked back down the street
without a backward glance,
heart breaking & pride shattered,
giving you space to follow.
A risky strategy.

That was your first leaving.

A mind like yours
does not come along often
the responsibility of it
has always been heavy.
I taught you to read before you were three,
allowed you to take apart the hoover
and answered questions
every day
on metaphysics & microwaves
before I even woke up.

The time you threw all the shoes
at the door
in a rage
because I could not remember
Einsteins’ theory of relativity

That was your second leaving.

There were countless others.
You left us all behind so quickly.

I don’t know where you are in London
what you are doing
and with whom.
I don’t know when you will be getting home
or how
and via which kebab shop,
and you are not answering your phone.

It’s 1am.
I don’t know whether to go to sleep not knowing.
Or whether I should call your bluff
and walk down the street without a backward glance

Hoping that one day you will come back to me.



With free ghost, a concept which is going to keep me giggling for the whole year.


The problem of making work in an over saturated world is compounded by the noise of social media.

Being plugged in constantly to several different channels all at once, doing my best to keep up online*, as they say one must* when doing business in 2017, is exhausting at best and at worst, creatively destructive.

The best way I have learnt to cope with it is to try to remain ahead of the pressure and just do my own thing, relentlessly. So the trend is xyz. Well, pfffffft. Who says? Social media influencers? Really. It’s all going to burn down, one day, you know.*

So a part of me is always re-evaluating what I’m up to. Am I being true to my own self and originality? Is my spark burning low? I suppose it must, at times. All this is pretty intense, you know.

Well, apart from tea, gazing out of the window, reading a lot and regular chocolate biscuits, the other thing that helps keep everything original is A NEW IDEA. Not just a little one, a big one. One that will last a whole year.

On Saturday, walking round an antiques market, I was struck by a bolt of lightening, an idea from nowhere. I had to sit down on an expensive re-conditioned chair made out of an old warthog and catch my breath.

I CAN NOT WAIT to put this idea into action, though it’s going to take a lot of planning. I’m going to need to learn how to bind books, make artefacts and models and put them into bottles (it’s going to be dementing so great), find a gallery owner who catches my vision (oh my goodness, this is the scary part), catch ghosts, write hundreds of poems and paint a series of large exquisite paintings. As you can see, I’m going to be busy.

Should I test the market for likely commercial demand for paintings, poems, ghosts and handmade artefacts in bottles first?

Mmm. What would Picasso* do, do you think, the man who made monkey models out of toy cars?

Yes! Exactly. I’ll follow my heart.


*Writing this blog is definitely not keeping up online, for me. It’s a total joy. I love it more than anything.
*They do say this. I agree, most of the time. The internet does bring work (and friends).
*What will I do with my time without the internet, though. Oh, see paragraph 7 🙂 AND, I’m still going on that picture book.
*My hero!


Baboon and Young by Picasso. I saw this in Paris in the Picasso museum.




The sweetness of Holger Marsen

A friend of the highest order,
five times my height and ten times as strong
makes chocolates
and sweet delights
with the lightest touch
in his five star kitchen

a natural salesman,
who can resist
melt in the mouth
and his disarming

– I can’t.
We are all
under his spell.
I could
greedily eat
clotted cream fudge
for the rest of my life.

It’s not just that.
Those days
when we used to
dawdle back
from school
chatting and pushing the bike,
patiently talking me down from the ledge,
always behind me,
always believing in me

and even now
reminding me

I can do it.

when you and Tanja bought that painting,
one of the first,
it meant more than anything to me

and still does,
when I see it in your hallway.

I imagine
you & Tanja
floating at night
on a bed of
chocolate and raspberry ganache

(with mint leaves
in appropriate places).

The unrivalled kindness
of you both
is addictive:

thank you for being the sweetest.*


*in case you were wondering, this includes the too-much-champagne incident, and the driving lessons we will never have haven’t had yet 🙂


Romantic week in Paris


long days alone,
turn me
to thoughts of you
even though
i put you in a box recently and taped you up.

will you not stay in there.

you are too strong for me
i’m too lonely.

what was said
and what was nearly said
the danger of words
the temptation
to say them
how i wanted more
much more
but was afraid to ask
how I had to keep quiet for the sake of someone else’s happiness.

i could search
the whole internet
for you
you’re not there

My friend, John


Shall we draw houses together? Come over.


A friend.
Carolina’s husband.
I could spend hours
in their company.
I like the twinkle in John’s eyes
and the way he laughs
right from his stomach
I like the designs on his t-shirts
I like his waistcoats
and his stories
and I am a litte bit in love with his wife
John and Carolina and I
share the same
humour & zest
a droll sense of the ridiculous
I have never met
another adult
who will go with me
on a fantastical
and enjoy it,
and truly join in.
Children, yes.
Adults, no.

Except John.

Several people
have asked me
will I teach them?
Will I teach classes in drawing and letting go?
Always no,
always doubting
my own ability.

But it came up again
last night.

Teaching John?
It would be like teaching myself.
It would be so much fun.
It would be more like messing about.

John? are you reading this?
Did you find me online?
(Are you amazed?!)

Let’s do it!
Come round for tea
with Carolina
and let’s draw


Or shall we draw donkeys? I love donkeys!



In it together

a cancelled train
rather inconvenient
i changed plans
and we ran
for a new option
like so many others

all of us
from Platform 1
with suitcases
and bags
hoping to pick up
down the line,
all of us
we all crammed on
to a local service

mentally calculating
our chances

as luck would have it
the guard
radioed ahead
to the
London train
at York
– wait
– I’ve a carriage of extras
– wait

at York
we spilled out
but –
oh – there it is!
the London train
dwarfing the platform
marking time,
champing at the bit
ready to leave –

this is too easy
is this it?
is this ours?
is this the train for London?

all of us
from Platform 1
suitcases and bags
a tangle of hesitation

then scrambling on
hurry hurry
take a seat

i’m still unsure
picturing us
ending up
where we started
i’m kneeling on a seat
peering out of the window
is this right?
not yet committed

i glance up
a man
from our number
looking worried
looking at me

i turn to him
and smile
i say:
London, right?
palms open
brow furrowed –
he says:
i hope so
so do i
i say

if it’s not right,
i say
as the train pulls out,
countryside blurring
a wash of green
if it’s not right,
i say,
we’re in it together,

he grins,





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